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.
soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*
Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.
Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh
And...now that runner scores on a single...
So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?
And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??
Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...
Such is the life of a fatted calf...
fowler with a triple in the 4th...he's a HR away from a "natural" cycle
...and contreras takes one off the hand and he's in obvious pain. sigh.
he's staying in the game, though he's wringing his hand out during breaks in the action. aside from that he seems to have no issue giving signs or tossing back to the pitcher.
...and he's batting in the cubs half of the following inning. sweet.
his collapse started on august 21st this season...so it's a slight improvement.
but wow, what a collapse since then...only 2 out of 7 can be considered good/decent.
I'm really going to enjoy watching Hammel watch the playoffs.
The always combustible Jason Hammel
That was fun.
"home field advantage through the playoffs?"
Except for the away games.
Eh, I read it as tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek. VEB seems to have good heads on their shoulders.