- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
There are always unexpected consequences with each labor agreement, and the most notable shift under the current deal is the draft-pick compensation drag: So many teams have become fully invested in drafting and developing that they shy away from some of the free agents who cost a team a high draft pick.
Kyle Lohse got caught in the draft-pick vise last year, and so did Michael Bourn and Rafael Soriano. For some free agents, getting a qualifying offer from their current teams, along with the reality of the draft-pick compensation, is similar to an NFL player getting a franchise tag because it undercuts the player's ability to have a free market.
Thirteen players got qualifying offers Monday, and the potential draft-pick drag won't hurt some of them because they are elite free agents, the best of the best -- Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann.
Some free agents may be impacted somewhat because some teams are philosophically opposed to giving up draft picks and won't consider the likes of Shin-Soo Choo, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, but those players are expected to make out just fine. (A couple of executives estimated Monday that Choo will wind up with a five-year deal in the range of $15 million per year).