Several weeks ago, the fellas over at The Platoon Advantage, decided to embark on a pretty cool project. They expanded Major League Baseball to create the Brooklyn Hipsters and Portland Webfoots. This not only ended all talk of Rays’ relocation (anyone sick of that conversation?) but it also moved the Rays into the new AL East with Cleveland, Toronto, and Detroit.
Unfortunately for Rays fans, I got to stand in for Andrew Friedman and create the Rays’ list of protected players. I gotta tell ya, that was a really freaking hard job. Turns out, the Rays have A LOT of guys I’d be sorry to lose. Here is the list of protected Rays I submitted with a few explanations: (The Rules are explained in the draft post linked to above)
- Evan Longoria
- Ben Zobrist
- Matt Joyce
- David Price
- Wade Davis
- Jeremy Hellickson
- Brandon Guyer
- Desmond Jennings
- Robinson Chirinos
- Alex Torres
- Sean Rodriguez
- Jake McGee
- Matt Moore
- Chris Archer
- Hak-Ju Lee
- BJ Upton (this turned into Henry Wrigley when BJ got drafted)
- Alex Cobb
- JP Howell (he had not come off the DL when I submitted my list. So, I was unaware that he would never get another guy out when I protected him. I might still have done it, just later.)
- Jeff Niemann (I have no explanation for this. Especially as much as I complain about Niemann. I am telling you, this thing is hard as heck.)
- JP Howell (yes, I have JP twice because I’m an idiot. Luckily The Common Man is benevolent and let me sub JJ Furmaniak here).
- Dane de la Rosa.
You’ll notice I did not protect James Shields, BJ Upton, or Tim Beckham. On Upton and Shields, I took a calculated risk that almost paid off. I was hoping that expansion franchises starting play in 2012 would be turned off by BJ’s contract status and not want to waste a pick on a one-year guy. Shows what I know, BJ went first overall. (In my defense, no one told me that one of the teams would play in Brooklyn and be called the hipsters. Had I known what a natural fit BJ would have been for that club, I might have reconsidered and protected him). But, the BJ era is going to end soon anyway so, a year less Upton is nothing I am going to lose sleep over.
Same goes for Shields. I wasn’t sure if either team would take him as he nears the end of his deal. Also, I figure he is going to walk anyway so, why not take the long view and protect guys that will help the Rays in the next 5-7 years? Of course, Shields went on and threw 61 complete game shutouts between the time I submitted my list and the time the draft was completed making it look like I just fell off the turnip truck. Keith Law even called me an idiot…and rightfully so. Lucky for me, no one drafted him. So there.
But, if I was taking the long view, why not keep Beckham or Reid Brignac (who also got drafted)? Well, like I said, this thing was hard. Beckham has turned it around but, in my mind, I have already written him off. If he turns into a good Major Leaguer, I’ll eat my words, but someone had to be hanging out there and I’d rather protect all the good young pitching (that has served us so well) rather than a high-risk-high-reward guy like Beckham.
As for Brignac, he has looked utterly replaceable this summer but, more importantly, we have a guy that plays his position and I value pitching over position players. So, I stuck with the pitching and lost Briggy. If I had it to do over, Briggy probably makes it into one of the JP Howell spots or maybe the Niemann spot (which would have been too late anyway).
There you have it. Go forth and critique. There is a lot to digest and argue about.