Francisco Liriano

What it would mean for Red Sox' draft if they went after James Shields, Max Scherzer, Ervin Santana or Francisco Liriano

Rob Bradford
December 01, 2014 - 7:48 am

Now that the smoke has cleared somewhat after the shock and awe signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, it seems like a good time to delve into some of the deal'€™s minutiae. Here is some clarification as to what the signings (and potential signings) mean for the Red Sox'€™ draft in 2015: - The Red Sox first-round pick '€“ No. 7 overall -- is protected (since it is in the top 10). - The Giants and Dodgers don'€™t get the Red Sox actual picks after that. (A change with the new CBA.) - The Red Sox lose their normal second-round pick and the compensation pick they hauled in at the end of the second pick from the A'€™s in the Jon Lester trade. - The Giants and Dodgers each get a compensation pick after the first round. Those picks are awarded in reverse order of standings of all the teams who lost players who received qualifying offers. - If the Red Sox sign another player with a qualifying offer attached -- such as James Shields, Ervin Santana or Francisco Liriano -- they would lost their third-round pick (and so on). It's interesting to note that the draft pick acquired in the Lester deal basically gave the Red Sox a freebie when it came to signing a qualifying offer free agent. Also, now that the cost of signing a Shields, Scherzer, Santana or Liriano would just be a third-rounder, does that change the dynamic in how the Red Sox' approach those free agents differ from other teams? While teams pursuing Shields likely won't be discouraged by his qualifying offer existence, both Liriano and Santana could potentially be hit hard by the qualifying offer tag (as Santana experienced go-round before signing a one-year deal in March). An example how such a chain of events might shape a team's approach to qualifying offer free agents came last year when the Orioles were willing to sign Nelson Cruz only after committing to Ubaldo Jimenez (sacrificing their first-round pick). The O's deemed Cruz worthy of sacrificing the value of a second-round pick, which became a reality after the Jimenez signing. The soon-to-be 32-year-old Santana (211 and 196 innings, respectively, over the past two seasons), and the 31-year-old Liriano (4-0, 1.23 ERA in his last seven starts; 3.38 for the season) both carry uncertainty, and aren't viewed as top-of-the-rotation options. But they also may represent the kind of starting veteran presences the Red Sox might not be averse investing a few years in. It should be noted that the remaining free agents with qualifying offers attached are: Liriano, Santana, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson, Shields, and Scherzer. (Nelson Cruz reportedly agreed to a deal with the Mariners Monday.)