Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Best Team Money can Buy

We hear the expression all the time. Usually teams with stars that win titles and have high payrolls, like the Yankees, Red Sox, and in other sports the Lakers or Real Madrid. But, building powerhouse teams is of course more than just buying players off the free agent market. It takes years, and you still have to deal with drafts and trade proposals.

Let's say the crazy baseball gods created an expansion team for a super wealthy owner, but there was no expansion draft. He just had to go into the free agency period and buy the best team possible. For the sake of our sanity, we won't look at 25-man rosters and finding bargains for the back of the rotation and bench players. Let's say a super wealthy ownership group was given the green light by MLB to start his franchise. What would be a good starting 9, with no worries about salary?

First, a little back ground. It is currently the night of December 8th, 2009. Some free agents have recently signed, like Chone Figgins (Mariners 4yr/$36m), Marco Scutaro (Red Sox $15.5m/3yr), and Ivan Rodriguez (Nationals 2yr/$6m). Randy Wolf was rumored to have been offered a 3yr/$31m deal from the Brewers. He should probably sign that right away.

Let's look at what a starting lineup might look like...

2b: Felipe Lopez
CF: Mike Cameron
1b: Nick Johnson
LF: Matt Holliday
RF: Vladimir Guerrero
3b: Adrian Beltre
C: Yorvit Torrealba
SS: Orlando Cabrera
SP: Aroldis Chapman

I just have a feeling that Chapman will be better than Lackey. I'm probably just being seduced by the mysticism of the unknown ability by this exotic prospect. This is irrelevant to the circumstances created above, but when it comes to worrying about cash, I'd rather give Chapman $20-something million than give Lackey $80-something million. I would also rather roll the dice with guys like Ben Sheets and Rich Harden.

We might need to balance out the right-handedness of our lineup a little bit, but other than that we'd look okay. I thought about Miguel Tejada at Shortstop or Third base, but I don't think he can play short anymore, and Beltre is still a world class third baseman, even if he doesn't hit like he used to.

Well, brilliant readers, where did I go wrong? How can we make this team better? Remember, we can't talk about guys like Curtis Granderson or Doc Halladay because we have no-one to trade.

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