- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
A general manager ran through the list of possible targets for his team the other day, and he glossed over the name of a prominent free agent. Not interested, he indicated, because “you’d have to give up the [draft] pick.”
He expressed the continuing sentiment of a lot of baseball executives, that draft picks and the draft dollars attached to them have value that cannot be surrendered lightly. This is why the Red Sox targeted a bunch of free agents who weren't attached to draft picks last winter, and probably part of the reason Jason Vargas has a four-year deal -- he wasn't attached to a draft pick -- and why some teams are shying away from Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, who are tied to compensation.
But that dynamic changes dramatically once a team decides to surrender its first-round pick, as the Yankees will in signing Brian McCann. Now the Yankees are set up for the double-dip, or more, among the elite free agents tied to compensation, such as Carlos Beltran, Stephen Drew, Santana and others.
“It’s like buying the buffet instead of ordering off the menu,” one executive said earlier this month. “You might as well go back for seconds and thirds.”