Elias’ free agent compensation rankings revealed early


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.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.