Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE
No, not the Captain Morgan kind, the baseball kind.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates didn't sign their 2012 first-round selection, the newly-signed CBA allowed them a compensatory pick at the exact same spot in the 2013 draft. As they picked Mark Appel eighth in the 2012 Draft, they received the eighth selection in the 2013 draft in addition to their regular selection. That bumped everyone below them down a slot, including the New York Mets, who instead of picking 10th this June will pick 11th.
That one pick drop may not seem like much, but thanks to another part of the CBA, it made all the difference in the world. Under the new CBA, draft pick compensation was retained but tightened up considerably. Not as many players would qualify for compensation (the club would have to offer a sizable one-year contract equal to the average of the top 125 salaries), and the player must have played the entire previous season with a club for that club to get a compensatory pick. For example, if a team signs a player that received a qualifying offer, that club would forfeit their first round selection, and the club that lost the player would get a compensatory selection at the end of the first round.
That is, unless the signing club had a first round selection in the first ten picks in the first round. The Indians, who pick fifth in June, didn't have to give up their first round pick when they signed Nick Swisher (who received a qualifying offer from the Yankees); instead, because their first round pick was protected, they only had to give up a second round pick.
Well, if the Pirates had signed Mark Appel, the New York Mets would have been in the same boat, as their tenth overall pick would have been protected. But because the Pirates didn't sign Appel, the Mets dropped down eleventh in draft order, meaning that they would have to give their pick if they signed Bourn. Over the last couple weeks, the Mets have been trying to get a ruling from MLB on whether their pick would be protected or not, but when Commisioner Selig told the Mets that it would be several weeks until a ruling would be issued, Bourn decided he could wait no longer, taking the Indians' four-year deal over a similar one offered by the Mets.
The Indians by signing Bourn will give up their Competitive Balance pick (69th overall) that the Indians received in the a lottery. So even after signing both Swisher and Bourn, they have selections in the first and third rounds. In other words, because the Indians were so bad, they had a distinct advantage in the free agent market because their first round selection was safe. The Mets, however, weren't quite bad enough to be able to sign a major free agent with losing their pick thanks to the Pirates and Mark Appel.