Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Keeper Strategy

My keeper list must be submitted by next Monday before the start of the day's games.

I have 16 players I'd consider protecting. The final two are $1 Jay Payton and $1 Franklyn German.

Given Jim Leyland's history using closing committees, I gave German serious consideration at $1. With Joel Zumaya opening in the bullpen and throwing gas, I slot him behind Fernando Rodney in the saves game and drop German into no man's land of mop-up duty.

Anyhow, there is little chance German won't go for $1 again and will likely be available in the free agent pool post-draft.

The harder decision, and the one that involves slightly more strategy, is Jay Payton. At $1, he can get no cheaper and will be drafted anyhow.

One injury to any of the three Oakland OF or to Frank Thomas at DH and Payton will be first in line for regular ABs. Heck, even an injury at 1B moves Swisher out of the outfield and to 1B opening a slot for Payton in the OF.

For a $1, those are the type of odds one should look for. Bobby Kielty is worth a buck as a back-up to Payton with that scenario!

So what is strategic about that? Nothing really, but I have three OF already. Payton would be the 4th.

Still no strategy.

What I do have is in inordinate amount of cap space - $161! With that kind of money, having an extra OF slot is worth letting Payton go. I can draft someone with, say, a starting job! I also have two corners and two middle infielders with 6 pitching keepers including a closer.

With so many bases covered and so much cash, I will very likely get two OF with better 2006 prospects than Payton. Hence the advanced strategic thinking.

I should trade Payton but maybe I am better off sending him back in the pool. He could go for more than $1 to another team - taking more $$ off the table- or, as a last resort, I could redraft him with all my cap space!

If I was forced into that, I'd have likely failed in spending all my cash on better players anyhow.

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