Clarification of Saud's question about picking up contracted players from the free agent pool.
Free agency is not a means of laundering a player's market price, which was set at the auction.
Case 1: I picked up Ben Zobrist this year as a true free agent. I can keep him next year, 2010, for $1. If I drop him before the season ends and you pick him up, Saud, you can keep him for 2010 for $1. Suppose, after keeping him in 2010 with my free agent slot, I cut him. Anyone can use him for the rest of 2010, but he must go back into the auction pool for 2011.
Case 2: Pete bought Webb for $23 in 2009. If you pick him up before the end of this season and want to keep him, you will have to spend $23 to do so. This would be the case even if Pete had acquired him at auction in 2008. The only way his value is reset is if no one keeps him and he is either:
a) won at auction in 2010 for a different price
b) passes through the auction with no bidders and enters the 2010 as a true free agent. Case 1 now applies to his future value.
Case 3: I hurl Carlos Zambrano, along with my computer and a stream of epithets, off my roof deck and into the free agent pool. Pete picks him up for one spot start, realizes he even sucks at that, and also cuts him. Whet then acquires him for a spot start in order to taunt me when he pitches a no hitter, because Whet has luck like that. He then cuts him, knowing he will return to being a black hole. You then wish to acquire him, tantalized by his no-hitter and hoping to have more Chicago players on your team next year. If you want to keep him next season, he will still cost the $8 I paid for him.
An argument can be made that releasing someone into the free agent pool should reset his value, since he clearly is no longer valued at his auction price. In fact, I made that argument when we were drawing up our constitution, but it was soundly rejected. You may have been napping at this point and don't recall the debate, but it did happen. You can always bring it up again if we have a convention after 5 years under the post-Little Village Agreement.
never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut