What do the Blue Jays get if Semien and Ray sign elsewhere?
The hope is that the Blue Jays will be able to re-sign one or both of Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien, but what do they get if they leave?
The process is a bit confusing until you have the season in the rearview mirror, and it based on a few factors such as teams that receive revenue sharing, and others that exceed the luxury tax threshold.
According to mlb.com’s explanation for how the categories are split up, the Blue Jays are in a category with 14 others, including the Astros, Braves, Red Sox, and Yankees among them.
In the event that Ray or Semien sign elsewhere, the Blue Jays will receive a compensation pick after Competitive Balance Round B. From mlb.com:
"“If the team that loses the player does not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the luxury-tax salary threshold the previous season, its compensatory pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B. The value of the player’s contract doesn’t matter in this case.”"
As described above, the Blue Jays were not one of the teams that qualified for revenue sharing, nor were they among the small group that exceeded the luxury tax threshold. Had either of those variables been different, their compensation would have changed.
For reference I thought it would be interesting to look back at last year’s draft to explain where a pick after Competitive Balance Round B would fall.
Using last year’s draft as a comparison, naturally things started off with “Round 1”, which saw selections from 29 teams. Last year there was one pick in “Round 1 C”, which went to the Reds. Here’s how that kinda thing comes to pass, again according to MLB.com:
"“The 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement rules state that if the team that loses the free agent is a revenue-sharing recipient, based on its revenues and market size, then the selection — if and only if the lost player signs for at least $50 million — will be awarded a pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A of the 2022 MLB Draft. If the player signs for less than $50 million, the compensation pick for those teams would come after Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round.”"
Still with me? Basically, the fact that the Reds are one of the revenue-sharing teams AND because they lost Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers last winter, they ended up with a unique spot for their compensation pick.
After that round comes “Competitive Balance Round A”, and last year that included six teams. Following that came “Round 2”, and there were 27 more selections. Add it up and we’ve reached 63 picks to get through these various rounds before getting to “Competitive Balance Round B”, which is where the Jays would select for losing Ray and Semien. There was a time that losing a premium free agent resulted in a much higher pick, but it’s not quite as valuable these days.
Having said that, great scouting can do wonders regardless of what round your team might be drafting in. For reference, the Blue Jays selected Bo Bichette with the 66th pick of the 2016 draft, so it’s clear that you can find value after the first round. That same year Bryan Reynolds was selected 59th, Pete Alonso was 64th, Shane Bieber was 122nd, and this year’s NL Cy Young winner in Corbin Burnes was 111th. Obviously you’re not going to hit the jackpot with that kind of draft value on the regular, but it can certainly happen.
For what it’s worth, I’d love to see both Ray and Semien back with the Blue Jays in 2022 and beyond. I’m not sure that I’d bank on both returning though, and we now know roughly where their compensation pick value will be if they depart.