For certain free agents, the impact of baseball’s new collective-bargaining agreement will be immediate.
Eleven of the 20 remaining Type A free agents will not be restricted by draft-pick compensation, according to the terms of the new labor deal.
The changes to the status of those players will be for this off-season only. An entire new set of rules will be implemented for 2012-13.
Here’s how the one-year arrangement will work:
Five Type A free agents – catcher Ramon Hernandez and relievers Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel and Darren Oliver – will be converted to Type Bs. A team that signs one of them will not forfeit a draft pick. A team that loses one of them will receive a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds.
Six others – infielder/outfielder Michael Cuddyer, second baseman Kelly Johnson, outfielder Josh Willingham and relievers heath Bell, Ryan Madson and Francisco Rodriguez – will now be considered modified Type A free agents.
Teams must offer those players salary arbitration to qualify for draft-pick compensation. A team that signs one of them will not forfeit a draft pick. A team that loses one will receive a first-round pick and supplemental pick. The first rounder will be an additional pick that would come immediately before the choice of the signing team.
In other words, if the Red Sox sign Bell, the Padres will receive a first-round choice that will slot in right before the Red Sox’s draft position. The first round could be lengthened by as many as six additional picks.
The Padres, who declined to trade Bell at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, are no worse off for that decision, which was made with the understanding that they would receive two high picks if Bell left as a free agent. They will still get two such picks under the new one-year arrangement.
Starting in 2012, Type A and Type B free agents and the use of the Elias ranking system will be eliminated. The current system will be replaced with the following system, according to the new agreement.
• Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation.
• A free agent will be subject to compensation if his former club offers him a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players from the prior season. The offer must be made at the end of the five-day free agent “quiet period,” and the player will have seven days to accept the offer.
• A club that signs a player subject to compensation will forfeit its first round selection, unless it selects in the top 10, in which case it will forfeit its second highest selection in the draft.
• The players’ former club will receive a selection at the end of the first round beginning after the last regularly scheduled selection in the round. The former clubs will select based on reverse order of winning percentage from the prior championship season.