As part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball took its first steps toward setting up the 2015 draft by setting up the 12 picks that will compose the Competitive Balance Rounds.
According to Teddy Cahill of MLB.com, the first pick in Competitive Balance Round A was won by the Miami Marlins with the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals right behind them.
Here is a full look at the results from the draft lottery:
|Pick||Compensation Round A||Compensation Round B|
|1||Miami Marlins||Cincinnati Reds|
|2||Colorado Rockies||Oakland Athletics|
|3||St. Louis Cardinals||Seattle Mariners|
|4||Milwaukee Brewers||Minnesota Twins|
|5||San Diego Padres||Baltimore Orioles|
|6||Cleveland Indians||Arizona Diamondbacks|
The actual spot where the compensation picks will be made isn't determined until the draft order gets set, which doesn't happen until all the free agents who were given qualifying offers have signed.
Which team is the big winner from the Compensation Lottery?
Just going over the list of teams who received compensation picks, you can see yet another flaw in the CBA being brought to light. After last week's debacle involving Brady Aiken and the Houston Astros, which raised questions about the draft slotting system and cap on bonus money, we now see the St. Louis Cardinals awarded a free draft pick.
If there's one team in baseball that wouldn't need a gift pick, many would argue it would be the Cardinals. They have made the playoffs each of the last three years, played in two World Series, winning one in 2011 and have drawn over three million fans in 15 of the last 16 years.
By the rules of the CBA, the lottery was created to give teams in the 10 smallest markets and 10 lowest revenue clubs an opportunity to get an extra pick. The Cardinals don't fit the revenue criteria, ranking fifth in that category, according to a Forbes.com.
One person who isn't happy with the Cardinals bucking the system, through no fault of their own, is Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein, who had very pointed comments to Patrick Mooney of Comcast SportsNet Chicago:
That’s a fantastic franchise. They have been for the better part of a century. They do extremely well from a baseball standpoint, and from a revenue standpoint. That’s probably the last organization in baseball that needs that kind of (an) annual gift.
However, Rob Neyer of FoxSports.com was quick to point out the Cardinals aren't likely to find a lot of help if, say, they wind up picking in the 35 range:
Of the last 10 35th picks, three have reached the majors; the best of them (so far) has been Julio Borbon. In nearly 50 years, the only stars drafted 35th were Mark Langston, Johnny Damon, and Aaron Rowand. So it can happen, but probably won't.
There will be people who assume that Epstein is just making those comments because he works for the Cubs and St. Louis is their biggest rival, but he has no long-term history with this rivalry. If it were some random front office executive from a different team making the statement, it wouldn't matter.
Despite that gripe with the system, the rest of the teams to receive a pick can certainly use the help, both in terms of the caliber of players available and the extra slot money it provides.
Even the Oakland A's, who have the best record in baseball, aren't overflowing with cash and revenue. In the above Forbes article, the Athletics were 26th in total revenue, ahead of Houston, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Miami.
We have seen how much teams value the draft and find ways to use their slot money under this new system, so the compensation rounds carry a lot of weight even if the players taken don't become MLB superstars.