We haven't had any free-agent signings in the last two weeks that will require draft-pick compensation. However, the number of possible transactions that could result in compensation has declined sharply because several clubs declined to offer arbitration to their free agents. Darren Oliver (Type A, Angels) and David Weathers (Type B, Reds) accepted arbitration, binding them to their former club.
Below is the current draft order and the list of 22 compensation free agents by team:
10. Nationals (for failure to sign 2008 first-rounder Aaron Crow)
20. Blue Jays
21. Mariners (if they fail to sign 2008 first-rounder Joshua Fields)
24. White Sox
29. Yankees (for failure to sign 2008 first-rounder Gerrit Cole)
30. Red Sox
Supplemental First-Round Picks
34. Reds (Jeremy Affeldt, B, to SF)
49. Pirates (for failure to sign 2008 second-rounder Tanner Scheppers)
76. Yankees (for failure to sign 2008 second-rounder Scott Bittle)
Supplemental Third-Round Picks
97. Astros (for failure to sign 2008 third-rounder Chase Davidson)
Remaining Compensation Free Agents
Ari: Juan Cruz (A), Orlando Hudson (A), Brandon Lyon (B).
Bos: Jason Varitek (A), Paul Byrd (B).
CWS: Orlando Cabrera (A).
Col: Brian Fuentes (A).
KC: Mark Grudzielanek (B).
LAA: Francisco Rodriguez (A), Mark Teixeira (A), Jon Garland (B).
LAD: Derek Lowe (A), Manny Ramirez (A), Casey Blake (B).
Mil: C.C. Sabathia (A), Ben Sheets (A), Brian Shouse (B).
Min: Dennys Reyes (B).
NYM: Oliver Perez (A).
Sea: Raul Ibanez (A).
Tex: Milton Bradley (B).
Tor: A.J. Burnett (A).
Ask BA will take next week off as we finish the 2009 Prospect Handbook, but will return on Dec. 22.
The White Sox Top 10 has undergone some significant renovations since we first released it. We update the lists in the Prospect Handbook with transactions through mid-December, and Chicago's has three new faces in Viciedo and two former Braves, catcher Tyler Flowers and shortstop Brent Lillibridge. GM Kenny Williams loves to wheel and deal, so we may not be done making changes.
1. Gordon Beckham, ss
The No. 8 overall pick in the 2008 draft led NCAA Division I with 28 homers last spring.
2. Dayan Viciedo, 3b/of
The Cuban defector compares to the Giants' Angel Villalona, with better defense.
3. Aaron Poreda, lhp
His strong Arizona Fall League performance could help him make the big league staff.
4. Tyler Flowers, c
He topped the AFL with 12 homers but his catching skills are suspect.
5. Clayton Richard, lhp
White Sox fans were hoping he'd get a postseason start in place of Vazquez.
6. Brandon Allen, 1b
He showed off his power by homering twice off David Price in his first Double-A game.
7. Jordan Danks, of
John's little brother is the best athlete in the White Sox system.
8. Brent Lillibridge, ss
With Alexei Ramirez moving to shortstop, Lillibridge will compete for the second-base job.
9. Chris Getz, 2b/ss/of
Getz is in the second-base mix as well, though he must recover from a broken wrist.
10. John Shelby, of
The son of the ex-big leaguer had 15 homers and 33 steals last year.
We haven't finalized the Red Sox Top 10 for the Handbook, but I'm leaning toward putting Tazawa at No. 7 between a pair of 2008 draft picks, righthander/shortstop Casey Kelly and outfielder Ryan Westmoreland.
Boston signed Tazawa out of a Japanese industrial league for a three-year major league contract worth $3.3 million. According to reports out of Japan, the Braves, Mariners and Rangers also made offers to Tazawa, with one club dangling a four-year deal worth $7 million. The consensus among several international scouts is that Tazawa's talent is equivalent to that of a late or supplemental first-round pick.
Using the slightly smaller Japanese baseball, Tazawa showed good command of a low-90s fastball, a splitter that ranks as his best pitch and a pair of breaking balls (his slider is better than his curveball). He's a bit undersized at 6 feet and 175 pounds, but his clean delivery and strong shoulders and legs lend themselves well to durability. He also has some deception that makes him that much tougher to hit.
Tazawa likely will begin his U.S. career at Double-A Portland. While he could reach Boston quickly as a setup man, his potential for 2-3 plus pitches and his advanced command make him intriguing as a possible starter.