Buster Olney has up an article today that discusses how some players are having a tough time finding a deal because they have the “Type A” label on them – meaning the team that signs them must forfeit a draft pick.
The most obvious case of this is Jason Varitek, though that is really the fault of his agent. As a Yankee fan, it upsets me that Boras didn’t accept arbitration and stick the Sox with a below average catcher for $10 million. I’m sure the Red Sox were delighted when Varitek declined.
Now, where will Varitek go? I’ve said this before, but I seriously cannot think of a single team that would be interested in him, even for the league minimum. I don’t see any other course of action except for him to crawl back to Boston on a cheap deal.
Obviously, this system needs to be fixed. The way it is presently consistuted, the Type A tag affects a given player tremendously when really it should be affecting the team. I think the arbitration element of it should be removed entirely; the whole point of this system is to keep to big market teams from signing everyone else’s players without consequence. But if the small market teams can’t afford to offer arbitration anyways, what’s the point? I mean the Yankees couldn’t afford (relatively) to offer arbitration to their free agents.
I think there should be 2 or 3 levels of players (and they should be evaluated using something more accurate than the current ranking system) and a team that loses a free agent will receive draft picks accordingly. (Example: Make a “sandwich” round after round 1 and round 2 and then teams that lose a Type A would get a 1st and a 2nd, Type B just a first, and Type C just a 2nd.)
This compensation shouldn’t have anything to do with arbitration, however. You lose a free agent, you get a pick (or picks).
Obviously though, this would not hurt the signing teams as much. So instead, you could just make the penalties relative to the team. So if a team signs more than 1 type A or more than 2 type Bs (or whatever) they would simply lose their pick.
I’m a Yankee fan and a system like this would stand to hurt the Yankees more than anyone else, because they are the team most likely to go out and sign multiple big names (as this offseason has shown us).
Under that kind of a system, a player like Varitek could sign with the Marlins and the Marlins wouldn’t have to give up anything and the Sox would get a sandwich pick or two. If the Yankees signed Varitek though, they would lose one of their draft picks, since they’ve already signed so many top-flight free agents – which I think is fair.