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Toronto Blue Jays' Melky Cabrera hits a single that brings in a run in the third inning of MLB baseball action against the Oakland Athletics in Toronto on May 24.Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera has decided to test free agency.

For the third straight year, baseball's free agents shunned qualifying offers from their former teams and chose to test the market.

Cabrera was one of 12 players that decided not to accept a US$15.3-million offer by Monday's 5 p.m. EST deadline.

World Series star Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco) also let the deadline pass, as did pitcher Max Scherzer and first baseman-designated hitter Victor Martinez (Detroit), and left-hander Francisco Liriano and Canadian catcher Russell Martin (Pittsburgh).

The others were shortstop Hanley Ramirez (Los Angeles Dodgers), outfielder Nelson Cruz (Baltimore), right-hander James Shields (Kansas City), closer David Robertson (New York Yankees), and pitcher Ervin Santana (Atlanta).

One of the dozen, Colorado outfielder Michael Cuddyer, became the first major free agent to switch teams when he agreed to a US$21-million, two-year contract with the New York Mets.

Cabrera originally signed a two-year, US$16-million contract with Toronto in 2012 after serving a 50-game suspension for PED use while a member of the San Francisco Giants.

Last season he batted .301 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs in 139 games before a broken finger ended his year in early September.

In 10 big-league seasons, the 30-year-old has suited up for five teams, including the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Giants and Blue Jays.

In the three offseasons of the current collective bargaining agreement, none of the 34 qualifying offers have been accepted.

"Players offered the qualifying offer carefully considered their options and decided to pursue further free agency rather than accept a $15.3-million contract in a market that should be robust given the economic health of the game," union head Tony Clark said in an email. "I expect free agent compensation will be an important part of bargaining in 2016, as it has been over our entire history."

An offer could be made only to a free agent who was with the team for the entire season. The price was determined by the average of the top 125 major league contracts this year by average annual value.

If a team made a qualifying offer to a player who signs a major league contract with another club before the June amateur draft, his former club would receive a draft pick as compensation at the end of the first round.

The club signing that player loses its first-round pick in the amateur draft, unless that pick is among the top 10, in which case the club signing that player loses its next-highest pick.