The Toronto Blue Jays couldn’t beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of the 2013 season Sunday, but they did get a consolation prize: the ninth overall selection in next year’s draft.
The Blue Jays’ 7-6 loss to the Rays gave them a 74-88 record and assured them of obtaining another protected 2014 first round draft pick. They already had one protected selection, the 11th overall pick, because 2013 first rounder Phil Bickford did not sign.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos will now be able to sign any free agent without losing the Blue Jays’ first round selections.
The teams that finish with the bottom 10 records in MLB get to keep their first-round selections in 2014, regardless of which free agents they sign. This provides the league’s worst teams with the flexibility to sign top free agents without losing first-round picks.
However, teams that finish with one of the top 20 records in the sport must surrender their 2014 first-round selections if they sign certain free agents.
Only select free agents will be tied to draft pick compensation, since most players are not considered worthy of a qualifying offer in the $14 million range. Teams must surrender top draft picks to sign free agents who decline qualifying offers to explore free agency.
Most players do not obtain qualifying offers and can be signed by any team regardless of where it finished in the standings.
While most teams lose a first-round pick for signing a free agent linked to draft pick compensation, teams with a bottom-10 record would lose a second-round pick and keep their first-rounder.
The Houston Astros will select first overall for the third consecutive time in 2014. They’ll be followed by the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins.
Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo are among the prospective free agents who may be linked to draft pick compensation this off-season.
The Blue Jays obtained the 11th overall selection because they did not reach an agreement with Bickford after selecting him this June. This entitled Toronto to a compensatory selection in 2014 regardless of the standings.