God bless the Four Letter. They've trotted out four of their baseball analysts in a vain attempt to accrue page views; the Fightin' Battle of the Killer Budgets! Each seamhead is saddled with a $40 million dollar budget for their team, which will compete in a simulated baseball tournament. The winner progresses to face the Yankees and their diamond encrusted twelve-sided die, which will once and for all settle the salary cap debate. The exercise ostensibly measures the writers' budgetary acumen and eye for talent, but really just serves as a platform to expose Steve Phillips as an idiot. Jayson Stark, Roy Neyer, Buster Olney and the aforementioned Phillips have been drafting away, wasting some time, and generating baseball discussion/ad revenue. Armed with Steve Phillips's lunacy, I'm going to play right into their hands.
Phillips is the somewhat reviled former Mets GM and latest addition to the Sunday Night Baseball booth. He's credited with drafting/signing Scott Kazmir, Jose Reyes, and David Wright and blamed with inking Mo Vaughn, the ghost of Roberto Alomar and Bobby Bonilla. Imagine Richard Griffin, only instead of being a PR flak, HE MADE ALL THE BASEBALL DECISIONS. I think Stoeten's head would explode. It would seem that his experience helming the Mets removed any consideration of budgetary constraints, because some of his selections have been ridiculous.
While the nerdy writer types key on the best and cheapest available players early, Stevo drafted Hanley Ramirez in the first round. Fair enough, though he does make a little bit too much money for this experiment. He continues picking up big(ger) contracts while the BBWAAs pluck the lower priced quality around him. In the late rounds, Jayson Stark plucks Jays back up LOOGY Jesse Carlson, a steal in the 14th round. This is about the time that Stevie loses his fucking mind.
Despite paying $13 million bucks for David Wright and Hanley Ramirez (32.5% of his budget), good ole Stevie thought shelling out another $6.25 million bucks for his closer was a good idea. Me thinks the SABR nerds have rattled his cage, gotten him off his game. After a bizarre statement that he'd prefer to serve hard time than vote Democrat, Steve settles in for a long winter nap. In need of a left handed bullpen guy, Phillips reaches out for Hideki Okajima, he of the $1.5 million dollar salary. For a left handed specialist. On a budget. Two picks later, Stephanos selects his third shortstop in 20 picks in the form of The Riot. Sigh.
It should be noted that Phillips only has $2.5 million dollars to spend on 5 players. There's hope for you yet, Litsch! The other, smarter writer's picks have been excellent and nicely budgeted, leaving plenty of money at the end to pick up a higher priced guy that could make an simulated impact. As I mentioned, the only Jay selected so far has been Jesse Carlson. I think I like Stark's team the best. Joey Votto, GROFavorite Brandon Morrow, Evan Longroia and Cole Hamels. The final round goes Friday, and the "games" are to be "played" next "week." Here's hoping Phillips gets a delicious taste of comeuppance.