Implementing Ray's Rebuild Strategy

Last season we implemented a rebuilding strategy very much like Ray’s recommendation in his piece “Draft Strategy: Rebuilding is a Strategy Too.” Actually we had a lot of fun doing it even though we were doomed to the second division, and in fact finished 10th out of 12 teams, though we did hit 9th for a few minutes on the last day of the season. We had to do it – we traded every future guy the year before in an effort to try to win. Now we’re sitting on a monster keeper list which we’ve been busily improving. This is, of course, particularly difficult in a high inflationary environment – not many players end up being bargains.

We have a 12 team NL league with 25 man rosters, $280 auction cap. We can keep up to 10, but we only kept 2 – Tim Hudson at 8 and Allen Craig at 1 (we extended him to 6). Both started the season on the DL, but we figured Hudson would be easy to move and Craig would be a good keeper for 2013. This left us $271 for the 23 players. We had also traded everything else, and made sure to trade for an extra farm pick and the highest farm picks we could get.

We were hot for injured guys at a discount, and bought Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Steven Drew and a couple of young injured $2 arms – Jorge De La Rosa and Arodys Vizcaino. We also were aiming for Rubby De La Rosa, but lost him in the end game (luckily, as it turned out).

Of course, with so much money to spend, we had to buy some expensive players, but we passed on the most expensive guys (Kent, Upton and Braun, who we would have bought for sure had his suspension been sustained) and instead aimed at some hitters on the younger side who went for $31-$32 – Pence, Holliday and Chris Young. We actually bid $38 on Jay Bruce, but he went for $39. We later traded Pence and Holliday, but Young was so bad he was untradeable at the end. We also bought the most expensive catcher, missing on Montero but buying McCann under the theory that big hitting catchers in a 2 catcher NL-only league are very tradable. And yes, we traded him.

We made a couple of errors on young guys with upside in the $19-$20 area – Mat Gamel and Alex Presley, but they were our targets. You've got to take some risks that won't work.

We also bought young guys with question marks, and hit it big with Pedro Alvarez at $6 and Tyler Colvin who got pushed to $8 in a minor bidding war. We were less fortunate with Daniel Descalso ($3) and Tyler Greene ($6).

We only spent a total of $43 on pitching including the $8 keeper price for Hudson. The most we spent was $11 on Bedard and $9 on Worley, which represented almost half of what we spent. We finished with 10 starters, passing on all closers and would-be closers. Our goal was to end up with 3 keepable really cheap starters for 2013. We hit with Samardzjia at $5, Edwin Jackson at $3 and Clayton Richard at $1, and have since traded Jackson and Richard. We also have Chris Narveson at a buck lurking on our roster, but at this point he’s only trade bait in addition to Jorge De La Rosa.

We drafted Marte (#10) and Skaggs and Gyorko at #15 and #16, just missing on Taveras. Every in-season trade was designed to improve us for 2013, and now we’re looking at:

Hitters – Ruiz (9), Craig (6), Utley (14), Alvarez (6), Marte (5), Jay (3) and Colvin (8).

Pitchers – Chapman (5, extendable 1 year to 15), J. Zimm (8) and Samardzjia (5).

That’s 7 hitters and 3 pitchers for a total of $69, or $79 if we extend Chapman. Plus we still have Gyorko and we have the #1, #5 and #9 picks in the minor league draft.

Certainly it’s not fun to be completely out of it all season, but we had a lot of fun implementing this strategy and molding what should be a very good team this year. And Rotolab says we’ve got a $30 lead on the pack right now. I hope we draft well enough to keep that.

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