Tigers win pick in Competitive Balance Lottery
Never thought I’d be writing this covering baseball, but the ping-pong balls worked out in the Tigers’ favor Wednesday. Thanks to MLB’s new Competitive Balance Lottery, Detroit picked up an extra pick at the end of the second round of next summer’s First-Year Player Draft. And they might not even have to wait that long to reap the benefits of it.
I wrote yesterday about the rules quirk that allowed the Tigers, with baseball’s fifth-highest payroll, into the Competitive Balance Lottery, and what it could mean for them heading into the July 31 trade deadline. The Tigers were one of eight teams in the lottery for six picks at the end of the second round (six picks were also awarded at the end of the first round, but Detroit wasn’t eligible for those), and they got the last of them. Depending on how many free-agent compensation picks are doled out this coming offseason, the Tigers’ pick should fall somewhere in the mid- to late 70s in the overall order.
By comparison, the Tigers didn’t make their first pick in last month’s First-Year Player Draft until the 91st overall selection. They didn’t come up in the 2011 Draft until the 76th pick.
In those drafts, the Tigers lost their first-round pick thanks to signing free agents under the old rules. Now, not only did they gain a pick, it could help them gain another big-name player if they need an extra trading chip.
That’s right, trading draft picks. That’s the other new quirk about this Competitive Balance Lottery. The picks awarded through the lottery are tradeable, allowing teams to trade draft picks for the first time ever. Moreover, they’re tradeable now, giving the Tigers an extra enticement leading up to the trade deadline.
In many ways, it’s like an extra prospect the Tigers can deal without taking away from the farm system they have. It’s not only about the pick, but the extra draft spending that comes with it. Even if another team isn’t intrigued by where the pick falls, that team could sign somebody under slot and use the money on other picks.