Major League Baseball Cares

Nick TassoContributor IFebruary 17, 2009


Now the title of this might mislead you thanks to the NBA Cares program, but this post is about MLB caring about their own players.  Since free agency has been implemented in MLB, we have never been this late in an offseason with so many unsigned players; including several Type A and Type B free agents.

Most of this is due to the horrific economy ,but another big reason Type A and Type B free agents are still free is the loss of the potential loss of multiple draft picks, including a first round pick.  Now I know that draft picks aren't the same as in the NBA or even the NFL because the time it takes for a baseball player to make an impact with the big team is much greater.  But in recent years, the gap has been narrowing as players like Craig Hansen and Joey Devine have made it to the big leagues in their first year after drafting.  But most players don't come up that quickly.

So since there has been more emphasis on the MLB Amateur draft, there have been more emphasis of steering away from Type A and Type B free agents.  In addition to the economy, several Type A and Type B players are still available in mid-February.

And this is where MLB Cares comes in.  MLB has taken interest in the few Type A players still available; notably Juan Cruz.  Many teams are scared to sign him to a deal because they don't want to have to give up their first round pick for signing a middle reliever which is understandable.  And the plan of MLB Cares is to waive the rule where a signee can't be traded until June 15th without their consent.

Apparently, MLB Cares first mission has been successful as they will allow the Arizona Diamondbacks (Cruz's former team) to sign him and then trade him.  The team he is traded to will loose potentially a player but with omit giving up the draft pick.  Kind of sounds like another thing that the NBA does...

And this might trickle over to other players like second baseman Orlando Hudson (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Orlando Cabrera (Chicago White Sox).

As much as I don't agree with the ability to trade draft picks, I strongly disagree with this policy too.  Free agency is a gamble.  And the Type A and Type B system helps with parity in the game for a team losing players to free agency.

Granted the teams will be able to negotiate for what players they want but most likely these players won't have all the promise that comes with a first round draft pick (or sandwich pick).  If MLB Cares does this for Juan Cruz and the Diamondbacks, they are going to be opening a whole can of worms where teams will want a sign and trade deal instead of a draft pick.

The system set in place works (or at least did when the economy worked and Billy Beane's and Theo Epstein's way of drafting were still overlooked); if you want to better your team with a Type A or Type B, you are going to have to lose a draft pick.  It's the chance you have to take.  Look at the Yankees, they are going to be losing their first, second, and third round picks because of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett respectively.  They obviously don't value the draft.