Baseball's Free Agents 2013

2009-2013 Arbitration Figures
2009-2012 Free Agents / 2001-2008 Free Agents / Type A/B Free Agents

From the 19th century through 1976, baseball players were bound to one team for life because of the reserve clause. Teams could renew contracts for one Baseball Free Agentsyear for as long as they wanted to keep the player. The beginnings of free agency began in 1969, when longtime Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood was traded to Philadelphia and refused to report. He appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court but lost, but his case put in place an arbitration system for players' union and owner disputes.

In 1975, pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally played without a contract, arguing that their contract could not be renewed if it was never signed. An arbitrator agreed, and they were declared free agents. With the reserve clause effectively abolished, the players' union and the owners then agreed to the rules governing free agency that the teams and players would follow. A player is bound to the team that drafts him for three seasons in the minor leagues. Contracts are automatically renewed on a year-to-year basis.

After three years, a player must either be on a team's 40-man roster (as he is then considered as having a major-league contract) or he is eligible for what is called the Rule 5 draft (see below). Once he has played for three seasons and is on the 40-man roster, the team then has “options” on the player. They can send him to the minors and still keep him for three additional seasons with automatic contract renewals. Each player has three option years and can be sent up and down from the minors as many times as teams see fit during that period. A player with three years or more service cannot be removed from the 40-man roster without his permission. The player can opt to be released immediately or at the end of the season. A player also can elect to become a free agent whenever he is removed from the 40-man roster, starting with the second removal of his career. After three complete minor league seasons, a team has to decide if they want to keep a player and must sign the player to a major-league contract (adding him to the 40-man roster).

Players who aren't placed on the roster are eligible for the baseball Rule 5 draft. A player can be drafted by another organization for $50,000. But there is a risk for the drafting team: They must keep that player on the 25-man major-league roster for the entire next season or he is offered back to the original team for $25,000. A player not on the 40-man roster and not taken in the Rule 5 draft remains under contract with his current organization. He can elect to become a minor-league free agent instead of being taken in the Rule 5 draft, but players want to be selected in the draft because it represents what could be a fast track to the majors, getting away from a team that does not believe he belongs on the 40-man roster.

