The Rays have nine potential free agents at the end of the year*. The Elias rankings will determine whether the Rays will receive any compensation should these players sign with another team.
First a crash course on the Elias rankings and free agency compensation…
- All free agents are classified as Type A, Type B or neither.
- If a Type A free agent signs with another team, the original team will receive 2 draft picks. One will be a compensation pick between the first and second round. The other will come from the team that signed the player. If that team’s first round pick is 16th or later, the former team will get that pick. If the free agent’s new team picks in the top 15, the former team will receive their second round pick. It gets a bit more complicated if a team signs more than one type A free agent.
- If a Type B free agent signs with another team, the original team will only receive the compensation pick between the first and second round. The free agent’s new team does not surrender any picks.
- A team does not receive any compensation if a free agent that is neither A nor B signs with a new team.
- To determine classification, all players (including non-free agents) are placed into one of five groups. The players are then given a point value based on a formula using several statistics from the previous two seasons combined.
- If a player’s point value ranks in the top 20% of all players in that group, they are Type A. If they rank in the top 40%, but not in the top 20%, they are Type B. Players outside the top 40% are neither Type A nor Type B.
As it stands now, the Rays have three Type As and three Type Bs. Dan Wheeler is barely a Type A, but at the same time, Grant Balfour is not far from being a Type A. Also, Randy Choate is barely hanging on to Type B status, while Joaquin Benoit has a good shot at jumping up to Type B status. The rest of the players appear to be well-entrenched in their current classification.
If the season ended today and all six of the classified free agents signed with new teams, the Rays would be awarded 9 additional draft picks (2 for each Type A and 1 for each Type B). All of those picks would be in the top 70.
Add those to the Rays own first-round pick and the Rays could have as many 10 picks in the top 70 of next year’s draft. If Benoit jumps up to Type B status, and if the Rays fail to sign their first-round pick this year, they would be up to 12 picks in the top 70 next year.
The 2011 draft could be a fun one to watch.
* Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Rafael Soriano, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate, Joaquin Benoit, Gabe Kapler and Hank Blalock. The Rays do have a $4M option on Wheeler although we suspect the Rays will choose to buy it out.