Elias Rankings for Cubs Free Agents
The official Elias Rankings are out and MLB.com does their usual job of half-assery by not giving out the full list, but at least we know Joe Mauer is the top AL catcher. Gee thanks!
The ESPN free agent tracker gives the listings for those that have filed so far and it looks like SI.com has finally come through with the full list of potential free agents. For those unaware of the system or need a refresher, Elias has come up with some rather archaic ranking system that takes the last two years worth of stats and ranks every player in baseball...mostly relying on counting stats (decent explanation of the point system can be found near the end of this mlb.com article or read through this Tigers fans blog who is trying to reverse engineer their rankings). The importance of it is that MLB uses it to figure out free agent compensation. A type "A" player that is offered arbitration by his former team and is signed by a new team will net his old club a first round draft pick and a supplemental draft pick between the first and second round. A type "B" free agent nets his old team just a supplemental pick. Also, the first 15 picks in the draft are protected, so a team drafting in one of those slots that signs a type "A" free agent would give up their second round pick and so on.
For the Cubs...
Ryan Dempster - A
Bob Howry - A
Kerry Wood - A
Jim Edmonds, Chad Fox, Henry Blanco, Daryle Ward and Jon Lieber weren't in the top 40% of their positions. It's important to note that for the Elias Rankings there are essentially five positions - starting pitcher, relief pitcher, catcher, outfielders/first basmen(and DH for the AL), and infielders (2B, SS, 3B).
Bobby Abreu - A
Raul Ibanez - A
Mark Teixeira - A
Orlando Hudson - A
Derek Lowe - A
A.J. Burnett - A
Brian Fuentes - A
C.C. Sabathia - A
Derek Lowe - A
Milton Bradley - B
Randy Wolf - B
Garrett Anderson - B
Milton Bradley - B
Joe Beimel - B
Rafael Furcal - no compensation
If you're wondering how Bob Howry is a Type A free agent, remember it's two years worth of rankings and there are a lot of relief pitchers in baseball....apparently 80% of them worst than Howry. If you're wondering how Furcal isn't rated at all, he's only played 172 games over two seasons and is being compared to every second basemen, shortstop and third basemen in the league which sure doesn't seem fair. Of course, it's not fair to group center fielders with first basemen and corner outfielders either. The non-ranking Furcal will certainly boost his stock a bit in the free agent market as will Bradley's "B" status.
The rankings for Dempster and Wood are good things for the Cubs. Since they want to keep both pitchers, it's a no-brainer to offer them arbitration even at the risk of paying a potentially higher one year salary if they do accept it. Since both players will certainly be signing multi-year deals, there's really no risk of them getting inflated arbitration prices. And if they end up losing them, the Cubs will be compensated handsomely. The Type "A" for Howry though is unfortunate. If he was a Type "B" free agent, a team probably wouldn't hesitate to sign Howry, even if he was offered arbitration by the Cubs, since they wouldn't lose any draft picks. The Cubs though could gain one in the supplemental round. Think Jason Kendall last year, a Type "B" free agent that the Cubs weren't planning to bring back, but since it didn't cost the Brewers a draft pick they signed him before the arbitration deadline and the Cubs received an extra supplemental round pick. The same happened with Juan Pierre and the Dodgers the year before which turned into a key trading chip (Josh Donaldson) in getting Rich Harden. WIth Howry a Type "A" free agent and assuming he's not coming back to the Cubs, there's a good chance he won't be signed until after the deadline to offer arbitration (December 1st) as teams will not want to risk having to give up a potential first or second round pick (or possibly third if they go on a Type A spending spree). That leaves the ball in the Cubs court and risk offering Bob Howry arbitration and the chance that he'll accept it, which would likely mean a one-year salary a lot higher than the Cubs would want to pay for Home Run Howry's services. As Arizona Phil in the comments explained, the Cubs could get away with offering arbitration to Howry in hopes of still getting draft picks and if he does end up accepting it, the Cubs could just release him in spring training at a severe discount, something the Padres did recently with Todd Walker and a loophole I'm sure the MLBPA will be sure to get removed in the next CBA negotiations.
If the Cubs do dip into the free agents waters, their first round pick at #32 is certainly not protected but low enough that it's not something they need to really worry about it. If you're wondering why they're picking #32 when there are only 30 teams, three ballclubs (Nats, Mariners, Yankees) get an extra first round pick for not signing their first round picks last year. And if Dempster, Wood or Howry were to sign somewhere else the Cubs would likely get some extra supplemental draft picks and improve their spot in the first round.The Cubs have so far expressed a desire for left-handed hitting and bullpen arms although indications have been they prefer the trade market over the free agent market but that is all subject to change. We'll see what they do about a left-handed middle of the order bat but guys like Alan Embree, Brian Shouse and Joe Beimel might be interesting relief options as Type "B" free agents.
Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer
-0.3 WAR in 7.1ip last year...
-3 WAR projected over the course of a season.
the cubs just added an all-star reliever's worth of work by losing b.schlitter.
Rockies sign Brian Schlitter to a minor league contract. Good luck in Coors Field. Enough said.
i'll take him over frandy since it's unlikely he'll progress as a SS (and 2nd isn't looking much better).
i hope patton's delivery deception skills play well in the bigs over time. cubs need pitching options that are MLB-ready and dude fits the bill for a MLB/AAA mix...both needed.
I'm not saying he's great, but can we agree on the word "decent"? Became a pro at 23, called up at 26; nothing wrong with that trajectory, he hasn't been knocking around. Even in the majors his SO9 is 9.7. In the minors it's 12.2, so he's always missed bats, and without being a wild man: his walks are low. He cost the Cubs an unheralded A-ball middle infielder and a roster spot.