In an effort to level the playing field among baseball franchises with varying amounts of capital to throw around, Major League Baseball held its first ever MLB Competitive Balance Lottery on Wednesday afternoon in New York.
According to MLB.com's Jason Beck, the Detroit Tigers, despite owning the fifth-highest payroll in baseball, were bestowed with a late second round pick in 2013 after what can only be described as a successful inaugural lottery:
#Tigers win a pick at end of second round in next year's draft thanks to competitive balance lottery. Potentially big chip in trade talks.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 18, 2012
While teams are not allowed to trade draft picks normally, this year's new competitive balance provision will permit teams to only swap picks earned through the lottery process. As such, Detroit's 2013 second rounder could be quite attractive to a number of teams as a trade deadline sweetener, and would come at little cost to the Tigers considering the franchise was hardly even anticipating this selection to be awarded at all.
By offering both first and second round competitive balance selections to as many as 12 small-market or cash-strapped teams every year, baseball has created much more flexibility for teams to both build from the draft AND swap a coveted draft pick for an established player. Even though Tigers general manager and team president Dave Dombrowski could certainly uncover a budding talent with this selection next year, this "free" draft pick comes at a perfect time for a Detroit team desperately trying to make a trade.