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Thursday, December 1, 2022

First Pitch: Pirates Could Have 3 of the Top 32 Picks, Plus $9 M to Spend in 2015 Draft

The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t had much experience with free agent compensation picks in the last 20+ years. They got a pick for Ryan Doumit leaving in 2012. Prior to that, their last supplemental picks were in the 1993 draft, which they received for the departures of Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek.

That was all under an old system. The new CBA, which went into effect three years ago, changed the process of receiving comp picks for free agents. Teams can only receive a compensation pick by issuing a qualifying offer to a player, which is worth $15.3 M. If the player turns it down and signs with another team, the former team gets a draft pick.

Under the old system, the former team would get two picks for a “Type A” free agent — a compensation pick given by the league after the first round, and the first round pick from the signing team (unless the signing team picked in the top 15 picks, in which case the former team would receive the signing team’s second round pick).

The new system only awards one pick, which is the compensation pick after the first round, awarded by the league. The signing team still loses their first round pick, although this doesn’t go to anyone. Instead, it just disappears, and everyone moves up a spot in the draft. I’m not sure why a signing team still gets punished for signing a player who has compensation coming their way. Well, I do know why. It suppresses the market for those players, and keeps prices down. And it’s effective too, but raises questions about why players who were traded during season don’t have to be subject to the same restrictions. This is probably an entirely different discussion for a different article.

Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano both rejected their qualifying offers today, which means if they sign elsewhere, the Pirates will get two compensation picks after the first round, giving them their first compensation picks under the new system. Last year the compensation picks were in the 28-34 range. In 2013 they were in the 27-33 range. The picks are awarded in reverse order of the standings, which means that the Pirates could end up high on that list. Here are the current teams who could receive comp picks, and the order in which they’d pick after the first round.

1. Colorado Rockies (Michael Cuddyer)*

2. Atlanta Braves (Ervin Santana)

3. Toronto Blue Jays (Melky Cabrera)

4. New York Yankees (David Robertson)

5. San Francisco Giants (Pablo Sandoval)

6. Pittsburgh Pirates (Russell Martin)

7. Pittsburgh Pirates (Francisco Liriano)

8. Kansas City Royals (James Shields)

9. Detroit Tigers (Victor Martinez)

10. Detroit Tigers (Max Scherzer)

11. Los Angeles Dodgers (Hanley Ramirez)

12. Baltimore Orioles (Nelson Cruz)

If any of these players sign with their former team, no compensation pick would be awarded. So far, the only player to sign elsewhere is Cuddyer, and I’ll get to him in a second. As for the Pirates, they would have to hope that the other four players ahead of them sign with their former teams in order to move up. I think that’s likely for the Yankees and Robertson. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of Santana, Cabrera, and Sandoval re-signs with their former team. That could put the Pirates picking 31st and 32nd. If the 28-34 range still holds up, then the Pirates will almost certainly get their two comp picks in the top 35 picks, giving them three picks in this range.

As for the first round pick, the Pirates had the number 23 pick entering the day. They moved up one spot when the Mets signed Michael Cuddyer, forfeiting the number 15 overall pick. They could continue to move up if teams ahead of them sign one of the players above (unless it’s a team re-signing one of the above players). Here is the updated list of teams that could lose their pick (the top 11 picks are protected).

12. Marlins
13. Padres
14. Rays
15. Braves
16. Brewers
17. Blue Jays
18. Yankees
19. Indians
20. Mariners
21. Giants

Of that list, I’d say the Yankees are always a threat to sign a qualifying free agent. The Mariners made a big splash last year with Robinson Cano. The Braves gave up their pick to sign Ervin Santana. The Pirates are currently picking at number 22 right now, which means they could easily end up inside of the top 20 by the end of it. My guess is that they’ll likely pick three times in the 19-32 range, assuming Liriano and Martin sign elsewhere. John Dreker looked at who could be available in that range a few weeks ago.

