Bargain shopping: AL's six-figure All Stars
Who doesn’t love the Midsummer Classic? One day a year when one stadium plays host to the game’s biggest stars – and, often, the biggest contracts.
But money doesn’t always buy happiness – just ask the Yankees, who are fourth in the AL East at 44-44 and are paying at least $21 million to each of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury and Alex Rodriguez this season. You could fill a 35-man roster with the sort of money the Yanks are paying any one of those guys.
In fact, let’s do just that. In the spirit of the All-Star Game, let’s assemble the best American League roster we can – using only guys on six-figure salaries.
We’ll stick to the same structure as Ned Yost will have at his disposal this year: a starter at each position (including the DH), 12 bench players (two catchers, five infielders, four outfielders and a DH) and 14 pitchers (five SP and nine RP).
Remembering, of course, that every team must be represented, here’s my AL All-Star team – my AL Moneyball-Stars, if you will.
(Click here for the NL squad.)
The three Red Sox are starting for the American League at Petco, so they pick themselves. Vogt is the standout catcher and is joined by A’s teammate Khris Davis, who has mashed 19 home runs and can celebrate a walk-off with the best of them. Castellanos is a no-brainer at third, Cron is having a fine season on the other side of the diamond, and Schoop gets the nod at second. Springer has done more than enough to earn a start – even if Betts is keeping him out of right field.
There’s a bit of a mix here, with a strong crop of middle infielders but a couple of weak selections behind the dish. The Cleveland trio have all helped the Indians to a 6.5-game lead in the AL Central, while Shaw and Profar would offer some positional flexibility as Yost gets the bench involved. Sano is the type of young talent that belongs on this stage, and Orlando gets in as the lone Royal.
Salazar would be my pick to get the start, but it’s an impressive group of starting pitchers. Colome, Dyson, Harris and Osuna are all closing for their respective clubs, while Betances is just about as nasty as relievers come. Jones gets in to represent the White Sox, while Abad and Montgomery serve as the team’s left-handed options – and Montgomery could throw multiple innings if need be. Could’ve picked several others to fill out the bullpen but Giles has bounced back from a poor start and has a strong track record at a position that generally produces fairly fickle numbers. In any case, this entire 14-man staff is making about a quarter of David Price’s 2016 salary.
Starting nine: $4,921,400
You could make a good case for plenty of relievers, but several above-average starters got overlooked. Sonny Gray has three wins and an ERA north of five, Marcus Stroman hasn’t had the year many expected, Carlos Rodon has struggled, Lance McCullers has thrown just 57 innings and Jake Odorizzi’s ERA is up about a run on the numbers he posted last year.
Still, the fact those guys are getting squeezed out shows just how much young, inexpensive talent is running around in the American League.
*Salaries according to spotrac.com