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Tigers' 1st-Round Draft Pick In 2011 Not Protected

Originally it looked like the Tigers' sketchy finish to the 2010 season would produce one positive: protecting the team's first-round draft pick in 2011.

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The bottom 15 teams of Major League Baseball have their No. 1 pick in the following year's draft protected, meaning signing a Type A free agent wouldn't cause them to give up their top pick. For Detroit, they missed out on the protection because they had the same record as the Oakland Athletics, which held the tiebreaker in this situation.

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Under baseball rules, the 15 teams that finish in the lower half of the overall major league standings don't lose their No. 1 pick for signing a top free agent. The Tigers and Oakland A's tied for the 15th spot on that list with records of 81-81.

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Oakland won the tie-breaker: It had a worse record the previous year (2009).  Oakland will draft 18th overall and the Tigers (if they still have the pick) will go 19th. Three teams get a bonus pick above them because they didn't sign their respective first-round pick this season.

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Which free agents are of the Type A variety will be determined at a later time by a statistical formula. Considering the Tigers are expected to have interest in someone like Adam Dunn, who could be a Type A free agent, this isn't exactly the greatest news in the world.

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By signing Jose Valverde, who was a Type A free agent, during last year's offseason, the Tigers lost out on their top pick in this year's draft.