Kevin CashWe recently wrote about the case of the Tampa Bay Rays and how they are getting screwed by a system designed to help them.

In the latest case, there is apparently mutual interest for the Rays to sign free agent shortstop Ian Desmond. However, because of MLB’s wonky free agency system, Desmond is one of 13 free agents that would require a team to give up a first-round draft pick to sign. For the Rays, a team that lives and dies with the draft, giving up the 13th pick in the draft is just too much to sacrifice for what may be just one or two years of Desmond.

Ken Rosenthal is the latest to question the system:

The Rays should sign shortstop Ian Desmond. The Indians should sign outfielder Dexter Fowler. But neither move likely will occur, in part because neither low-revenue team is comfortable sacrificing its first-round draft pick and accompanying bonus-pool money.

Desmond and Fowler are precisely the types of free agents who should be in play for low-revenue teams at this late stage of the offseason. Yet, even as the prices of such players drop, teams such as the Rays and Indians are scared off by the prospect of losing their picks and pool money.

Fix the system. Stop harming players and teams.

Now, before we start kicking and screaming again, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. One is that the Rays have benefited as much as anybody from the compensation system. Remember when the Rays have nine of the first 60 picks in 2011?

More importantly, the Rays can afford the cost of Desmond’s contract when there is a draft pick attached, but things would probably be different if a draft pick wasn’t required. If no compensation was required, chances are Desmond would have more suitors and would end up with a bigger contract.

But that doesn’t mean the system isn’t messed up, just ask Desmond who still doesn’t have a job.



  1. OriginalTom says:

    The Compensation system was different in 2011 when the Rays had 9 of the first 60 picks.

  2. Brent says:

    Well, I know Stu been very vocal about the unfairness of MLB's draft system in a "free market" game, and I feel the best solution is a basic wins compared to payroll. If you have the worst record & lowest payroll you get #1, but if have the worst record with the highest payroll then you get the 15th pick...


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