Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner posted a fantastic piece last Wednesday, arguing against the widespread assumption that the Mariners would end up with nothing if they fail to trade Ichiro in July and he leaves for another team via free agency. I just found the post now via Jonah Keri.
Cameron's point is that the value of two compensatory draft picks is often overlooked by fans. I have to admit that in the past I have kind of ignored this aspect. I was critical of Jim Bowden's non-trade of Alfonso Soriano last summer, but it was a fine decision. Unless Bowden was offered a can't-miss prospect - and he wasn't - it made sense to let Soriano walk.
Cameron noted that Billy Beane has used compensatory picks to great advantage, snagging tons of fine players that way. Cameron even speculates in the comments that Beane could attempt to acquire Mark Buehrle this summer with no intention of signing him. Beane did this with Ray Durham in '02.
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