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Draft choice compensation rules

I've gotten lots of requests to explain how draft choice compensation works, including this post from somebody who calls himself "Fang man."

Fang man's take: Could someone explain how the MLB draft works in terms of free agents lost (or signed)?

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In other words, why would signing Sheets cost us a second round pick? Why not a first round pick? Or a third round pick?

Additionally, someone pointed out that we waited a whopping 123 picks after picking Wieters two years ago because we signed Baez and Bradford. Why such a long wait? (And just as an FYI, wasn't Arietta the guy we finally got?)

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My reply: Good question. Free agent players are classified by the Elias Sports Bureau based on their recent past performance as Type-A, Type-B and unclassified players. Type-A free agents who are offered salary arbitration by their original clubs require the signing team to cede its first-round draft pick to the team that loses the player -- unless the signing team is in the bottom half of the majors in winning percentage the year before, in which case it must give up its second-round pick. Teams losing Type-B free agents who have been offered arbitration get a supplemental pick between rounds of the draft, but no direct compensation from the signing team.

Quick plug: Former New York Mets and Orioles exec Jim Duquette will join me in studio for Sportsline on WBAL (1090 AM) tonight. Popular former O's first baseman Kevin Millar will jump in at 7 on the phone and Washington Post columnist and all-time best-selling sports author John Feinstein also will join in at 7:30 to talk about the Maryland basketball controversy. If you're out of signal range, you can go to WBAL.com and click on the "Listen Live" icon.


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