I believe I had shared this thought last year, If I hadn't., I thought I'd throw it out there for your thoughts While a draft lottery for the top 6 positions is at least a start to preventing tanking, still there is an incentive to losing. Albeit not as great as before, btu ask any team, would you rather have a16.5% chance (like teams with worst records) or a 0.9% chance like the Twins have. I am guessing any GM that wants to rebuild will take the 16.5% chance and tank. The way to prevent tanking is not to just disincentivize tanking but rewarding winning.
Fielding a poor club with a small payroll is a CHOICE, it is not something that just happens. While low payrolls do nto 100% guarantee poor results (see Guardians) it does correlate pretty darn well. of the 3 teams with teh best shot at the #1 pick (16.5%) they finished 30, 27 & 19 in payroll.
In order to incentivize winning, you simply have a MLB Draft Tourney at the end of the season. However, you want to do it. Single elimination tourney, All best of 3, heck even a 2 game series with run differential as a tie breaker. You have the best team to NOT make the playoffs get byes. and they get home field for all games. The winner gets the #1 overall pick, the loser of "title" game gets 2nd, Winner and loser of 3rd/4th place game/series get 3rd/4th. and all other are based on how they finished in the draft tourney (come up with whatever rules you want, they can't be any more random than a lottery anyways, LOL).
This incentivizes winning, which would drive up payrolls, Before the start of the season do you think the A's, O's (surprised everyone a year early) Pittsburgh really thought they would contend? No, they were content having micro sized payrolls knowing they would get top draft picks to boost their future. Do you think they would stay at $61-85M team payroll if they thought that would field them a team that would get them the 10th overall pick in the MLB Draft? OF course not.
And on the plus side, a MLB Draft Tourney currently does not exist, which means TV contracts for these games also do not exist, which mean it is yet another money-making TV contract they can put out to the highest bidder. Make more money AND prevent tanking by incentivizing winning??? Now THAT is a win/win.
I am curious, how exciting do you think a single elimination tourney for the top draft pick would be? Would you be interested in watching your team in such a tourney?