From a money standpoint in the draft, those three picks would probably amount to around $5.5 M to spend. The rest of the pool would be at least $3 M, based on what the Pirates had available last year (when picking lower in the draft). I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates ended up with around $9 M to spend in the 2015 draft. That would be about what they had to spend in 2013, when they landed Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire in the first round, plus JaCoby Jones, Cody Dickson, Buddy Borden, and Billy Roth in the middle rounds. It would also give them one of the top bonus pools in the draft, with a figure that would have been in the top five in the last two drafts. The Pirates are picking much lower in the 2015 draft than they were in 2013, but with the same amount of money potentially available, they could get very creative with how they spent it.

Once again, all of that assumes Martin and Liriano sign elsewhere. If that happens, the Pirates will have to first get creative with their approach to the 2014-15 off-season before thinking about the draft approach.

Links and Notes

**Pre-Order the 2015 Prospect Guide

**Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin Reject Qualifying Offers

**The 2015 Predicted Free Agent Prices For Martin, Liriano, and Volquez

**2015 Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Schedule Released

**Report: Russell Martin Looking For $75-80 M Over Five Years

**AFL: Josh Bell Continues to Struggle on Offense and Defense in 8-4 Loss

+ posts

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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Arik Florimonte

“As for the Pirates, they would have to hope that the other four players ahead of them sign with their former teams in order to move up.”

Actually, the way I read it, it doesn’t really matter… if they sign with their former team their comp picks move up, but if they sign with another team, who then loses a pick, then everyone will move up one anyway. The only way they wouldn’t move up is if a team signs one of those four guys ahead of them after already giving up their first pick.

Arik Florimonte

Hey, Tim —

Thanks for the reply. I admit you study this much more than I do, but it seems to me the moving up is already factored in to the comp pick ranges.

Start with a hypothetical. Before any signings, Bucs were picking 23rd overall. Mets signed Cuddyer and forfeited their 15th pick, giving the Rockies the 31st pick and Bucs are now 22nd overall

Let’s say the next thing that happens is the Cubs sign Martin and the Phillies sign Liriano. Pirates would then gain two comp picks after the Rockies, but since the Cubs and Phillies would forfeit their picks, those comp picks would not be 32 and 33, they would move up two slots and the Pirates would have #20 , #30 , and #31 .

Then let’s say someone the Giants lose Pablo Sandoval to the Braves. The Giants now pick before the Pirates’ comp picks, but the Braves forfeit their #16 pick, so everyone after the moves up one, so the Pirates end up with #19 , 30, & 31.

The way I see it, the only way their comp picks can move down is if the guys ahead of them sign with teams who have already lost a 1st round pick, and they can’t move up any further than #30 & #31 .

So it’s actually to the Pirates advantage if some teams sign Santana, Cabrera, Robertson, or Sandoval, because their comp picks won’t move but their original #23 pick could move up further.

Do I have this right, or am I missing a nuance somewhere?


Nathan Swartz

So, aside from Hellickson, who else? Evan Gattis? Chad Billingsley?
Marty, you having an opinion is fine by me (not that I matter), but I think what folks are getting frustrated with is when you constantly make vague statements about NH and his ineptitude, without providing details for support. Like “they didn’t do anything” or “they suck.” Why don’t you give more solid support for your arguments? Suggest WHO they should have gone after.


Don’t give the game away, Nathan. We’ve actually got him discussing players and comparing stats (even if it is just ERA, ER/IP and ERA/9 IP or whatever 3 stats he mentioned that are really one stat). Much better than him stating “I hate the BMTIB” and following it up with 50 comments proving it by stating “NH sucks”, “The BMTIB sucks” and “I hate NH”.

R Edwards

I just hope they use these picks more wisely, than the pick they got last year for Morris. They used that pick an above average college player (Joe), who plays positions that are not great needs currently – OF and C. I’d rather have Morris back.


Morris isn’t very good and we don’t know a thing about Joe yet.


But drafting for need usually works out so well…


and even if drafting for need WAS a good idea… on what planet is C not a position of great need?


Still find it a bit amazing how Boston went from 97 wins and the World Series to the number seven pick.


Yup, and you could say it was because they traded away their whole rotation at the deadline, but the really weren’t much worse after that, .444 winning % before, .426 after.


Ha! If they kept that .444 winning % all season, they would have won 72 games, exactly 1 more than they did.


Having those two comp picks gives the Pirates even more of a reason to go out and sign someone like Ervin Santana to help the rotation. It won’t happen because the BMTIB likes to hoard prospects and draft picks, and are always more concerned with the future than the present (never going to win a championship that way btw). But there is no reason to be afraid to give up that first round pick, none. The draft is total and complete crapshoot anyway. Trading the comp picks should also be in play this offseason.

S Brooks

“It won’t happen because the BMTIB likes to hoard prospects and draft picks…”

The facts just don’t fit your narrative, Marty. Over the last 3 years, the FO has traded away quite a few prospects, including Dilson Herrera, Vic Black, Blake Taylor, Robbie Grossman, the lesser guys they traded to get Burnett, Mazzaro, Gomez and Wandy, and whatever you call Gorkys Hernandez. AND a competitive balance pick. All to bring back major league players.

They also put together a prospects-for-David Price package offer to Tampa at the deadline, but Friedman wanted major league players instead.

What prospects/draft picks have they acquired over the same period? One – the competitive balance pick they used on Connor Joe, in exchange for Bryan Morris.

The draft pick and prospect hoarding stopped as soon as the team was competitive.


They must be doing something right because both sides of the fan base hate them. Marty for hoarding prospects and the others that are still pissed they traded Herrera, Black, Taylor etc without winning a world series.


Free agency can be a crapshoot too. I don’t think Ervin would necessarily be a bad idea though. I just think their ability to buy low on pitchers and make them great really reduces the need to go after a guy like him.

and just saying… they were what… 2 wins from winning the NL Central crown. i don’t know if i’m comfortable saying that they’ll never win a championship that way when they were so close to doing it for two straight years.


Last year they had one of the worst pitching staffs in the NL, and did not upgrade it at the deadline. Had they upgraded, good shot they win the Central. IMO, With NH as GM they’ll never take that one or two extra steps needed to put the team over the top.

You don’t have to just add via free agency, can do that via trades too. But hard to do when you’re not willing to part with even a single top prospect, despite having 7 or 8 out of the top 100 so moving one big guy certainly won’t gut the system. I really hope they’re in on the Hellickson talks.


They offered top 100 players in their offer for Price and Lester…….not sure what you are referring to


I don’t know who the Pirates could of gotten at the trade deadline that was going to make them any better going down the stretch, they were terrific. Teams that gave away top talent at the trade deadline did not finish much better than the Pirates did and they lost their top prospects in the end. Maybe the Giants would have traded Bumgarden, thats what it would have taken to make a difference and that ain’t happening.


They did try to get a Price but the cost was Major League talent not prospects.


Hellickson sucks. i hope they aren’t in on him.

I wanted Price and Lester too. They can totally afford one big trade with the prospects. They just can’t do it all the time. i thought Price was a perfect addition to bridge the gap from trade deadline 2014 to when Taillon and Kingham are ready.

but the Rays wanted a young major leaguer (smyly is underrated) and a guy who has a shot at being the next Zobrist and that SS prospect is looking good too. The rays wanted to be good in 2015. They wanted major league pieces.

Gammons reported the Pirates offered heavy prospects for Price but the Rays just wanted major leaguers.

Anyway, the rotation settled down and it worked out okay. But yeah Lester or Price probably wouldve won the division. I agree.


Hellickson is better than Locke, Cumpton, Sadler, or Pimentel the in house options to fill out the rotation behind Cole and Worley. He’s also better than Justin Masterson who a lot of people want the Pirates to sign.


I could argue about locke and pimentel (but i wont), but yeah sure better than Cumpton and Sadler. Sure. I don’t think they should be in the rotation either.

ANYWAY. I think they’d be better off not giving up a draft pick by going with McCarthy and a bounceback guy. The rotation needs to be improved. But that shouldnt be difficult with their recent string of successes with bounceback guys.


McCarthy would be a good sign. A guy whose ERA was over 5 last year, like Masterson, would not be. This rotation needs at least 2 quality SP, not some hope and pray guys.


Yeah Hellickson never had an ERA over 5. Well, not since 2013 at least. He was all the way down to 4.52 in the third of a season he pitched last year. Again, who should we be trading for this rotation stalwart?


