Minnesota Twins receive compensation pick, how it affects free agency

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 9: Carlos Santana /
Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins /

The announcement of the compensatory picks on Thursday could not have been a more positive outcome for the Minnesota Twins free agent plans. Wait…how does that work?!

The Minnesota Twins just completed the General Manager meetings and haven’t made a major free agent signing – yet. However, new rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement meant that one of the last actions of the GM meetings, the announcement of the 2018 compensatory picks, had a major affect on the Twins free agency plans.

So how exactly does that work?!

The new rules

In early December last year, the owners and the players’ union went to the final hour negotiating a new CBA. Some of the new details of the CBA were outlined in a few excellent articles, but Matt Snyder of CBS Sports had one of the best in the wake of the new deal that has held up as more details have come out.

The kicker quote in the explanation that affects the Minnesota Twins this offseason and in the 2018 draft:

"Smaller market teams will forfeit their third-highest MLB draft pick to sign a player who declined a qualifying offer. Larger market teams will forfeit their second- and fifth-highest picks. Those in the middle forfeit their second-highest pick and have their international bonus pool reduced by $500,000 next season."

Previously, a player who declined a qualifying offer would cost the team who signed him a first round pick (protected for the first 10 picks only).

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So why does this matter for the Twins?

On Thursday, MLB announced that the Twins would receive the 75th overall selection as a compensatory pick due to their market size and revenue base. The Twins will continue to be eligible for this even as attendance rises with a playoff-caliber club playing in Target Field every summer.

There is a bit of rotation to the compensatory picks, which meant that the Twins would likely end up in the second batch of compensatory picks this season after having one after the first round in 2017. However, the 75th pick is actually the LAST compensatory pick.

With the Twins intending to make a push for some of the bigger free agent names out there, the qualifying offer players could come into play. For a refresher, those who received (and all rejected) a qualifying offer this offseason were Jake Arrieta, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Cobb, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Eric Hosmer, Lance Lynn, Mike Moustakas, and Carlos Santana. Only Cain and likely his teammates Hosmer and Moustakas are not going to receive some significant interest from the Minnesota Twins.

Next: Twins FA pitchers, part 2

This is good news for the Twins in that they’ll give up their third selection of the draft, which would be that announced compensatory pick, keeping all their other regular selections in the draft for 2018, even if they do sign someone with a qualifying offer attached. Of course, signing a second free agent with a qualifying offer attached would cost the fourth selection in the draft (the Twins’ third round pick) and so forth.