MLB Draft Lottery Set for December 6th

Major League Baseball announced that the draft lottery for the 2023 amateur draft will be held on December 6th during the Winter Meetings. The event will be broadcast on MLB Network as a half hour show. This is the first year of the draft lottery.

The Pittsburgh Pirates finished with the third worst record in baseball during the 2022 season, which gives them the best odds in this draft. The worst three teams all have a 16.5% chance of getting the first overall pick. The lottery only includes the teams that missed the playoffs this year, and just the first six picks are being decided by the lottery.

That all means that the Pirates will find out that day if they are picking as high as first overall, with the outside possibility that they pick ninth overall, with anything in between also being possible. The Washington Nationals and Oakland A’s each have 16.5% chance odds of getting the first pick as well, while the lowest odds belong to the Milwaukee Brewers, who have a 0.2% chance shot of the first pick. The bottom six teams all have odds under 1%.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Friendly reminder to all that the Pirates could sign Trea and Judge to 40 million per yr deals, and still have a payroll below the MLB average. A payroll just above what they had in the mid-2010s.


The $40 million per year is not the issue, is the how many years!
2, yes, 3 sure, 4-5 maybe 6 plus, hell no!


there’s certainly a debate to be had on the best way to spend such money!

my only point is that they could add 80 million to this team and still be below average. THAT is the point.

i’ll be over the moon if they add 50 and get to 95. heck, i’ll be satisfied if they add 30 to get to 75!


I’ll be satisfied if BC actually acts like he’s trying to produce a winning team no matter how much he spends. For example, have an OD roster with at least 3 legitimate OFers, and a true 1B would be two steps above last year.



Who’s a possible DFA candidate you might want? Bellinger?


This perfectly captures the plight of the pirates fan. A post about how they could afford two superstars if they wanted is responded to with a literal post about who grab off the scrap heap. i’m not criticizing you Arky! it’s just funny!

I haven’t quite researched the subject of non-tender candidates yet, unfortunately.

There are plenty of plenty-interesting FA out there now that i dont really see the need to play the “who might teams drop” game right now.

In a vacuum, i’d have no issue with throwing a dart at / trying to get through to Bellinger. IDK what i’d want them to pay for that privilege, and idk where i place “outfield” in my list of priorities.

if he’d prevent them from meaningfully addressing 1b SP and DH, then i’m out. if we’re operating in a universe where they could bring in Abreu, Brantley, Senga, relief help, roberto perez, and THEN go get bellinger, then great!

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007

Perhaps I’m overly cynical as I’ve gotten older, but if I’m going to dream about who the Pirates could sign, I’m gonna keep one foot on the ground.

But yes, you’re right there are a bunch of good free agents they could aim for who are better options than Bellinger. Although he comes with the added first base/OF flexibility. Right now they’ve got about 1.5 outfielders, with Reynolds and Jack against righties. So I think it actually is a fairly big hole they’ve got.

Using the FG free agent avg crowdsource, I’m gonna double the Bucs payroll:
Conforto, 1 year, $12M
Mancini, 2 years, $18.2M
Quintana, 2 years, $24M
Stripling, 2 years $22M
Perez, 1 year, $2.5M


Being optimistic, yet somewhat grounded, I’d like to see either Barnhart or Hedges at catcher. Take a high risk/high reward flyer on a one year deal to Brandon Belt for 1b to hopefully flip at the trade deadline. Get a Ben Gamel replacement for the outfield, maybe Robbie Grossman? Sign a back end starter from the Stripling, Kyle Gibson, Zach Davies, Wade Miley tier of guys to a 2 or three year deal. Continue the annual one year deal on a reclamation project type starter. Get one reliever capable of handling late inning situations. If four of these six things are taken care of in free agency I’d be happy since the reclamation type pitcher, fourth outfielder miscast as a starter and veteran catcher are near certainties. Just hoping they aim a little higher than bringing back Perez. I think the front office should trade for an everyday player too but that’s a whole different discussion.


