Derek Jeter, Michael Young, and Carlos Guillen aren't exactly a "big 3" comparable to A-Rod, Jeter, and Nomar Garciaparra a few years ago.
Yet these guys were titans in 2007 compared to what they did this past year.
Top 10 A.L. Shortstops 2008
Carlos Guillen shuffled off to 3B, so he isn't listed here, but that bum earned $16 last year, in case you're wondering.
But Guillen's a huge reason that the position suffered in 2008. Add Miguel Tejada's defection to the N.L. and Julio Lugo's injury/disappearing act, and you're suddenly left with a soft position, where banjo hitters like Scutaro and Punto can crack the Top 10 with their modest career years.
Still, the 10 best hitters at any position are often a success story, and SS is no exception. These guys only earned $17 per player compared to the $21 they earned in 2007, but the market is only paying them $14 per player, so we clearly weren't expecting that much. Jeter and Renteria are mini-busts; you certainly don't like taking a $7 bath, but I doubt Edgar Renteria all by his lonesome destroyed that many Roto seasons.
Meanwhile, the success stories here are the guys we didn't expect to see at all: the scrubs (Punto and Scutaro) and the minor league lifer (Aviles), one of the most improbable stories of 2008.
Once again, Patton is lagging behind the expert leagues and Sports Weekly. He does tie the market and SW on Jeter, but the only other players he gets are Scoot and his share of Punto. Punto and Scoot would be a nice two-thirds of a middle infield, but the looming issue is that you have to spend your money somewhere.
Alex didn't rally with the ten most expensive 2B. Does he rally with the SS?
10 Most Expensive A.L. Shortstops 2008
|10 (tie)||Bobby Crosby||$7||$8||-0||$6||$6||$5|
Nope. Actually, I'm starting to worry that Alex - one of the most consummate pricers in the history of this game - is going to leave some money on the table.
Most Expensive Hitters by Position, 2008
So far in these "ten most expensive" lists, I've run through 42 players on offense and Alex has been outspent $113 by the market. You can't argue that he's going to spend more money on the next tier of catchers or shortstops...since they're obviously going to cheaper than the 10th most expensive hitter on each list. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was in the minors when Alex's bids went to bed, but that only explains $9 of the gap away.
And, once again, it's not that Alex's bids aren't sensible. Just like with the second basemen, the order of his bids mirrors that of the market; it's just that Alex bids less or the same on player after player. He ties on Jeter and Young and finally settles on Brendan Harris.
So far, including ties (which I'll indicate using a t), Alex has "won" the following players in a three-way battle with the tout expert leagues and Sports Weekly:
Catchers: Jason Varitek $11.
First Base: Casey Kotchman $18, Billy Butler $17.
Second Base: Placido Polanco $17 (t).
Shortstop: Derek Jeter $29 (t), Brendan Harris (t) $9.
Out of 42 players, that's six purchases. In a three-way battle, Patton should have the winning bid on about 14 of these guys right now.
It gets worse if you actually dive deeper into the market bids. LABR bid $12 on Varitek, so you can remove him from Alex's list. Sportsline goes to $19 on Polanco, so you can wave him bye bye. Jeter and Harris go for $32 and $11 in Sportsline, respectively, so adios boys.
Now, out of 42 players, you're down to two purchases. Since I've stretched this to a five-way battle, Alex should have the winning bid on eight or nine of them. Two tells me he's grossly underspending his money.
I'll have to keep following this as I move along. I should have talked more about the shortstops, but this is big news. If Alex isn't spending enough money on his hitters and you're using his software, than neither are you. We might not like Lugo, Cabrera, or Peralta. But we either have to spend our money on one of them or blow a big wad of money somewhere else.