MLB Competitive Balance Lottery: Deadline Deals That Could Include Lottery Picks

Shaun Church@@NFLChurchContributor IJuly 17, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 22:  Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins watches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Marlins Park on June 22, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Toronto defeated Miami 12-5.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

MLB has a new Competitive Balance Lottery, and teams may use those picks as trade bait this season. A few deals could be made this summer based on these lottery picks, and with them, baseball will usher in a new way to negotiate possible deadline trades.

As pointed out by B/R Featured Columnist Ryan Rudnansky, the CBL is flawed. But baseball is trying to stay competitive not only within itself, but within the realm of American professional sports.

Though we don’t know the order of next year’s lottery (that will be determined July 18), we do know these picks can be used as bait. If a team gets suckered into a deal because of one—or more—of these picks, the team on the receiving end of the player-for-draft-pick trade could become an instant World Series threat.


San Diego Padres Send 3B Chase Headley to Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore has been near the top of the AL Eastern division standings all season. They currently sit in second behind the red-hot New York Yankees and just a half-game ahead of the Boston Red Sox.

Yet they possess one of the lottery picks in the CBL. Again, the system—still in its infancy—is flawed. San Diego also has one of the lottery picks and could like the idea of having another (up to four picks in the first two rounds of the draft? Why not?).

The Orioles have Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds on their major-league roster this season, with Betemit getting the majority of the starts even though he’s more of a utility player. That’s how bad Reynolds is.

Reynolds has been splitting time between third, first and DH, but he has also spent time in the minors this season.

His strikeout rate is terrible. Since 2008, Reynolds—a career .236 hitter—has produced four of the top 10 highest strikeout totals in major league history. No one over that time has struck out more than Reynolds has, and it’s not even close.

Headley would make Reynolds expendable and bring a consistent bat to a lineup in need of protection behind All-Star center fielder Adam Jones. Headley is not the best-hitting third baseman (a career .268 hitter), but he makes sense for Baltimore because he provides an above-average glove at the hot corner.

That is something of which they are in desperate need.

Betemit and Reynolds combined at third have a .905 fielding percentage this season. Headley sports a .975 percentage. The lottery pick, along with whatever else they send to San Diego, would be well worth the return.


Colorado Rockies Send CF Dexter Fowler to Cincinnati Reds

Another scenario where both teams possess one of the lottery picks, the Reds are currently leading the NL Central and are in good shape down the road as well. The Rockies will need some help to compete for the foreseeable future.

That’s where the lottery pick comes in.

This trade is a bit of a longshot because of Cincinnati’s weird affection for Drew Stubbs. It needs to happen, though, if the Reds want to win the NL Central and make a deep run into the playoffs this season.

Stubbs’ production has decreased across the board since his rookie season, and in 71 games this year he has a .217/.287/.361/.648 disappointment of a slash line. His defense is great in center, but his bat has been very inconsistent.

Dexter Fowler’s 2012 season has been streaky as well, but not as polarizing as that of Stubbs.

The Rockies center fielder has a slash line of .300/.384/.532/.916 so far, and he’s been on fire of late, batting .438 with a double, a homer, three runs batted in and a 1.035 OPS in eight games since July 5.

You might say he benefits from playing at the thin-aired Coors Field in Denver, and you’d be right, but his career numbers at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati are equally as good—better, even.

Stubbs’ numbers are less than impressive at his home park.

Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd says he expects to keep Fowler, but did not say he won’t be traded, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported was the case with Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer:

You’ve got a center fielder on pace to have 20 home runs and 80 RBI...I can’t say for certain (we’re not trading him) but we put a lot higher value on him than someone looking to acquire him.


Miami Marlins Send RF Giancarlo Stanton to Pittsburgh Pirates

Who wants a 22-year-old behemoth right fielder with ungodly power to all fields and a Howitzer for a throwing arm?

Yes, baseball Insider Buster Olney is reporting that if the Marlins become sellers, everyone on the roster is fair game. That includes the player formerly known as “Mike.”

If trade talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks for struggling former No. 1 overall pick RF Justin Upton die, look for GM Neal Huntington to call about Stanton. Outfield prospect Starling Marte would be a perfect fit in Miami, as he hails from the Dominican Republic.

The team already has an incredible Latin flair to it with the new ballpark, their new manager—Ozzie Guillén—and the thousands of Latin fans who attend games. Adding a Latin future star to the equation may save what has become a disaster of a season.

Stanton would be a better deal for the Pirates, frankly. He’s a better hitter than Upton is, and their defense is about equal in right field. Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton would put the Pirates back on the map for real, and they would be one of the most-feared 3-4 combinations in all of baseball.

Keeping with the theme, both these teams possess a lottery pick next year. Pittsburgh could sweeten the offer with their pick, Marte and potentially a pitcher from their starting rotation. With everyone on the block, it’s only a matter of time before Josh Johnson is dealt away from Miami for prospects.