The Mets Currently Have An Unprotected First Round Draft Pick

By Danny Abriano

With their win today, the Mets (for now) have gone from having the 10th overall (protected) pick in next June’s draft to having the 13th overall (unprotected) pick.  The Mets may again find themselves in protected pick range after the conclusion of tonight’s games.  There are presently 11 teams who have a lower winning percentage than the Mets, and the Blue Jays will have an extra pick in the 11th slot due to the fact that they failed to sign their first rounder last year (hat tip to Adam Rubin for that info).

Here’s how the reverse standings look as of 5 PM today:

The Protected Pick Watch has been going on for a while by ardent fans, and is important for two draft related reasons.  The first, is the fact that the Mets will have to forfeit their pick if it’s unprotected in the event that they sign a free agent who was made a qualifying offer by the team he departs.  The second, and often ignored part of this, is that the Mets wouldn’t just be losing their first round pick.  They’d also be losing the slot money that goes along with that pick (roughly 40 percent of their draft budget).

The Mets weren’t expected to bid on the major free agents last year, but that’s not the case heading into this offseason.  The team is in position to contend, and has the money available to spend on multiple top tier free agents if they so choose.  I don’t think having an unprotected pick would prevent the Mets from signing a free agent who received a qualifying offer,  but it would obviously be better for the Mets to not have to sacrifice their top pick and the associated pool money.

As the Mets head home for their final four games of the season against Milwaukee, there are six teams Mets fans and the front office should be keeping an eye on.

The Brewers (70-87), Rockies (72-86), Blue Jays (72-85), Giants (72-85), and Phillies (72-85) all currently have a worse winning percentage than the Mets and are within range.  Those teams would all pick ahead of the Mets if the season were to end right now.  The Padres, with a 73-84 record, are a half game better than the Mets at the moment.

Feb 24, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; A detail of a MLB logo on the batters circle during a spring training game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If the Mets were to finish in a tie with any of those teams, the higher pick would be awarded to the team who had the lower winning percentage in 2012.

The Mets play the Brewers this weekend, creating a conundrum for fans who are rooting for the Mets and fans who are rooting for the Mets to secure a protected first round draft pick.

Regardless of your feelings about the Mets/Brewers series, everyone should be rooting for those other five teams to win all of their games.  The more those teams win, the better the potential outcome will be for the Mets.

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