With rebuilding teams getting more competitive, our window of opportunity is closing. A poor start to the 2022 season could see a widescale clearout, but that is something that I have managed to avoid.
Although the idea of dumping expensive veterans and grabbing the young, cheap stud prospects is appealing, most of the teams in the league that have attempted this are yet to convert it into a successful roster.
ROSTER FOR 2022
|C||Eric Haase C,OF | DET||3|
|1B||C.J. Cron 1B | COL||19|
|2B||Jorge Polanco 2B,SS | MIN||20|
|SS||J.P. Crawford SS | SEA||10|
|OF1||Avisail Garcia OF | MIL||19|
|SP1||Robbie Ray SP | TOR||17|
|SP2||Anthony DeSclafani SP | SF||15|
|SP3||Tyler Mahle SP | CIN||6|
|SP4||Gerrit Cole SP | NYY||49|
|RP1||Ryan Pressly RP | HOU||5|
|B6||Tommy La Stella 2B||2|
|B7||Jorge Alfaro C, OF||2|
This gives just $93 to acquire 11 players in the auction. That’s not much when you consider we spent $42 on an Andrew Heaney/Josh Lindblom combo last year. Ouch!
These are players that we just can’t afford to keep for another year
|Ketel Marte 2B,OF | ARI||45|
|Christian Yelich OF | MIL||55|
|Dallas Keuchel SP | CHW||46|
|Mychal Givens RP | CIN||12|
|Zach Davies SP | CHC||16|
|Kris Bryant 3B, OF||45|
|Nick Castellanos OF | CIN||34|
|Starling Marte OF | OAK||34|
|DJ LeMahieu 1B,2B,3B | NYY||32|
These guys have more affordable contracts, but their role is unclear. We will delay the decision until as late as possible.
|Chad Kuhl SP||2|
|Wily Peralta RP/SP||3|
|Anthony Santander OF||14|
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”
More research into the likely available free agents, the holes that other rosters had to fill, and the amount of money in their budgets, suggested that the prices in this year’s auction would be higher than ever.
As such, we made a last-minute decision to keep two extra hitters. During the original discussions, we deemed $14 for Santander too expensive. It was a wise decision to change our mind as he went on the finish as the 15th-best outfielder with an almost-identical points tally to $66 Mike Trout.
A not-so-wise choice was our late decision to spend $34 on keeping Nick Castellanos rather than spending it at the auction. The thinking was solid – $34 in the auction wouldn’t have bought much – but we made an error by keeping Castellanos rather than Starling Marte.
Marte is four years older and, with the move to the Mets, I was convinced that he would not run with Buck Showalter in charge. At the end of the season, Marte was the 25th outfielder while Castellanos was down in 48th position.
We entered the auction with around $45 for 10 players: third base, fifth starter, a reliever and seven bench players. Third base was our only glaring hole and we were happy to blow most of it at the hot corner. However, the best two options (DJ LeMahieu and Kris Bryant) both exceeded our budget, so we were left with my preference, Mike Moustakas ($15-$20) and David’s preferred option, Hunter Dozier ($10-$15) as the top two on our board. Cheaper options in the $5-$10 range included Aledmys Diaz, Josh Harrison, Joey Wendle, and Wilmer Flores. Looking back nearly a year later, it is interesting to see that we dismissed Yandy Diaz and Ha-soeng Kim due to playing time concerns. And it’s good we did not blow $20 on Moose.
Dozier was secured for just $9 so we quickly reallocated the remaining budget for the rest of the auction.
The price of starting pitchers went crazy (Alex Cobb $39 and Kyle Hendricks $34) and there were so few available. The lack of available starters is beginning to distort this league. We were very pleased that we kept Cole, Ray, DeSclafani, and Mahle; many teams were struggling to get four starters.
The only pitchers we could get at the auction were injured ones (Kenta Maeda and James Paxton) and dodgy ones (Tyler Alexander and Luke Weaver).
By contrast, finding bench bats was easy with pre-auction targets Elvis Andrus, Josh Harrison, and Darin Ruf costing next to nothing.
Let’s see how the league plays out. Why not check out our 2022 season review.
Featured image of Hunter Dozier by Duane Burleson/Getty Images