With the current economic crisis-placing more stress on money than ever before in the Major Leagues, I thought it would be interesting to make my own franchise.
No, this is not intended to be a star-studded team to compete with the Yankees' payroll. Think of it more of the Costco of franchises-getting the most for your money.
The approximate median of 2009 payrolls was $80 Million, which will be my budget for assembling this 25 man team.
Keep in mind while reading this, that I am creating a team for the present. This factors out players who may have been call-ups, and thus, have minuscule contracts. This includes guys such as Tommy Hanson, Weiters, etc.
WIthout further ado, here is my MLB All-Value team.
In his second full season, Suzuki is hitting .287 with 38 RBI's in an Athletics lineup where opportunities are scarce.
With just 28 strikeouts thus far into the year, Suzuki is a scrappy player who will put the ball in play and put pressure on opposing defenses.
With a near perfect fielding percentage, Suzuki tops the majors' list of catchers in that category.
At the ripe age of 25, Suzuki still has very fresh legs, and is one of the more underrated catchers in the majors.
2009 Salary- $410,000
Payroll Remaining- $79,590,000
Remember when I called this team the Costco of franchises?
Kevin Youkilis is that 42" plasma that you roll out the front doors with a huge smile on your face.
Certainly a more expensive purchase than you could have made, but at the end of the day, you realize you need to make some bigger purchases: and you got this TV for a lot less than what you would have paid at another place.
This is how I would describe Youkilis.
If I wanted to continue to be parsimonious with my budget, I would have leaned towards taking a guy like James Loney ($465,000) or Kendry Morales ($1.1 Millon). While both are excellent players (and probably bring more per dollar to the table than Youk), they do not provide everything that Youkilis does.
A .300 hitter, 30+ homeruns, 100+ RBI's, a monster OBP, and one of the best at grinding up pitch counts, Youkilis is an offensive genius.
Defensively, he can play at a gold-glove caliber at both corners. His versatility has been showcased this year for the Red Sox when Mike Lowell has been hurt on more than one occasion.
Youkilis is a proven winner, and is the MVP for the best team in the American League. And for a cool $6.25 Million, I'll take him on my team any day of the week.
2009 Salary- $6.25 Million
Payroll Remaining- $73,340,000
Tons of quality buys at second base, but in the end I couldn't pass up the reigning AL MVP for just $1.75 Million.
Ben Zobrist -probably the next on my list- is having a breakout year for just over $400K.
While Zobrist may be having a career year at the plate, D-Ped is a great defender, and is another proven winner in his short career.
And lets get real. For another $1.35 Million, who wouldn't take Pedroia over Ben Zobrist?
He is still a fantastic bargain. And for just a small amount more, I'll take the safety of Pedroia over the more unproven Zobrist.
2009 Salary- $1.75 Million
Payroll Remaining- $71,590,000
A position that is currently in decline, there were not any jaw-dropping bargains at shortstop.
That said, I would be thrilled to take Hanley Ramirez for just $5.5 Million.
Leading the NL in hitting, Ramirez is a 5-tool player who adds another dimension to any lineup.
He hits for average, power, and steals bases. He can hit leadoff. He can hit third.
All-in-all, Hanley Ramirez is the complete package.
With the lack of depth at shortstop, I came to the conclusion that I would be willing to dish out a little more money in order to get the cream of the crop.
2009 Salary- $5.5 Million
Payroll Remaining- $66,090,000
There may have been other good bargains at third base, but I didn't really care to bother looking at them.
There isn't a much better bargain in the 'Bigs than Kung Fu Panda.
A switch-hitter who can play 3 positions, Sandoval is vastly underrated, and was one of the biggest snubs in this year's All-Star game.
Hitting .333 with 15 Homers, and 55 RBI in the poor San Francisco lineup is extremely impressive for someone playing in his first full Major League Season.
Kung Fu Panda is a true diamond in the rough.
2009 Salary- $401,750
Payroll Remaining- $65,688,250
In just his third season, Braun has proven he is here to stay as one of the elite middle-of-the-order guys for the forseeable future.
With a career batting average of .303, Braun has also hit at least 34 homers in each of his 2 major league seasons, and has 16 more this year.
Without a conventional power/RBI threat on my squad so far, Braun could be a staple in the middle of the lineup.
