The final piece to the draft compensation equation: losing slot money
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
The Twins' lineup would look better with a shortstop who could hit. Pedro Florimon is a very good fielder, but he doesn't bring much to the table offensively.
With pitchers and catchers reporting to Fort Myers, Fla., in two days, there's still a good shortstop available as a free agent, in Stephen Drew.
Although not a great hitter, he's good enough to constitute an upgrade at a position the Twins have struggled to field for years. And he brings value with his glove, too.
But even if he had modest salary demands, he comes at a significant cost. And that's why he remains unemployed just days before spring training.
Should the Twins sign him?
Let's take a look at the cost.
The Red Sox extended Drew a one-year qualifying offer, which he turned down. So the team who signs him will need to give up a compensatory draft pick.
Since the Twins have a top-10 draft pick in 2014, their first round pick is protected. Their second round pick will be higher than in most previous years, and projects to be in the 45-50 range. (Here is a list of all the Twins' second rounders since 2000.)
That may sound like a small price, but there have been some solid players drafted in that slot, even if it's more likely to be a swing-and-a-miss. (Tom Glavine, Dennis Eckersley, Cal Ripken Jr., anyone?)
Teams giving up a pick as compensation for signing a free agent like Drew also would forfeit the slot money attached to that pick. Reader Terry Davis pointed out that it's one of the more important and often overlooked costs in acquiring these free agents.
What does the slot money mean?
Each pick has a dollar value attached to it. The Twins' second round pick (No. 43 overall) in 2013, for example, was worth $1,294,100, according to mymlbdraft.com. Their first rounder (No. 4 overall) was worth $4,544,400. Jim Callis, then of Baseball America, put together a chart with the bonus pools, which comprise those total dollar values from the first 10 rounds for each team. Minnesota's total was $8,264,400, according to Callis.
That sum is what teams are allowed to spend on their draft selections. They're taxed heavily if they surpass that limit.
So that roughly $1.3 million it would cost the Twins can be awfully valuable, if you're trying to restock through the draft. To be clear, that isn't a price tag, but just a reduction of available slot money to sign draft picks.
When you consider the reduced slot money, the forfeiture of the second round draft selection and the contract it would take to sign a guy like Drew, perhaps the Twins think the cost is too high to be worth the upgrade from Florimon to Drew.