Define “hope and pray guy”.


Guys that Marty thinks suck!


AJB in 2012, Liriano in 2013 and Volquez in 2014


“He’s also better than Justin Masterson” – and that statement is based on what exactly??


The fact Justin Masterson sucks big time.


Well then, can’t argue with that articulate and fact-based argument.

Let’s see:

Both Masterson and Hellickson were hurt and had off years, but each put up the same fWAR (0.3).

2013 – Masterson (3.5 WAR, 3.33 xFIP and 9.09 K/9), and Hellickson (1.4 WAR, 4.15 xFIP and 6.98 K/9). Clearly Masterson.

2012 – Masterson (2 WAR, 4.15 xFIP and 6.94 K/9), and Hellickson (0.9 WAR, 4.44 xFIP and 6.3 K/9). Closer, but still Masterson

2011 – Masterson (4.3 WAR, 3.64 xFIP and 6.58 K/9) and Hellickson (1.6 WAR, 4.72 xFIP and 5.57 K/9). Again, clearly Masterson.

Oh, and Hellickson has never pitched 200 innings in his career (highest was 189 in 2011), while Masterson has pitched 200+ on 2 separate occasions (2011 and 2012) and 193 in 2013. And to boot, Masterson consistently has one of the highest GB % in the league, while Hellickson’s has never been above 41%. Lastly, the Bucs would have to give up an asset in trading for Hellickson, while Masterson would only cost dollars.

But hey! Don’t let those pesky facts get in the way of your air-tight logic!!


Hellickson has a better career ERA, WHIP, hits per 9, and walks per 9 than Masterson.


And you essentially cited 3 of the same stat – hits and walks per 9 are what make up WHIP…


I know what makes up WHIP, I’m not stupid.


Nice job relying on antiquated stats! Sure glad the “BMTIB” doesn’t…


I humbly request this not turn into a 180 post pissing match about everything EXCEPT the actual topic.

My goodness, you’re really not bored yet?


sorry. he said ‘who cares about draft picks’ and then I bit.

I created this monster and i apologize.


We’re off to a decent start since Marty identified Hellickson as a target he’d like. Now all we need is for him to say who he’ll give up for him. Only prospects? What if TB wants a MLB piece like they did at the deadline? Who’s expendable?
And while it’s easy to say Hellickson is better than Locke, Cumpton, et al, Steamer disagrees, predicting better ERA, FIP and WAR for Locke and Stolmy (OK not WAR for Stolmy because they only have him at 25 IP, though they have MUCH better ERA and FIP projections for him). They do like Hellickson better than Cumpton though, so we could get him as our 6th or 7th SP, I guess. I’ll give up a non-top 20 prospect for hiim, though I think we’ll see the price is significantly higher than that.


I didn’t realize until recently that marty isn’t actually a hater.. he just loves working people up.. hense his religous use of management sucks


hellickson doesn’t throw hard. He’s not tall. He doesn’t get ground balls. he has never posted good peripheral stats like xFIP, FIP, etc, doesn’t K guys.

He has none of the traits that NH looks for and theyve had success with.

The pirates will not trade for Hellickson unless they put him in the bullpen or something.


I never get bored with talking about baseball.


Yeah they could have traded for Lester or Price and won the pennant like OAK and DET did. Oops. I guess they could have traded for both, but that would have cost 2 – 4 current major leaguers (and unfortunately Pedro couldn’t be one of them since he was already a lost cause by then).
Marty I’m going to guess you were one that said they wouldn’t be a contender in 2014 after losing AJ and not signing anyone for RF or 1B. But they were contenders again, making the playoffs and having the division go down to the last game. With all due respect, I’m going to side with the BMTIB that has given us 2 playoff teams in a row** over you, who was wrong about last season and has only given us a lot of misplaced angst and bile spewn at the wrong targets.
** And yes I know a playoff spot isn’t the ultimate goal, but if this year’s playoffs taught us anything, it’s that all you need is a seat at the table and a hot streak (or a SP make playoff history).

