Since the Cincinnati Reds are perennially one of the smallest markets (and payrolls) across Major League Baseball, they’re regularly the recipient of an extra draft pick. That comes in the form of a Competitive Balance Round pick, though those are broken up into two different ‘rounds’ - one that comes after the 1st round of the draft, and one that comes after the second.
There’s no guarantee which round the Reds pick will fall each year, but for the 2021 Draft, at least, they’ve lucked out. As Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com relayed earlier Tuesday, the Reds will get the fifth pick of Round A in the upcoming 2021 Draft.
The Competitive Balance rounds for the 2021 #MLBDraft are set. These 14 teams will get an extra pick: https://t.co/RYOjZT75GE pic.twitter.com/swtR1uUOqw— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) December 8, 2020
Based on their regular season finish, the Reds will draft 17th overall in the upcoming draft, and now have pick #34 in their holster, too.
At least, they do for now.
Given how MLB set up their compensation for the players who sign after rejecting Qualifying Offers, there’s a chance that could get bumped back a few spots. However, since Trevor Bauer is one of those players, the Reds could conceivably be one of the teams that gets an additional pick between the end of Round 1 and the start of Comp Round A, thereby pushing themselves back while ending up with a trio of picks between #17 and roughly #39 overall.
That’d be best case scenario, obviously, but will only occur if Bauer signs elsewhere for more than $50 million guaranteed. Given the rough financial market out there and Bauer’s once-time suggestion that he’ll only sign one-year contracts, that’s something that remains to be seen. (Of course, even if he only settles for a one-year deal with a lower guarantee than that threshold, the Reds will still get a compensatory pick - it’ll just come after the end of Competitive Balance Round B, or right before Round 3 begins.)
These Comp Round picks can also be traded, so there’s a chance the overall order is impacted if that’s the case. The Reds themselves used their 2019 pick as part of the deal to land Sonny Gray, sending it to the New York Yankees in the process.
The additional high pick is a boon, of course, because it gives the Reds higher pecking order. On top of that, though, is the boost it’ll give to their overall draft bonus pool, since that total is based on the slot values of each pick. In other words, if the Reds decide to swing high on high school players that otherwise would choose to attend college, this will presumably give them the chance to pay over-slot money two one or two and perhaps land them anyway.
It hasn’t been the rosiest of news weeks for the Reds, but this certainly is a bonus.