By: Noah Wright
In a lot of sports, there’s a lot of trading for draft picks. Whether it’s to move up in the draft or to acquire more picks, teams do it often. That is, except for baseball. Draft picks are rarely, if ever used to trade. The last one I can think of is when The Padres acquired Phil Hughes from The Twins for a competitive balance pick. But since drafting is an integral part of baseball, especially in today’s age, why doesn’t it happen as often? Well I’m here today to answer that question, and also argue why it should be in this game.
Well the biggest reason teams don’t trade draft slots is because they can only trade competitive balance picks. But why doesn’t even that happen that often? Well unlike other sports, the player an MLB team drafts won’t likely be with the team that season, or even for the next season. Rarely will that happen. Players take time to develop more often than not. For example, the #2 pick in the 2018 draft, Brady Singer, is estimated to make the majors in 2020. Hell, half of the top 10 guys entering the draft in 2015 have yet to make the majors. A lot can happen in a few years too. Players may not develop as expected, and injuries will occur.
But teams should be able to trade draft spots to acquire MLB ready, already proven MLB players. This would add another level of strategy for front offices. It would also help teams who are in the rebuilding stage get back to contention faster. Like look at this upcoming draft order. The Reds are on the borderline of being competitors, but have the #7th overall pick. All they need is some starting pitching, maybe a little bit of cheap bullpen help, and they’ll be good. That #7th pick would probably viewed as fairly valuable by multiple teams. The Reds throw in one of their top prospects along with the draft picks, that might actually bring back something fairly decent. Maybe something like Steven Matz of The Metz, or something even greater, depending on what else The Reds are throwing in, or how much The Mets value either the prospect for draft point.
Draft pick trading in baseball is one of the rare things that happen in The MLB. The most you’ll ever see is the trading of competitive balance picks, and that’s all the rules allow. If MLB expanded upon the draft pick trading system, then there would be more strategy for GMs in trades. Plus, it could get rebuilding teams rebuild get going faster.