DETROIT -- After being hamstrung by the new financial restrictions of the First-Year Player Draft last month, the Tigers just picked up a huge benefit of the new rules, winning an extra pick at the end of the second round of next summer's Draft thanks to the Competitive Balance Lottery.
The lottery 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 an extra Draft pick to 12 teams. Despite the fifth-highest payroll in baseball, the Tigers were among eight teams in the mix for a pick after the second round, thanks to Detroit's market size being outside the top 15 teams in baseball and the small amount of revenue-sharing money they received last year.
The ping-pong balls drawn Wednesday fell in the Tigers' favor, giving Detroit the last of the 12 picks awarded. Depending on how many free-agent-compensation picks are doled out this coming offseason, the selection should fall somewhere in the mid- to late 70s in the overall order. By comparison, the Tigers didn't make their first pick in last month's First-Year Player Draft until the 91st overall selection. They didn't come up in the 2011 Draft until the 76th pick.
In those drafts, the Tigers lost their first-round picks thanks to signing free agents under the old rules. Now, not only did they gain a pick, it could help them gain another big-name player if they need an extra trading chip.
Unlike other Draft selections, the picks awarded through the lottery are tradeable, allowing teams to deal draft picks for the first time. Moreover, they're tradeable now for actual players, giving the Tigers an extra enticement leading up to the Trade Deadline.
In many ways, it's like an extra prospect the Tigers can deal without taking away from their current farm system. It's not only about the pick, but the extra Draft spending that comes with it. Even if another team isn't intrigued by where the pick falls, that team could sign a player under slot for that spot and use the money saved on other picks.