Everyone knows the process is badly flawed. Attempts to transform it have proved ineffective, even counterproductive. Pitchers and players with impressive résumés remain ignored, treated as deadbeats, given far less consideration than far lesser talents.

No, this isn't about the National Baseball Hall of Fame vote, which is so Wednesday's news.

Whatever your view regarding Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire or Rafael Palmeiro, not one of those guys is going to give a quality start or gap an RBI double in 2013. The only tragedy the PED Five face is leaving their legacies to the same baseball press most of them considered pestilence during their prolific playing careers.

The real, not-imagined ongoing injustice involves three players who have done nothing wrong except to play extremely well at an inconvenient point in their careers.

Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse, center fielder Michael Bourn and closer Rafael Soriano aren't victims of their own poor judgment but hostages to a system that penalizes a team for signing them as free agents.


Reason No. 1: The Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees each made a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offers to their respective free agents following the filing period. By doing so, those teams assure themselves a compensatory draft pick from the signing club. The transfer of draft picks also means a corresponding shift in money each club is allowed to spend without penalty in this year's amateur draft.