Though Major League Baseball's new Collective Bargaining Agreement will not change free-agent compensation rules until next season, MLB and the MLB Players Association announced Tuesday that they have agreed to alter the status of a select few current free agents.
Going forward this offseason, former Type A players Matt Capps, Francisco Cordero, Octavio Dotel, Ramon Hernandez and Darren Oliver now will be considered Type B free agents. Any team that signs one of them will not forfeit a selection in next year's First-Year Player Draft, though the player's former club will still gain a supplemental-round pick.
In addition, Type A rules will be altered for relievers Heath Bell, Ryan Madson and Francisco Rodriguez, and for position players Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson and Josh Willingham. Even if those players' former teams offer them arbitration, their new teams will not forfeit a Draft pick to sign them. Instead, their old team will receive compensation in the form of the pick immediately before the highest one they would have received under the old rules, as well as a supplemental-round selection. For example, if the team picking 20th in next year's Draft signs one of these players, that player's former club would be entitled to the 20th pick and a sandwich pick, and their new team would pick 21st.
The new rules should greatly increase the value of the aforementioned 11 players in a market that, at least recently, has valued Draft picks higher than bottom-tier Type A free agents.
Under rules of the new CBA, the league will abolish Type A and B free agent status next offseason, proceeding instead with a system that will award compensation based upon contract size. Those guidelines, however, will not become effective for another year.