Add a left-handed starter.


so that’s adding, what, 45ish mil to the current baseline of 45

Should be totally reasonable! i’d like the look of that team plenty!

If we’re talking outfield, i’d be mighty tempted by Joc and Haniger for the terms laid out on fangraphs, but who knows. I’m personally not that hot on Conforto but i’d rather have conforto than nothing!


Like the thought process and it certainly makes us think about what could be possible, but before they add, I would like to see them subtract to make enough roster spots available for all of the prospects.

Nice article on subtraction by Noah Wright (?) at Rum Bunter regarding the Pirates possibility of foregoing a Rule 5 pick.


You’re living in a dream world if you think BN is going to approve a $90 million budget coming off a 2nd consecutive 100-loss season.

Not. Going. To. Happen.


Except that it has happened before.


In 2016, BN approved spending of approximately $100 million in payroll after the team was coming off its’ third straight postseason appearance. And unfortunately, the team was a disappointment. This most likely is a contributing factor on why payroll has been lower, in most cases, much lower in every season since then.


the whole point of this entire thread is talking about what SHOULD be reasonable.


I don’t understand or agree with this lottery at all. What’s wrong with the old
method? It was fair even though some may suspect some teams were losing on purpose to improve their draft positions. I suppose MLB thinks a lottery provides some anticipatory tension. All teams would gladly take a playoff berth and pick later. The attempt to choose the best player available is lottery enough as illustrated by the number of 1st rounders that were flops!


I’m honestly shocked the NFL hasn’t gone to a lottery. All the FOOTBAAAWWWW fans would tune into that for sure.

Wilbur Miller

It’s just to pretend that MLB wants to stop tanking. The idea that teams were losing intentionally to get the top draft pick is laughable. Baseball isn’t the NBA or NHL, where one elite player can turn a franchise completely around. The lottery didn’t stop the Pirates from tanking this year, and according to Dejan they’ve already decided to do it again next year. It’s a smokescreen to cover for the fact that the real reason for tanking is owners wanting to make big bucks by slashing payroll beyond the bone.


Whered you see that info from dejan?

Wilbur Miller

Pretty much every time he’s written about the Pirates he’s said he’s been told by people in the FO that they’re going to handle 2023 like the last three years.


While this isn’t surprising, bc this is the Buc’s we’re talking about.

The one thing that makes me think they might try a little harder this offseason is the fact that if they have another season like the past couple, that has to mean that BC & Shelton get fired. Travis Williams seems to be safe, as mcnickels has a strange brotherly obsession with him.

I can’t seem to find BC’s current contract info – any idea how many more years he has on his contract?

Wilbur Miller

Too many.


I’ve started thinking that our biggest concern should be Travis Williams. I don’t think Cherington or Shelton are very good at what they do but if we had a baseball guy as president, at least I’d have confidence that there would be some accountability by year five, say.

Wilbur Miller

Hard to say, since Williams has been hidden in the bunker for three years.


Tanking, at least to me, is a broader definition in baseball as opposed to other sports. As you said, one player can’t turn around a franchise in baseball.
But this rebuild to nowhere by slashing costs, selling off the furniture and promising a tomorrow with no timeline: that’s baseball tanking.
I’d prefer if they just got rid of the draft altogether, but even with parameters (the worst team has $20M to spend on domestic amateurs, second worst has $19.5, etc.) that won’t happen.

Wilbur Miller

Basically, you just have to bear in mind that every last trend in MLB management is 110% driven by money.


we have definitions of tanking. I don’t think the Pirates tanked this year. watch the NBA. that’s tanking. They intentionally lose games.

The Pirates didn’t intentionally lose games. They just didn’t buy enough players before the season to get the best possible record. they could have signed Carlos Rodon and Kenley Jansen…kept Stallings AND signed Perez… NOT traded Q, Stratton and Vogey at the deadline etc. That might have got us close to a WC.

Last year was a bridge too far, but with the rookie impact we saw last year the time to add is now and 2024. This will be the first year since we traded Marte that I think we should add some players to multiple year contracts.


