Building A New Team Efficiently, Part Three: The Bench

I’m continuing my series on building a new team for an expansion city. Today in my third post of the series I’ll cover the bench. Here’s part one and  here is part two.

“Mr. Mozeliak, here’s the bench. I focused, for the most part, on players with a decent amount of flexibility. With one exception, all of these players played multiple positions last year.

The Bench

Position Name Salary Status
2B,SS,3B,LF,RF Josh Harrison 2,200,000 Projected 1st Year Arb
1B,LF,RF Steve Pearce 2,200,000 Projected 1st Year Arb
C Devin Mesoraco 2,800,000 Projected 1st Year Arb
CF,RF Lorenzo Cain 2,300,000 Projected 1st Year Arb
2B,SS,OF Ben Zobrist 7,500,000 Veteran


Here’s their stats from last year.

Bats Name OBP Slugging Percentage SB/CS DRS
RIght Harrison .347 .490 18/7 14
Right Pearce .373 .556 5/0 17
Right Mesoraco .359 .534 1/3 2
Right Cain .339 .412 28/5 24
Switch Zobrist .354 .395 10/5 6


This is a very deep bench, with power, speed and defense

Harrison had a breakout year for the Pirates last year, enough to earn a starting job this year. His OBP was only 30 points higher than his average though, so that’s something to keep an eye on him.

Pearce also had a breakout year for the Orioles, with career highs in just about every category. Given that he’s 31, there’s a solid chance for some regression, but with his success last year and the departure of Manny Machado, Pearce will get a chance to prove 2014 was not a fluke, so he’s worth a gamble.

Mesoraco is a good hitting catcher, his presence will allow the team to rest Yan Gomes frequently, and perhaps even platoon with him, even though they’re both right handed hitters. If I were actually a GM of this team for real, I would have a large analytics department, which’d help me figure out how to platoon two right handed hitting catchers.

Lorenzo Cain is here because he’s a good all-around player. He was worth five WAR, which is a steal for 2.3 million. He can be used as both a pinch hitter and a pinch runner, and when the team has a good lead, a late inning defensive replacement for Brantley, giving the team three outfielders with a very high DRS rating.

And then there’s Zobrist. Ben Zobrist is one of the best players in the game. He had a down year last year and his power seems to be declining, but he still hits for a decent average, gets on at a good clip and can play just about every position on the diamond save for pitcher or catcher (and I’m sure if you stuck him on the mound, he’d suddenly be tossing baffling knuckleballs.)

Now this is a deep bench. Is it too deep? After all, I have the second most expensive player on my team (Zobrist) on it.

Not really. It’s a bench that gives a smart manager plenty of options. A bench that the aforementioned analytics department would figure out how to use effectively. Between the two, even chemistry issues can possibly be avoided, as they’ll find enough at bats and playing time for everybody.

In addition, a chemistry issue is something I’d happily deal with if I could have all of these guys on my team. Plus given that every season has its share of injuries, you can never be too careful. And all of these guys, with the exception of Zobrist, are pretty affordable, and even Zobrist isn’t that bad. The final price might seem a little high for a bench, but I think it’s worth it. Plus if you swap out Zobrist, for say, a player priced around two million dollar you’d have a bench in thr 10 to 12 million dollar price range, and I’m sure if you looked around, you’d find other teams with benches in that price range. The only difference here is that I don’t have any cheap rookies on my bench.”

Total spent on the bench: 17 Million.

Total spent so far: 59,248,700

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