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A simple change to the draft


DrungoHazewood

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I've been thinking about this lately, with the Nats cashing in on being terrible by picking up both Strasburg and Harper. I think baseball has the incentives and rewards for the draft all screwed up. They reward teams for being as bad as possible, with decreasing rewards for being less terrible.

It's should be the other way around. I'm not saying you give the Yanks the first pick. What I'm saying is that you need to reward success in some way while keeping with the spirit of the draft being about fixing competitive balance in some small way.

One approach would be the NBA way - a lottery. All the teams that don't make the playoffs (or maybe finish below a certain record, .500?) get put in a hopper and draft order is decided by a weighted drawing.

But I think another approach might even be better - you make .500 the starting point. Obviously there'd be tie breakers, but you give the team closest to .500 the first pick. The next worst team the 2nd. Then the team just over .500 the 3rd. Then keep alternating until you get to playoff teams. Playoff teams always have the last eight spots. But the worst record gets the 9th-from-last pick.

Teams would be incentivized to win as much as possible. There is no reward for tanking a season. You get a much better pick if you finish 85-77 or 77-85 than if you finish 57-105. And you fall way down the list if you make the playoffs, but you're already making tons of cash just by getting to the playoffs. Really bad teams would get less penalty for signing a type A free agent, since they'd be picking lower.

So by my scheme the 2010 draft would follow this order:

Brewers

White Sox

Cubs

Reds

Rays

Jays

Braves

Padres

Tigers

A's

Marlins

Astros

Rangers

Mets

Giants

D'backs

Royals

Indians

O's

Pirates

Nats

Twins

Cards

Rockies

Phillies

Red Sox

Dodgers

Angels

Yanks

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Don't think it works. The idea is to give the worst team first dibs at the available "new" talent. If a team is honestly the worst, talent wise, why should they be drafting in the bottom third of each round? You're making it easier for the teams already close to .500, meaning you're widening the gap between them and those teams further from .500. Seems like that would be setting-up a system aimed at keeping the bad teams down while allowing the top 2/3rds of baseball to acquire the best talent. Not sure that best utilizes the draft, from a "good of the game" standpoint.

The Nats SHOULD get Strasburg and Harper. Just as the Rays SHOULD have been in a position to draft Price. The Nats will not be picking first next year, instead passing the torch to another currently awful franchise. Say that team is adding Rendon and Austin Maddox over the next two years, that should help them to move out of the cellar and make room for another awful team.

I understand what you are trying to get at, but I think the penalty for being bad is simply losing your fan base.

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So now the draft need to be changed now that the Nats have cashed in? Really? The Nats envy around here is getting ridiculous. Why wasn't this a problem when the Rays were 'cashing in' all those years? And speaking of the Rays, do you really think it is more fair for them (and the Blue Jays) to be drafting ahead of the Orioles? The O's would never get better under your improved system. The expression, "Cutting off the nose to spite the face" comes to mind.

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So now the draft need to be changed now that the Nats have cashed in? Really? The Nats envy around here is getting ridiculous. Why wasn't this a problem when the Rays were 'cashing in' all those years? And speaking of the Rays, do you really think it is more fair for them (and the Blue Jays) to be drafting ahead of the Orioles? The O's would never get better under your improved system. The expression, "Cutting off the nose to spite the face" comes to mind.

I think it was wrong all along to reward being worst. The draft incentivizes being as bad as possible. The Orioles have been a better team than the Nats over the last 2-3 years. What do they get for that? Certainly not Strasburg and Harper. The Orioles really would have been better off pulling a Black Sox and throwing the season for a few years. That's basically what the Rays did, and it's paying off in spades. Regarding the 2010 Orioles, I certianly wouldn't blame them if they came right out and said "we're keeping Garrett Atkins, Lou Montanez, Albers and the rest so that we can lock up the top pick in next year's draft - that's the system MLB has set up, and that's what we're working towards."

I thought the idea of sports was to do whatever you can to win the most games. Not tank seasons year after year to load up on draft picks.

The system is broken when 55-win teams are rewarded at the expense of 75, 80, 85-win teams that actually try to put a competitive team on the field.

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Even though the team I take a partial interest in when giving a damn about the NBA (Wizards) just benefitted from the lottery, I still hate it.

There's no proof that teams tank games to get the #1 draft pick in the majors. Did we not win two meaningless games at the end of last season?

Yes, it sucks that the Nats were able to hit on Strasburg and Harper for two years in a row...but if you've got a high pick, you've got a high pick and you better be able to do something with it. The Rays were finally able to iron their issues out and start drafting well.

With the lottery, you're just giving things up to chance. Imagine how the Nats would feel if they not only were the crappiest team in the game for two years straight and not only did not have the first pick but had the 12th and 14th overall picks, all because of a lottery? Meanwhile a team like the Rays last year could end up with the #1? If we do indeed end up with the worst record in the game this year (and I think we will), I damn well want to be guaranteed we have the first crack at Rendon next year.