You do realize Stallings sucked this year & wanting to sign a FA isn’t the problem, FA wanting to sign here is


Stallings 67 OPS+
Delay 53 OPS+
Heineman 56 OPS+
Godoy -44 OPS+

If Stallings sucked.. what about the other clowns we had at catcher this year.


I didn’t say our guys was good, just Stallings sucked & with his age, a rebound is highly unlikely


I repeat my objection: these are talented athletes. Demeaning them says nothing that you really want to voice.


You make it sound like Cherington accidentally left his shopping list at home and did the best he could with what he remembered was on there. Just didn’t buy enough players? How diplomatic.


I’m saying he could of but chose not to.

Rodon got 1/$22M from the Giants, if the Pirates offered 1/$24M he signs here. Especially with Perez at catcher.


The way our luck is, the Redsox, Giants, Cubs. Brewers, White Sox and Angels will end up in the top 6 somehow and we will pick 9th…………….


The Pirates have bad ownership not bad luck.


Cutch went from 8WAR HOF path to 1.5 WAR platoon OF overnight. Legitimately unprecedented.

Our biggest trade chip of the last 10 years returned NOTHING because he was thrown in jail. Our one stud pitcher who could have returned a kings ransom had his 2nd TJ surgery …after he had cancer negate half a season.

Don’t tell me a little bit of this isn’t bad luck.


You’re just describing the nature of baseball.

Every single club could put together an equally-compelling list. The game is tough!


and Jung-ho


We should get a powerball group together on the site and if we win, we buy the team from Nutting. And that can be the last lottery we ever have to think about.


Not a bad idea but the the ~$560 million that we would get with the cash option after taxes would be a decent down pmt but we would need financing and with the limited amounts of local revenue to be made, we would not be operating the team pretty much the same the same as it is now. Then we lottery winners would be the evil rich guys who won’t spend money….,.,.,


I see someone has already thought about this!


So quick calcs here as you got my mind going. This REALLY went sideways for me fast.

We have $588M net worth come 11:01 pm tonight….

We would try to be smart and use debt as much as we could but we need to have a plan to bring to banks. Here goes some WAG’s (wild A guesses)

  • Pirates worth $1.3B per Forbes. Assume 10% premium to acquire menas $1.43B.
  • Pirates had home attendance of average 15,524 last year, assume average ticket price is $30. This equals (rounding) $38M in ticket revenue
  • We assume $40M from local, both from fangraphs estimates as well as sources saying the previous lowest, marlins, Signed for substantially more than their last contract of $20m AAV.
  • Lets assume other revenue from concessions etc is slightly profitable. I’m going to make it $10M take EBIT
  • This puts us at $38+10+40 = 88M.
  • But we know revenue sharing we have to share 48% and then get paid back a sum
  • We get to keep 52% of this 88M , will round to $45M.
  • We get our portion of revenue sharing, which is 3.3% of the total. in 2018 it was said to be 110 and MLB revenue is said to be back to above pre-pandemic level. Lets call this $120M
  • We also get our share of national broadcast rights, said to be $90M in 2018 as well.

This puts our Pirates revenue at $256M, without accounting for additional park revenue for concerts etc.

Now lets say we want to use Ethan’s all in numbers from 2022 (
and use $74M total.

This has salary + related to $74M for players salaries and assumes as is for next year

But we have to operate Pirates City and other facilities. Lets say its $10M for those.

We have to have Operating Expenses to run a ballpark. (We treated concessions as a net of $10M, so whatever the agreement for aramark is captured in that number). I saw that there were about 767 pirates employees on LinkedIn. Assuming average salary of $40k, plus another $10k for all in cost of $50k per employee (conservative), That gets us to $38.35M. lets round to $40m.

Now we have to account for Travel and Entertainment.
We have to charter a flight. We have say 81 away games, but average of 3 games, so 27 chartered flights. Cost assumed at $25k per hour for a full size plane to handle the 26 man roster + coaches + support staff. Assume FLight to LA is 5hrs and chicago just under 2 hours. Lets call the average 4 hours. That comes to $2.7M, but we will round to $3M. Also lets say we throw another $33 per meal, per player, per day. $100 per diem (I rounded) for 200 days *26 players is $520k.

