The 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):
And Competitive Balance Round B (after second round):
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”!