Can MLB teams trade draft picks?

Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, MLB

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Can Major League Baseball teams trade draft picks?

Earlier this morning, the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals lined up on a deal that would send prospects from Atlanta to KC in exchange for a competitive-balance-round pick. What does that mean?

The answer to the initial question is no, MLB teams cannot trade draft picks – yet, anyway. This has been a hot topic of conversation between the MLB and MLBPA in recent years but as of right now, there are no rules in place that allow the trading of draft picks.

However, as is the case of the pick traded in the deal that sent Drew Waters and Andrew Hoffmann from Atlanta to Kansas City, certain types of draft picks can be traded.

This is because competitive-balance-round picks are picks that are annually given out to small-market and low-revenue teams including the Orioles, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Guardians, Rockies, Padres, Marlins, Twins, Athletics, Rays, Tigers, Brewers, Reds, Mariners and, of course, the Royals.

The above rule went into effect in the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the league and the players. There are two additional rounds in each MLB Draft strictly for these Competitive Balance rounds.

Can MLB teams trade draft picks?

Only one time. There are a few rules with the trading of these picks, including the fact that they cannot be traded straight up for cash, it must be at least one player heading back to the team trading the pick in any deal. Since the team that was originally awarded the pick is the only one capable of trading said pick, the acquiring team (in this case, the Braves) is not allowed to flip the pick in another trade; it is theirs now.

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