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Feeling Sorry for the Astros?

April 15, 2014

So the Astros are thought of as rather cheap. This year’s payroll ($44.5M) is nearly double last year’s, but still the league’s lowest. So what if the Astros could go into the Way-Back Machine and bring players in from the past? Could they build a team on that payroll? Well, let’s see. The claim is, um, yup.

Rules:

1. The machine is also cheap. It can only go back and get players who played after 1945. No Babe Ruth, etc.

2. It only finds Hall of Fame players. If you’re not in the HOF, you can fuck off. So Mike Trout’s on $1M this year, but he’s out.

3. 2014 salary is determined by a player’s highest past annual salary, converted to 2014 dollars by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, via Baseball Reference. We round up to the next $100K (so $810K => $900K etc.).

4. No player’s salary can be $1.5M or more in today’s dollars. So I didn’t get Johnny Bench ($1.5M) or any truly modern guys.

5. Must be a useful 25 man roster, not defensively embarrassing.

6. Astros-style: We’re going to do what the Astros do on the farm. 10 pitchers, all starters, and they go in pairs each day on a 2×5-man rotation. You figure out if Koufax starts the game, or starts the 6th.

7. Total salary budget: not $44.5M… how’s $20M grab you? 

The following looks like a decent team. Total budget… $18.5M.

Mays cf 1.3M

Clemente rf 900K 

Williams lf 900k

Aaron dh 1.2M (1b/rf)

Killebrew 1b 700K 

Banks ss 500K

B. Robinson 3b 700K

Berra c 600K

J. Robinson 2b 400K

Bench: Campanella c 500K; Rizzuto ss 600K; Santo 3b 600K; Yazstremski lf 1.3M; Mantle cf 800K; Musial of/1b 700K

Pitchers: Koufax 1M; Palmer 1M; Jenkins 900K; B. Gibson 900K; Drysdale 800K; Spahn 600K; Ford 500K; Lemon 500K; Roberts 400K; Wynn 400K.

Now if you claim “there’s no backup 2b”, dump an outfielder, save some cash and pick up Bill Mazeroski ($400K). Let’s go Bucs! And we’re even cheaper. This isn’t hard.

Put another way… Mark Teixeira is making more this year than all 25 of these HOFers made in their best year converted to 2014 dollars put together.

 

 

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