Hundreds of players remain on the open market, but only one of the unsigned Type A free agents received an offer of arbitration. Now that players like Jason Bay and Matt Holliday have signed, just Jose Valverde remains.
Valverde's Type A status matters to the teams interested in him. After all, they have to give up a top pick to sign him. It also matters to the Astros, who will receive two top picks in next year's draft unless they bring Valverde back (just one of those picks will come from the team that signs him). So if you're an Astros fan, where do you want Valverde to sign? The short answer is Detroit. But here's a detailed breakdown of what picks the Astros stand to gain, depending on their old closer's new address. Thanks to River Ave. Blues for their updated 2010 draft order.
- 19th – The Tigers would have to give their first rounder up, but they've reportedly made an offer.
- 23rd – The Marlins consider Valverde too pricey right now.
- 49th - The Pirates have some interest, but don't like Valverde's asking price of $8MM per year.
- 53rd – The D'Backs, who are also interested, have their first round pick protected.
- 57th – The A's have a protected first rounder, but they may stick with 2009 Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey.
- 58th – We haven't heard of definitive interest from the Blue Jays.
- The Phillies (27th), Yankees (32nd) and Nats (48th) would all surrender top-50 picks to sign Valverde, though those clubs don't appear to be likely destinations.
- The Red Sox haven't been connected to him either, and they'd rather avoid the luxury tax, but here's something to consider: they'd only have to give up their 107th overall pick to add the reliever. Valverde's ranked higher than John Lackey and Marco Scutaro, so the Astros get the 29th pick (now held by the Angels) if their former closer signs with the Red Sox. The Blue Jays and Angels are surely hoping to avoid this possibility because it would strengthen their rival's bullpen and diminish the value of their compensation picks.
- Confused? Check out our free agent compensation primer.