The Elias Sports Bureau statistical rankings have been released, so we can take our first look at which free agents could command draft-pick compensation this offseason.
Players who rate in the top 20 percent of their position group (catchers; first basemen, outfielders and DHs; second basemen, third basemen and shortstops; starting pitchers; and relief pitchers) are designated as Type A. Players who rank in the 21-40 percent bracket are designated as Type B.
If a Type A or B free agent's former club offers him arbitration, then it will receive compensation if he signs elsewhere. Type A free agents yield the signing team's first-round choice and a supplemental first-rounder, while Type Bs return only the sandwich-rounder. Clubs who finished in the bottom half of the major league standings can't surrender their first-round selection, and compensation picks for failure to sign draftees from the previous year can't change hands either.
With that out of the way, below are the potential Type A and B free agents by position (listed in order of Elias ranking). Not all of these players have filed for free agency yet.
Potential Type A Free Agents
Catchers: Jason Varitek (Bos).
First Basemen: Mark Teixeira (LAA).
Second Basemen: Orlando Hudson (Ari).
Shortstops: Orlando Cabrera (CWS), Edgar Renteria (Det).
Outfielders: Manny Ramirez (LAD), Raul Ibanez (Sea), Bob Abreu (NYY), Adam Dunn (Ari), Pat Burrell (Phi), Brian Giles (SD).
Starting Pitchers: C.C. Sabathia (Mil), A.J. Burnett (Tor), Andy Pettitte (NYY), Mike Mussina (NYY), Ben Sheets (Mil), Oliver Perez (NYM), Derek Lowe (LAD), Jamie Moyer (Phi).
Relief Pitchers: Francisco Rodriguez (LAA), Brian Fuentes (Col), Russ Springer (StL), Damaso Marte (NYY), Ryan Dempster (ChC), Juan Cruz (Ari), Kerry Wood (ChC), Trevor Hoffman (SD), Doug Brocail (Hou), Darren Oliver (LAA), Bob Howry (ChC).
Potential Type B Free Agents
Catchers: Ivan Rodriguez (NYY), Greg Zaun (Tor), Paul LoDuca (Fla).
Second Basemen: Jeff Kent (LAD), Juan Uribe (CWS), Mark Loretta (Hou), Mark Grudzielanek (KC).
Third Basemen: Casey Blake (LAD), Hank Blalock (Tex).
Outfielders: Garret Anderson (LAA), Moises Alou (NYM), Ken Griffey Jr. (CWS), Luis Gonzalez (Fla), Mike Cameron (Mil).
Designated Hitters: Milton Bradley (Tex), Frank Thomas (Oak).
Starting Pitchers: John Smoltz (Atl), Brad Penny (LAD), Jon Garland (LAA), Randy Wolf (Hou), Paul Byrd (Bos), Greg Maddux (LAD), Braden Looper (StL), Randy Johnson (Ari).
Relief Pitchers: Alan Embree (Oak), Brian Shouse (Mil), Jason Isringhausen (StL), Dave Weathers (Cin), Brandon Lyon (Ari), Salomon Torres (Mil), Jeremy Affeldt (Cin), Arthur Rhodes (Fla), Joe Beimel (LAD), LaTroy Hawkins (Hou), Dennys Reyes (Min), Rudy Seanez (Phi), Luis Ayala (NYM), Eric Gagne (Mil).