John Perrotto in his Every Given Sunday column (subscription required) at Baseball Prospectus has the Mets leaning to push heavily to sign Brian Fuentes rather than Francisco Rodriguez this winter. He also mentions that they'd like to acquire Derek Lowe, both of whom project as Type A free agents. Unfortunately, this is where things get a little sticky. In the scenario that the Mets signed both, either the Rockies or Dodgers would get their first round draft pick as compensation and the other team would get their second round pick, depending on which free agent Elias ranked higher. This could mean a difference of fifty to sixty draft choices or more with the sandwich round coming in between, so the rankings will have a substantial effect in the availability of talent for that comp pick. According to Eddie Bajek's projections, Fuentes edges Lowe, which would be a boon for the Rockies, but by just .14 percentage points, so it's close enough that I'll sweat it until the official rankings come out.
The real problem is that according to Bajek, Fuentes ranks as a somewhat weak Type A, so there are a dozen or so free agents that have a higher projection. This could be a big deal. In the 2007 draft, the Rangers picked right handed pitcher Blake Beavan with the seventeenth pick as compensation for the Astros signing Carlos Lee. Meanwhile, the Padres, who also had a Type A free agent signed by Houston in Woody Williams, got the 81st pick as their compensation which they used to select Eric Sogard. Beavan ranked as the Rangers fourth best prospect in a deep system heading into 2008, Sogard didn't even register on the Padres top 10 in a weaker system, even if he put in a decent year at Lake Elsinore this season. In this case it's the difference between a potential top of the rotation pitcher and a potential run of the mill second baseman. The Mets will have the 25th pick next summer (the same pick the Rockies used to get Christian Friedrich this year), so another way to look at it is to look at the difference between a talent like Friedrich and our second round selection Charlie Blackmon. With one result we could restock the system with elite talent in a hurry with three picks in the top fifty, while the other way would be good for the Rockies overall system depth but not for filling the topline talent we're currently low on.
Perrotto also mentions that the Red Sox could be interested in Garrett Atkins as a replacement for Mike Lowell, they seem to be keen to be a dance partner this winter, but for some reason the thought just brings some bile to my throat.