The rumor mill has it that the Jays might be interested in signing David Ortiz.
Perhaps the biggest negative in such a signing is that, as Ortiz is a type-A free agent, the Jays would lose their first-round draft pick (#17) in 2012 to the Sox.
There is no question that a first-rounder is valuable. But how valuable? Or, to put it another way, if the Jays wanted Ortiz (or another Type A) should the loss of that pick be a deal-stopper?
Draft picks – other than the first few – are a lottery ticket. Sometimes they pay off big, but more often they do not. To illustrate that point, here is a list of recent 17th-overall draft picks:
2001 Dan Denham, Cleveland
2002 Cole Hamels, Philly
2003 David Murphy, Boston
2004 Scott Elbert, Dodgers
2005 C. J. Henry, Yankees
2007 Blake Beavan, Texas
Of those picks, only Hamels has ever been an all-star. Most of the others never had significant MLB time.
Would I trade a 19-year-old Cole Hamels for a couple of years of a David Ortiz? Probably not – if I knew that was what I was getting. But would I trade a one-chance-in-eight at getting a Hamels? Very possibly. Especially if I already had a strong farm system.
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As an aside – another downside that I see in blogs is that, by giving up the two draft picks, the Jays would be helping a Division rival. I do not see the logic in that. Ortiz will almost certainly be signed by somebody, and Boston will get their picks anyway.