The offseason sucks, right? Day after day, pretty much nothing happens. Sure you stay up on all the news and get excited when your squad picks up a new (malcontented) outfielder – or a stud Cuban who might actually be eligible for social security benefits (if he was a citizen, you know) – or one of the Molina Brothers. For the most part, however, there is very little to keep fantasy players engaged through the long winter months. Lucky for you, I’ve got a solution: Hot Stove Fantasy Baseball.
The league’s set up is really quite simple. Each owner is allotted $230 to build his team. The player universe is everyone that filed for free agency following the 2009 season (including those desperate (smart?) few who accepted arbitration). Each team starts 10 hitters (normal spots plus two utilities), four SPs, three RPs and three general Ps. You cannot make any moves (other than trades) during the regular season and must fill each roster spot with a body. As some picks last year made obvious, the bodies don’t always have to be alive and kicking (heeeeeeey Jim Edmonds).
As I touched on very briefly earlier, the caveat here is that you lock players up for multiple years. For example, Jason Bay ultimately went for $30 per year over the next seven years. This means that his owner must pay that price tag every year for the course of his contract. Will it be a good deal? Will it crush your flexibility next year when you’re going after Carl Crawford? Nobody knows. Just in case things go sour, however, there is also a buy-out clause for every pick – 75% of the dollars and 75% of the years, rounded up. So, while you can get out of paying full price for an Albert Belle-esque signing, you are never let fully off the hook for it.
Once you are done with the auction, load the rosters into your favorite online league and watch as your team produces. Because no roster changes are allowed, this is the perfect league for those armchair GM’s who applaud or complain about moves in December, only to completely reverse their position come July. And, while we run the league as a strict 5×5 roto experience, you can mold it to whatever format you want – SABR, run quantifier, h2h, points, etc. As such, this league helps bridge the gap between the end of fantasy football and that beautiful day when pitchers and catchers report.
In terms of strategy, it looks like the old stars and scrubs works pretty well.
Post a comment if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help you set up this type of league with your friends/officemates.
FB 101’s 411: Fantasy baseball can make the off-season more enjoyable.