Free agent compensation

DMZ · November 23, 2005 at 1:27 pm · Filed Under General baseball 

This has come up in talks about free agents: the Mariners, if they sign Burnett or Millwood, would lose a second-round draft pick. They can’t lose a first because the’re in the first half of the draft order on account of being really bad last year. And let’s be frank, second round picks aren’t nearly the bee’s knees that a first round pick is.

For a complete listing of who’s classified as what, Jim Callis at Baseball America wrote it up for you.


23 Responses to “Free agent compensation”

  1. Senor Mateo on November 23rd, 2005 1:49 pm

    They may not be the bee’s knees, but I would still say they are the cat’s pajamas.

  2. Mike Snow on November 23rd, 2005 2:05 pm

    What, we’re not going to get a draft pick when Dave Hansen signs with some other team? I’m outraged!

  3. Gag Harbor on November 23rd, 2005 2:12 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up. It seemed unfair to think that a team that finishes last but is trying to get better would be penalized by losing their draft position.

  4. Jerry on November 23rd, 2005 2:37 pm

    Those elias rankings are messed up.

    I know that a second rounder isn’t exactly a huge bummer. But losing two or three high picks each year like the M’s have done really catches up with you after a while. Now that the M’s are actually doing good things with their picks, it is not good to be tossing them away.

    If the M’s lose a pick for Burnett, that is fine. That is worth it. But lets hope that they take this into considation with other players they may be looking at. I still can’t get over the fact that the M’s lost a first rounder for Greg Colburn, and that the Diamondbacks used that pick on Conor Jackson. That just hurts.

    If players that have been mentioned around here lately, like Wes Helms, Jacque Jones, and Esteban Loaiza, will cost the M’s a pick, then that makes them a lot less desirable in my book.

    There are a whole lot of good players in MLB that were drafted after the first round.

  5. Rusty on November 23rd, 2005 2:39 pm

    I’m not entirely positive on this, but I believe Mark Teixeira would be the property of the Mariners had it not been for this first half of the draft exception. Texas was able to keep its 5th pick of the 1st round, and Teixeira was widely thought of as the 2nd or 3rd best talent in the draft perhaps only behind Mark Prior. He likely fell for signability issues.

    Of course, maybe the M’s would have drafted him and not signed him. In 2002 the Mariners did just this with John Mayberry, Jr.

  6. The Other Tom on November 23rd, 2005 3:05 pm

    Wilson Alvarez is a type A.. er pitcher, but Jamier Moyer and Kevin Millwood aren’t?

    Somehow Alvarez’s 24 innings pitched last year and 5.63 ERA must rank in the top 30% as defined by ESB when averaged with his 4.03 ERA as a relief pitcher in 2004. What?!? Granted JM and KM had poor showings in 2004, but … no one in their right mind would take Alvarez over Moyer or Millwood.

  7. David U on November 23rd, 2005 3:50 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I didn’t think that you get A team’s draft pick if they sign one of your players. You get an additional pick between the first and second round and they lose their 1st round pick.

    David Upham

  8. msb on November 23rd, 2005 4:14 pm

    #6– just a reminder, the rankings are based “on their performance over the previous two seasons.”

  9. Conor Glassey on November 23rd, 2005 4:16 pm

    David Upham –
    Here is a nice description of how the process works, from SABR…,c,741,5,0

    “Each year, the Elias Sports Bureau ranks all major league players based on criteria agreed upon by MLB and the MLBPA. The rankings are based on performance over the most recent two seasons. Based on these rankings, the top players are classified as A players (top 30 %), B players (next 20 %) or C players (next 10 %). The remaining players are not given a classification.
    A Club losing an A player to free agency receives compensation in the form of a first round draft pick from the team that signs the player (if the signing team is picking in the first half of the first round, they lose their second-rounder instead of their first-rounder), and also receives a supplemental or “sandwich pick” between the first and second rounds. A Club losing a B player also receives a first round pick from the signing team but does not receive a supplemental pick. A Club losing a C player receives a supplemental pick after the 2nd round.
    There is, however, one qualifier. For a Club to receive draft picks as compensation, it must offer arbitration to the player. This means that if the free agent does not sign elsewhere and he accepts arbitration, he remains the property of his original Club and if he and the Club are not able to negotiate a contract, his salary will be determined at an arbitration hearing.”

  10. Mat on November 23rd, 2005 9:39 pm

    If you’ve got the money to pay the quality free agent and give up the potential to have a cheap, quality player for 4-5 years, then I say go for the quality free agent. There are so many hurdles for a second round pick to overcome to even make the majors as even an average player that taking the more known quantity seems like a good strategy. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend throwing away picks like the Giants seem to love to do, and if you’re on an Oakland/Minnesota-type budget, you’re probably going to need to take the risk that you can get talent on the cheap. The M’s have the budget to make free agent acquisitions a winning proposition, though.

