Major League Baseball has changed over the years from America's National Pastime to one of the largest entertainment businesses in the world. As the industry has changed, so has the way that teams are assembled. Each year thirty teams start off in November with the goal of churning out a profit by the following October. In order to do this, a winning product has to be put on the field. To assemble a MLB team a General Manager can use three types of players: Home Grown, Traded For, and Free Agents.
Home Grown: A home grown player is one who is either drafted in the First Year Player Draft or is an international signee as an Amateur Free Agent. To read more on International Amateur Free Agents check out SI.com's article.
Free Agent: A free agent player is any player that is not under contract with any franchise and is eligible to be signed by any club. To learn more about how to become a Free Agent click here.
Small market teams like the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays focus on building from within, spending more money in the Amateur Draft and on Amateur Free Agents than in Free Agency. For big market teams such as the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs, the luxury of having more money allows them to be competitive players in the Free Agency sweepstakes each year.