In Part I, I examined what my pitching staff would have looked like had I gone $53 for Jose Reyes in the NL-only keeper league draft. I concluded I was better off with the pitching staff I drafted due to the extra dollars available that landed me a $17 Pedro Martinez.
As for my hitters, I cannot be so sure. After drafting C Chris Iannetta for $14, my next draftee was 3B Scott Rolen for $26 followed by UT Aaron Rowand for $14, C Carlos Ruiz for $3, Terrmel Sledge for $12 and CR Alberto Callaspo for $5. However, in this what-if scenario, I did not have the cap to draft Rolen, Rowand and Sledge because I had just $27 to get four players. With a UT filled by Reyes, I would have still drafted Ruiz for $3. Given he was a potential target, I would have held back cash for him.
This leaves me with 3 players to draft with $24. Callaspo was still a target and just the type of player I'd be looking for - a hitter who could produce double digit value if a few breaks went his way - a poor man's Freddie Sanchez. He also qualified at 3B because he appeared there prior to our draft. Another team, the same one whose pursuit of Reyes I thwarted also had Callaspo targetted. Given that, he would have been bid higher than my $5 winning bid. I'd have gone $7 after his $6 and got him.
Now I have to get two players with $17 to do it. "An $8 and a $9 player," I'd have thought and been pleased those options. With Callaspo in my 3B slot, my flexibility increases as I can draft a 1B- or 3B-eligible player for my CR spot and any hitter in UT. The players on my list would be Todd Linden, Jason Lane, Scott Hairston, Josh Hamilton, Brad Eldred, Matt Diaz, Kory Casto and Chris Snelling. A couple 3Bs I liked in this range were Jose Bautista and Wes Helms, but both went for more than I would have gone ($12 and $14 respectively) if I had Reyes.
Until my turn to throw out a player arrived, I'd be constantly thinking of different two-player salary combinations while scanning over my player sheets. For this reason, I cannot easily dismiss the chances of getting either Aaron Rowand at $14 ("A $14 player and a $3 one. Which CR is likely to be draftable at $3?) or Terrmel Sledge at $12 (A $12 player and a $5 one. Who is likely to be draftable at $5?) However, I can say it would be unlikely I'd have gone $14 on Rowand. My focus was no longer on adding everyday players with some SB upside because Jose Reyes covered that when I anxiously won the bid for $53!
Coming into the draft I liked Scott Hairston more than the others listed and would have taken him to $8 and gotten him. That would leave me $9 for my final player at CR. The player who would stand out at this point would be Nationals 1B Dmitri Young.
My mind would be weighing the joy of hoping Eldred hits 15+ HR for a $1 or the proven ability of Dmitri Young. In the actual draft, I threw out Young and lost him because I could not go $8. Given I had $9 to spend in this scenario, I would jump the bid from my $7 to $9. Unfortunately, the other team still had more money and got Young at $10.
This would leave me with either Brad Eldred or Lance Niekro. With $9, I would throw Brad Eldred. As my final player, I could not risk getting my 2nd choice. Throwing Niekro for a $1 would be too risky given his status as the 24th or 25th man on the Giants' roster. Eldred is mine for $1, and I leave the draft with $8.
Instead of Scott Rolen, Aaron Rowand and Terrmel Sledge, I have Jose Reyes, Scott Hairston and Brad Eldred. Jose Reyes is the best player amongst the six - by far. However, Hairston or Eldred would have to become a 300+ AB player to tilt the balance towards their side. That is a chance I would always take.
Overall, I am slightly better off right now with the team I drafted, but my what-if team will surpass it if Scott Hairston and Brad Eldred can get 300 NL ABs and Pedro Martinez pitches like a player not able to recover from shoulder surgery in August and September rather than a #1 starter . If Reyes misses any substantial amount of time, though, I'd be screwed! (ed: Does the phrase "putting all your eggs in one basket mean anything to you?")
This what-if analysis has put to rest the demons that have haunted me since the fateful moment where I let the auctioneer utter that final "-d" in "Sold!" instead of saying, "$53" and getting Reyes. Now I am going to see if the Reyes owner wants to trade him to me.