The Competitive Balance Lottery is Today … and the Picks Can Be Traded (UPDATE: Picks Are In)

mlb logoThe much-maligned changes that the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement made to the Rule Four amateur draft did feature one good thing: draft picks became tradable.

… well, sort of. The CBA added a “Competitive Balance Lottery” of picks that are awarded (in a lottery where your odds of winning are tied to your record the previous year) to smaller market teams and low-revenue teams. The picks that the CBA made tradable? It’s those Competitive Balance Lottery picks. And the Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2014 Draft takes place today.

Unfortunately for the Chicago Cubs, teams in the largest markets or that generate the most revenue are not eligible to receive a pick in the lottery. That means, for the foreseeable future, the Cubs – unlikely every other team in the NL Central – will not be eligible to receive a lottery pick.

The lottery awards six picks that come after the first round, and six that come after the second round. With contenders like the Indians, Rockies, Royals, Pirates, D-Backs, Cardinals, Orioles, A’s, Rays, Cardinals and Reds among the teams eligible to receive a pick today, perhaps we should be unsurprised that big-time trades haven’t yet gone down.

Perhaps the Cubs are holding back finalizing any Matt Garza deal, for example, until they know whether an involved team will be able to throw in a draft pick? Perhaps other deals are contingent on draft pick inclusion?

I don’t think you could say that for certain, but it’s certainly reasonable to assume that the Cubs could ask about draft picks after they become available today. Assets are assets. Heck, the Cubs traded for international pool space this year on the first day it was eligible to be traded.

We’ll see who ends up winning the picks. MLBTR earlier this year took a look at the value of those picks, at least based on last year’s trades (the first year the picks existed and could be traded). It’s worth a re-read as we prepare for the lottery. The short version? It’s conceivable that a pick after the first round is worth a good role player, but not necessarily a clear starter (the example involved the Pirates acquiring Gaby Sanchez from the Marlins for the number 35 pick long after Sanchez had fallen off as a clear starter at first base).

The lottery takes place at 3pm CT, and I’ll update when the picks are awarded.

UPDATE: The lucky teams …

Competitive Balance Round A (after first round):

1. Rockies

2. Orioles

3. Indians

4. Marlins

5. Royals

6. Brewers

And Competitive Balance Round B (after second round):

1. Padres

2. D-Backs

3. Cardinals

4. Rays

5. Pirates

6. Mariners

The good news is that the Rockies, Indians, Orioles, D-Backs, Cardinals, Rays and Pirates all got picks, and they’re all plausible trade partners. The bad news is that it feels like the best trading partners for these picks are the Pirates and D-Backs, and both of their picks come after the second round (far less valuable than after the first).

The other bad news? The Cardinals, Pirates, and Brewers all got picks (at least the Reds were snubbed). Hooray “competitive balance”!

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

139 responses to “The Competitive Balance Lottery is Today … and the Picks Can Be Traded (UPDATE: Picks Are In)”

  1. Diamond Don

    If the intent of the competitive balance picks are to even out the competition, why would the Cubs not receive one as they have not won a World Series in 105 years. Makes zero sense to me as Cardinals got one and they have won a number of World Series in the last 25 years.

    1. Edwin

      That’s not what they’re trying to balance out. They’re trying to balance out the advantage that big market teams have over smaller market teams.

      1. npnovak

        Yeah, but the gap is now smaller than it has ever been, even before this “competitive balance lottery”. Big name free agents don’t reach free agency as often, and there are restrictions on international spending.

        Since the Cardinals just won a world series and have the top farm system by most analysts, it just doesn’t really make sense that they get a pick. It’s not like they’re poor either.

  2. Kramden

    The really stupid part of this whole stupid competitive balance thing is ….. who’s to say that by the time these competitive balance draft picks develop, these teams won’t already have turned it around to become the best teams in baseball with a national following buying their branded merchandise?

    In which case the competitive balance thing would result in an uncompetitive and unbalanced outcome.

    Crazy world, ain’t it?

    1. Edwin

      That’s not the point. It’s not about how successful an organization has been. Otherwise you’d just be rewarding teams for being run poorly. It’s about trying to even out the natural advantage that a team like the Cubs get for being located in a giant market. If the Cubs are run poorly and fail to take advantage of their market, it’s their own fault.

      1. Scotti

        Teams that are run poorly can fall into the “low revenue” category of the CBD. The draft is the ten smallest markets AND the ten lowest revenue teams. To be sure there is crossover but the White Sox could some day make that draft and they’re in a huge market.

      2. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Wow, that is pretty black and white. So a team in modern baseball is at a clear advantage because of the market they are in? Most “name” players are getting locked in early. Most “name” players will never see FA no matter what market they are in. What is really being balanced here? The only big name FA that came from a market like this was Prince Fielder that was actually worth a decent contract. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you can buy a winning team or 15 teams would be doing it every year.

