Compensation change on K-Rod

The new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association has led to a slight change in the compensation available to the Brewers for free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

The bottom line is that the Brewers are still in line to receive two compensatory picks in next year’s Draft if — and this remains a big “if” — they offer K-Rod arbitration, and he declines to sign elsewhere.

Under the former rules, the Brewers would have received his either his new team’s first- or second-round pick based on where Rodriguez signs, plus a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. If his new team finished with one of the 15 best records in baseball last season, that pick would be a first-rounder. If his new team finished with one of the 15 worst records in baseball, then the pick would be a second-rounder.

Under the new rules, signing teams do not have to forfeit their picks for six Type A players — relievers Heath Bell, Ryan Madson and Rodriguez, and position players Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson and Josh Willingham. Instead, if the player’s former club offers arbitration and the player declines the offer, the former club shall receive: (a) a draft choice in the same round and immediately prior to the draft choice that the signing Club otherwise would have forfeited, and (b) a compensation round selection.

So, teams no longer have to surrender a high Draft pick to sign one of those six players. It should improve their markets.

For all other Type A free agents, the old rules still apply.  According to MLB, all other Type A players, including Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, must be offered arbitration by midnight RT on Wednesday in order to preserve the club’s right to compensation.

It’s notable that under their contract terms,  another Type A reliever, Milwaukee’s Takashi Saito, cannot be offered arbitration. That clause was worked into his deal when he signed with the Brewers last December.

The Brewers will definitely offer arbitration to Fielder because they want the Draft picks. We’ll have to wait and see on Rodriguez. The risk is that he accepts, and would be considered signed for 2012 at a salary above the $13.5 million he earned last season.

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