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FA Compensation Draft Picks


This year’s mid-season trade market is affected by the new rules in the CBA signed last winter.  As many of you know, teams cannot get compensation draft picks for players they picked up during the season.  This hurts the trade value of players who are in their final year of a contract.  It also eliminates the reason for the Miguel Olivo trade a day before free agency began, giving the Blue Jays an extra 2nd round comp. pick for the Type B free agent.  Instead of trading for the player and the subsequent draft picks, the team receiving the player only gains the services of that player.

Here is a shortened list compiled of draft picks tied to the compensation of Type A free agents.

Year Free Agent From To Pick #1 Pick #2
2009 Mark Teixeira Angels Yankees Mike Trout Tyler Skaggs
2008 Torii Hunter Twins Angels Carlos Gutierrez Shooter Hunt
2007 Carlos Lee Rangers Astros Blake Beavan Julio Borbon
2007 Frank Catalanotto Blue Jays Rangers Kevin Ahrens Justin Jackson
2006 Tom Gordon Yankees Phillies Ian Kennedy Joba Chamberlain
2005 Orlando Cabrera Red Sox Angels Jacoby Ellsbury Jed Lowrie
2005 Derek Lowe Red Sox Dodgers Craig Hansen Michael Bowden
2005 Pedro Martinez Red Sox Mets Clay Buchholz Jonathan Egan
2002 3 guys Athletics Nick Swisher Joe Blanton
2001 Mike Hampton Mets Rockies Aaron Heilman David Wright

Of course, I have to start the list with the most unfortunate Braves move in recent memory.  While Teixeira performed very well for the Braves, the packages in the transactions really hurt the team.  I say the haul going to the Rangers is still worse, but the backside of the trade is nearly as bad.  The players received from the Angels, Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek, were essentially of no value, while the Angels used the compensation picks for Tex on Trout and Skaggs, the key component of the Dan Haren trade.  I’m not saying the Braves would have picked those two, but the thought that they could have is a bit haunting.

Going down the list, you realize that most teams don’t hit on their comp. picks that well.  The Twins missed on the picks of losing Hunter and the Blue Jays on losing Catalanotto, though I have no idea how he was a Type A free agent.  The Yankees did well with the Gordon picks and the Mets with the Hampton picks.

After winning the ’04 World Series, the Red Sox lost 3 Type A’s, giving them six extra picks, of which three were good and three were poor.  The Moneyball A’s draft of ’02 gave Oakland the same amount of picks, with them only hitting on two of those picks, while the other four never reached the majors.  The MLB draft is the biggest crapshoot of them all, which I believe makes this an over-rated portion of the trade negotiations.  Since the top 10 picks are protected, you rarely find All-Star level talent after that (Trout, Ellsbury, Wright as the exceptions).  Also, with the new draft pool spending limits, overpaying for a late 1st round pick is harder, making the comp. picks less desirable.

Along with the lower value of the draft picks, the process may be overstated in general.  To get compensation, the player would have to receive a qualifying offer after the season worth the average of the 125 largest contracts in the league.  This year, that value looks to be between $12-13M.  This eliminates nearly all relievers, so they may actually move more freely this month.  Overall, there are probably 10-15 upcoming free agents who this could affect, and only about five who may be on the trade market.

As a team negotiating for someone like Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels, you should treat the Brewers’ or Phillies’ demands of losing the comp. picks as something around a MLB-average player and a marginal major leaguer.  This, along with the 2-month rental of the great player, should not be too much more than a normal trade.  It may deter teams trying to catch up to a playoff spot, but teams with good chances of the playoffs, such as the Braves, can’t be scared to pull the trigger.

Tags: Braves Draft FanSided Featured Popular Trade Deadline

  • Lee Trocinski

    I’ve missed a certain change in the rules. Instead of a qualifying player’s old team receiving the new team’s 1st round pick, that pick just completely disappears. The old team still gets a supplemental pick, but just that one pick, while the new team loses a pick.