2012-13 Free Agents
Updated: April 1, 2013

Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Bobby Abreu LF 39 Free Agent LA Dodgers -- --
Mike Adams RP 34 Agreed Texas Philadelphia 2 $12,000,000
Jeremy Affeldt RP 33 Signed San Francisco San Francisco 3 $18,000,000
Jeff Baker 2B 31 Free Agent Atlanta -- --
Scott Baker SP 31 Signed Minnesota Chicago Cubs 1 $5,500,000
Rod Barajas C 37 Free Agent Pittsburgh -- --
Miguel Batista SP 42 Free Agent Atlanta -- --
Jason Bay LF 34 Signed NY Mets Seattle 1 --
Lance Berkman 1B 37 Signed St. Louis Texas 1 $11,000,000
Henry Blanco C 41 Free Agent Arizona -- --
Joe Blanton SP 32 Signed LA Dodgers LA Angels 2 $15,000,000
Michael Bourn CF 30 Signed Atlanta Cleveland 4 $48,000,000
Jonathan Broxton RP 28 Signed Cincinnati Cincinnati 3 $21,000,000
Brian Bruney RP 31 Free Agent Chicago Sox -- --
Sean Burnett RP 30 Agreed Washington LA Angels 2 $8,000,000
Tim Byrdak RP 39 Signed NY Mets NY Mets Minor Lg
Melky Cabrera LF 28 Signed San Francisco Toronto 2 $16,000,000
Miguel Cairo 1B 38 Retired Cincinnati -- --
Shawn Camp RP 37 Signed Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs 1 --
Matt Capps RP 29 Free Agent Minnesota -- --
Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Ronny Cedeno SS 30 Free Agent NY Mets -- --
Endy Chavez LF 35 Free Agent Baltimore -- --
Eric Chavez 3B 35 Signed NY Yankees Arizona 1 $3,000,000
Randy Choate RP 37 Signed LA Dodgers St. Louis 3 $7,500,000
Todd Coffey RP 32 Free Agent LA Dodgers -- --
Bartolo Colon SP 39 Agreed Oakland Oakland 1 $3,000,000
Jose Contreras RP 41 Free Agent Philadelphia -- --
Aaron Cook SP 34 Free Agent Boston -- --
Kevin Correia SP 32 Signed Pittsburgh Minnesota 2 $10,000,000
Ryan Dempster SP 35 Agreed Texas Boston 2 $26,500,000
Mark DeRosa LF 38 Free Agent Washington -- --
Matt Diaz RF 35 Signed Atlanta NY Yankees Minor Lg
Stephen Drew SS 30 Agreed Oakland Boston 1 $9,500,000
Zach Duke SP 29 Signed Washington Washington 1 --
Chad Durbin RP 35 Free Agent Atlanta -- --
Kyle Farnsworth RP 36 Agreed Tampa Bay Tampa Bay 1 --
Scott Feldman SP 30 Signed Texas Chicago Cubs 1 $6,000,000
Pedro Feliciano RP 36 Free Agent NY Yankees -- --
Jeff Francis SP 32 Signed Colorado Colorado 1 $1,500,000
Jason Frasor RP 35 Signed Toronto Texas 1 $1,500,000
Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Brian Fuentes RP 37 Free Agent St. Louis -- --
Kyuji Fujikawa RP 32 Signed Japan Chicago Cubs 2 $9,000,000
Freddy Garcia SP 36 Free Agent NY Yankees -- --
Chad Gaudin RP 30 Free Agent Miami -- --
Jason Giambi 1B 42 Free Agent Colorado -- --
Jonny Gomes LF 32 Signed Oakland Boston 2 $10,000,000
Alex Gonzalez SS 36 Signed Milwaukee Milwaukee 1 --
Mike Gonzalez RP 34 Signed Washington Milwaukee 1 $2,225,000
Tom Gorzelanny RP 30 Agreed Washington Milwaukee 2 $5,700,000
Zack Greinke SP 29 Signed LA Angels LA Dodgers 6 $147,000,000
Jason Grilli RP 36 Signed Pittsburgh Pittsburgh 2 $6,750,000
Jeremy Guthrie SP 33 Signed Kansas City Kansas City 3 $25,000,000
Travis Hafner DH 35 Agreed Cleveland NY Yankees 1 --
Scott Hairston LF 32 Agreed NY Mets Chicago Cubs 2 --
Bill Hall 3B 33 Free Agent Baltimore -- --
Josh Hamilton LF 31 Signed Texas LA Angels 5 $123,000,000
Jack Hannahan 3B 33 Signed Cleveland Cincinnati 2 $4,000,000
Dan Haren SP 32 Signed LA Angels Washington 1 $13,000,000
LaTroy Hawkins RP 40 Free Agent LA Angels -- --
