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Established Keeper League Opening . . . OOH LA LA

A couple weeks ago I received an email from a friend who I'm in a slow mock draft with.  It said this,

"There is an opening in a Auction Keeper League I started playing in last year. . .  it has been going on since the late 90's. There is one open spot and they want a highly competitive owner.

It's a pretty ridiculous league.  15 teams, 6x6 with OPS and Holds as the extra categories.  The roster configuration is 23 man active roster (14 Hitters, 9 Pitchers), 7 Reserves, 2 DL, 5 Minor League.  Teams can keep up to 7 players can by signing long term contracts.  5 rookies/minor leaguers can be kept without salary considerations.  Each team starts with $260.  The auction is for 14 pitchers and 9 hitters (minus your keepers).  Then there is a snake draft held for the reserve and rookie/minor leagues."

So like I said, OOH LA LA!  I truly believe an established league with active participants is priceless and this one was a 15 team keeper league that'd been around for 10+ years so I jumped at the chance.  It's only been 2 weeks since I joined and I've already seen 3 trades and received 2 trade offers myself.  We're still in JANUARY!  I have visions of 2000 posts on the message boards, major trade deadline blockbusters, and flurries of action throughout the year.  What more could a geek like me (if you're reading this you're a geek too) ask for?

The only downer is the club I inherited.  As you'd expect, it's awful, but I welcome the opportunity to put some Schottenheimer/Parcells touches on it.  By the way, I correctly spelled Schottenheimer the first time but not Parcells.  I must be from San Diego.  Anyways, an upper half finish along with a positive position towards '10 would be a big victory by this time next year.

So here's the squad along with it's prices.  After the jump, I'll tell you how I'm leaning keeper-wise for '09.

Active Batters ,Salary,Contract

Kendall, Jason C MIL,10,Y1

Martin, Russell C LA,6,1Y4

Sexson, Richie 1B NYY,10,Y1

Grudzielanek, Mark 2B KC,10,Y1

Lowell, Mike 3B BOSá,3,Y2

Young, Michael SS TEXá,22,Y1

Hill, Aaron 2B TORá,16,Y1

Huff, Aubrey 1B BAL,1,Y1

Burrell, Pat LF TBá,10,Y1

Edmonds, Jim CF CHC,10,Y1

Guillen, Jose RF KC,16,Y1

Matthews, Gary RF ANAá",1,Y1

Taveras, Willy CF CINá,18,Y1

Feliz, Pedro 3B PHIá,8,Y1

Active Pitchers,Salary,Contract

Cook, Aaron SP COL,10,Y1

Hernandez, Livan SP COL,10,Y1

Lackey, John SP ANA,25,Y1

Lowe, Derek SP LAá,7,Y2

Martinez, Pedro SP NYM,5,Y2

Rogers, Kenny SP DET,10,Y1

Wellemeyer, Todd SP STL,10,Y1

Hoffman, Trevor RP MILá,20,Y1

Shields, Scot RP ANAá,4,Y1

Reserve Batters,Salary,Contract

Olivo, Miguel C KC,1,Y1

Matsui, Kazuo 2B HOU,10,Y2

Diaz, Matt LF ATL,1,Y1

Reserve Pitchers,Salary,Contract

Glavine, Tom SP ATLá,10,Y1

Hill, Rich SP CHCá,4,Y2

Morrow, Brandon SP SEA,10,Y1

Thornton, Matt RP CHW,10,Y1

The injured and minor leaguer players aren't even worth listing here.  Believe me.


My "Obvious" picks are:

Huff $1 - Here's a guy that put up roughly .300, 100, 30, 110 in '08.  Even if he falls back to his previous 3-4 year levels he's worth at least $5. 

Martin $6 - Duh.

Lowe $7 - Moving from LA to ATL he get's a slight park effect bump.  The park effect and him being 1 year older probably cancel each other out.  $7 is a great price considering I'd pay close to twice that much on draft day.  He's as reliable as they come.

Burrell $10 - Aaron Gleeman posted park effects data here yesterday and I was surprised to see Burrell's old and new parks coming out the same.  He's moving into another good lineup and I don't see why he wouldn't be able to continue to put up his usual .250, 30, 95 season good for a $15-20 value.

Lowell $3 - Yes he's aging, Yes he's an injury risk, Yes he could lose playing time but, at $3 he's good value option for a team with so few of them.

My "Maybe" picks are:

Lackey $25 - He's a solid pitcher who's numbers have been regressing for 3 years.  With his run production behind him likely going south and with a new closer this may be the year Lackey dips a bit.  This isn't a terrible price but, I think I could get him back cheaper and he's more likely to come up short of his $25 price than he would be to outperform it.

Morrow $10 - I love his upside but, I may be able to get him for cheaper.

Wellemeyer $10 - He's so dull with such little true upside it' hard for me to imagine paying this price to keep him.  I doubt people will take him seriously so I might think about him in the end game on draft day for a price south of $6

Young $22 - Here's a former premium player at an appropriate price.  I'm trying to decide whether he regressed last year because of the broken finger or because he's on the wrong side of 30.  He still has a great lineup around him to bolster his runs and rbi's but, how far would he have to slide to not live up to a $22 price?  Not very far.

Shields $4 - It's a holds league so I wonder whether keeping a steady set-up man at $4 is worth it.

So there it is.  If I just keep the 5 obvious players, I go into the draft with $233 to play with.  If I keep the obvious 5 plus a couple maybes, I wouldn't have as much draft day leverage.  The trouble with a league like this is the inflation for top level talent when it's on the market.  I could go after a couple big names whose contracts got too big for their owners and were let go and see what kind of run I could make this year.  I could also try to acquire young players and build for a long term future.  Let me know what you'd do in my situation and why.