Whatever, they'll just bust anyways
Being a Mariners fan this year has meant little reason to glance at the overall standings in baseball. There's been some renewed focus on seeing the team reach .500, possibly noting a small chance to finish above the Angels and laughing at the Red Sox, but perhaps that's all.
A couple times earlier this season, when the team was really low, I noted the Mariners current draft spot. Then they started winning more often and that faded away. I just now re-checked it. Here are the standings as it pertains to next year's draft order.
1. Astros ---
2. Cubs 9.5
3. Twins 14
4. Rockies 15
5. Indians 16
6. Marlins 18
7. Blue Jays 18.5
8. Royals 19.5
9. Padres 20.5
10. Red Sox 20.5
11. Mets 22
12. Phillies 23
13. Mariners 23.5
14. Diamondbacks 24.5
15. Brewers 24.5
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, only the first ten (it was previously the first 15) picks are protected from free agent compensation. We don't yet know how the new rules determining which players are eligible for compensation* will play out in the actual market, but it's worth noting that the Mariners are currently well outside the protected range.
* Only players who have been with their team the entire season AND are offered a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid players** from the prior season.
** Would have been $12.5 million last offseason. Based on what I can tell, the 2012-3 number should be $12.9 million, but do not take that as certain. I'm not sure if it's supposed to include bonuses or not.
I doubt that the team will be splurging this winter on any free agent that would match the requirements above, but it is possible. The loss of a fairly good draft pick in the low teens should not be a deterrent by itself, but would be an unwelcome side effect of such a signing.
In case you were wondering if the Mariners had any potential free agents leaving that might qualify for such compensation for Seattle, hahahahaha.