ccThe Elias Ranking for 2010 free agents has been released. All players are ranked at their respective positions based on a formula using stats from the previous two seasons. Players that are ranked in the top 20% of their position are classified as Type A and players ranked in the next 20% are classified as Type B (all players are ranked, not just free agents).

Carl Crawford is on the list as a Type B free agent. This may seem like a moot point now that the Rays have picked up his 2010 option, but it could have a huge impact on what the team chooses to do with CC moving forward.

While the Rays will certainly listen to offers for Crawford this winter, most assume CC will be back with the Rays in 2010. Then the Rays will wait until the trade deadline to decide whether to trade Crawford or let him walk in the off-season, depending on whether the Rays are still in contention in July.

This thinking was based on the assumption that if the Rays lost Crawford to free agency, they would receive two first-round compensatory picks. If Crawford is a Type B free agent, the Rays may be more inclined to trade him this winter or prior to the trade deadline, no matter where the team is in the standings.

So, how will we know what Crawford’s free agent status will be after the 2010 season? We don’t have the Elias formula (nobody has cracked it), but we can look at Crawford’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) from the past two years.

In 2008, Crawford posted a 2.7 WAR and in 2009 that number was 5.5.

The good news is, when the Elias rankings are calculated next season, they will include Crawford’s strong 2009 campaign. The bad news is, if he posts another season like 2008, he will be Type B status again.

So can the Rays take a chance that Crawford will jump up to Type A status next season? At the very least, Crawford’s Elias ranking this season will be a wake-up call for the Rays and increases the chance that he is traded between now and next year’s trade deadline.

*If a team loses a Type A player in free agency they will receive the other team’s first-round pick the next year and a compensatory pick between the first and second-round. If a team loses a Type B player in free agency they will only receive the compensatory pick. If a team has one of the top 15 picks in the draft, it is protected. So if a team with a top-15 pick signs a Type A free agent, they would not lose their first-round selection. Rather, they would have to surrender their second-round selection. Also, things get a bit more complicated if a team signs more than one Type A free agent.

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17 Comments

  1. Mike Summers says:

    what are the chances of an extension?

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    • Not likely. CC has said the right things about being open to signing an extension, but he is just being polite. He will probably command $12-14 million per year for 5-6 years. The Rays can barely afford $10 million and they definitely cannot afford $12-14 million for a 36 year old Crawford Down the road, who relies largely on his speed. The Rays business model is built around young cheap players. That is no longer Carl Crawford.

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      • Beth says:

        His ranking as a Type B free agent affects the Rays compensation if he signs elsewhere...but does it affect the size of a contract he's likely to command as a free agent? And does that affect what the Rays might need to offer in a long-term deal?

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        • If anything, Type B status would make him MORE attractive to other teams bc they know it won't cost them a draft pick. There were a couple of free agents last year that had trouble finding jobs because they were Type A. But that usually just happens to players that play a position where it is easy to get into the top 20% like catcher. But certainly teams will have to weigh the cost of losing a draft pick.

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  2. Gus says:

    The Rays only hope is that the recession has brought the free agent market back to reality and that this winter sets the bar low on comparable free agent outfielders (Bay and Holiday) and CC gives them some hometown discount (on the years as much as the annual $). In a wierd kind of way, letting him play it out insures the team's 2010 outlay -- either he is great in 2010 and the team gets its moneys worth or he gets hurt, has a subpar season, which kills his FA market value in for 2011 (and maybe they get another year out of him).

    I hate that MLB has a system that makes it crazy for smaller market teams to keep their future hall of famers like Holiday and CC. To do so, you create Helton-type disparities in your payroll for many years and it is hard to win that way. I'm hard on the owners here for being on the cheap side, but I'm not sure what else they can do on these facts but what they are doing.

    Maybe Crawford would sign cheaper if they wore the St. Pete Saints throwbacks in the picture more often. Those things are sweet.

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    • The problem with the market seems to be that the top free agents are still getting their money. It is the next tier that seems to be signing lesser deals. For example, talk is already about Holliday getting $100m. But players like Abreu couldn't get $10m last year. The question ten becomes: where does Crawford fall in that realm. I'm not sure.