Roberto Hernandez SP 32 Signed Cleveland Tampa Bay 1 $3,250,000
Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Eric Hinske 1B 35 Signed Atlanta Arizona 1 $1,350,000
J.P. Howell RP 29 Signed Tampa Bay LA Dodgers 1 $2,850,000
Orlando Hudson 3B 35 Free Agent Chicago Sox -- --
Aubrey Huff 1B 36 Free Agent San Francisco -- --
Torii Hunter RF 37 Signed LA Angels Detroit 2 $26,000,000
Raul Ibanez RF 40 Signed NY Yankees Seattle 1 $2,750,000
Brandon Inge 3B 35 Free Agent Oakland -- --
Jason Isringhausen RP 40 Free Agent LA Angels -- --
Hisashi Iwakuma SP 31 Signed Seattle Seattle 2 $14,000,000
Maicer Izturis SS 32 Signed LA Angels Toronto 3 $10,000,000
Edwin Jackson SP 29 Signed Washington Chicago Cubs 4 $52,000,000
Kelly Johnson 2B 31 Free Agent Toronto -- --
Nick Johnson DH 34 Free Agent Baltimore -- --
Reed Johnson RF 36 Signed Atlanta Atlanta 1 $1,750,000
Andruw Jones LF 35 Free Agent NY Yankees -- --
Chipper Jones 3B 40 Retired Atlanta -- --
Jair Jurrjens SP 27 Agreed Atlanta Baltimore 1 $1,500,000
Jeff Karstens SP 30 Agreed Pittsburgh Pittsburgh 1 $2,500,000
Austin Kearns LF 32 Free Agent Miami -- --
Adam Kennedy 3B 37 Free Agent LA Dodgers -- --
Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Jeff Keppinger 2B 32 Signed Tampa Bay Chicago Sox 3 $12,000,000
Casey Kotchman 1B 30 Free Agent Cleveland -- --
Hiroki Kuroda SP 38 Signed NY Yankees NY Yankees 1 $15,000,000
Gerald Laird C 33 Signed Detroit Atlanta 2 --
John Lannan SP 28 Signed Washington Philadelphia 1 $2,500,000
Adam LaRoche 1B 33 Agreed Washington Washington 2 $24,000,000
Carlos Lee 1B 36 Free Agent Miami -- --
Colby Lewis SP 33 Free Agent Texas -- --
Matt Lindstrom RP 33 Free Agent Arizona -- --
Francisco Liriano SP 29 Agreed Chicago Sox Pittsburgh 1 $1,000,000
Kyle Lohse SP 34 Free Agent St. Louis -- --
James Loney 1B 28 Signed Boston Tampa Bay 1 $2,000,000
Jose Lopez 3B 29 Free Agent Chicago Sox -- --
Derek Lowe SP 39 Free Agent NY Yankees -- --
Mark Lowe RP 29 Free Agent Texas -- --
Ryan Ludwick LF 34 Agreed Cincinnati Cincinnati 2 $15,000,000
Brandon Lyon RP 33 Free Agent Toronto -- --
Ryan Madson RP 32 Agreed Cincinnati LA Angels 1 $3,500,000
Shaun Marcum SP 31 Agreed Milwaukee NY Mets 1 --
Jason Marquis SP 34 Signed San Diego San Diego 1 $3,000,000
Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Russell Martin C 30 Signed NY Yankees Pittsburgh 2 $17,000,000
Daisuke Matsuzaka SP 32 Signed Boston Cleveland Minor Lg
Brandon McCarthy SP 29 Agreed Oakland Arizona 2 $15,500,000
Nate McLouth LF 31 Agreed Baltimore Baltimore 1 $2,000,000
Kevin Millwood SP 38 Free Agent Seattle -- --
Nyjer Morgan CF 32 Signed Milwaukee Japan 1 $1,600,000
Guillermo Mota RP 39 Free Agent San Francisco -- --
Brett Myers SP 32 Signed Chicago Sox Cleveland 1 $7,000,000
Xavier Nady LF 34 Free Agent San Francisco -- --
Hiroyuki Nakajima SS 30 Signed Japan Oakland 2 $6,500,000
Mike Napoli 1B 31 Agreed Texas Boston 1 $5,000,000
Dioner Navarro C 29 Signed Cincinnati Chicago Cubs 1 $1,175,000
Miguel Olivo C 34 Free Agent Seattle -- --
Roy Oswalt SP 35 Free Agent Texas -- --
Lyle Overbay 1B 36 Free Agent Atlanta -- --
Juan Carlos Oviedo RP 31 Free Agent Miami -- --
Vicente Padilla RP 35 Free Agent Boston -- --
Angel Pagan CF 31 Signed San Francisco San Francisco 4 $40,000,000
Carl Pavano SP 37 Free Agent Minnesota -- --
Mike Pelfrey SP 29 Signed NY Mets Minnesota 1 $4,000,000
Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Carlos Pena 1B 34 Signed Tampa Bay Houston 1 $2,900,000
Brad Penny RP 34 Free Agent San Francisco -- --
Joel Peralta RP 37 Signed Tampa Bay Tampa Bay 2 $6,000,000
Oliver Perez RP 31 Signed Seattle Seattle 1 $1,500,000
Andy Pettitte SP 40 Agreed NY Yankees NY Yankees 1 $12,000,000
Juan Pierre LF 35 Signed Philadelphia Miami 1 $1,600,000
A.J. Pierzynski C 36 Signed Chicago Sox Texas 1 $7,500,000
Scott Podsednik LF 37 Free Agent Boston -- --
Placido Polanco 3B 37 Signed Philadelphia Miami 1 $2,750,000
Chad Qualls RP 34 Free Agent Pittsburgh -- --
Ramon Ramirez RP 31 Free Agent NY Mets -- --
Jon Rauch RP 34 Free Agent NY Mets -- --
Mark Reynolds 3B 29 Signed Baltimore Cleveland 1 $6,000,000
Juan Rivera LF 34 Free Agent LA Dodgers -- --
Mariano Rivera RP 43 Signed NY Yankees NY Yankees 1 $10,000,000
Francisco Rodriguez RP 31 Free Agent Milwaukee -- --
Scott Rolen 3B 37 Free Agent Cincinnati -- --
Cody Ross RF 32 Signed Boston Arizona 3 $26,000,000
David Ross C 36 Agreed Atlanta Boston 2 $6,200,000
Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 26 Signed Japan LA Dodgers 6 $36,000,000
Takashi Saito RP 43 Free Agent Arizona -- --
Anibal Sanchez SP 29 Agreed Detroit Detroit 5 $80,000,000
Freddy Sanchez 2B 35 Free Agent San Francisco -- --
Jonathan Sanchez SP 30 Free Agent Colorado -- --
Joe Saunders SP 31 Free Agent Baltimore -- --
Nate Schierholtz RF 29 Signed Philadelphia Chicago Cubs 1 $2,225,000
Brian Schneider C 36 Free Agent Philadelphia -- --
Luke Scott 1B 34 Free Agent Tampa Bay -- --
Marco Scutaro 2B 37 Signed San Francisco San Francisco 3 $20,000,000
Ben Sheets SP 34 Free Agent Atlanta -- --
George Sherrill RP 35 Free Agent Seattle -- --
Kelly Shoppach C 32 Signed NY Mets Seattle 1 $1,500,000
Grady Sizemore CF 30 Free Agent Cleveland -- --
Chris Snyder C 32 Free Agent Houston -- --
Player Position Age Status 2011 Team New Team Years Dollars
Joakim Soria RP 28 Signed Kansas City Texas 2 $8,000,000
Rafael Soriano RP 33 Agreed NY Yankees Washington 2 $28,000,000
Geovany Soto C 30 Signed Texas Texas 1 $2,750,000
Ian Stewart 3B 27 Signed Chicago Cubs Chicago Cubs 1 $2,000,000
Ichiro Suzuki RF 39 Signed NY Yankees NY Yankees 2 $13,000,000
Nick Swisher RF 32 Signed NY Yankees Cleveland 4 $56,000,000
Yoshinori Tateyama RP 37 Free Agent Texas -- --
Ryan Theriot 2B 33 Free Agent San Francisco -- --
Jim Thome DH 42 Free Agent Baltimore -- --
Andres Torres CF 35 Agreed NY Mets San Francisco 1 $2,000,000
Matt Treanor C 37 Free Agent LA Dodgers -- --
Koji Uehara RP 37 Signed Texas Boston 1 $4,250,000
B.J. Upton CF 28 Signed Tampa Bay Atlanta 5 $75,250,000
Jose Valverde RP 35 Free Agent Detroit -- --
Jose Veras RP 32 Signed Milwaukee Houston 1 $1,850,000
Shane Victorino RF 32 Signed LA Dodgers Boston 3 $39,000,000
Carlos Villanueva RP 29 Free Agent Toronto -- --
Omar Vizquel 2B 45 Retired Toronto -- --
Chien-Ming Wang SP 32 Free Agent Washington -- --
Ty Wigginton 3B 35 Signed Philadelphia St. Louis 2 $5,000,000
Dewayne Wise LF 35 Signed Chicago Sox Chicago Sox 1 $700,000
Randy Wolf SP 36 Free Agent Baltimore -- --
Jamey Wright RP 38 Free Agent LA Dodgers -- --
Kevin Youkilis 3B 34 Signed Chicago Sox NY Yankees 1 $12,000,000
Chris Young SP 33 Free Agent NY Mets -- --
Delmon Young RF 27 Signed Detroit Philadelphia 1 $750,000
Carlos Zambrano SP 31 Free Agent Miami -- --

