Say Goodbye To Free Agent Compensation

I just read this at Maury Brown’s site:

"Ken Davidoff of Newsday reported just over a week ago that teams may no longer receive draft picks as compensation for free agents who leave as part of the upcoming CBA.

Now comes word through sources that all the clubs have been notified that this indeed will be the case as both the Players Association and MLB have come to terms on the matter."

I wonder how this will affect both the Yankees’ and Red Sox’s way of doing business. The Yanks are rather aggressive when it comes to picking up free agents (you think so, Nick?) and this new policy won’t change anything. However, if this is to take effect this off-season, the Yanks will not receive 1st round draft picks for Mussina or Sheffield if either depart. Everything indicates that the Yanks want Moose back. Does this rule change give the cerebral hurler more leverage in negotiations? Might the Yanks be more likely to pick up Sheff’s option given the fact that they’ll receive nothing in return if he signs else where?

This could change the Sox’s off-season approach more dramatically. Considering Boston’s budget and its desire to remain competitive from year to year, Theo and company have been relatively conservative when it comes to signing and re-signing free agents. I can’t help but think that the draft compensation policy had something to do with this strategy. From 2005-2006, the Sox, during which time many veteran players have left via free agency, have had tons of high draft picks. Instead of going after big free agents, management has added big pieces via trades. Coco Crisp, Josh Beckett, and Mike Lowell were all added by trading pieces of the farm. This policy change then might lead the Sox to being more aggressive in pursuing type-A free agents since the team will not be threatened with the loss of a top draft pick. Also, the Sox might be more likely to re-sign players at the end of their contracts.

8 comments… add one

  • Just hazarding a guess as to Moose, but the Yankees have made him a rich man… and while he doesn’t owe them anything, I assume they’re his first choice and I doubt he really cares about a guaranteed third year (he seems like the type to just quit if he’s not good anymore), so if they make him a fair offer close to market — e.g., $17-20M over 2 years with an automatic vesting option for a 3rd year if he pitches 185 innings with an ERA under 4.25 in 2008 — he’ll take it.

    JoeyK August 29, 2006, 5:50 pm
  • I think it’ll do one of two things to the Yankees:
    1) Longer veteran contracts
    or
    2) Overly-priced 1 and 2 year contracts for Vets with large buyouts/option years.
    The Sox:
    1)Longer veteran contracts.
    2)Earlier extension signings of mid-level, solid talent.

    walein August 29, 2006, 6:14 pm
  • This really could work better for the Sox because it could force them to change what i feel is one of their worst and stupidest policies — that of not negotiating extensions during the season (even though they seem to be wavering from that lately).
    Mo Vaughn, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez all were lost because of this policy, where they could have been locked up cheaper for fewer years (ie, what the Sox initially offered them during the free agency period) if only the Sox had offered it to them the year before the contract expired or at some point during the season.
    Now, one can debate whether losing those players was good or bad (clearly bad in the Clemens case), but the overall point remains: The Sox had set a value on these guys, could have had them at this value, if only they had agreed to negotiate before the end of the contract.
    With no free agents to mitigate the loss of a Type A free agent, as walein said, the Sox might be more willing to get good talent locked up for longer.
    The downside, of course, is what if that talent goes belly-up? But that’s what baseball is all about, isn’t it?

    Paul SF August 29, 2006, 6:41 pm
  • Sorry, that should say, “With no draft picks to mitigate the loss of a Type A free agent” …

    Paul SF August 29, 2006, 6:43 pm
  • The Sox not negotiating new deals during the season, was pretty much a Harrington thing when he lead the team for the Yawkey Foundation.

    TJ August 29, 2006, 6:54 pm
  • Note, for instance, Beckett’s deal this year.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) August 30, 2006, 8:38 am
  • I don’t know that it will change/affect things too much in terms of the Yanks or Sox actually signing their players. What, our policy towards Moose is going to change because we can’t pick up two draft picks from the Rangers? Don’t be silly.
    What will change is that the Sox won’t benefit from letting their veterans walk. I still think they’ll let them walk – for reasons of payroll, age, etc – but they won’t get the cheap draft picks any more. Which makes me happy.

    Sam August 30, 2006, 9:34 am
  • Yes and no, TJ. The Sox have been more flexible under this ownership group (Beckett, Crisp and Ortiz all being signed to extensions), but they wouldn’t negotiate in-season with Pedro and Damon, citing “policy.” Perhaps they really had no intention of signing these players and that’s why they cited a policy that clearly doesn’t really exist for other players they liked more.
    Anyway, the Sox have cited the no-in-season-negotiation policy recently. I guess the question is whether or not we believe them.

    Paul SF August 30, 2006, 10:59 am

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