        1. Hawkeye

          Only Prince? I dont know exactly your definition of “Name” players or decent contracts are but I can give you MANY more than that. Also money certainly helps buy a winning team. It doesn’t alway work but we can look at Theo’s Red Sox. There still waiting for a title if they don’t pony up for Martinez and Schilling.

          1. King Jeff

            I believe both Martinez and Schilling were acquired through trade.

            1. MichiganGoat

              Yes Schilling was traded

              According to B-R “November 28, 2003: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Boston Red Sox for Michael Goss (minors), Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon and Jorge De La Rosa.”

            2. MichiganGoat

              Same for V-Mart

              “July 31, 2009: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Boston Red Sox for Bryan Price (minors), Nick Hagadone and Justin Masterson.”

              1. King Jeff

                I thought he was talking about Pedro, but I see that he was also acquired through trade, for prospects that the Sox developed. Crazy concept.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  Yeah thats correct Pedro

                  “November 18, 1997: Traded by the Montreal Expos to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later and Carl Pavano. The Boston Red Sox sent Tony Armas (December 18, 1997) to the Montreal Expos to complete the trade.”

                  I just always think about the VMart trade because its the type of trade that you both want and regret (losing Masterson for a rental) is the type of tough trades the Cubs will be doing in a couple of years.

                  1. King Jeff

                    I think if the Cubs gave up one truly productive MLB starter total for 3 guys of this caliber, I could live with it.

        2. Edwin

          “So a team in modern baseball is at a clear advantage because of the market they are in?”

          Yes, that’s it exactly.

  3. X The Cubs Fan

    Cubs should trade the Cards Kevin Gregg for their pick. I think it would be fair.

    1. Serious Cubs Fan

      No way we’d get a comp pick for Gregg.

      1. joey jo jo junior

        Gregg should get more than a comp pick actually. Look at Brett’s analysis of what a comp pick is worth for reference.

        1. Serious Cubs Fan

          If we could get a Comp pick for Gregg, I’d take it. I just think a lot of us are overvaluing Gregg. He has been exposed a little. I don’t think we’ll get anyone’s org. top 10-15 player for Gregg. In a bad system I think we could net a fringy top 20 guy. I’m might even be undervaluing him.

          I’d take a the comp pick over a fringy prospect. With the comp pick we get to add money to the bonus pool and we could take a chance on a high upside young prospect in the draft. I’d rather take a high upside/high risk draft prospect then a “meh” prospect that we all pretty much know won’t be an impact guy. Our system is very deep and we already have a ton “meh” prospects

          1. Scott

            In order to get a comp. pick for Gregg we’d have to offer him a one year deal for 13mil (or so) and then for him to sign with another team. I’m pretty sure he’d jump all over that money. Get what you can for the guy. Weak rp market. Maybe we get a decent prospect.

            1. Serious Cubs Fan

              No we were talking about the competitive balance picks, not comp picks. My b. I should have clarified

  4. Cubs_Questions

    I would be excited to see a competitive balance pick from the Indians come our way in a Garza deal.

  5. Spoda17

    How the hell are the friggin Cardinals getting a pick… this is stupid!

  6. Edwin

    The Cardinals play in a much smaller market than the Cubs. That’s why they’re getting a pick.

  7. X The Cubs Fan

    David Wiess ‏@WiessD 7h
    Sources: Matt Garza on the verge of being traded to the @Dodgers
    Details

    1. Jp3

      We saw this hours ago… Guess they missed the 5 o’clock news for that one…. Oh wait, he hasn’t actually been traded yet..

  8. Vulcan

    Why can’t the pick be based off record mid-season or end of season? I understand that St. Louis is a smaller market but based on how they are performing this year and have in the past, do they REALLY need it?

    1. 70'scub

      You suck Bud, this is pure crap picks based on city size.

  9. ScottK

    The crazy thing about all of this to me is that no other major sports do this because they have a salary cap. If you want to make baseball have greater parity, that would certainly help do it. No amount of band-aid solutions will ever bring about the kind of equality that a salary cap would. Even a soft cap like the NBA would make a world of difference.

    1. Edwin

      Drafts and salary caps aren’t as much about competative balance as they are about keeping labor costs down. I’m sure the owner’s wouldn’t mind doing a salary cap, but I think the player’s union would throw a fit.

  10. Obsessive Matt Garza Trade Watch: Step Right Up, Make Your Best and Final | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] timing of the request for best and final offers, I have to believe the Cubs were indeed waiting for the Competitive Balance Lottery to pass to see if any of the interested teams would be able to supplement their offers with an extra draft [...]

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