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 (see below for a detailed explanation of free agency compensation).

MLB Trade Rumors has determined the formula used in the Elias rankings. Let’s take a look at where the Rays free agents-to-be would fall if the season ended today…

The Rays have three potential Type A free agents. They also have four potential Type B free agents with Joaquin Benoit jumping up into Type B status. With only 49 games to go, this classifications are not likely to change much unless Grant Balfour comes back strong in September.

If the season ended today and all seven of the classified free agents were offered compensation by the Rays and signed with a new team, the Rays would receive a whopping 10 compensation draft picks (2 for each Type A and 1 for each Type B). In addition, with five days before the deadline to sign draft picks, the Rays have yet to sign their top pick, Josh Sale. If he goes unsigned, the Rays would receive yet another compensation pick in the 2011 draft.

Including their own first-round pick, the Rays could have as many as 12 picks in the top 70 of next year’s draft. Yeah, the 2011 draft is going to be fun to watch.

Free agency compensation

  • All players are ranked in one of five groups depending on their primary position. The rankings are based on stats from 2009 and 2010. Players ranked in the top 20% of their group are classified “Type A.” Players in the next 20% are classified “Type B.”
  • If a Type A player signs with another team via free agency, 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 player signs with another team via free agency, 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.
  • A player’s former team only receives compensation if they first offer the free agent arbitration. The danger in offering arbitration is that the player could accept and receive a 1-year contract through arbitration. The Rays may then be stuck with a player they no longer want.


  1. Joe D. says:

    Any thoughts on if the Rays will not offer arbitration to anyone, would any of them accept that the Rays don't really want? Al la Soriano with the Braves last year.

    Or even any that Rays offer arb. to, and the Rays are happy they accept? Say CC, and/or Peña accept, because they want to stay here and know their best way is to go year to year (like an arb. player would) until they either need to 'cash in' on a long term deal or the Rays get a stadium deal and can afford long term deals. Is there even any precedent for something like that?

  2. chrissulli says:

    Qualls probably has a decent chance of getting into Type B if he keeps pitching well, no? Balfour getting to type A would great. I would think it would make him less attractive to other teams (lose a high pick for non-closing reliever) and more likely to accept arb or resign.

  3. david says:

    i'd rather sign Sale then get a comp pick. i'd also have to assume if any of the relievers was offered arb they might consider accepting it.

  4. Joe says:

    It is this piece that is the reason you do make a trade at the deadline. You can't play everyone and you can't control every spot at the wheel. This was as a no brainer as someone with no brains can have. Do you trade Hellickson or Jennings? Of course not, but you have up to 12, and Pena can still flip to a Type A? This is crap!! Again, you can't play all of your prospects and you have that kind of depth to make deals!!

    • Cork Gaines says:

      For the most part I agree, but a part of me wonders if having a Hellickson and Jennings kinda hurts the Rays in trades. You gotta wonder if other teams see Hellickson and Jennings and those teams start drooling and won't accept anything else.

  5. Joe says:

    I can't see a major drop off between those two and everyone else. Then that means the Rays demands are UNREASONABLE and that makes no sense too. Very counterintuitive. My point is you have minor leagues not just for relief, but to make deals to help sustain the major league franchise, it works both ways. Jake McGee before TJS was in the same boat, and he's a solid reliever, is he now "untouchable" too? I have suspected and hear the Rays have made unreasonable requests, as well as vice versa and this plethora does not help, because in reality, what are the Rays' "weaknesses" (catching obviously)? Still though, you can make trades without dealing your best prospect, unless if you want to make a Hanley-Anibal for Beckett-Lowell deal. That swap worked for Boston in the short and somewhat medium term

  6. Joe says:

    If these players accepted arbitration, it would "destroy" (cough, cough) the Rays payroll projections, and then the Rays would have to do what the Braves did for Soriano, simply unload the player for not truly what he could get in a trade. Or you could suck it up, play Pena and Soriano in 2011 and then make a deal or flip them for higher value.

    Somethings just don't add up, but that is why the Rays would not want these players to accept arbitration. Soriano could get $11-12 on the open and Pena would at least get his $10, maybe a couple hundred thousand increase. I don't think I would want a marginal middle reliever for a stud closer.

  7. Joe says:

    I apologize to all the good readers if I sound too cynical. I am working off what what the owner himself has said from the beginning of pitchers and catchers reporting to what he said prior to the deadline. Hogging prospects, what can that do for you? You are now a farm team, but you got to hope Longoria and Price are superstars and the role players can figure out how you can get to 90 wins a year before these guys develop. Theo Epstein in Boston talked about "bridge" year. Well, you are taking a huge chance of driving down interest level when you absolutely need interest in commanding the stadium initiative.

    As I said, something just doesn't add up. I just don't believe that strict adherence to player development can bring you to the Series every freaking year. You have to sustain a moderately to above average payroll level in order to keep your arb eligible and even some superstars in the fold into and slightly past their primes. The Rays try to be too cute with their projections and that is what bothers me. Don't be scared to throw some jack (i.e. Burrell, just bad execution). But don't stop trying too!!

    • Rob says:

      Joe Said: I just don’t believe that strict adherence to player development can bring you to the Series every freaking year.

      And there you have it Joe. If that's what it takes for you to be happy, even the Yankees can't help you. Your expectations are not reasonable.

  8. Joe says:

    My problem is when Sternberg already said he would slash the payroll into the $50 million range from $70 or so million where he is now, he has caused a panic amongst the fans. I question the need to slash payroll, but that is another story for another time. My thing is, with that premise (which is false), then you have to look where you are going to find the money while still keeping a QUALITY product. This is why a team like the Rays hates arbitration process, they would rather have the cost certainty without the hearing (see B.J. Upton and Dioner Navarro acrimony). This panic in my belief makes fans have a false sense of what the Rays needs are, and when Sternberg makes his comments that he made before the season, he deliberately "undersold" his club for reasons only he and he alone can explain. It changes the basic, fundamental thought and expectation of the fan, and he, Stuart Sternberg himself should be held accountable if the Rays fall "short".


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