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      • Don says:

        I'll tell you where Carl fits in reality...in left field for the Yankees or Red Sox (if Bay does not sign)....and the money will be no object...
        Whats wrong with $100 mil payed over 7-10 years.... CC would take it...how much $ does he need.... plus if he doesn't...then the owners can say they tried.....and if these owners get nervous and not in contention...someone would still pick him up in a trade!

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      • Gus says:

        Even healthy, I'm not sure Crawford ever gets to Holliday money. He really is closer to Johnny Damon. But the other thing is that there are only 12 or so big money corner OF spots (Boston, NYY, NY Mets, Dodgers, Cubs and Angels). So much of it depends on where there is a need; right now there aren't a ton op openings for him and a fat contract. I love CC; but he's not worth bankrupting the franchise for an extended period (to a certain extend, $10M is bankrupting them for NEXT year if it ends up being 1/6th of the payroll).

        My guess is that he gets hurt, doesn't put up huge numbers and extends with the Rays for another year at $10M. But then again, Johnny Damon is done in NYC after 2010 for sure . . .

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        • Don says:

          You know everyone talks about CC getting $10-12mil.....
          Look at the $ they burned with Burrell..and he's gone next year....savings of $9mil!
          Pena's contract is up next year @ $10mil....what are they going to offer him...he doesn't have near the skillls or impact CC has in a game...
          So what the hell is wrong with giving CC ...10-15mil for next 5-7 years??
          He IS the Rays....the Burrells ,Penas , Akis, ect. are not!

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          • jim says:

            he is the rays?? how did we do when we didn't have pena and aki and only crawford. oh that's right we stunk, and carl was whining during the all-star break a couple of years ago about wanting out of here.

            how much did crawford contribute to our best team ever? not much. aki and pena? a lot more than you give them credit for.

            we need a complete team, not just a $12 mil outfielder. we should trade him for prospects and stick jennings in LF. will he be crawford? who knows. but i do know that he'll cost less than 1/10 of crawford's salary and we'll get a couple of decent prospect in return.

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        • Well, the Yankees will probably bring either Damon or Matsui back next year on a one-year deal. That means they will conveniently have an opening in left field after next season and a lot of money to spend.

          The Mets also need a corner outfielder and in that new stadium with that big outfield, I think they would love to have Crawford roaming in left. But i think their situation will depend on who they pick up this winter.

          Don't be surprised if we hear the Mets are aggressively talking to the Rays about Crawford in the next few weeks. I dont know if they have enough to get the deal done, but they will certainly be calling.

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  3. Don says:

    Dear Jim....thank you for your intelligent insights...
    Pena, Aki and now Jennings are more valuable than Carl Crawford....
    I think you need to go back to baseball 101...or you are blind....
    Whichever!

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    • jim says:

      as a group, yes they are have more value, that's my point. i'm not saying that carlos and aki are better than crawford as individuals. i'm saying that he WAS the rays for years, and we stunk. one of the major reasons we improved was the signing of free agents like aki and pena. if we sign crawford to a $100+ million contract, then we can basically kiss signing those type of free agents goodbye.

      what was our record without aki and pena last year? 11 games out of the playoffs. what was our record with CC missing a bunch of 2008, world series.

      CC is a good baseball player, is he worth 1/5 of our payroll? hell no!!! stick to your fantasy GM or to your mlb2k10. there's no way we're going to tie up $13 million a year for a decade for a player that tends to break down at the end of the every year. and considering his age, his legs and health are only going to decline. back to your fantasy league don, where you have a budget to buy your favorite players, on a $60 million budget, any player that cost over $10 million better be a league MVP or cy young winner. that's the only way you could justify it.

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      • Don says:

        Let me do the math for you Jim .....then I'm done....
        Aki gone $4.5m ($400,000 Zo takes his place) Save $4 mil
        Burrell gone $9m ( $0 takes his place) Save $9mil
        Total 2010/2011 Savings...........$13mil
        Why not give say $13mil to CC and payroll would be $10 mil LESS !
        And Pena gets no more than $10 mil...or He goes packing!
        Pretty easy.....Hey Jim???

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  4. jim says:

    pretty easy,
    without carlos and aki where did we finish? 11 games out. so let's go cheap on those positions and expensive in the outfield. that'll work.

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