ESPN’s Buster Olney talks waivers in his latest blog post, and I can’t help but join in.
- The Twins are currently seven games out in the AL Central. If they slip further from contention, Olney wonders what will happen if they place outfielder/designated hitter Jason Kubel on waivers later this month. He projects currently as a Type B free agent. I wonder if the draft pick alone would compel a non-contending AL team to make a claim, with less than a million bucks remaining on his contract after August.
- Olney sees such a scenario as possible for Rays reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who profiles as a Type A. He could see the Blue Jays jumping in for the draft picks, though I imagine the Rays would keep him for the same reason.
- Would Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez or Padres closer Heath Bell make it to an NL contender? Or would Type A status again factor in? Olney sees the A’s pulling back Josh Willingham rather than dumping his contract, probably because he’s a Type A currently. I wonder if Willingham would accept an arbitration offer though.
- Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena is a good candidate to be moved as a salary dump, with half of his $10MM due in January.
- Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez is expected to clear waivers, with over $38MM left on his deal through 2014. Just to play devil’s advocate: Wandy is a bargain this year with just $2.27MM remaining, so it’s possible one contender could decide they can stomach three years and $36MM from 2012-14, and make a claim.
- Guys like Carlos Quentin and Jeremy Guthrie would be claimed, but dealing them in the offseason probably makes more sense.
With the Nationals recent acquisition of Jonny Gomes from the Reds, it be came apparent that another interesting facet of MLB‘s trade deadline gamesmanship had already kicked in.
The art of the “draft pick grab”.
For starters, you need to understand the basics of Type A & Type B free agent classifications. A lot goes into it, which you can read in detail here, but in simple terms:
Type A – Top 20 percent in their positional group.
Type B – Top 21-40 percent in their positional group.
No Compensation – 41-100 percent in their positional group.
Gomes is no lock to receive and turn down an arbitration offer. Still, we saw plenty of apparent handshake deals where Type Bs turned down arbitration offers last offseason. A Type B free agent has nothing to lose by agreeing to such an arrangement.
Let’s take a look at players who currently project as Type Bs free agents and play for teams expected to sell.
- Blue Jays: The Jays will probably be trying to add Type Bs, but Jose Molina, Aaron Hill, Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor, Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, and Shawn Campqualify.
- Orioles: Vladimir Guerrero
- Twins: Jason Kubel
- Royals: Bruce Chen
- Athletics: David DeJesus
- Mariners: None
- Mets: None
- Marlins: Omar Infante
- Nationals: Ivan Rodriguez, Jonny Gomes
- Cubs: Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood
- Astros: None
- Rockies: Mark Ellis
- Dodgers: Rod Barajas, Casey Blake, Hiroki Kuroda
- Padres: Ryan Ludwick
The most transparent instance of trading for a draft pick came last offseason, when the Jays acquired catcher Miguel Olivo from the Rockies with the intent of declining his option and offering arbitration. The ploy worked, and Toronto drafted Dwight Smith Jr. 53rd overall in June as a direct result.
So if the Jays or some other draft pick-obsessed team makes a run at Bruce Chen this month, you’ll know why.