I should say at the outset, what follows is bad news for the Chicago Cubs only if you want them to sign Adam Dunn. If you’re a Dunn-opponent, then you can go ahead and rejoice.
With the regular season at a close, players can now be classified by the Elias Sports Bureau as Type A (top 20% at their position) or Type B (the next 20%) for the purposes of compensation should the players be offered arbitration, decline, and then sign elsewhere. While the rankings will not be released until early November, MLBTradeRumors has projected the results, and there is at least one name of large interest to the Cubs: Adam Dunn. In a bit of a surprise, the Nationals’ free agent first baseman projects as a Type B free agent, which means that a team signing him would not have to give up a first round pick to do so.
Why then, you ask, is this bad news for the Cubs? Because the Cubs’ first round pick is protected. The Chicago Cubs will pick 9th in the 2011 draft, and the first 15 picks are protected from free agent compensation. That means that, if Dunn were a Type A free agent, the Cubs could have signed him without giving up a first round pick – unlike 15 other teams, who would have had to make the difficult decision regarding whether paying Dunn big bucks AND giving up a first rounder is worth his services.
In other words, the market for Dunn will probably be larger now than it would have been had he been a Type A; maybe not appreciably larger, but it takes only one other team to drive the bidding up.
The Cubs will be watching the rankings closely when they’re released in November, because it could very well determine how realistic of a target Dunn is for them.