Explanation of Type A / B Free Agents

Under rules of the new CBA, MLB has abolished Type A and B free agent status, proceeding instead with a system that will award compensation based upon contract size. Below is how they were previously classified.

Some top free agents bring a small amount of compensation back to their former clubs when they sign with new teams in the form of extra picks in the subsequent Rule 4 draft. Although this rule was ostensibly designed to give clubs some kind of compensation for losing good players, especially lower-payroll clubs who couldn't or wouldn't retain those top free agents, it was also put in place to produce a slight drag on free-agent salaries. Not only has it clearly failed on both of those goals, but it has slightly distorted the market for free agents, making certain players more or less appealing than they otherwise would be.

The compensation rules were simplified in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, so that now there are only three types of players:

• Type A players, ranked in the top 30 percent of players at their positions. A team that signs a Type A player gives its top draft pick to the club that the player is leaving. The "losing" club also receives a supplemental pick in the "sandwich" round between the first and second rounds.

• Type B players, ranked below the top 30 percent but in the top 50 percent of players at their positions. A team that loses a Type B player receives a supplemental pick, but the signing team does not lose any picks.

• All other players, who carry no compensation at all. There had previously been a third class of "Type C" players, but that was eliminated in the new CBA.

The two compensation classes will shrink beginning in the winter after the 2007 season; the Type A pool will only comprise players in the top 20 percent of their positions, and the Type B pool will only comprise players in the second quintile (21-40 percent). The rankings come from a formula that MLB and the players' union agreed on in the early 1990s, entrusting Elias with the task of generating the statistical rating for each player. The formula -- the specific components of which no one seems to know -- looks at player statistics from the preceding two seasons, combining both bulk statistics (that is, ones that increase with playing time) and simple rate statistics (such as batting average). It then ranks players in each of those categories and then assigns each player a points value inversely related to his ranking. In this respect, the formula is based on where a player ranks in relation to his peers in each category -- not how the player actually performed. If you led all players at your position in home runs over the past two years, it wouldn't matter if you hit 40 or 80 -- you'd get the same number of points.

If a team has a draft pick in the first half of the first round (that is, in the top 15 picks), its first-round pick is protected from the compensation process, meaning that the highest pick it can lose for signing a Type A free agent is its second-round pick. This has already affected three clubs -- the Cubs (for Alfonso Soriano), Orioles (for Danys Baez) and Indians (for David Dellucci) all signed Type A free agents, but lost their second-round picks rather than their first-round picks. Given the rapidly expanding sandwich round and the weak college crop in the 2007 draft, it's likely that one or more of those clubs was more willing to surrender that second-round pick knowing that its value this year is low.

If a team signs more than one Type A free agent, its picks are parceled out to the "losing" clubs in an order determined by the ratings of the free agents the team signed. For example, Baltimore signed Baez, whose rating was 69.810, and Chad Bradford, whose rating was 62.890. Since Baltimore's first-round pick was protected, the Orioles lost their second-round pick to Atlanta (for Baez) and then their third-round pick to the Mets (for Bradford). If, however, the Orioles were to sign a Type A free agent with a rating higher than Baez's rating, then that player's former club would get Baltimore's second-round pick and Atlanta and the Mets would get the O's third- and fourth-round picks respectively.

The picks in the sandwich round follow the normal draft order, meaning that it takes place in reverse order of finish (but only includes teams that have received extra picks). However, a team that has received two sandwich picks must wait until every team that picks in the round has selected once before it makes its second pick; a team that has received three picks must wait until all teams with two or more picks have selected twice; and so on.

There is also a set of quotas governing how many Type A and B players one club may sign as free agents in one winter, with that number determined by the total number of Type A and B players who elect free agency in that offseason.

• If fewer than 14 Type A or B players elect free agency, no club may sign more than one such player.

• If 15-38 Type A or B players elect free agency, no club may sign more than two such players.

• If 39-62 Type A or B players elect free agency, no club may sign more than three such players.

• If 63 or more Type A or B players elect free agency, "the Club quotas shall be increased accordingly," according to the basic agreement.

Since 93 Type A or B free agents filed for free agency this winter, the per-club quota this off-season is eight. However, each team may sign as many Type A or B free agents as it loses in any particular winter, even if those signings would put it over the quota for that winter. At this writing, only Baltimore has signed three such free agents (Baez, Bradford, and Jamie Walker, who was a Type B).

The rating system groups players into five categories -- catchers, starting pitchers, relief pitchers,infielders other than first basemen, and first basemen/outfielders/designated hitters. Players are ranked in five to seven statistical categories, with the specific categories varying by their position grouping (e.g., there are no fielding stats used in the 1B/OF/DH group, but the catcher and infielder groups each include two defensive stats). Cumulative statistics may be adjusted for players who spent time on the disabled list, restoring stats for up to 60 days of missed playing time.

Each player is then given a point total for each statistical category that is inversely related to his actual ranking. For example, if there are 100 starting pitchers in the ranking, then the pitcher with the lowest ERA gets 100 points, the pitcher with the second-lowest ERA gets 99 points, and so on, until it reaches the pitcher with the highest ERA, who gets one point just for writing his name. This system has an obvious flaw, of course, as it gives no weight to the distance between any two players: If the top pitcher's ERA is 0.1 or 0.01 or 1.0 runs better than the ERA of the next-best pitcher, it doesn't matter, as he still only gets one extra point. Point totals within each position are then scaled to make 100 aperfect score.

Baseball Salaries / 2009-2013 Arbitration Figures / Draft Picks

Page back / Back to top