Mailbag: The All-$189M Team

Saxon: Kuroda's "first preference" is to pitch in Southern California
MLBTR's Offseason Outlook
(Ezra Shaw/Getty)

Drew asks: Since Yankee news has been slow lately, here is a fun question/scenario: If you could only pick one player from each team to make a roster and get it under the $189 million cap for 2013 who would you pick? It’s tougher than it sounds (Kemp or Kershaw) (Votto or Chapman) etc.

It was tougher than it sounds but mostly on the fringes of the roster. Getting to spend an average of $6.2M per roster spot isn’t all that difficult given some of the insane bargains out there, so I tried to take it easy on the pre-arbitration guys making the league minimum. Some of them (Mike Trout) were simply too good to pass up though.

The luxury tax is based on the average annual value of contracts. For players in their pre-arbitration years, I assume a flat $500k salary just to make the math easy (the league minimum is $480k). For arbitration-eligible guys, I used MLBTR’s projections. I included the $10M for benefits and whatnot, so it’s really a $179M limit for players and roughly $5.9M per roster spot. Here’s my club…

Notice there are two tabs there, one broken down by roster spot and one broken down by MLB team. I tried to play fair and pick actual bench/platoon players for the bench spots as well as guys who could be sent to the minors in real life for the extra five spots. I had enough payroll space left over to go nuts on stars if I really wanted. I fudged a little by taking Giancarlo Stanton as my DH, but I could have easily taken David Ortiz ($13M) and finagled the bench to get a Marlin instead of a Red Sox on there.

I don’t know how many games that roster would win but it sure would be a lot. Easily over 90 with perfect health and maybe even 100+. The lineup is bananas and I don’t really know how I’d line those guys up, probably Trout, Cano, Braun, Votto, Posey, Longoria, Stanton, Harper, Andrus. There’s no wrong answer really, you can make a case for Votto at leadoff given his ridiculous OBP. My rotation would probably go Verlander, Kershaw, Felix, Hamels, Sale despite Hamels being the highest paid. There’s no way that roster could stay under the $189M luxury tax threshold beyond like, 2014, given the huge impending raises for Posey, Trout, Kershaw, Sale, and Kimbrel, but I’ll happily take my chances the next two years.

Saxon: Kuroda's "first preference" is to pitch in Southern California
MLBTR's Offseason Outlook
  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula

    You left off your favorite, future Yankee David Price.

    I would have left off Longoria since he can never stay healthy.

    • Laz

      yep, personally I would’ve had price from the rays, and miggy from tigers instead.

  • Mike

    That roster reminds me of the filthy treams my friends and I used to create in the MLB2K games when we turned forced trades on. That team’s just plain nasty.

  • Ted Nelson

    Maybe 100+ wins? Is that sarcasm? Got to be the best team ever.

    • bpdelia

      Seriously lol. That’s more like maybe 120 wins. I would happily guarantee a 115 win season for that team considering all of those players are no, longer on their former teams. it is without question far and away the greatest team ever

      • vicki

        better than the 2011 red sox? get real, man.

        • Chris in Maine


    • Will the Real MP Please Stand Up

      Was thinking the same. That’s just pessimistic. I’d be surprised if they couldn’t break the all time wins record.

    • LK

      This was my first thought, too. This would probably be the best team of all time. I think you can make a reasonable case that every single member of the lineup will be the best player at his position. The rotation has 5 guys who pitched at or near ace quality this year, however you want to define that amorphous term. This team is beyond stacked.

  • Best Team Ever?

    You mean like the 2011 Red Sox?

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula


      My favorite part was Dice K, the best number 5 starter. Ever.

      The writer of that article should never be allowed to write about baseball again.

    • vicki

      dammit. shouldve scrolled down.

  • Kosmo

    The 1927 Yankees would give them a run for their money.

  • Duh Innings

    ‘Yanks wanna save some money and be competitive in 2013?


    Re-sign Rivera and Pettitte for a year each and Soriano for two years.

    Sign Joakim Soria for a year.

