type a pie chart

Elias’ free agent compensation rankings revealed early

4 Comments

After reverse engineering the system to determine unofficial free agent rankings throughout the season MLB Trade Rumors has gotten its hands on the official list from the Elias Sports Bureau.

There are no big surprises based on the unofficial, in-season protections done by MLBTR, as the reverse-engineered projections were “off” on only two players: Derrek Lee and Mark Ellis.

Several non-star players qualify as Type A free agents, which means teams that sign them must forfeit their first-round pick as long as the selection isn’t in the top 15. If it is a top-15 pick, then the team would lose their second rounder instead.

Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Victor Martinez, and Adam Dunn are some of the obvious Type A free agents. Among the lesser Type A qualifiers: Matt Guerrier, Jason Frasor, Grant Balfour, Ramon Hernandez, Jason Kubel, Dan Wheeler, Arthur Rhodes, Bengie Molina, A.J. Pierzynski.

Similarly there are some relatively big names who qualify as merely Type B free agents, which means teams are free to sign them without losing their first-round pick. Among the bigger name Type B qualifiers: Hiroki Kuroda, Aubrey Huff, Brian Fuentes, Johnny Damon, Orlando Hudson, Javier Vazquez, Carlos Pena, Lance Berkman, Hideki Matsui.

Also worth noting is that in order to receive compensation of any kind, regardless of the player’s classification, a team must offer their departing free agent salary arbitration. Depending on the circumstances some teams decline to do so, forfeiting compensation because they don’t want to risk the player accepting arbitration and forcing them into a one-year commitment.

MLB Trade Rumors has done a great job tracking the free agent rankings all season, so check out their full list of Type A and Type B qualifiers.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images
10 Comments

The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
9 Comments

The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.