If a team doesn't sign their 1st,2nd or 3rd rd pick they get a compensation pick in the next yrs draft. Any other round its a wasted pick The player is not a free agent, If a team wanted to sign him he would be drafted again the next yr...if he is eligible. if he is eligible and not drafted he is a free agent.
njbb is correct, players do not become free agents if they do not sign, and they are only eligible for the next years draft if certain circumstances exist (JUCO, 3,4 year college or age eligible sophmore, reshirts, etc). Only when a player is out of draft options, he should consider being a free agent.
The player also has the right to decide if he will allow the team that drafted him to future draft him.
Teams do not like to waste good picks, that's why some will sometimes go with a sure bet (will sign quickly and not hold out) rather than lose a pick that is important (1-10 especially).
One additinoal note...if a team drafts a player in the first three rounds and he doesn't sign, they get an additional pick the following year in roughly the same draft position as the original pick.
However, in that second year, if the player they draft with that pick doesn't sign, they get no compensation pick. In other words, that pick is only protected in the first year.
For example, the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Brewers all get a compensation pick this year for failing to sign players in last years first round (Loux, Whitson, and Covey, respectively). Whoever they draft with those picks this year will have to sign or they won't get any compensation next year. So you better believe the players these teams picks in those specific spots will be guys they know will sign.
Just to clarify for my own knowledge. My son went undrafted last year, but was offered a Free Agent contract. Would that option not also exist for a player that was drafted, but did not sign by the deadline? Isn't the process over, thereby allowing a player the freedom to go to MLB tryouts, or sign later, before the next draft?
I am not passing judgement on the idea, just seeking clarity on the rules.
Would that option not also exist for a player that was drafted, but did not sign by the deadline? Isn't the process over, thereby allowing a player the freedom to go to MLB tryouts, or sign later, before the next draft?
That is not allowed. It would be a tremendous advantage for the Big Money teams and create problems with the draft. If it were allowed, Big Market teams would be signing other teams draft picks after the deadline.
Draft eligible player who go "undrafted" can sign as free agents. Drafted players have to sign with the team that drafted them or wait another year so long as the club does everything correctly.
Some people might not know that high school seniors that go undrafted are actually free agents for the summer. Matt Wieters went undrafted out of high school and was offered free agent deals during the summer. Buster Posey was drafted in the 50th round and that eliminated him from signing as a FA.
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