It's part of the Competitive Balance Lottery, which was set up in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to provide a new avenue for smaller market teams to compete against the big boys by awarding them extra picks in the following season's First-Year Player Draft. The selection process takes place Wednesday afternoon, deciding 12 picks after the first two rounds among 14 teams.
Despite the fifth-highest payroll in baseball, the Tigers are in the mix for a pick. In fact, the way the lottery works, they have a pretty good chance at gaining a pick. It's a complicated formula, but somehow, the Tigers just made it in.
The picks are divided into two groups -- six picks at the end of the first round, six more at the end of the second. The first group of picks are given out among teams with the 10 smallest markets or 10 lowest revenues. That includes 13 teams: D-backs, Orioles, Indians, Royals, A's, Pirates, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Brewers and Cardinals.
Six of those 13 teams will end up with a pick. The other seven teams will enter the lottery for the second group of picks. By rule, teams who receive revenue sharing money and aren't located among the top 15 markets are also added to that mix. Only one team qualifies this year under those rules: Detroit barely falls outside the top 15 markets, but it does, and the Tigers received a little bit of revenue sharing money last year.
The Tigers will be one of eight teams vying for six picks, so their chances are pretty good. That said, teams' chances are higher or lower based on their winning percentage last season. So the Tigers' best shot comes if teams such as the Royals, Pirates, Padres and Orioles win picks in the first round, pitting Detroit against teams such as Milwaukee, St. Louis and Tampa Bay in the second round.
The Draft picks awarded in the lottery are tradeable, and teams can deal them as soon as Thursday. If teams are going to trade them, though, they have to do it during the season, either this one or next.