Friday, December 26, 2008
After committing nearly $424 million in future salaries, many believe the Yankees' free agent spending spree will continue. Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets have been rumored, but the name that everyone is wondering will be the next to flash across tickers announcing their signing with the Yankees is Manny Ramirez. While it would make interesting press when the Yanks and Sox squared off 19 times in 2009, the question has to be asked; can the Yankees even sign Manny? No, it's not a question of money or Manny's willingness to play in New York, it's a question of league rules when it comes to signing Type A free agents.
(a) Clubs shall be limited in the number of Type A and B Players, as defined below, they may subsequently sign to contracts. The number of signings permitted shall be related to the number of Players electing free agency under this Section B. If there are 14 or less such Players, no Club may sign more than one Type A or B Player. If there are from 15 to 38 such Players, no Club may sign more than two Type A or B Players. If there are from 39 to 62 such Players, no Club may sign more than three Type A or B Players. If there are more than 62 such Players, the Club quotas shall be increased accordingly. There shall be no restrictions on the number of unranked Players that a Club may sign to contracts.
(b) Irrespective of the provisions of subparagraph (a) above, a Club shall be eligible to sign at least as many Type A and B Players as it may have lost through Players having become free agents under this Section at the close of the season just concluded.
According to MLBtraderumors.com, there were 43 Type A/B players who filed for free agency, meaning that teams could only sign 3 Type A/B free agents or a number equal to the number of Type A/B free agents they lose. In the case of the Yankees, they will more than likely see Pudge, Abreu and possibly Pettitte sign elsewhere. The Yankees resigned another A/B free agent, reliever Damaso Marte. However, according to MLB rules, he will not not count towards the Yankees as an A/B free agent signed.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the free agent and his former
Club may engage in negotiations and enter into a contract during
said period. Should they enter into a contract during said period,
the Club shall be deemed not to have signed a free agent for purposes
of paragraph (5) of this Section B.
This would also mean the Yankees could bring Pettitte back without him counting as an A/B free agent signed by the club.
So, it would appear that the Yankees have already met their qouta. But hold on, there is the question about Mike Mussina who was designated a Type A Free Agent. Though he retired and did not sign with another club, MLB rules are a bit nebulous as to this question:
a Club shall be eligible to sign at least as many Type A and B Players
as it may have lost through Players having become free agents under
this Section at the close of the season just concluded.
What exactly does "lost through players having become free agents...." constitute? Mussina filed for free agency a week prior to announcing his retirement, but does a player have to sign with another club in order for that player be considered a player lost by having become a free agent? One would assume that Mussina would not be considered as a Type A/B Free Agent lost by the Yankees, but MLB has not always done the most obvious thing--like its previous steroid policies.