Will Sanchez

with all your respect..all Neal had to do was fix the bullpen..blew 15 / of 43 saves opp pre-all star (3rd most) and 9 / 29 post all-star..and finished 3rd most for the year…if we had done better we would had won the central…disita 3b and 1b problems



Sticky – stats aside, sometimes a GM needs to simply make a move that inspires confidence among the team itself. I can’t pretend that I know precisely what goes on in the Bucs locker room, but I have to think that acquiring a pitcher with some post-season experience, even if it’s “just” Peavy, would have put a smile on some faces in said locker room, especially if he was taking Jeff “I don’t hang out with these guys” Locke’s turn in the rotation.

MLB is a business and most successful businesses recognize that keeping the employees happy is as important as satisfying the customer.

Bucs need to be trading Locke asap. IMO, his success is primarily a product of Russell Martin. I’d take Cumpton over Locke in a heartbeat.

Anyway, all this draft talk has me wondering if the Marlins ever got anything from that competitive pick the Bucs gave them for Sanchez. The guy they drafted, Matt Krook, failed a physical and had his offer revoked. Did the Marlins get another pick in 2014 to make up for that?


Fair points, WS. You may be right about Peavy’s experience playing well in the locker room. Is Locke really that much of an outsider there? I didn’t know that. And I didn’t realize Peavy was actually productive in 2013. I thought he stunk then too. Still, Peavy was so bad in the 1st half of 2014, I think if that was the only move made, most folks would have been extremely disappointed.


By all accounts the bmtib did offer the rays a substantial deal for price before the deadline.. they just weren’t looking for prospects


I did not expect them to contend in 2014. I do not expect them to contend in 2015. Their pitching is a mess, and the BMTIB will do nothing about it. I hate it when people say adding Lester and Price didn’t win Oakland or Detroit a championship so it wouldn’t have won the Pirates one, you have zero way of knowing that. None. Not making any moves at the deadline last year was incredibly stupid by the BMTIB, and it cost them the division IMO.


do you want to bet they’ll do nothing about it?

not going to actually bet anything. but come on. They will not go into the season with Cole, Locke, Cumpton, Worley, and Sadler as the opening day rotation.

That will not happen.


My guess is Cole, Worley, Locke, Cumpton, and some guy who had an ERA of 5+ in 2014 that NH will go dumpster diving to find. Still not good.


My guess is they sign someone better than Cumpton, and maybe 2 guys better. After all, they’ve done it before when they didn’t have $25 mil payroll coming off the books, so I’d expect they do it again. We’ll see who’s right.


They need two guys that are at least a #3 type SP. I’ll be shocked if they add two such guys. Not how the BMTIB operates. They’d rather sign bad pitchers like Justin Masterson or Kyle Kendrick.


Not how the BMTIB operates?
Like signing Liriano and Volquez, guys that were #3 or better for them?

Will Sanchez

how the BMTIB operates?..show me a 15 or a 20 game winner that they have acquired…show me a batting champion that have gotten..out of “168 yrs of controllable years”..we got what maybe 10 at the most..charlie (made of ground glass)Morton , Locke..and Moss


You are 100% correct in saying I have no way of knowing getting Lester or Price wouldn’t have won us the division. And you are equally 100% wrong in assuming getting either of them or even a lesser pitcher would have given them the division. All we know is that the teams that went “all in” this year blew it, and 2 teams that stood pat ended up in the World Series. Could the Bucs have bucked that trend? Absolutely! Would they have? Chances are slim.


The Giants didn’t stand pat, they added Jake Peavy and he played a huge role in their run. So you’re wrong.


BUMGARNER won the WS, not Peavy. SImple and clear


AH yes, the move everyone was clamoring for, just get Jake Peavy and his BoSox stats that are worse than every single SP we have, and we’ll win the WS!
Let me ask you this, if the Bucs got Peavy at the deadline, he either stubs his toe and isn’t able to carry them to the WS or he continues to pitch as poorly as he did in BOS and loses his spot in the rotation, which of the following is your reaction:
1) Oh well, at least NH went for it and got Peavy who should have really improved our chances, or
2) That f-ing BMTIB! Why didn’t they make a real move instead of getting that Peavy joke
I’m guessing #2 , but I was wrong once before.

