A “rival executive” told FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that the Red Sox have more to gain by letting Jason Bay go via free agency and signing Matt Holliday to play left field.
The reason? Draft picks.
According to Rosenthal:
“Under baseball’s warped draft-pick compensation system, a high-revenue team that exchanges one Type A free agent for another actually nets an extra pick — a supplemental choice between the first and second rounds.
If the Sox lose Bay and sign both Holliday and free-agent shortstop Marco Scutaro, they not only will receive the same number of selections, but also might end up in better draft positions.
Signing Holliday would cost the Sox their first-round pick. Signing Scutaro, a lower-ranking free agent, would cost them their second- round selection.
But, if the Sox lose Bay after offering him salary arbitration, they will gain two picks — a likely first-rounder and the sandwich pick.”
However, the report says that if another team signed Holliday, it could change the Red Sox’ pursuit of Bay.
Holliday batted .313 last season between Oakland and St. Louis, belting 24 home runs and driving in 109 runs. Bay’s average was much lower at .267, but his 36 home runs and 119 RBIs had him ranked near the top of the American League.