Draft pick maneuvering

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Jonathan Papelbon signed a four-year deal with the Phillies. (AP Photo / Winslow Townson)

MILWAUKEE — One of the perceived advantages of choosing Ryan Madson over Jonathan Papelbon for Phillies closer was the ability to retain the team's top draft pick. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Phillies must forfeit their first pick (31st overall in 2012) to Boston because Papelbon is a Type A free agent.

That could change in the new CBA, which is apparently nearing completion here at the annual GM and owners meetings. ESPN's Buster Olney reported that compensation for losing free agents will disappear in the new agreement. 

In that case, teams will no longer surrender picks for signing Type A free agents. So the Phillies would still pick 31st. But teams who lose a Type A free agent will still receive a compensatory pick in the sandwich round.

Whether that will go into effect immediately and apply to this winter's free agents is uncertain.

If compensation remains the same, the Phillies could stand to actually gain in the draft pick game. Madson is also a Type A free agent and the Phillies will obviously offer him arbitration, something he will not accept. 

Madson was rated as the fifth-best free agent in the Elias rankings that determine compensation. Only Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and David Ortiz rank higher. Thus, so long as the team that signs Madson does not sign one of those four players and they do not have a protected pick, the Phillies can move up in the draft.

The top 15 picks in the draft are protected from compensation. But a number of teams in the bottom 16 need a closer and have been linked to Madson in various reports. Washington (No. 16), Toronto (No. 17), Los Angeles (No. 18) and Boston (No. 24) could be players for Madson. In that case, the Phillies would move up from their original draft position. 

Either way, it appears the Phillies will be drafting in the first round of the 2012 draft, whether it be from their original position or one higher.


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