Will Sanchez

“That f-ing BMTIB” hmm didn’t he traded away rp when the teams needed rp..hmm morris and $1m for connor joe?????

IC Bob

Marty makes some good points that the Pirates could have and probably should have done something at the deadline. Would it have made a difference maybe. Discounting the Peavy pick up is weak on your part. Fact is the Giants made a move and it worked out big time for them. The other fact is the Pirates did not, We could have used a big time pitcher in the one game playoff. I love how EV competed but really having to throw him with the season on the line was a shame. It sure would have been nice to either be in first place and to have to worry about a one game playoff or to have a big time pitcher with a history of success in big games pitching for us that night.


Well he MAY be right that a move COULD have helped in the division and/or WC game. But it’s total speculation he’s passing off as a fact, and a reason to hate the FO. Discounting the Peavy pick only looks weak in hindsight. I’m sure the Giants fan sites were saying “That’s it?” when the deal was done. And it was only done because Cain was lost for the season. Yes it worked out for them, just like sticking with our rotation that was much better in the 2nd half could have worked out for us.
Yes, absolutely, having Price in the WC game would have been great. I doubt anyone disagrees with that. It also might not have made a difference as MadBum showed through the month of Oct. And more importantly, NH tried to get him according to industry soources. TB wanted MLB players. Who could we have traded that wouldn’t have cost us down the stretch? JHay? Marte? Walker?


I actually thought adding Peavy would have been a good move at the time, so it would have been #1 . So you’re wrong, again. Big surprise (not really).


If you would have been happy with Peavy being the only move they made at the deadline, then I apologize for misreading your posts. I thought you wanted them to make a significant move, not some afterthought non-deal like adding Peavy and hope he completely turns his season around.

Lee Foo Young

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but historically, the odds of our comp picks becoming productive major leaguers (not just making it for a cup of coffee) is around 15%.

I’d rather have Martin and Liriano.

But, “it is what it is”.


it’s not Martin and Liriano vs the draft picks. it’s Martin and Liriano vs. the draft picks PLUS whoever else they can buy for $30 million.

of course they do have to spend it. but if they were willing to do it for Martin + Liriano, they should be willing to do it for… in my head… McCarthy (12), Morrow/Anderson (8ish), and … i dunno… name a guy…. for 10 million. I would do a 1st or a 3rd baseman for anything in the low to mid teens million.


Very true jgray, but my preference is still to have Martin back. I think Liriano would be OK but they could probably find someone cheaper to do just as well or better. I mean they’ve done it for the last 3 years so why not expect it again? Sure the law of averages could rear it’s ugly head, but I think they actually have a process in place to help a certain type of pitcher that they target.
Back to Martin, I thought it was good news he’s only looking for $80-$85 million. I really thought he’d be shooting for more and that effectively sets his ceiling contract (unless there’s an unlikely bidding war). I mean, both LAD and CHC have other viable options at C. Martin would be a nice upgrade for them but certainly not a neccesity. I think the 5th year is a pipe dream at his age/position, so if the Bucs are really willing to go 4/$60 million, They could be in the discussions until the end.


Seems an opportune time to bring up the silly Competitive Balance Lottery for which the Pirates missed out completely in the 2015 draft. Could have been a fourth pick added in the mid-30s.

Oh well.

This draft is shaping up to be awfully important in terms of long term stability. Should be fun.

S Brooks

Which reminds me, has the 3rd annual “Pirates and Marlins trade competitive balance lottery pick” event been scheduled yet?


Haha, seriously though, Marlins have #1 pick in Comp Rd A and supposedly like Ike Davis (assuming they don’t sign LaRoche).

The Pirates will surely have to tender Davis in order to trade him, but it might be worth the risk in a situation like this. Four picks that high in the draft could seriously bolster the club heading into the end of the decade.


Ha, certainly difficult to maintain focus when discussing flawed MLB systems.


The reason free agents who are traded mid season aren’t attached to comp picks is to prevent teams in contention from stockpiling extra comp picks year after year. In 2011, the Pirates picked Cole 1-1, but the second round didn’t start until pick 60 when they took Josh Bell. Meanwhile, the Red Sox had four or five picks in between.