  11. DMZ on November 23rd, 2005 9:44 pm

    I don’t know about that. Drafting first round picks and doing well at it is a huge, huge boon to a team’s long-term prospects. The value of those picks, even considering the failure rate, is huge (which actually would get us into a whole draft valuation/fairness argument). It’s rare that signing a free agent, who almost certainly is on the decline and will command more than they’ll return to the team as a pure value proposition (which, again, ties into a whole other topic on roster construction), is worth it if in addition to the money a team also has to forfeit that pick.

  12. km4_1999 on November 23rd, 2005 9:55 pm

    I love that the M’s have exactly 0 players on that list.

  13. The Ancient Mariner on November 23rd, 2005 10:22 pm

    Actually, the M’s have exactly 1: Jamie Moyer, who’s a Type B free agent.

  14. lokiforever on November 23rd, 2005 10:29 pm

    12 – before August this year, the list likely had two Mariners on it, well one for sure.

  15. Mat on November 23rd, 2005 10:39 pm

    Just to be clear, Derek, you mention first-round picks in your response to my comment and I mentioned second-round picks in my original comment. I was a bit unclear. I’d agree that you’ve got to hold on to your first-round picks.

    Also, I’ve seen stuff (esp. at BP) regarding the cost of forfeiting draft picks. I’m not totally sold, though, that it’s the right way to think about the problem by saying that free agents are overpriced as a group. If you accept that your team has a certain payroll level, then you have to accept that some of it will be spent on minimum-wage guys and some of it (a lot of it) will be spent on free agents. If you’re ever going to use that free agent portion of the budget, you’ve got to do it at free agent prices, which might (maybe) include losing a draft pick here or there.

    Of course, this can be avoided by waiting until after the date (not sure when it is this year) when you can sign free agents without losing draft picks.

  16. DMZ on November 23rd, 2005 11:26 pm

    Ahhhhhhhhh yes. I understand what you’re saying.

    But there’s the rub: unless you’re in the lower half, potentially any of those guys could cost you the first-rounder (in fact, I think even a C can escalate if you don’t sign anyone else).

  17. msb on November 24th, 2005 9:06 am

    OT, but the M’s site have posted a transcript of a Johjima interview… it is an awkward translation into English but entertaining

  18. David J Corcoran on November 24th, 2005 9:22 am

    17: Hard not to like ” A: The Mariners really showed me that they wanted me. And as the first Japanese catcher to go the Major Leagues, I had no dissatisfaction in what they presented me. I did not want to try and run up the price.”

  19. misterjonez on November 24th, 2005 10:17 am

    That interview made Johjima seem even more enigmatic than Ichiro!, which was a suprise to me.

    As far as high-round picks, it doesn’t seem like the M’s have done a whole lot of good for themselves in the first or sandwich rounds during the last seven or eight years. I mean, the best players in our organization are Felix and Ichiro!, neither of which was an amateur-draft entrant.

    I hope that CLEment will be able to change all of that, though.

  20. Evan on November 24th, 2005 10:35 am

    Johjima’s description of his negotiations with the Mariners suggested that he treated the team with tremendous respect. Let’s hope we don’t abuse that.

  21. DMZ on November 24th, 2005 11:18 am

    Johjima’s interview has its own post now.

  22. DMZ on November 24th, 2005 11:22 am

    As far as high-round picks, it doesn’t seem like the M’s have done a whole lot of good for themselves in the first or sandwich rounds during the last seven or eight years.

    Uhhh… could that be because they haven’t had many first round picks, supplemental or otherwise?

    2004? Nope
    2003, Adam Jones as a supplemental first rounder, #37 overall
    2002, Mayberry, did not sign

    aaaaaaaaaaand so on.

  23. jojo on November 25th, 2005 12:35 pm

    This is OT but pretty darn interesting from a procedural point of view and, since procedure is so irresistably sexy to many of us who enjoy this blog, here’s some big news:

    NO LUXURY TAX FOR ANY TEAM THAT DOESNT PLAY HOME GAMES IN YANKEE STADIUM OR FENWAY PARK (and even the Redsox might escape the luxury tax) in 2006. Thats right, the M’s could up their payroll to 200 million this offseason without fear of a luxury tax penalty. Dont belive me? Here’s a link (which has a link to the collective bargaining agreement in the article):

    So hello Manny, AJ, Millwood, and Giles! Welcome to your new future world series champion Seattle Mariners!!!!!!!!

    Heck, this means that Bavasi should even go after Furcal-to play second base!!!!!! Forget about settling for getting L. Castillo from the Marlins in trade.

    Alright, now back to reality-just thought at least some would find the article compelling….