Cardinals Firm Up Four Compensatory Picks

St. Louis to receive four extra picks in the 2010 draft if three players who declined arbitration offers do not return. Brian Walton explains where those picks should fall and why.

As expected, all three St. Louis Cardinals free agents offered arbitration by the club declined the offers – pitcher Joel Pineiro, infielder Mark DeRosa and outfielder Matt Holliday. Via their decisions, announced late Monday, the players formally cut their ties with the Cardinals, passing up the opportunity for one-year contracts to return for 2010.

Unless any of the players re-sign with St. Louis, the Cardinals will receive a total of four extra or compensatory picks in the 2010 draft as a result. The Cardinals three sandwich round picks, between the first and second rounds, should be as follows.

• Holliday pick: #4 in the comp round, 36th overall
• DeRosa/Pineiro pick: #16 (first Type B pass), 48th overall
• Pineiro/DeRosa pick: #21 (last comp player – second Type B pass), 53rd overall

This assumes only three MLB players accepted arbitration (Rafael Soriano, Rafael Betancourt and Carl Pavano) and none of the applicable free agents re-sign with their former team. As such, the above spots may not be final.

In other words, the Cardinals currently have (subject to change due to caveats noted above) at least four picks in the first 53 selections in the 2010 draft (their own first rounder plus the three sandwich picks) and potentially five, if another top 15 club (based on 2009 wins) signs Holliday.

The exact location of the other Holliday pick remains the major open question. Because Holliday is a Type A free agent, the signing team actually forfeits their first -or second-round pick and St. Louis receives it. This is in addition to the comp selection discussed above. It can be anywhere from the last half of the first round to the end of the first half of the second round.

For the 2010 draft, it should be between #17 and #31 overall or between #54 and #68 overall. The former is more likely since that is tied to a winning 2009 team signing Holliday such as the Red Sox (pick #29) or the Yankees (pick #31). Obviously, if Holliday instead re-signs with the Cardinals, they would not receive any compensatory selections since in that case, they would not have lost him.

As an aside, the Cardinals could also forfeit their first-round pick if they sign a Type A free agent that was offered arbitration by his former club. As an important point of reference, the San Francisco Giants did not offer pitcher Brad Penny arbitration, but the Cardinals were not on the hook to lose a pick by signing Penny, anyway. He was neither a Type A nor B free agent.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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