What do we do as Cardinal fans since our team is essentially set for 2014 already? We watch what is happening in the free agent signings and how it affects our first round pick and our compensation pick for Carlos Beltran. In this area we have had a lot of movement in the past week and especially in the last 24 hours, so let me get you caught up.
Originally the Cardinals had pick 31, finishing best record in 2013. The Blue Jays were awarded an additional first round pick, #11, as they did not sign their first round pick from last year. That is why the Cardinal were at 31 with only 30 teams in MLB.
This is year two of the new system of free agency compensation so here is how the qualifying offers work. There was originally 13 players that were offered qualifying offers by their team and all 13 turned them down thus making them a free agent and their team eligible for a compensation pick between rounds one and two. One of the 13 was Carlos Beltran and again because the Red Birds had best record, that pick will be the last compensation pick or number 13.
As we all know now, Beltran signed with the Yankees last night, so the Cardinals are officially awarded the compensation pick. Now the two moves that are most simple to understand is that Mike Napoli and Hiroki Kuroda both resigned with their original team in the last 24 hours so those compensation picks are eliminated thus moving the Cardinals up to compensation pick #11.
The Yankees have signed three of the free agents that were given qualifying offers so they will lose their first three picks in the draft. So #18 pick over all is gone and so is their compensation picks for losing Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. At one point the Yankees were looking at having four picks in the top 35 and now they have none. That means as of this minute, #31 becomes #30 for the Cardinals and the compensation pick for Beltran moves up two positions to compensation pick #9.
Also to clarify on Cano, the Mariners do not lose their original first round pick #6 as the rule protects the top 10 picks. However the Mariners have their own free agent available that was given a qualifying offer, Kendrys Morales, if he signs with another team the Mariners would be awarded a compensation pick ahead of the Cardinals, however that pick will be eliminated immediately as the penalty for signing Cano. This means the Cardinals compensation pick moves one slot up again no matter what since if the Mariners resign Morales they don’t get the compensation pick any way so Cardinals are up to #8. If the Mariners do re-sign Morales they will lose their second round pick as the penalty for signing Cano.
Here is the list of unsigned players that were given qualifying offers that still will have a major impact on the Cardinals draft order: Ervin Santana, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez and Stephen Drew. If any of these players resign with their old team there is no compensation pick and that moves the Cardinals compensation pick up a slot each time and closer to our original first pick. The Braves and Red Sox have already be awarded a compensation pick for losing Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. The only way those picks will be lost is if either team signs two of the players I just listed. As a side note if Drew signs with someone other than the Red Sox and they don’t sign any of those remaining players they will have three draft picks in the top 35.
So while it might not be much fun to sit here knowing the Cardinals are not a major player any longer in free agency, it is still having an impact on the future of our Red Birds. As of this minute the Cardinals have picks #30 and #38 with potential movement to come.