Pittsburgh Pirates: Will a Draft Lottery Lead to Better Play?


The Pittsburgh Pirates have been tanking for the last couple of seasons.  Could a new rule help put an end to blatantly losing?

Tanking.  This has become a term that has been popular among Pittsburgh Pirates fans.  Since Ben Cherington has taken over the Front Office he has hit the rebuild button.  Over the past two years, they have traded away all of their prominent veterans and were not active on the Free Agent market.

This was a clear sign that the Pittsburgh Pirates were rebuilding and using a “tanking” approach.  This approach became popular about 10 years ago when the Houston Astros and to a lesser extent the Chicago Cubs tanked seasons to make the team better in the long run.  It worked out for both teams and they have been able to sustain that steady pipeline of prospects along with winning.

Now, the Pittsburgh Pirates will not spend the money the Cubs and the Astros spend.  This is a fault at Bob Nutting and not the current Front Office.  Naturally, Cherington was going to hit the reset button and go all-in on the rebuild.

However, there is going to be a new rule in the next CBA that is built to help prevent the tanking approach. According to reports, MLB Player’s Association and the League have agreed to institute a lottery system for the top overall selection.  How that will exactly look we do not know yet other than the bottom three teams will be the ones involved.

While this is a step to stop tanking, this is not the overall solution.  A top 3 pick is still very valuable to have and with the Signing Bonus rules, teams can get creative and work out deals beforehand anyhow. The Bucs did this in a way last year.  Henry Davis was not considered to be the top player in the Draft, the consensus heading into Draft night was Marcelo Mayer. Interestingly enough Davis went #1 and Mayer dropped to #4.

Next. A Look back at 2020s Top Prospects. dark

So will it help stop teams from having complete tank jobs?  No, the worst teams in the League are often very close in the record. It is hard for a team to ensure the first overall pick when other teams are tanking as well. Will this force owners like Bob Nutting to spend more money to help improve the competitive balance and quality of the game? No.  So why is this one of the things that was focused on when there are so many other issues at hand?