At the end of each season, The Elias Sport Bureau ranks every player at each position based on stats from the previous two seasons. These rankings are then used to determine compensation* that teams will receive, if any, for losing a free agent.
The Rays have team options on their two biggest potential free agents (Carl Crawford and Aki Iwamura). Still it is interesting to see how various Rays are ranked.
For example, the top three relief pitchers in the American League over the last two seasons based on the Elias Rankings are, Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan and JP Howell.
That is both awesome and scary. Howell will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this off-season and this ranking is certainly going to cost the Rays a few dollars next season and we may have to recalculate next season’s projected payroll.
Other Rays that rank in the top 20% (Type A free agents) of their respective groupings…
- Dioner Navarro, 6th. Yes, the AL catching crop is very weak.
- Carlos Pena, 20th (1B is ranked with OF and DH)
- Evan Longoria, 6th (3B is ranked with 2B and SS)
- Jason Bartlett, 12th. MVP!
- James Shields, 11th
- Dan Wheeler, 9th. Yes, Dan Wheeler.
- Grant Balfour, 12th. The Rays have 3 of the top 12 RP in the AL.
Crawford is not in the top 20% and would be a Type B free agent. Iwamura is not ranked in the top 40%, so if the Rays do lose Aki to free agency, they would not receive any compensation. The Rays have a 2010 option Brian Shouse who would be a Type B free agent. Chad Bradford, Jason Isringhausen and Troy Percival will be free agents after the season, but none are ranked in the top 40%.
* A team that loses a Type A Free Agent will receive the highest draft pick from the player’s new team that is not in the top 15 picks of the draft and will be awarded a pick between the first and second round. A team that loses a Type B Free Agent is awarded a pick between the first and second round. There is no cost to a team signing a Type B free agent in terms of draft picks.