Since Seattle and Chicago have the same record, MLB uses the team with the worst record in 2014 as the tiebreaker. The White Sox were abysmal last year at 73-89. So they will get the No. 10 pick in the draft and the Mariners move down to No. 11.

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On the scoreboard it was a win for the Mariners, but Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Oakland A’s in the 2015 season finale was a loss of sorts for the organization.

The Mariners win coupled with the White Sox’s 6-0 loss to Detroit left Seattle and Chicago with identical 76-86 records for the season.

Why is that important?

Well that is 10th worst record in all of baseball. And like most sports, Major League Baseball slots its upcoming draft picks in descending order, starting with worst record. The Phillies at 63-99 will have the No. 1 pick.

Since Seattle and Chicago have the same record, MLB uses the team with the worst record in 2014 as the tiebreaker. The White Sox were abysmal last year at 73-89. So they will get the No. 10 pick in the draft and the Mariners move down to No. 11.

On the surface, one spot doesn’t seem like a big deal. But based on the collective bargaining agreement and free agent signing rules, that one spot makes a huge difference.

The first 10 selections are considered “protected picks.” Meaning they cannot be forfeited if that team decides to sign a free agent that has refused a qualifying offer. Instead, a team with a protected pick, forfeits its second-round pick.

Last season, the Mariners lost their first-round pick when they signed Nelson Cruz to a 4-year, $57 million contract. The same would happen if they make a similar signing this season.

To be clear, a draft pick is only lost if a team signs a player that has refused a qualifying offer from their previous team.

In the two years under the new CBA with the qualifying-offer system, no player has ever accepted the one-year qualifying offer deal to remain with their team. Some like Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew have left to their financial and performance detriment.

The value of qualifying offers ranges from year to year based on the average of the top 125 players from the previous season. Last year, Cruz and 11 other players turned down the chance to play for one year at $15.3 million. That number is expected to increase to just over $16 million this season.

Will potential free agent outfield targets like Dexter Fowler, Alex Gordon or Denard Span receive qualifying offers from their respective teams and also turn them down? It’s a lot of money, but many players crave the security of a multi-year deal.

New general manager Jerry Dipoto told the Times’ Larry Stone on Friday that playing to protect the protected pick wasn’t an option.

“Honestly, and Lloyd (McClendon) can tell you, I’ve not said a word about it. I won’t say a word about it,’’ Dipoto said. “It’s something that as a team-planner, an organization builder, I’m aware of the value that’s associated with that. But as a former player, and understanding how it works out there, I try to turn the volume down in my head. Because these guys have to go out and compete. … I would rather try and solve what happens next in how we acquire talent than going out there and not competing to the best of your ability in a game. No matter what that game is.”

Notes

A strained groin kept Nelson Cruz out of the lineup for the season finale. Cruz suffered the injury while sprinting to first in Saturday night’s loss. He’d been dealing with a strained quad for the last six weeks. Cruz finished the season with a .302 batting average, 22 doubles, 44 homers, 93 RBI and a .936 OPS. He finished second in the AL in homers to former teammate Chris Davis, who finished with 45.

Robinson Cano singled in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. During that streak, he’s hitting .354 (23-for-65) with a five homers and 14 RBI. He finished with 179 hits on the season, tied for the most on the team with Cruz.

The Mariners finished the season with 12 walk-off losses – second most in MLB – while enduring 27 losses in an opponent’s final at-bat, which is the most in baseball.

The Mariners used 51 players, including 13 rookies and eight players making their debut in the 2015 season. It ties a club record set in 1999.

While the official report date hasn’t been announced, Seattle opens Cactus League play on March 2 vs. the Padres at Peoria Stadium. The Mariners open the 2016 season in Texas against the Rangers on April 4-6.