2009 Salary- $1,032,500
Payroll Remaining- $64,655,750
Hamilton has failed to meet the sky-high expectations he had coming into this year-dealing with nagging injuries throughout the year.
However, for just a smidgen over $500K, Hamilton is a tremendous buy here.
Rejuvenated, and loaded with overwhelming talent, Hamilton is a complete ball player. Last year he hit over .300 with more than 30 homers, and 130 RBI's.
He has also made a nice transition to center field, where he boasts a strong arm, and great range.
Anchoring the outfield and middle of the lineup, Hamilton is a great option for any team, but for $550,000 he is a can't-miss option for this team.
2009 Salary- $550,000
Payroll Remaining- $64,105,750
Hitting nearly .300, with 16 homers, and 51 RBI, Upton became Arizona's youngest player ever to make an All-Star team this year.
With 12 stolen bases too, Upton also adds speed to any lineup, and has great range in right field.
He also has a cannon for an arm, which has made him one of the more difficult outfielders to run on this year.
Unfortunately, Upton is remembered in this year's All-Star Game for his questionable defense on Curtis Granderson's triple that inevitably lead to the game-winning run for the American League.
However, he was playing out of position, and was in his first Mid-Summer Classic at the age of 21. The man deserves a pass on that one, and I would certainly take him on my team for a hardly noticeable price.
2009 Salary- $412,000
Payroll Remaining- $63,693,750
What more can you say?
One of the best pitchers on the planet right now (if not, the best) for just $650,000.
It's a no-brainer.
He is lights out with a 10-2 record, and he leads the Majors in strikeouts. He could anchor any big league rotation.
I'll take him to lead mine.
2009 Salary- $650,000
Payroll Remaining- $63,043,750
The man that should have started the All-Star game for the AL this year, Greinke has been unbelievable this year.
FInally living up to the hype that he had been dealing with throughout his young career, Greinke has 10 wins, a 2.12 ERA, and a WHIP just over 1.
He has shown the ability to lead a club, as he is the heart and soul of the Royals this year.
With Lincecum already on board, he won't need to do everything. That said, he is a major bargain.
2009 Salary- $3,750,000
Payroll Remaining- $59,293,750
When you think of an All-Value team, Beckett is not one that necessarily comes to mind right away.
But I've got the money to spend, so why not spend it on possibly the best clutch pitcher in baseball?
With two young aces already on the staff, Beckett would make an unbeatable trio in October. He is a pitcher that thrives on the big stage, and would bring leadership and fire to a young rotation.
Obviously there may be better buys for the salary, but I have the extra payroll, and I'm going to spend it on someone who can get the big win.
2009 Salary- $11,166,666
Payroll Remaining- $48,127,084
The big right hander has anchored Florida's young pitching staff with a 2.74 ERA, while losing only 2 games.
In fact, he has a 15-3 record over the last two seasons pitching in a great offensive division for a team without a whole lot of talent.
Johnson has shown this year, that he has the durability to be a big time starter in MLB, and he is a very underrated talent.
2009 Salary- $1,400,000
Payroll Remaining- $46,727,084
With four stud right handers, I thought I should make my fifth and final starter a lefty.
Kershaw is second in among lefties with a 3.16 ERA. Only Johan Santana is better, and for about $18 Million less, I'll take Kershaw as a nice fifth starter.
He has as many strikeouts as innings pitched, and a WHIP close to 1.
He has quietly developed into one of the best left handed pitchers in the Majors.
2009 Salary- $404,000
Payroll Remaining- $46,323,084
Francisco Rodriguez- The decision came down to him or Nathan as the closer. While the $2 Million saved by taking Franky helped, the final decision was also based on the fact that he has done it in the playoffs before, and has won a World Series.
2009 Salary- $9,166,666
George Sherrill-2009 Salary- $2,750,000
Heath Bell-2009 Salary- $1,255,000
Mark DiFelice-2009 Salary- $403,000
Kiko Calero-2009 Salary- $500,000
Scott Eyre-2009 Salary- $2,000,000
Michael Wuertz-2009 Salary- $1,100,000
Payroll Remaining- $29,148,418
Mike Napoli-2009 Salary-$2,000,000
James Loney-2009 Salary-$465,000
Ben Zobrist-2009 Salary-415,900
Michael Bourne-2009 Salary-$434,500
Matt Kemp-2009 Salary-$467,000
Payroll Remaining- $25,366,018