The rent for PNC is negligible as it was set up to benefit the public, and then share in excess gate revenue. Plus the Allegheny county is on the hook for repairs. Lets throw in a few million for upgrades annually anyways to be generous. say $5M per year.

I get SG&A costs of $40M, T&E of $3M, but lets compound round to $5M, and rent for another $5M.

$74M p layer salaries + improvement to roster + $10M in facility operations +$53M in non player salary operating costs. for $137M

EBITDA = $256M-$167M = $119M

Lets check this. A reasonable multiple for S&P non financials is 13x for public companies. $119M*13 = $1.5B. Inline with our purchase price.

Now how much do we have to put up? We realistically can’t have more than 4.5x-5.0x our EBITDA in debt in the business as banks would think we were too risky and over leveraged at that point. That means we realistically can’t have more debt than $119M*5 or $595M. Means we need to find $1B of additional purchase proceeds…

TL;DR – you are right. We would financially have to make similar choices constrained by banks and financial institutions.


Thank you very much for doing all of the heavy lifting on this one. Never put in a lot of time to put numbers down to even start mapping things out.


Thanks for the additional input John. As both you and  tmcgowan detail, there is a ton of expense other than just player salary that an ownership group must cover. There is also some additional revenue streams too.


Yeah I mean, I went down a rabbit hole of procrastination instead of productivity. I think I finished before saying that any real new buyer would operate like a business man, and thus not be investing $30-$50M regularly.

As you said, we will never know – but I don’t think that teams split ticket sales after revenue sharing was implemented. I think you have to give up 48% of yours, all that gets pooled together, and then you get even 3.3% for each team. So we get to keep 52% of ours +3.3% of MLB total (which is a net benefit to us since we put in less than we take out).

I would love to actually understand their full costs. Have you looked at the braves financials? I literally can’t understand what in the world they are claiming for expenses….Like I can’t come within $50M of their non baseball salary expenses.


You convinced me, lets hold a benefit for Bob!


Just my attempt at a little humor. I have no problem with your post. I have pointed out in some posts the same thing but not to your extent.


Both posts had their individual charm, but all for naught. Every MLB team has the same expense-/+. You don’t have to go through the Pirates expense, cause every team has them. The only difference is the Pirates aren’t holding up their part in spending on the major league level. That makes them cheep! You could say the other teams have more money, true, but the Pirates aren’t even keeping up with their financial equals.


The real problem is MLB doesn’t pool their money and divide it up equally to give every franchise an equal chance from a financial perspective. MLB wants the big market teams to succeed more than NFL, NHL, and NBA (to a lesser extent) do.


and you know this how?


This is so true. Blaming management without including the MLB economic system for some blame is foolish.


I’ve always said that if Nutting is to blame for anything it’s that he hasn’t taken a hardline with other owners over true revenue sharing system with a cap.

Wilbur Miller

Nutting LIKES the current system. All the owners do.


Yes, they all do now but that does not mean that the current system is good for the sport long term. All I know is that Mark Cuban has not one regret about not buying a MLB team when he was considering a few years back. He said that he had no clue how truly bad the game’s economics were until he got serious about investigating a purchase.

Wilbur Miller

They don’t care about long term. That’s not how corporate America works. The current system, which everyone in MLB believes is driven totally by Dodger and Yankee profits, locks Bobbo into a guaranteed annual profit based on central revenues driven by NY and LA. The long term damage of turning half the sport into the Washington Generals would be clear to an actual businessman like Cuban, but the corporate raiders running the sport don’t care. And neither do welfare queens like Bobbo.

Last edited 2 months ago by Wilbur Miller

What you are saying is all correct. The end result is that nothing will change for the foreseeable a change in ownership with any team most likely will not change how that team would operate. We are doomed……….


Let’s go Bucs!

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