|The 2008 All Cheap Team|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on May 09, 2008
Every year, I assemble the All Cheap Team. It is a 25 man roster that earns less than Alex Rodriguez’s annual salary, which stands at $28 million this year. Because it became too easy in the past, I added another rule: No player can earn more than $1 million. This may be my best team yet. (Note: All salaries come from ESPN.com’s salary database.)
SP Felix Hernandez (540K)
Pitching wins championships. With this assembled staff, it looks like a dynasty could be in the making. Hernandez and Cain both have blazing fastballs and the ability to strike out hitter after hitter. A postseason contender could ride these power arms to a World Series championship, a la the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. Add in Hamels, Wainwright, and Jurrjens, and this team has five legitimate aces. Carmona is the team’s long man and spot starter.
CL Jonathan Papelbon (775K)
It may seem odd to go with an eight-man bullpen (those seven plus Carmona), but most of these guys have short stamina. If a starter were to get pulled in the early portions of the game, then several of these guys would have to throw. That is where the depth comes in. Papelbon is just as good as any closer in the major leagues, while Chamberlain, Marmol, Perez, Billingsley, and Accardo are setup men good enough to be closers on top-notch contenders. Jenks is another power arm that shuts out the opposition.
RF Shane Victorino (480K)
There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: This is almost the perfect lineup. The guys at the top have the ability to get on base and steal bases; guys like Ramirez, Fielder, Gonzalez, and Braun have the power to knock them in; and Francoeur, McCann, and Zimmerman are capable of hitting 80 home runs combined, while putting up a good collective batting average. No pitcher in his right mind would want to face them. And no manager would know how to write the order.
C Russell Martin (500K)
With a 13-man pitching staff and nine players in the everyday lineup, that leaves three open spots on the bench. One of these spots belongs to a catcher, but Martin is definitely a quality backup. Combine that with Tulowitzki, who should have the body size to play all four positions in the infield, and Upton, who can roam all the outfield positions and play in the infield.
The pitching staff is both top-heavy and deep. The rotation should feature four guys with sub-4.00 ERAs and an amazing bullpen. Combine that with a killer lineup, and that should make up for the lack of a bench. So, is this team better than A-Rod? I’d bet so.