The Best Lineup of Players in MLB Making Under a Million Dollars
I'd like to thank Heartbeat of the Bronx for this idea. He recently wrote an article detailing a starting nine of players that a team could pay Alex Rodriguez's salary.
He did make a statement that only five of the players could make under a million dollars. So, I decided to see the best team money could buy of MLB players who are currently making under a million dollars.
Catcher: Kurt Suzuki, Oakland A's
Kurt Suzuki's salary is currently at $400,000; he is by far the most underrated catcher in the American League. He got robbed of an All-Star game this year. He leads all AL catchers in hits and plays superb defense behind the plate.
As of tonight's game, Suzuki has not made an error in 72 games. He's hitting .287 with five homers, 38 RBI, 21 doubles, has struck out only 21 times, and has played in 81 games this year.
Also, another thing to note about Suzuki is his ability to handle the young pitchers of the Oakland A's. The A's starters have had their share of ups and downs, but with Suzuki behind the plate the young pitchers have definitely progressed throughout the season.
Lastly, Suzuki and his wife are raising funds for Jon Wilhite. If you don't know who Wilhite, is he was one of the passengers involved in the car accident that took the life of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Nick Adenhart.
From what I got from the A's telecasts, Suzuki got to spend some time with Wilhite, who rehabs six to seven hours a day. He is scheduled to throw out the first pitch in Saturday's game against the Angels.
The fundraiser that Suzuki has setup is with a donation of $40 you receive a baseball signed by Suzuki or by another Oakland A player. It is to help Wilhite on his long journey from that horrific accident.
Why Wilhite is important to Suzuki is that they were teammates in college. Suzuki was a junior when Wilhite was a freshman.
First Base: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds has had an excellent season so far this year. He did miss some time due to injuries, but he's back healthy and playing again.
Votto currently makes $437,500 and once the season is over will be among the top 10 hitters in the National League unless he has a major slump.
He is currently batting .349 with 12 homers, 44 RBI, 14 doubles, 1 triple, and has struck out 44 times. Defensively, Votto has four errors and a fielding percentage of .991.
Second Base: Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays
Ben Zobrist has come out of nowhere to have an incredible season. He started the season as a utility player, but due to an injury to starting second basemen Akinori Iwamura.
He's been a steady presence for the Tampa Bay Rays and if needed to he can play in the outfield as well. He was a first time All-Star selection this year and is currently making $415,900.
For the season Zobrist is batting .300 with 17 homers, 52 RBI, has scored 51 runs, has 11 stolen bases, and four triples.
According to Rays manager Joe Maddon, Zobrist is the team's Most Valuable Player and it is understandable why that is.
Shortstop: Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs
Ryan Theriot has made a name for himself with the Cubs. He's a solid number two hitter for the Cubs and he's also solid defensively. Theriot has made nine errors for a .973 fielding percentage.
At the plate he's batting .296 with seven homers, 32 RBI, 17 doubles, two triples, and 10 stolen bases.
His 2009 salary is at $500,000.
Third Base: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
This one was one of the tougher positions to fill because it's a battle between Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval.
In the article I mentioned before, he had Sandoval as a catcher, except that most of the games played by Sandoval have been at third base, not catcher.
The reason why Longoria wins out is because third base is his natural position and Sandoval isn't at the level of where Longoria is at defensively.
Longoria currently is making $550,000 for this season. He's had some injuries this year that has made him miss some time, but he should have an excellent second half and it started out well for him with a game winning home run.
For the season Longoria is batting .287, with 18 homers, 69 RBI, has scored 49 runs, has 27 doubles, but he does tend to strike out (77). Defensively, he has made eight errors and has a fielding percentage of .964.
Left Field: Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays
Adam Lind has quietly put up an impressive season as the left fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays; he's also spent some time in right field as well. He's made one error this year, but does not have an assist this year.
He's currently hitting .305 with 19 homers, 59 RBI, 28 doubles, and has scored 50 runs.
