Sign and Trade to Game the QO

Ken Rosenthal included a tidbit in his column on Free Agent Signings. Apparently the CBA allows a team with a protected pick to sign a Free Agent and then immediately trade him to another team as long as the Free Agent who is signing agrees to it. On the Hot Stove show on MLB Network Rosenthal doubled-down on this and implied that this was allowed as long as the Free Agent agreed before he signed. Given the history of the Lerners and Rizzo, this is exactly the type of creativity that they might try to pull off.

The ten teams with protected picks are the: Phillies, Reds, Braves, Rockies, Brewers, Athletics, Marlins, Padres, Tigers and White Sox. As we all probably know, the Tigers signed Jordan Zimmermann who had a QO attached to his signing. But that still leaves nine other teams that might be enticed to sign a Free Agent for the Nats.

If you compare the protected teams list (minus the Tigers) with Papelbon’s no-trade list, you have two teams on both lists: the Phillies and the Padres. That makes for some interesting Machiavellian thoughts. Just one example – that admittedly has virtually no chance of happening but is fun to dream about:

  • Send Papelbon back to the Phillies.
  • Agree to cover all of his 2016 salary (have to give the Phillies some extra incentive).
  • Papelbon will be so desperate to get out of Philly that he might waive his no-trade clause. He wants to pursue the Closer record. Not going to get many opportunities with the Phillies.
  • Send the Phillies a few low level prospects or prospects (e.g., the Taylors) with no likely future with the Nats.
  • Have them sign someone (Chen?, Gordon?, even Kendrick might be worth it if no loss of a pick is involved).

The Phillies (or one of the other teams on the protected list) might consider such a deal if they are not going after a player with a QO. At least they get something out of it.

Stranger things have happened! And sometimes teams just want to bend the rules. For example, some Senators fans may recall the claim by Shelby Whitfield (third paragraph in the section) who was a radio announcer for the Senators that  the Denny McClain trade was to buy Detroit’s vote to approve the Senators move to Texas.

Assuming Rosenthal is correct that this is allowed, what’s your idea for such a deal? And even if he is wrong, it’s fun to think about. Be creative and outlandish!

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