Baseball’s free agency rules are reason No. 1,546,567 fans watch games. Or not. They are confusing, they are mundane, and many of them need to be revamped.

We are going to try to make some sense of one rule here in regards to the status of free agents and what it means for salary arbitration.

Generally, the Elias Sports Bureau releases free agent statuses three times a year. 

In July, usually in advance of the trade deadline, Elias will release its first projection of possible free agents for the coming winter.

Another projection will come after the conclusion of the regular season.

And then the final release will come after the playoffs have wrapped up and all statistics from that season are final.

Elias lists players who may hit the free agent market this year and applies a Type A (top 20 percent at their position), Type B (top 40 percent at their position) or no status to their name.

These “statuses” are derived from a complex system that utilizes a wealth of stats and numbers, and it’s the final status that determines what form of draft pick compensation will be assigned to each given player on the free agent market.

For instance, if a player is deemed a “Type A” free agent and signs with a new team, then that team will have to give up its first-round pick in the coming year — the top 15 picks are protected, however — and the team that “lost” the player will receive the aforementioned first-round pick plus a supplemental-round pick (between first and second round).

If a player is deemed a “Type B” free agent, then any team can sign him without giving up a draft pick while his old team that “loses” him would receive just a supplemental-round pick in return.

If a player isn’t given any status, then there is no form compensation involved.

Take this winter for an example (this is completely hypothetical.)

Say the Boston Red Sox offer Victor Martinez (Type A) arbitration and he declines and instead signs with the New York Yankees as a free agent. The Red Sox would receive New York’s first-round pick in the 2011 draft as well as a pick between the first and second round.

Since two picks are attached to Type A free agents, teams are more apt to offer them arbitration if they aren’t certain they can sign the player to a long-term deal. Type Bs are less likely.

In advance of the 2011 free agent market, lets take a look at ten guys who probably will not be offered arbitration.

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