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The Yankees Won't Sign Manny ... They Can't

Thought I'd address a couple of points made by comments below. It's true that other outlets are reporting comments from Yankees GM Brian Cashman claiming New York could sign up to eight free agents. Peter Abraham of the Journal News in particular claims that Cashman himself is saying that the team can continue to sign free agents if they choose, and Bloom has updated his original story to say that a unilateral exception to the rule was made this year, setting the stage for up to eight free agents to sign with any team. So Abraham's reporting seems to check out. That would keep the Yankees in the mix for anyone they wanted, so we'll see if they make yet another late push, though there certainly are no noises indicating they will.

As for compensation, that was never the case with any of the free agents who weren't offered arbitration, like Abreu, et al. This isn't a case of draft picks, it's a case of whether a team actually could sign a fourth free agent, and it seems as if they can.

Yes, it's a startling headline to say that the Yankees can't do anything during the offseason, but this may actually be a truism. The Yankees can not, in fact, add free agent outfielder and longtime Yankee killer Manny Ramirez because they can't sign another Type A or B free agent this offseason.

At least that's the story being perpetuated by MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom, who claims that New York has reached it's free agent quota for the 2009 season. Bloom claims that, by signing three Type A's -- CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira -- the Yankees instantly took themselves out of consideration for Ramirez and Ben Sheets. And you know what? Bloom's right. According to the Basic Agreement -- and equally important, as reinforced by a Major League Baseball official to Bloom himself -- "if there are from 39 to 62 [Type A and B] players [during a given offseason], no team can sign more than three." That doesn't take any of a team's own free agents into consideration -- a team can re-sign as many of your own free agents as you like without dipping into its quota -- but the Yankees passed on that option, with the notable except of Andy Pettitte (which is why they could re-sign him; he was most recently a Yankee).

The most interesting part of the story, however, is that the three player quota itself may have been incorrectly instituted. According to MLB's executivce vice president of labor relations, Rob Manfred, there were actually 63 Type A and B free agents, which would have created a new precedent and allowed New York to file a motion to allow them a fourth free agent slot.

Why didn't they? According to Manfred, they just didn't ask.

"If there were more than 62 this year, we should have agreed on an increased quota," Manfred said. "We did not. I think if [the Yankees] were contemplating signing another Type A player, they would've read the agreement and asked us what we wanted to do. They would've said they wanted to sign a fourth player and we would've had to do something with the union."

For what it's worth, these are the remaining Type A and B free agents still on the market, with the previous teams in parentheses, just so we know who they could re-sign with outside any quota:

  1. Bobby Abreu (Yankees)
  2. Orlando Cabrera (White Sox)
  3. Juan Cruz (Diamondbacks)
  4. Adam Dunn (Diamondbacks)
  5. Orlando Hudson (Diamondbacks)
  6. Mike Mussina (Yankees, retired)
  7. Oliver Perez (Mets)
  8. Ben Sheets (Brewers)
  9. Jason Varitek (Red Sox)

By Cameron Smith  |  January 30, 2009; 12:59 PM ET
Categories:  Yankees  
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Next: Varitek-Red Sox Saga Comes To a Peaceful End

Comments

it would be news if it were true. sensational headline.

Posted by: longterm | January 30, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Cameron - Abreu and Mussina were not offered arbitration and thus would not return compensation.

The rest are just the unsigned Type A free agents. The complete list of unsigned Type A/B free agents is

AZ O Hudson Type A
LAD M Ramirez Type A
CWS O Cabrera Type A
NYM O Perez Type A
BOS J Varitek Type A
AZ J Cruz Type A
MIL B Sheets Type A

KC M Grudzielanek Type B
MIN D Reyes Type B
MIL B Shouse Type B
BOS P Byrd Type B

Posted by: Brian_ | January 30, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Just noticed ... Dunn would not require compensation either, the D-Backs did not offer him arbitration.

Posted by: Brian_ | January 30, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

That Bloom article was corrected, the quota this year is 8 Type A/Bs.

Posted by: tdierkes | January 30, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Byrd has said he's not coming back until the 2d half of the year, so that means no supplemental pick awarded for him in the '09 draft. With Varitek resigning, that means the Nats 2d round draft choice can slide up to 9 more places due to supplementals, and up to 6 for compensatory 1st round picks (depending on who resigns where).

Are the Mets still talking to Oliver Perez? Any chance Chicago would bring back Cabrera and keep Ramirez at 2d? Does Shouse still want to pitch? Oh, and Manny to the Dodgers would cut out up to 7 picks. Texas would have a protected 1st rounder if they sign Sheets (8).

For the fun of it, suppose Hudson and Cruz are the only Type As that go to teams that would give a 1st round pick, Sheets goes to TExas, and the 3 Type Bs other than Byrd sign with new teams. That would push the Nats back about 7 more places than they are at right now, or ... oh, why don't I let Brian figure this out ;-)

Also, who did Beimel sign with?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 31, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I am compelled to dope-slap myself. Of course the 1st round compensation for type A will not affect Washington's 2d round pick. The only thing that will impact it will be if it disappears (due to signing a type A like Hudson), or, more likely, several As and Bs sign with new teams. So if you take out Manny, Perez, Varitek, and Byrd, that leaves about 7 players likely to generate supplementals. That's put the Nats around #50, based on the last list I saw.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 31, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

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