Saw this earlier today: https://twitter.com/Joelsherman1/status/388700856473759744
tl;dr: The qualifying offer this year appears to be at or close to $14.1 million (seriously though, if a tweet was tld;dr, think seriously about getting some ADD meds or something).
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Brian McCann will test the free agent market this offseason, and given the state of catching in the majors (along with the fact that Mac is actually a really good hitter to boot), he's not going to be a Brave next year because someone will offer up bigger bucks and/or more years, the combination of which will put one of our favorite Braves out of our price range. Well, is it so bad if we make the Qualifying Offer, and he accepts?
According to Mark Bowman (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/atl/atlanta-braves-changes-for-2014-center-on-brian-mccann-tim-hudson-dan-uggla?ymd=20131011&content_id=62832412&vkey=news_atl), the Braves have somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-20MM available . That means that even if McCann did accept the Qualifying Offer, he isn't necessarily going to hamstring the team.
Look, McCann ain't getting any younger, but a 30 yr-old catcher with a legit bat and a pretty good gloves is nothing to sneeze at on a 1-year deal. Gerald Laird aside, because he's basically backup-only material, we have an all-bat-no glove catcher in Gattis (and he's no lock to post even a .300 OBP), and an all-defense-no-bat catcher in Bethancourt. I don't like our catching situation next year because we have 2 catchers who both bat right-handed, eliminating even a decent platoon option. They'd be amazing if we could somehow create some kind of freakish Frankenstein monster that captured both of their skillsets, but until we find out how to do that, that's what we got.
So I hope we make the QO to McCann and, if we do, I hope he takes it, however unlikely his accepting it may be. I don't see any reason why his ability should decline during his age 30 season, but the older he gets, the more likely that is to happen, especially to a catcher. We'll still have some money left to handle arbitration raises (granted it gets much tighter if the number is loser to $15MM than $20MM).
One more year before letting him go gives all of our potential backstops more development time and keeps one of the Braves' best hitters in the lineup for one more year. There's not a lot that needs to be done one this offseason, IMO, but the team is worse without Brian McCann. So, make the QO, and hope McCann accepts it.