Not Signing Free Agent Because Of Draft Pick is Crazy
Let me start with, I agree teams should build from within through a strong farm system.
But this idea that teams – like the Red Sox – can’t sign free agents that require draft pick compensation is nonsense.
I get as Rob Bradford writes, the pick could turn out to be a quality major leaguer.
But the baseball draft is a crapshoot.
For every Mike Trout (taken #25 in 2009 – what were the other teams thinking?), there is a Daniel Moskos (taken #4 in 2007 – one pick ahead of Matt Wieters, not the money-saving move Pittsburgh was hoping for).
So if the Red Sox think Adam LaRoche (not Mike Napoli and his rumored injury risk) is the answer for the team over the next three years at first base, sign him.
Would you do a trade to acquire a proven major leaguer like LaRoche for:
- Kolbrin Vitek – drafted by Boston in the first round in 2010? Yes.
- Bryce Brentz – drafted by Boston in first secondary round in 2010? Maybe yes, maybe no.
- Anthony Ranaudo – drafted by Boston in first secondary round in 2010? Yes.
- Reymond Fuentes – drafted by Boston in first round in 2009? Yes.
- Bryan Price – drafted by Boston in first secondary round in 2008? Yes.
That said, it is not something a team should do every year because that move reduces their chances at striking gold high in the draft.
And the quality of the upcoming draft should factor into the consideration. With strong draft years something to weigh into holding onto picks.
Lastly, because the Red Sox were among the worst ten teams in baseball last season, free agent compensation would be a second – not a first – pick (and Boston would lose draft money available for that pick too). A position the Red Sox may not find themselves in again (if GM Ben Cherington did a good job this off-season).
A pure philosophy of avoiding free agents because of compensation is wrong-headed.
Just like how trading prospects for established major leaguers typically works out for the team acquiring the proven big leaguer, go for the major league talent.
The Red Sox say they aim to contend in 2013 and to do so, the team needs a quality a first baseman.
If LaRoche is the best choice – sign him, don’t worry about the draft pick.
What do you think? Should the Red Sox hoard their picks – or use them to sign free agents?