    Re-sign Martin for two years at $10M per year (a $2.5M raise for him in 2013), Ibanez for a year and $3M (half a mil raise.)

    There you go.

    The Yanks could go with Sabathia, Hughes, Pettitte, Nova, and Phelps – a 4/5ths homegrown and under 33 years old rotation – to start 2013 with hands down the best bullpen in baseball (Rivera, Robertson, Soriano, Soria, Logan, and two from Aardsma, Chamberlain, and Rapada.)

    Give Dickerson RF and the #9 slot and I think they’d be just fine.

    They could always acquire a starting pitcher and/or outfielder via trade in midseason.

    Maybe that midseason starting pitching acquisition is a healthy Pineda.

    Maybe Dickerson posts 15 HR and 60 RBI. ‘Not 2009-11 Swisher but so what if A-Rod could make up some or all of the loss of HR and RBI in RF with a better 2013?

    2012 Swisher: 24 HR, 93 RBI

    2012 A-Rod: 18 HR, 57 RBI

    42 HR, 150 RBI total between them

    If Dickerson posted 15 HR and 60 RBI, A-Rod would have to post 27 HR and 90 RBI for the 2012 Yanks to have the same amount of HR and RBI from their RF and 3B as the 2012 Yanks had. ‘Not a given but entirely possible looking at A-Rod’s entire career despite his 2011-12. If A-Rod posted just 22 HR (7 HR improvement) and 80 RBI (23 RBI improvement), that’s a 5 HR and 10 RBI loss from the 3B and RF, big deal.

    Dickerson has some pop, an arm, a good glove, and turns only 31 next April 10th. Let’s see what he can do for whatever amount under a mil he’d make. The Yanks could platoon him with Ibanez and make DH the rotating position. Ibanez isn’t DHing there all year.

    • Rivera Venue Blues

      Problem is, we’re probably looking at downgrades from SS, RF, and DH over a season next year and really not a whole lot reason to expect A-Rod to be significantly better than the 3B games we got out of A-Rod + Chavy.

  • Tim

    Heres an idea….How about signing BJ Upton for $75 million over 6 years….The Yankees could back load the deal and only pay Upton $6 million the first year….this would allow the Yankees to get under the $189 threshold…NYY could put Granderson in left, Gardner in center and Upton in right…they would get younger and more athletic.

    • bpdelia

      Again. The salary tax issues USE AAV so backloading doesn’t help. They could give Upton one year 19 million and tell him it’s in his interest top hit the market coming off one of his better years rather than one of his worst. Won’t happen but they could try. How bout one year 19 million,with a player option for 7 million as injury disaster insurance for him

    • Kosmo

      because B.J is not worth it. I´d rather NY sign Hamilton for a 5 year 112 million deal. Frontload the contract. Trade Granderson who they probably would not resign after the 2013 season anyway. NY should get with this austerity plan after the 2016-17 season when Tex,CC,Arod and Jeter will all be gone as would Hamilton and probably Cano.

      • bpdelia

        again though. front, back it doesn’t matter. the tax levels are set by aav

        • And in merrie olde England

          Frontload and trade, like the anti-Marlins?

  • hidkli

    I’m a little confused about how the salary total is ~111 million – a cursory glance suggests the salaries add up close to ~160 million

  • first name only male – Retire 21

    Could the Yankees possibly circumvent the cap by signing a player that wants a 2 year deal to a large one year deal with a club option for the difference? For example instead of giving someone a 2 year $24 million deal give them $20 million with a $4 million option.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      That might be so obvious that the commish would challenge it for luxury tax circumvention, but they could do something similar to that. Maybe instead of 2/24, give 14M for the first year, and a 10M team option for the second year with a 4M buyout. That way, if they exercise the option, for the first year, he would count for 18M in luxury tax payroll and the second year he would only count for 6M.

  • Rey22

    Evan Longoria’s contract continues to be an unbelievable steal for the Rays. Absolutely insane deal.

    • JAG

      I know, right? Longoria makes less than Andrus? That’s absurd.

  • Drew

    You’re welcome everyone.