The Rays have eight potential free agents once the off-season begins. 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. Now that the season is over, let’s look at how each free agent will be classified…

The Rays have four potential Type A free agents. If a Type A free agent is offered arbitration by the Rays and eventually signs with another team, the Rays will receive that teams first or second-round pick and a compensation pick between the first and second-round.

The Rays also have three Type B free agents. If a Type B free agent is offered arbitration and signs with another team, the Rays will receive just the compensation pick between the first and second round.

Let’s break down each free agent…

  • Rafael Soriano – Rays will offer arbitration. And unlike last year when Soriano accepted arbitration from the Braves, he will likely decline and sign with another team…TWO PICKS FOR THE RAYS
  • Carl Crawford – Rays will offer arbitration. He will decline and sign with another team…TWO PICKS FOR THE RAYS
  • Dan Wheeler – The Rays have a $4 million option on Wheeler but they probably want him cheaper. So they will decline the option. And they are not likely to offer him arbitration. If they did, he would almost certainly accept and end up making $4 million anyway. So Rays won’t offer arbitration. But look for him to re-sign at $2.5-3.0 million….NO PICKS FOR RAYS
  • Grant Balfour – The Rays will absolutely offer Balfour arbitration. Once that happens, we can’t imagine many teams willing to sacrifice their first or second round pick for Balfour. So offering him arbitration will probably force him to accept. He will be back next season at about the same salary or slightly higher…NO PICKS FOR RAYS
  • Carlos Pena – The Rays will offer him arb. He won’t accept, but we think there is a good chance he re-signs with Rays for one-year…NO PICKS FOR RAYS
  • Randy Choate – The Rays will offer arbitration, and Choate will decline. But we think he ends up back with the Rays anyway…NO PICKS FOR RAYS
  • Joaquin Benoit – He will be offered arbitration, and he will likely sign with another team…ONE PICK FOR RAYS

Between the first-round, the compensation between the first and second-round, and the second-round, the Rays will likely end up with 7 of the top 80 picks in the draft.

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. Gus says:

    What do you know that makes you think Benoit is a goner? Seems like he'd be the guy they'd want to target at 2011 closer.

  2. Jim says:

    Gus, I'm sure the Rays want to keep him, but as has been said on this site a few times: other teams probably see him as a potential closer and will sign him to a better deal. We see him as our 2011-12 closer, but other teams with deeper pockets do also.

  3. BJ fan says:

    What kind twisted world do we live where the Rays get the same compensation for Dan "good riddance" Wheeler as they Carl "I'd give 2 small appendages to keep" Crawford?!

    • Andy says:

      One in which we're stuck with Wheeler again if we're dumb enough to actually offer him arbitration. We won't be getting any draft picks for Wheeler.

  4. Don says:

    This winter is big for ME and most knowledgable Rays fans...If CC, Soriano, Benoit, Balfour are gone with little to resign them...and I have to watch Pena, Wheeler, Shields, Upton, Shop I don't know....mass exodus with fans could be a problem...
    What team is CC going to?? AL east ?


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