Eddie Bajek recently ranked players for MLBTR, available here, which tells us which players would currently qualify for Type A status, Type B status, or no status if they were to elect to become FA. I thought that using this information would provide us with the perfect time to project what the Jays may be looking at in terms of compensation within differing scenarios.
Here’s a list of Jays players who may come into play in terms of the Elias rankings, their ranking numbers, and how far they are from making it to the next Type (or any Type).
- Catchers Category: Jose Molina, 57.589, Type B FA. He is the “last” Type B FA on the list, so if he is surpassed, he could fall out of that ranking. However, with Jason Kendall, Ramon Castro, and Francisco Cervelli being next in line, I think he’s a safe bet to qualify.
- 1B/OF/DH Category: Corey Patterson AND Juan Rivera both have identical rankings of 51.831. In order to qualify for Type B status, they would have to surpass Juan Pierre who has a 59.014 ranking. So at this point, it doesn’t seem likely that either will qualify.
- 2B/SS/3B Category: Aaron Hill, 66.667, Type A FA (if options for 2012-2013 are not picked up). This is the most interesting case for the Jays. There’s a chance that he could fall to Type B FA if surpassed by Jed Lowrie and/or Mike Aviles, but he seems a safe enough bet at this point to keep his Type A status. It’s going to be very hard for Alex Anthopoulos to pass up on 2 top 2 rd prospects to sign an aging and injury prone 2B to a $16 million 2-year deal. Very hard. Just for those wondering, Edwin Encarnacion (45.113) is well off the Type B pace (59.014), as are John McDonald (40.476) and Jayson Nix (27.068).
- SP Category: Nothing to report here, except that Ricky Romero (76.610) would have qualified for Type A, and the remainder would not qualify for Type B (59.659). Morrow sits at 55.871, Litsch is at 28.977, Drabek is at 25.568, Reyes is at 14.394, and McGowan (still on the list) is at 4.356.
- RP Category: Here is another interesting category. Shawn Camp qualifies as a Type A FA and is the last on the Type A list with a 69.094 ranking. Jason Frasor is listed as a Type B with a 68.279 ranking, not very far off the pace. Frank Francisco (66.920), Jon Rauch (63.750), and Octavio Dotel (63.442) all qualify as Type B FAs.
The way I see it, the Jays could very well decide to let Hill, Jose Molina, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, and Octavio Dotel walk this off season. If the Elias Rankings were to remain as listed by Bajek, the Jays would get the following compensation picks once these players signed elsewhere:
- Aaron Hill: 2 picks (1 sandwich rd, 1 first rd unless higher ranked player selected by the team, which turns the compensation to the 2nd rd)
- Shawn Camp: 2 picks (1 sandwch rd, 1 first rd unless higher ranked player is selected by the team, which turns the compensation to 2nd rd)
- Jose Molina: 1 pick (1 sandwich rd)
- Frank Francisco: 1 pick (1 sandwich rd)
- Octavio Dotel: 1 pick (1 sandwich rd)
- Jon Rauch: 1 pick (1 sandwich rd)
All of those picks add up to as much as 2 first-round picks and 6 sandwich picks, or at worst 2 second-round picks and 6 sandwich picks. I do understand that a team could sign 3 Type A free agents with 2 being higher ranked than a Jays Type A FA, which would lead to the Jays garnering a 3rd rd pick instead. But, I think that’s very unlikely, so we’ll go with what was just listed.
Let’s say this happens as I just listed. It would provide Alex Anthopoulos and his team with 10 picks in the first 2 rounds of the 2012 draft. That’s quite a HUGE amount of ammunition to use in order to build his coveted dynasty team. How can you pass that up?
Some people may point to the fact that it leaves a ton of holes for the franchise to fill. Well, people said the same thing when he let Scott Downs, Kevin Gregg, and Brian Tallet leave from the pen, and I’m pretty sure the new pen is doing fine without them.
The recently reacquired Danny Farquhar – who is currently closing for the AAA Las Vegas affiliate – can take up one of the holes in the pen, and Dustin McGowan could very well be ready to take up another. Luis Perez has shown poise as part of the pen, and Marc Rzepczynski has been a revelation since he’s made the switch from the starter role. Josh Roenicke could also be ready to get a shot in Toronto, Brad Mills could be used as a reliever as well (long-relief possibly), and we haven’t even considered the FA market yet. Place someone, like say Jonathan Papelbon, at the back of this pen, and it changes the complexion of the group entirely.
In my mind, Frank Francisco and Shawn Camp are automatics because they are both FAs and can get the Jays 3 picks between them. Octavio Dotel should also be an automatic since he hasn’t done all that well and only costs $0.5 million to let go. Finally, I do believe Jose Molina is an automatic as well since the Jays will not want to hold up Travis d’Arnaud‘s march to the majors and Arencibia has done well enough to deserve a full-time role. So to me, the absolute minimum amount of picks the Jays should have in 2012 is 5 picks which includes 1 first or second round pick and 4 sandwich picks – identical to what they have in 2011.
However, if my intuition is correct, the Jays could also let Hill and Jon Rauch (who would cost $0.25 m to let go) walk, which would garner them another 3 draft picks. This would bring a total of 2 first or second round picks and 6 sandwich round compensation picks. Added to their own 1st and 2nd rd picks, that would give the Jays 10 picks within the first 2 rounds. I listed Hill and Rauch separately simply because I believe they are tougher choices for the Jays to consider and could go either way.
Obviously, letting Hill walk would be a very tough decision for the franchise. However, as the franchise did with Alexis Rios and Vernon Wells, they will have to make the tough decision and decide on what’s best for the future of the franchise for years to come, not just 2012 and 2013. I am a huge Hill fan, so I don’t say this easily, but the best decision in his case may be to let him go if he can bring 2 top 50 prospects to the Jays in return. If he could produce as he once had for the rest of 2011, I might say differently, but my gut tells me this may be his last season as a Blue Jays player if he holds onto the Type A status.
Even if the Jays were to grab a Type A FA, like say Prince Fielder, they would still have 9 picks in the first 2 rounds within their arsenal of picks. If they sign 2, then they still have 8 picks – much more than the majority of the other teams in MLB. This is exactly the reasoning behind my intuition that the Jays will allow most of – if not all – of these players to walk. They get to keep an advantageous amount of picks even as they grab a Type A FA or 2 for themselves.
That makes the 2012 draft yet another huge opportunity for the Jays to continue their aggressive drafting investment approach. One that should see them garner so much talent that they will make the Jays a powerhouse in the AL East for years to come.
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