The All Reject Team

As we roll into March, I thought it’d be interesting to see what kind of team you could put together with the remaining free agents. Here’s the 25-man squad.

Catcher: Paul Bako
First Base: Hank Blalock
Second Base: Rich Aurilia
Shortstop: Ramon Martinez
Third Base: Joe Crede
Left Field: Garret Anderson
Center Field: Darin Erstad
Right Field: Jermaine Dye
Designated Hitter: Gary Sheffield

Bench: Rob Bowen, Rocco Baldelli, Ryan Freel, Chris Gomez

Starter: John Smoltz
Starter: Pedro Martinez
Starter: Jarrod Washburn
Starter: Braden Looper
Starter: Bartolo Colon

Closer: Kiko Calero

Bullpen: David Weathers, Joe Beimel, Ron Mahay, Eric Milton, Duaner Sanchez, Troy Percival

Not surprisingly, the team is weak up the middle, as catchers, shortstops, and center fielders have generally found jobs. The Martinez-Aurilia double play combination would be the worst in the game by a country mile. Erstad as a regular center fielder isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a good time either.

At the corners, though, this team could give some other clubs a run for their money. At least in name value, if not so much on the filed. Blalock, Crede, Dye, Anderson, Sheffield… you could do worse, honestly.

But, the strength of this team would be pitching. In fact, I’d dare say that the rotation might actually be league average, at least when those five are all healthy. They’d run into problems due to a lack of depth, but just on paper, it’s not a terrible rotation. The bullpen wouldn’t be a disaster either.

Just eyeballing projected WAR for this group, I’d think you’re looking at something like a true talent level 60 win team. They’d be bad, no question, but given the premise of limiting yourself solely to free agents who haven’t signed even after spring training has already started, I’m actually a little surprised at how decent of a roster you could put together.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

37 Responses to “The All Reject Team”

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  1. Jim says:

    I love fangraphs! You guys always have the most interesting posts.

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  2. bpoe13 says:

    Looks like you can move Rocco from the bench to coach,


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  3. Brian says:

    Let’s do it! I’m good for $20, I’ll bet people would definitely come to see this team play in exhibitions … =)

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  4. PL says:

    Kenny Lofton would be a much healthier option in CF, even though he hasnt played since 07, he hasnt officially retired either.

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  5. Dudley says:

    awesome post! darin erstad actually is my idea of a good time in CF–he’d be hilarious!

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  6. Dudley says:

    i bet julio franco could be coaxed out of retirement.

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  7. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    lets not forget barry bonds either. i mean he could still be a 2 win player.

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  8. MikeS says:

    I think you may be overestimating the pitching – or at least the overall run prevention. Sure, the FIP may be OK but it’s going to look just awful to the naked eye with that defense. Fly balls may not be an adventure as those three guys are fundamentally sound, but a lot of fly balls are going to turn into singles and doubles as your outfield lumbers or hobbles after them. Even guys like Crede who used to be able to pick it just can’t do it anymore physically.

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    • jar75 says:

      Why do you say that? UZR still loved Crede last year. The sample size is small, but I don’t see any evidence that his defense has declined.

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      • MikeS says:

        Mostly I was talking about the outfield.

        As for Crede, he only played 90 games because his back was wonky. In the games I saw he was still good, but had lost a quarter step on that hot shot to his right – the one he used to be so great at getting to. I’m not sure if UZR would pick that up or if it would just assume that ball couldn’t be caught. In any event, hHe’s available because of concerns about his back. If those concerns are justified, his defense might take a tremendous hit as his back continues to limit him more. That’s only speculation, but if some GM thought he could still play the hot corner he’d have a job.

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      • jar75 says:

        I definitely agree that the reason he’s unemployed is because of his health. I didn’t see him play many games last year so your speculation may be accurate.

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  9. Breadbaker says:

    I think we’re all glad this team would only play on paper, unless we could schedule a full season against it for our favorite team, that is.

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  10. John says:

    Rickey says “Rickey is offended”.

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  11. Dan says:

    Its time for a new AL team to hit the brackets.

    I’m thinking the Georgia Peaches

    Or some name thats smarter.

    Its an interesting negotiating ploy to wait this long. We’ll see if most of these names still come away with decent contracts

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  12. Xeifrank says:

    Doing the WAR math in my head, I came up with that being a 64 win team. Not quite the Astros or Pirates.
    vr, Xei

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  13. pwhit44 says:

    One of the worst defensive teams I could possibly imagine (without moving people out of position, obviously).

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  14. Mark S says:

    The big question to me is could this team beat the 2008 Mariners in a best of 7 series?

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    • gnomez says:

      No, but they could probably beat the 2010 Astros, and take 4 of 5 from the 2003 Tigers.

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      • Samuel E. Giddins says:

        Gotta love that Tigers team…
        I remember that was the first year I truly understood how messed up baseball was. I was 8 at the time, and I looked forward to the Tigers-Yankees matchups. Fun times…

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  15. B N says:

    While the pitching looks slightly more solid than other years for a reject team like this, the offense and fielding is downright brutal. I can’t think of a year with such a big scrap heap left in the hitting as this year. The only guys who have upside have huge cliff/injury risks while the remainder have no upside at all. You have to expect this with an all reject team, but having seen this exercise done in the past- this year looks particularly bad.

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  16. JoeR43 says:

    So a team of mediocre free agents no one wants to finish ahead of the Royals.


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  17. Benne says:

    Sure, the pitchers would have decent FIPs, but man, that defense is going to result in some cartoonish ERAs. It would be a season-long Benny Hill routine out there.

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    • JoeR43 says:

      Put Freel in there for Dye in RF, and actually it’s not all that terrible (though nothing disguises the nothing that is the middle infield).

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      • Will says:

        I agree. If the ART (All Reject Team) is an AL team, I think they’d be distinctly decent. Anderson is only -4.8 UZR in several thousand innings in LF since 2006. Erstad is very good in CF. He hasn’t played there much recently, but has a career 24 UZR/150 in CF. Freel in a very SSS has a 24 UZR/150 in RF. That’s a pretty damn good outfield.

        It’s too bad that most of the SPs are groundballers, which plays to the team’s obvious weakness. However, Ray Durham hasn’t retired yet has he? He’d be a definite upgrade on Aurilia.

        If only Khalil Greene hadn’t taken that minor league deal with the Rangers, or we’d have a solid team on our hands.

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      • quincy0191 says:

        @Will: The Rangers voided Greene’s contract. He’s probably a better 2B option than Aurilia (yes, I know he’s a SS, but that just means he’ll probably be a plus-defense 2B).

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  18. William says:

    no love for delgado? also troy percival is retired, so you can scratch his name of the bullpen

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    • R y a n says:

      Percival hasn’t officially retired yet, I don’t think. Do you have a link?

      And Delgado is out until halfway through the season. Maybe thatis the reason for omission.

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  19. Tiago says:

    Duaner Sanchez signed with Mexico City Red Devils and Troy Percival retired.

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  20. odbsol says:

    What about Jimmy Edmonds?

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  21. MDS says:

    sammy sosa!

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  22. Pat says:

    How about Mark McGwire at DH?? CHONE has him projected for 20 HRs in 2010!!!

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