Two more free agents requiring compensation signed since the last edition of Ask BA. Troy Percival went from the Cardinals to the Devil Rays, and Doug Brocail went from the Padres to the Astros. Both were Type B free agents, so their former teams will receive a supplemental first-round pick.
Saturday was the deadline for clubs to offer arbitration to their free agents, a prerequisite for receiving draft choices if they sign with another team. Seventeen Type A or B free agents were offered arbitration, though three of them (the Yankees' Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez and the Red Sox' Mike Timlin) already have agreed to deals to return to their former clubs.
Only three of the remaining 14 qualify as Type A free agents, and two of them are expected to stay put. Andy Pettitte has said he'll return to the Yankees, while Michael Barrett figures to accept arbitration with the Padres. That means that the Phillies' Aaron Rowand is the last free agent who could cause a first-round pick to change hands, and that's only if he signs with a team that doesn't choose in the top 15.
The supplemental first round will be much smaller next year. There were 34 picks in the sandwich round in 2007, and there will be no more than 21 next June. To date, four Type A and three Type B free agents have found new homes. Here's what the draft order currently looks like:
1. Devil Rays
8. White Sox
17. Blue Jays
18. Mets (Tom Glavine, A, to Atl)
27. Twins (Torii Hunter, A, to LAA)
30. Red Sox
Supplemental First-Round Picks
31. Twins (Hunter)
32. Brewers (Franciso Cordero, A, to Cin)
33. Mets (Glavine)
34. Brewers (Scott Linebrink, A, to CWS)
35. Cubs (Jason Kendall, B, to Mil)
36. Cardinals (Troy Percival, B, to TB)
37. Padres (Doug Brocail, B, to Hou)
44. Brewers (Cordero to Cin)
45. Brewers (Linebrink to CWS)
69a. Braves (for failure to sign 2007 second-rounder Joshua Fields)
84a. Red Sox (for failure to sign 2007 second-rounder Hunter Morris)
Supplemental Third-Round Picks
100. Phillies (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Brandon Workman)
101. Astros (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Derek Dietrich)
102. Padres (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Tommy Toledo)
103. Angels (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Matt Harvey)
Remaining Possible Compensation Free Agents
Ari: Livan Hernandez (B).
Atl: LHP Ron Mahay (B).
Bos: RHP Eric Gagne (B).
Hou: INF Mark Loretta (B), RHP Trever Miller (B).
KC: RHP David Riske (B).
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (A), RHP Luis Vizcaino (B).
Oak: C Mike Piazza (B), OF Shannon Stewart (B).
Phi: OF Aaron Rowand (A).
SD: C Michael Barrett (A), OF Mike Cameron (B).
SF: 3B Pedro Feliz (B).
The deadline to complete the 2008 Prospect Handbook looms, so Ask BA will go into hibernation until that project is finished. Never fear, however. I'll still answer your questions in my weekly chats at ESPN.com, every Wednesday at 2 p.m. Eastern.
I say that I'm still shocked. I can't remember the last time a team traded a big league player who was this young and had as high a ceiling, and cursory research hasn't turned one up. Young's power and plate discipline are still in progress, but he's just 22 and there's a reason he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft. If the Rays were willing to give up Young, it makes me wonder how much of a problem they think his makeup will be. Those Albert Belle comparisons have started to apply to his personality as well as his bat, and Tampa Bay apparently had enough.
The best part of the deal was that it was simply talent for talent, no dumping of contracts involved. The Twins think they got a superstar in the making in Young, not to mention possible solutions to their holes at third base (Brendan Harris) and center field (the underrated Jason Pridie). For their part, the Rays believe they've landed a No. 2 starter to slot in behind Scott Kazmir. Matt Garza is a blue-chip big league youngster in his own right, and Tampa Bay also gets a starting shortstop (Jason Bartlett) and a live-armed relief prospect (Eduardo Morlan).
My immediate instinct is that the Twins got the better of this deal, mainly because they got Young. But one front-office official with another club liked the Rays' side, saying "Any time you have a chance to get a No. 1 or 2 starter with less than a year of service time, and that's what I think Garza is, you have to do it."
This looks like another trade driven, at least in part, by a player's questionable makeup. Milledge scared off some clubs after he was investigated for sexual misconduct while in high school, and he turned off some Mets with his attitude when he was first called up to the majors in 2006. He didn't help his cause by contributing to an offensive rap album or by drawing a three-game suspension for arguing with an umpire last season.
Milledge carries a lot of baggage, and New York apparently had enough. I still think he's more talented than fellow ballyhooed Mets outfield prospect Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martinez, and I thought he would have emerged as New York's everyday right fielder in 2008 if given the chance. He's still just 22 and six years from free agency.
Nationals GM Jim Bowden always has loved toolsy athletes, so it wasn't an upset that Milledge wound up in Washington. The surprise was that is cost so little. Schneider's offensive game has collapsed, and while Church is useful, he has nowhere near Milledge's upside.
Guess all those reports that Athletics GM Billy Beane coveted Milledge were exaggerated, because he could have had Milledge cheap.
National writer Alan Matthews is leaving us to become an area scout for the Rockies. Alan, who attended scout school and ran our high school coverage and our Prospects Plus scouting service, will cover Georgia and north Florida for Colorado. Best wishes to Alan in his new job.
Alan is the second person to make the jump from Baseball America to scouting. Former associate editor Josh Boyd left us for the Padres in 2004, covering the mid-Atlantic in his first year before moving to the Pacific Northwest. If things had broken a little differently, Josh might have landed Justin Verlander in 2004 and Jacoby Ellsbury in 2005, but he did get a supplemental first-rounder in Oregon State catcher Mitch Canham last June. Josh recently moved to the Rangers, for whom he's the manager of pro scouting.
One member of our staff has experience with a big league organization on his résumé. Marketplace manager Ryan Johnson signed with the Padres as a 13th-round pick in 2004. Ryan spent two seasons in the San Diego system, and his biggest claim to fame is that he was the first pro hitter ever to take Felix Hernandez deep, doing so in a Northwest League game during his first pro summer.
"It was the first inning, after I went into the wall and missed a ball that went off the wall because I lost it in the sun," Ryan says. "I got mad and he threw really hard, a good combination. It's funny what happens when you accidentally hit 95 mph off the barrel."