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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Elias twist: Lopez tops Cardinals’ free agents

The top-ranked free agent from the St. Louis Cardinals has already been released.

Each year around Halloween, the Elias Rankings are released for all MLB players. So far, the most important subset of these numbers, the ones for eligible free agents, has surfaced. Translated to an alphabetic value, they are an important component of free agent compensation. The rankings are derived from two years worth of statistical data and are specific to groups of positions.

Only Type A and B free agents (if signed before the arbitration offer date or if offered arbitration) would require a compensatory pick and only Type A’s cause a draft selection to move from one team to another.

There is no suspense whatsoever for the St. Louis Cardinals in this year’s process.

The club has nine free agents: RHP Jake Westbrook, RHP Brad Penny, 3B Pedro Feliz, LHP Dennys Reyes, RHP Mike MacDougal, OF Randy Winn, INF Aaron Miles, RHP Jeff Suppan and C Jason LaRue. The latter has already stated his intent to retire.

Felipe Lopez (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)In a major statement about the productivity of this group of nine over the last two seasons, not a single one of them are Types A or B, meaning they can sign anywhere without compensation.

Westbrook remains the most likely of the group to be asked back for 2011, though it is unclear if his terms will align with the Cardinals wants. He was neither Type A nor B as the result of having missed the entire 2009 season.

There is one other player of note, the only ranked free agent that played for the 2010 Cardinals, infielder Felipe Lopez (pictured). Ironically, the Type B free agent was released late in the year due to some combination of misbehavior and substandard play and re-signed with Boston.

To see Elias Rankings of other clubs’ Type A and B free agents as potential signing targets for the Cardinals, click here. I will share the complete list of all free agents and all ranked players as soon as I can locate it.

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