His salary for the 2009 season is $411,800.
Center Field: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
With every highlight, the Mariners shudder because this is the player they were expecting Jones to be when he came up through their system.
Instead of waiting for his potential, the Mariners traded him to the Orioles along with George Sherrill for Erik Bedard.
Although, this was actually a tougher choice because Matt Kemp was in the running as well.
Jones wins out because he has a stronger arm and has hit more home runs and has the same amount of RBI as Kemp, but in fewer games.
Jones current salary is $435,000.
His current stats for the season are a .305 average, 13 homers, 50 RBI, 17 doubles, two triples, and 57 runs. In the outfield he has five assists, has made four errors, and has a fielding percentage of .984.
Right Field: Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland Indians
Shin-Soo Choo is having an outstanding season for the Cleveland Indians. He's a young talent who should be a fixture in right field alongside Grady Sizemore for awhile.
Choo is finally filling out his potential. He's currently making $420,300 for the 2009 season.
So far this season he's hit .291 with 13 homers, 54 rbis, 18 doubles, 53 runs, and 13 stolen bases.
Defensively, he's got eight assists and has made four errors which makes for a .974 fielding percentage. He's also played a few games in center field.
Designated Hitter: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants
Pablo Sandoval gets put at the designated hitter since Evan Longoria gets third base. Sandoval has had a great season so far for the Giants.
He currently makes $401,750 for the 2009 season.
So far for the season Sandoval is batting .333, 15 homers, 55 RBI, 24 doubles, three triples, and 41 runs scored.
Starting Pitcher No. 1: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
This maybe one the most surprising player making under a million dollars. Currently, Lincecum is making $650,000 for 2009.
He is the most dominant pitcher in the National League. He was also the starting pitcher for the NL for the All-Star game.
His current record is 10-2 with a 2.27 ERA, 134.2 innings pitched, and 159 strikeouts to 35 walks.
Starting Pitcher No. 2: Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers
Chad Billingsley has had an impressive season for the Dodgers. He was named as an All-Star as well. He currently makes $475,000.
For the season he's 9-5, with a 3.76 ERA, and has struck out 119 strikeouts to 55 walks.
Starting Pitcher No. 3: Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Jered Weaver is finally pitching like the Angels thought he would when he was an up and coming prospect for them. With the injuries to the Angels starting rotation he has stepped up and has become the ace of the staff.
He currently makes $465,000 for the 2009 season.
So far he's got a 10-3 record, three complete games, one shutout, and 104 strikeouts to 36 walks.
Starting Pitcher No. 4: Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
After an injury-plagued season last year for the Milwaukee Brewers, Yovani Gallardo is finally looking like the out-of-this-world prospect he was considered.
He makes $414,000 for the 2009 season.
His record is 8-7 with a 3.22 ERA, one complete game, and has struck out 123 and walked 55.
Starter No. 5: Nick Blackburn
Nick Blackburn is one of the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball. He doesn't get much attention because he plays in a small market in Minnesota.
Blackburn has excellent control and he doesn't walk very many hitters, but since he's in the strike zone a lot he doesn't get a lot of strikeouts either.
He makes $400,000 for the 2009 season.
For the season he's 8-4 with a 3.06 ERA, has three complete games, has struck out 54 and walked 29.
Closer: Andrew Bailey, Oakland A's
The closer was a tough one because it boiled down to Joakim Soria and Andrew Bailey, but Bailey won out, even though Soria has more saves in fewer appearances.
Bailey started the year off as a reliever and managed to gain the closer's job. Not too bad for a pitcher who struggled as a starter in Double A Ball.
For the season, Bailey has 10 saves, a 1.88 ERA, 62 strikeouts to 19 walks, and has blown four saves. He's also made 40 appearances for the A's and has a 4-1 record.
Why Bailey was chosen is because he has more strikeouts, a better WHIP, and better batting average against.
Bailey is making $400,000 for the 2009 season.