By Joe Christensen
A tip of the cap to cmatthewson for helping rein us in during yesterday’s discussion about the compensation the Twins would receive if Torii Hunter, Luis Castillo and Carlos Silva left via free agency at season’s end. I did some more research, and it does appear that Hunter will be a Type A free agent, Castillo is on the bubble as a Type B, and Silva won’t make either category, resulting in no compensation.
Folks, this is complicated. It’s changed even from last year under the new basic agreement. The rankings come out in late October from the Elias Sports Bureau, and they are based on statistics over the previous two years. Here’s a link to last year’s rankings, but this year, only the top 20 percent of the players in each position group will be Type A (down from 30 percent), and only the next 21 percent will be classified as Type B. Baseball phased out Type Cs after 2005.
From a story in the Toronto Globe & Mail recapping the 2006 labor agreement: Free-agent compensation has been altered, with a class of free agents (type C) eliminated. As well, compensation for a team losing a type-B free agent will be a sandwich pick instead of another team’s draft choice. Also, effective 2007, only 20 percent of players at each position will be classified as type A, down from 30 percent. Only 21 percent of players at each position will be classified as type B free agents, down from 40 percent.
Hunter ranked toward the bottom of the Type As last year (outfielders, first basemen and DHs are grouped together) but with back-to-back strong seasons, it seems likely he’ll climb into the top 20 percent. Castillo ranked toward the top of the Type Bs last year (2B, 3B and SS are grouped together), but with the A pool shrinking and Castillo’s production shrinking, that pushes him toward the bubble of the Type Bs. Silva ranked toward the bottom of the Type Cs last year among starting pitchers. A rough 2006 season will hurt him again in this fall’s rankings.
Still confused? Here’s a good story from the Detroit News that gives a few more examples. Anyway, temper my enthusiasm for just letting these Twins players walk at season’s end. Hunter should bring two extra draft picks, Castillo possibly one, and Silva none. Not that this puts me in the white flag camp just yet. As I said Wednesday, and as Terry Ryan hinted to La Velle yesterday, this is a very big series in Cleveland for the Twins.