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.
He also leads the NL in runs scored by 12 runs. But sure, no RBIs for a week, I feel it strong.
Torres a late scratch from the Pelicans game and no word of injury or signs of foul play with the unis. May be a trade a brewing after all?
Edit: now word he was a late scratch due to a "headache". Hmmm
Hopefully Zobrist is regaining his stroke and KB can move back down to third or fourth in the order. Did not realize the zero rbi's in over a week - glad Rizzo and Russell picking up the slack
Just had to ask, I guess.
Haven't had a big comeback win in a long time (at least it seems like a long time). Great feeling!
Rizzo should hold clinics on 2-strike hitting. Awesome.
cubs lead in the top 7th!
triple, walk, domination
And he gets out of it by K-ing Braun, Lucroy and Carter!
Let's get some runs!
welcome to the cubs j.nathan.
2 pitches into the inning and there's a guy on 3rd with 0 outs (triple).
his velocity is hanging around 91/92mph.
Always a good idea to bring in Richard against a LH batter.
Russell left game with left heel contusion from foul ball on Saturday. Started to bother him during the Sunday game.
a.russell out and down into the clubhouse...no one knows why.
it's very hot on the field, so it might be heat related.
I blame the All-Star game again, or else Michael Barrett.
Miller park roof is closing. Hmmm, might play differently now?
Lester at 72 pitches through 3. Roof closing might get him through 6.
Middlebrows pulls a calf or hamstring. Len says he blew a tire rounding 1st. Nieuwenhuis enters game.
Now roof opening. Dizziness. No AC in the ballpark wrt the field.
just to lighten the mood:
Shark's day: 5.2 IP 5 Runs (all earned), 8 Hits, 2 HR. Left the game down 5-0 to Yankees.
Anyone expecting game 4 NLCS Shark vs Hammel or Lackey?
First inning: two on, no out, Rizz and Zobrist due up. Don't score.
Third inning: two on, one out, KB and Rizz due up. Don't score.
This is getting' old, fellahs.