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The Free Agents vs. Draft Picks Question

In his latest mailbag, Jason Beck answers a question that's been on my mind, if not many in Tiger Town this offseason. Is a second-round draft pick worth not signing a player like Juan Cruz? (And if you didn't know already, Beck's mailbag has moved from a regular "news" feature at tigers.com to his blog.)

Draft picks have become golden for a lot of teams, even before the economy turned sour, and this year's free-agent market has only heightened that. Even if a club has to pay a good contract to a first-round pick up front, it has that player on the roster for six seasons without hitting the open market. And recent history shows that if that's the strategy you're going for, the right picks can get to the Majors in a hurry. The road for a standout college player to the big leagues, depending on the position, isn't as long as it used to be.

I understand the philosophy, but in this case, I'm not sure I agree with it. (I reserve the right to change that opinion after I see who the Tigers select with their second-round pick, of course.) It's a moot point to argue, however, because I don't think Cruz is coming to Detroit. And given his Type A status, I'm not sure he ever was.

You can read the complete question-and-answer here.

In a somewhat related item, Detroit Tigers Thoughts has a really interesting post addressing the question of whether or not some of the Type A free agents who are still unemployed might be better off waiting to sign until June. By then, they would no longer cost a draft pick and their negotiating leverage could be stronger. Eddie focuses more on the shortstop market and Orlando Cabrera in his post, however.