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.

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…

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.



  1. Alex says:

    I hope the Rays can find a way to resign Benoit. He looks like he is back. His 95 mph fb along with that nasty change are a deadly combo.

  2. stunna says:

    Even if we do end up with a bunch of high picks, how many will we actually sign?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      No way they sign all, but that is actually a good thing for the Rays in the long run. With these picks they can draft better players and not have to pay the premium prices other teams are paying.

      Follow me: Normally, if Rays have just one pick in the first rd, that is negotiating leverage for the player because teams hate to waste high picks. So player can hold out and threaten to go back to school.

      But lets say Rays have 3 first round picks, they can then use the players to negotiate against each other. Rather than being held up for a huge signing bonus, Rays can throw $Xmillion on the table and just say "who wants it?" first player to say yes gets it. To make it more enticing, Rays can tell the players that the second pile of cash to go out will be smaller than the first. And that there won't be a third. And Rays won't care if third player goes unsigned. Potentiallly, they could get 2 first-round picks signed for the price of one.


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