S Brooks

Agreed, Tim. I think the QO pretty much took care of the Type B compensation problem, since no Type B free agents would be issued QO’s under the current system. Adding the full-season rider was either overkill or intended to solve a different problem altogether.

Whether the player was acquired prior to the season or mid-season, or simply drafted, quite possibly given a large bonus and nurtured for 8-12 years, there was some not-insignificant acquisition cost. Setting aside the drag on free agent salaries, draft pick compensation kind of makes sense in this light – we paid a cost to acquire and/or develop this player (over and above salary) in the form of other players, prospects or cash money; it’s not unreasonable to receive something back when the player chooses to work for another organization.

William Wallace

I would rather have Martin and Liriano and maintain our competitiveness. I’m getting old and don’t want to wait for a 2015 draft choice to mature in 2020.


I would rather have the 2015 draft picks plus the extra money to sign Chase Headley (perhaps at 4 years, $60 million), Justin Masterson (maybe for 1 year, $8 million) and Brandon McCarthy (maybe 3 years, $30 million).


glad someone else is on the Headley train.

The beautiful thing is that he’ll probably cost 3-4 mil per year less than what you suggest.


If Headley could be signed for $12 million per year, the Bucs would be foolish not to make him an offer. I suspect he will get offers for $15 million or more per year, but I would love to see him at the hot corner for the Bucs.


I’m not trying to be an ass, but what exactly makes anyone think that Headley is worth 12+ million per year? He hasn’t broken a .750 OPS since 2012, and he really only had 1 good year. I mean It would have been like paying Garrett Akins 12 million per year a few years back when we brought him in on a Minor league deal. It just seems way ridiculous, but maybe i’m missing something?


You are missing the incredible inflation in baseball salaries. $12 million is not a lot for a starting 3Bman. 1 WAR is estimated to be worth between $6.5 million and $7.2 million next year. Headley was a 4.4 WAR player last year, and his STEAMER projection is 4.1 WAR in 2014. So Headley should be able to provide at least $20 million in value next year (being very conservative).
Headley draws walks at a very high rate (over 10% for his career) so he reaches base frequently. He plays outstanding defense (more than 2 WAR last year just with his defense).
Headley is only 30, so a 4 or 5 year contract should be easy for him to find. He is not saddled with a Qualifying Offer, so whoever signs him will not lose the value of a 1st round draft pick (estimated at anywhere between $6 million and $15 million in excess value), so it is a straight salary-performance equation. Headley should easily provide 15 WAR over the next 5 years, so it is perfectly reasonable to think he is worth more than $75 million (at a minimum) for those years.
$12 million does not buy much in baseball these days. Unless you can develop your own players at every position (and don’t need any free agents) you cannot avoid paying more than $12 million for decent-but-not-great players. Headley is worth far more than $12 million these days.


but it’s not Martin and Liriano vs competitiveness. not mutually exclusive.

There are a lot of other players out there in FA who can replace their production. if the pirates take a step back at C, they can very well take a step forward in the rotation and 1b.


100% agree William. The time to win is now with Cutch in his prime. Martin is probably going to be out of reach money wise, but the rotation looks a lot better with Liriano and Cole at the top. There are no guarantees that Kingham can pitch in the big leagues or that Jameson Taillon will be healthy next next year.


Tim: I was thinking 3 of the first 40, but 3 in the first 32 sounds a lot better. The draft is supposed to be very deep in college pitching, but I think the Pirates will still be looking for HS pitching talent simply due to the depth and quality of the previous two drafts. Good point about how much those two comp picks for Liriano and Martin means to the Pirates in the form of additional dollars to use in the draft.

John Janesko

This is obviously purely hypothetical, but say the Pirates would sign 2 players with a draft pick attached. Would they lose their first and second rounder, or their first rounder and comp pick (assuming they get one)?


In your scenario, they would lose their 1st round pick and their comp pick. Art. XX(B)(4)(c) I agree with you that that scenario does seem to be purely hypothetical and that’s probably a good thing.

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