Wednesday afternoon, Major League Baseball did something they've not done in a long, long time ...
They held a lottery. Officially, MLB held a Competitive Balance Lottery, with the winners awarded extra draft picks in next June's Rule 4 (amateur) Draft. The teams included in the first round of the lottery included those which ranked in the bottom 10 in revenues last season, or the bottom 10 in market size. The second round of the lottery included the teams that didn't get a pick in the first round, plus any team that didn't qualify for the first round but did receive revenue-sharing money last season; this time around, that was just the Tigers.
The six picks awarded in the first round of the lottery will be slotted after the first full round of the draft. The six picks awarded in the second round of the lottery will be slotted after the second round of the draft.
Here were the results of the lottery:
Round A (after Round 1)
Round B (after Round 2)
Overall, these Round B picks will be roughly the 70th to 75th picks in next June's draft. As MLB Network pointed out so helpfully, you can pick up some pretty good players with picks in that range. Examples: David Cone, Ken Caminiti, A.J. Pierzynski, Grady Sizemore, and Dan Haren.
Granted, five non-Hall of Famers over the course of two decades isn't particularly encouraging for the clubs who now own these picks. But lesser players can be useful, too. You'd rather have the picks than not have them.
Oh, and remember all the talk about the Cardinals winning the World Series and getting an extra pick in the draft? Because they play in a small market? Well, the Cardinals didn't get a pick. Their chances were lessened because of their 2011 winning percentage, and they've been shut out completely.
Of course, one might still wonder why the Diamondbacks are getting an extra pick -- and a pretty high one, at that -- considering how many games they won last year, and also since when is Phoenix either small-market or low-revenue?
Ah, the mysteries of Bud Selig's Brain.
Now the fun really begins, as teams with these picks are free to trade them at any point before the season ends.