So I was listening to all the talk about the Pujols contract situation, and it got me thinking about players that I would sign to huge contracts for long periods of time. I thought that it might be fun to come up with a team of players that would be signed for 10 years and $20 million/yr.
Ok, here are the rules that I came up with:
1. Starting 9 only. That means I picked one player from each position in the field, and one starting pitcher. I also am assuming this is a NL team. No DHs.
2. You must spend $20 million on each player. There can be no splitting up of the contracts, and the total budget must come out to $180million.
3. There is no bench or bullpen. You are only spending money on the day one starters.
4. Players are assumed not to have a career ending injury during this 10 year period, but normal injury concerns come into play. Standard performance and player decline are factors. Just because a guy hit .330 last year does not mean that he’ll continue hitting .330 for the next 10 years.
5. The player must be guaranteed to be on your roster for the next 10 years. No trades after 5 years, and no cuts or retirements. The players you pick will be there for the next 10 years.
So, to get the ball rolling, I’ll throw out who I picked, and who I considered at each position.
Pitcher – Felix Hernandez, 24
There were a multitude of pitchers I considered for this spot. I considered Tim Lincecum, Josh Johnson, David Price, Stephen Strasburg, Trevor Cahill, Jon Lester, Tommy Hanson, Clayton Kershaw, and Ubaldo Jimenez. Ultimately I went with Hernandez who is 24, and the 2010 Cy Young winner. The kid has an excellent arm, excellent repertoire of pitches, and incredible overall makeup. This was probably the toughest decision I had to make.
Catcher – Joe Mauer, 27
The only other player I considered was Brian McCann. The two are fairly equal statistically. They each excel in different areas, but I went with Mauer because of his better defense and higher batting average. If he regains his power numbers from last year and can stay healthy, you may be watching one of the best catchers of all time.
First Base – Joey Votto, 27
The only other player I considered was Kendry Morales. I seriously considered putting Freddie Freeman in there, but he hasn’t played a big league season yet. Joey Votto is 27, the reigning NL MVP, and has the tools to be an all around great first baseman.
Second Base – Dustin Pedroia, 27
The others I considered were Martin Prado and Gordon Beckham. Beckham was considered more for potential than his performance to date, and I don’t think I have to explain why Prado is on the list. I had to pick Pedroia despite his injury history because of his excellent overall play and AL MVP award from a couple of years ago.
Third Base – Ryan Zimmerman, 26
The only other player I considered was Evan Longoria. Both players have great skill sets, and will be successful for a long time. This was really a toss-up for me and I went with Zimmerman because I’ve seen more of him over the last few years.
Short Stop – Troy Tulowitzki, 26
This one was tough. I thought long and hard about Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Elvis Andrus. Tulowitzki’s numbers speak for themselves. Ramirez has attitude concerns, and I’m not sure his defense at short keeps him there for the next 10 years. Having already spent money on third base, I eliminated him from consideration. Reyes’ injuries eliminated him, and I just haven’t seen enough of Andrus to say that he is my guy for the next 10 years.
Left Field – Ryan Braun, 27
The only other player I considered was Delmon Young. There are not very many candidates, and this was probably the easiest decision of any position.
Center Field – Andrew McCutchen, 24
There were a bunch of others considered. Adam Jones, Colby Rasmus, Austin Jackson, Matt Kemp, B.J. Upton, and Carlos Gonzalez are all excellent candidates. I went with McCutchen because I think he’s the next big thing in center field. The kid has all the talent in the world, and the speed and bat to back it up. He is rangy in the field and can get on base a ton of different ways. All of the guys considered have potential for bright futures, but I don’t want to over value any one season by any of the guys listed. McCutchen has shown me the most in his two years in the bigs.
Right Field – Jason Heyward, 21
Others in consideration were Nick Markakis, Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, and Hunter Pence. In my opinion Heyward has the brightest future, and is the youngest of all of these players. In year 10, he will only be 31, and that is plenty good enough for me to go with him over the weak field of candidates at the position.
Now I’ve given you my thoughts and some names. If you notice, none of the guys listed above is 28 or older. I made age as much of a factor as on the field performance. Right or wrong, these are the guys that I would trot out there with the given conditions. Please tell me who you would want on your team!