I do think there should be some way to trade picks...thats the part that doesn't make any sense to me and thats the part that I think they should fix. Obviously a MLB draft 3rd rounder doesn't equate to an NFL 3rd rounder but at least give the option to allow teams to trade up, trade down or package a pick as part of a trade rather than the stupid PTBNL.

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With the lottery, you're just giving things up to chance. Imagine how the Nats would feel if they not only were the crappiest team in the game for two years straight and not only did not have the first pick but had the 12th and 14th overall picks, all because of a lottery? Meanwhile a team like the Rays last year could end up with the #1? If we do indeed end up with the worst record in the game this year (and I think we will), I damn well want to be guaranteed we have the first crack at Rendon next year.

Why? Why should teams that are run like crap and/or don't try to win get rewarded for that? Why shouldn't baseball be rewarding the teams that invest a little more in players, do their development a little better, and need something else to push them over the top?

I'd feel much better about a system that rewards effort and results in the face of adversity, than one that gives the biggest prizes to the most inept.

With the luxury tax based on payroll and the draft based on bad records they've set up a system that comes right out and says "unless you're going to the playoffs, you'd better slash payroll and try to win 55 games." The only reason you don't see more blatant abuse of this system is the fact that the wildcard fools 3/4ths of the league into thinking they're in the playoffs.

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Why? Why should teams that are run like crap and/or don't try to win get rewarded for that? Why shouldn't baseball be rewarding the teams that invest a little more in players, do their development a little better, and need something else to push them over the top?

I'd feel much better about a system that rewards effort and results in the face of adversity, than one that gives the biggest prizes to the most inept.

With the luxury tax based on payroll and the draft based on bad records they've set up a system that comes right out and says "unless you're going to the playoffs, you'd better slash payroll and try to win 55 games." The only reason you don't see more blatant abuse of this system is the fact that the wildcard fools 3/4ths of the league into thinking they're in the playoffs.

Who say they're run like crap? Maybe they've had a bunch of bad luck along the way.

Actually I do see where you're coming from, but you just can't continue to ignore the Pirates of the world.

What I thought of is having several different lotteries...for example, the worst three teams are in a lottery of their own for the first three picks...so for example, this year we'd have the Nats, Pirates and Orioles in a lottery for the #1 overall pick. Then you'd have a separate lottery for the next 5 worst teams...and on and on.

This would have given us a chance to get Harper. The Nats aren't a horribly run team, they've gotten better in recent years...I don't think you should punish them for that...as you know, it takes awhile for those results to surface.

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...

I do think there should be some way to trade picks...thats the part that doesn't make any sense to me and thats the part that I think they should fix. Obviously a MLB draft 3rd rounder doesn't equate to an NFL 3rd rounder but at least give the option to allow teams to trade up, trade down or package a pick as part of a trade rather than the stupid PTBNL.

Agreed. I think they should be allowed to trade picks for picks. Not picks for players/money, but picks for picks.

That way if a team doesn't have the budget to sign 5 guys demanding 1st round money, they can trade some picks for later picks or for 1st rounders next year when the teams finances are in better shape.

No more sign-ability crap, just pick who you want or trade the pick to a team that can sign the guy.

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Agreed. I think they should be allowed to trade picks for picks. Not picks for players/money, but picks for picks.

That way if a team doesn't have the budget to sign 5 guys demanding 1st round money, they can trade some picks for later picks or for 1st rounders next year when the teams finances are in better shape.

No more sign-ability crap, just pick who you want or trade the pick to a team that can sign the guy.

I don't see any reason teams shouldn't be allowed to trade picks, for anything. If the O's want to trade the #1 overall pick in 2011 for Kendry Morales, $15M, and a crate of peaches, or any of those three... why not?

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There is no reward for tanking a season.

Honest question-- has this actually ever happened in the recent past? I know intensity can deaden with a lost season but has a team in recent history ever made it obvious that they tanked games for the sake of the draft or anything else?

I don't think so, but maybe I'm naive.

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Honest question-- has this actually ever happened in the recent past? I know intensity can deaden with a lost season but has a team in recent history ever made it obvious that they tanked games for the sake of the draft or anything else?

I don't think so, but maybe I'm naive.

I don't think anyone makes it blatant, and I'm confident no teams have been given instructions to lose on purpose. But I'm sure there have been plenty of teams who didn't do all they could to win. Just look at the Orioles and the endless list of AA relievers they've ended the season with, multiple years. Plenty of times teams took a guy who was hurt and made sure he was in no hurry to get back in September, you know, just shut it down and be sure you're ready to go in five months. Contract and service time stuff is another wonderful excuse for not calling up prospects and fielding a AAAA roster in September.

If you incentivize something, people will move in that direction.

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