As we race to finish the Prospect Handbook, Ask BA is on a every-other-week schedule through the end of the year. Beginning in January, it will return to its weekly format. As the Winter Meetings near, it’s time for an update on the draft order. As always, if you have a question for us, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your name and hometown.
The Yankees have been an active participant in the free agent market on both the gain and loss side. Can you go through how the draft pick compensation process will work following the signings of McCann and Ellsbury and the loss of Cano and inevitably Granderson? Perhaps we could assume the Mets sign Granderson.
The Mariners signing of Robinson Cano helps ensure that next week’s winter meetings will be a little bit anticlimactic. Usually free-agent signings dominate the meetings, but this year, it appears that five of the 13 free agents that will generate free agent compensation will be signed before the meetings begin in Orlando.
No team has been busier than the Yankees. They have signed a pair of free agents who garner compensation (Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury) and they have lost one free agent that will garner compensation (Robinson Cano) while the Mets are expected to announce a deal with Curtis Granderson before long.
If the Granderson deal comes through as expected, New York will lose its first-round pick (pick No. 18) for signing McCann (he signed first). It will gain compensatory picks at the end of the first round for both Cano and Granderson, but will lose one of those two picks for signing Ellsbury.
So while we wait for further free agent signings, the draft order currently looks like this, assuming Granderson signs with the Mets as is being reported widely:
1. Houston Astros
2. Miami Marlins
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Minnesota Twins
6. Seattle Mariners
7. Philadelphia Phillies
8. Colorado Rockies
9. Toronto Blue Jays
10. New York Mets
11. Toronto Blue Jays (compensation for failure to sign Phil Bickford in ‘13 draft)
12. Milwaukee Brewers
13. San Diego Padres
14. San Francisco Giants
15. Los Angeles Angels
16. Arizona Diamondbacks
17. Baltimore Orioles
X. New York Yankees (forfeited for signing Brian McCann)
18. Kansas City Royals
19. Washington Nationals
20. Cincinnati Reds
21. Texas Rangers
22. Tampa Bay Rays
23. Cleveland Indians
24. Los Angeles Dodgers
25. Detroit Tigers
26. Pittsburgh Pirates
27. Oakland Athletics
28. Atlanta Braves
29. Boston Red Sox
30. St. Louis Cardinals
*Y. Seattle Mariners (Kendry Morales compensation)
Z. New York Yankees (for losing Robinson Cano)
31. New York Yankees (awarded for losing Curtis Granderson)
*32. New York Yankees (Hiroki Kuroda)
*33. Kansas City Royals (Ervin Santana)
*34. Cincinnati Reds (Shin-Soo Choo)
*35. Texas Rangers (Nelson Cruz)
36. Miami Marlins (compensation for failure to sign Matt Krook in ‘13 draft)
*37. Cleveland Indians (Ubaldo Jimenez)
38. Atlanta Braves (awarded for losing Brian McCann)
39. Boston Red Sox (awarded for losing Jacoby Ellsbury)
*40. Boston Red Sox (Stephen Drew)
*41. Boston Red Sox (Mike Napoli)
*42. St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Beltran)
X Lost for signing free agent Brian McCann
Y Lost for signing free agent Robinson Cano, will revert to second-round pick if Morales resigns with Mariners
Z Lost for signing free agent Jacoby Ellsbury
*All picks marked with an asterisk are contingent on the free agent signing with another team.
The Mets will lose their second-round pick for signing Granderson, as their first-round pick is protected as a top 10 selection.
There are many problems with the new collective bargaining agreement, but the free-agent compensation is one way that the new system is significantly better than the old rules. Under the old rules, teams lost one pick for signing a free agent while gaining two. Now it’s a one-for-one transaction. Sign a compensatory free agent? Lose a pick. Lose a compensatory free agent? Gain a pick.
So under the old rules, a team like the Red Sox could end up with two first-round picks and a pair of compensatory first-round picks while signing one significant free agent and losing two, like they did in 2011. Under the new system, the Yankees could end up with two compensatory first-round picks but no first-round pick for signing two free agents and losing three. That seems like a much more equitable result.