Take a look at the remaining free agents and you might see a number of Type A guys still waiting for a home. Namely: Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Oliver Perez, Jason Varitek, Ben Sheets, and Juan Cruz. While there are various issues factoring into their current unemployment, for a number of them the major reason relates to draft pick compensation. For a team to sign any of the above, they’d have to sacrifice a first round draft pick (or, for teams finishing in the bottom 15, a second rounder). For many, this just isn’t worth it.
There does appear to be a workaround, though it’s unlikely such a move would make it through the Commissioner’s office. Apparently this comes from Buster Olney, though it is related via South Side Sox. I’ll let them do the talking:
In theory, let’s say the Marlins needed a shortstop (we know they don’t) and wanted to sign Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal — but they didn’t want to give up their top draft pick to do it. They could, in theory, pick up the phone and ask the Yankees to sign Cabrera to what the Marlins wanted to pay; the Yankees would give up only a fourth-round pick, and the Marlins could trade a prospect to the Yankees to offset the value of the fourth-round pick. Cabrera would have to waive his right to block the trade because any free agent signing a multiyear deal cannot be traded until June.
Disclaimer: The Marlins are just an example. Everyone knows they have short and second pretty well covered.
First off, you know the White Sox would, rightly, call foul on this one. This screws them out of a first round pick, and the transaction would be achieved by using a means not really allowed by MLB. As they mention, players signed during the winter can’t be traded until June, so Cabrera would have to waive his rights. He would, but I think the Sox would file protest with that. Again, as they should.
Here’s my beef with the argument: The Yanks wouldn’t just settle for fourth round talent for their troubles. They’d be subverting the system. They’d be going out of their way to help out the Marlins get a player they desire without sacrificing a first rounder. That’s worth far more to the Yanks than a fourth round pick. It would probably take something like a player of second round talent. Either that, or they could get demand market value for Cabrera (which probably isn’t that high, really).
In the end, though, this is just a neat idea to think about. The Yanks definitely hold an advantage with the remaining Type A free agents because of their prior Type A signings. Still, I’d far, far rather them use that advantage to sign someone like Cruz or Sheets than to help out another team.