Owners, Players Union Discussing Possible Type A Solutions

It might stink to be Kelly Johnson this offseason.  Sure, he'll be signing for millions of dollars, but it's possible that if he wants to explore the open market as a Type A free agent, he'll be saddled with the cost of a draft pick.  For example, having to give their #23 overall pick to the Blue Jays next year might deter the Cardinals from making a serious offer to Johnson.  Like so many non-star free agents who are offered arbitration, Johnson could be in a bad place because of his Type A status.

As part of the ongoing collective bargaining agreement discussions, the owners and players union "seem focused on two possible solutions for the Type A quandary," writes ESPN's Buster Olney.

The first idea: instead of the new team giving a potential first-round draft pick to the old one, the old team would simply receive a supplemental pick sandwiched between the first and second rounds.  In a way, this would be like making all players Type Bs.  For example, instead of the Red Sox receiving the Tigers' #19 pick in the 2011 draft for Detroit signing Victor Martinez, maybe they would have received a pick in the 30s, not from the Tigers.  This solution seems reasonable.

A second idea would deter teams from offering arbitration to non-star free agents in the first place.  Olney equates this to the NFL's system, where a star free agent must be paid 120% of his previous salary or the average salary of the top five highest-paid players at his position, whichever is higher, or else be granted unrestricted free agency.  That could mean $8.5MM or more for someone like Kelly Johnson, which could deter the Jays from offering arbitration.  The current free agent arbitration system works this way to a lesser extent.  Johnson will get a raise if he accepts, despite a down year.  This is the reason a Type A free agent like Francisco Rodriguez has no chance of getting an arbitration offer. 

Olney says one unresolved question is whether Type A adjustments would be made for the 2012 season or for '13.  I think some teams would cry foul if the changes were made for '12.  At any rate, Olney is optimistic for a labor agreement within the next two weeks.

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