A new frontier: Next-level fantasy baseball

Strat-O-Matic this is not! Next-level fantasy baseball is a big commitment.

We have standard drafts, auctions and keeper leagues. Is there another level to take fantasy baseball to?

Simulating the complete dynamic of an MLB team with its minor-league affiliates is nearly impossible, so let’s explore what can and can’t be done. The inaugural season of the league would obviously be the longest and most difficult component as teams need to put together an entire roster. The player pool and scoring format would be up to each individual league.

Here’s how it works …

You have a draft order for purposes of calling out a name. You can either call out a player with less than six-years of service time, a player with more than six years of service time or a minor leaguer, college player, high school player, etc. If you call out a player with less than six-years you have two options; offer the player arbitration for one year (to be decided by a neutral third party) or offer the player a contract. If you chose to offer a player a contract, you get to decide the length of years on the contract and fire the opening bid. On all players, you can only offer a contract.

Example: The first team calls out Carlos Gonzalez. They can say we would like to offer him arbitration. His dollar figure is determined by the neutral party for that one year and he’s back on the market for the next season. They can also say we offer him a five-year contract at $35 per year. Five years is automatically the length of the deal and the rest of the teams can decide if they want to up the bid. All contracts are guaranteed. If no one else bids, he’s yours for five years at $35 a year. If you want to cut him after the first year you would need to pay the rest of the monies owed into the pool and then you can release him. In this example it would $140.

There would be a salary floor and a salary cap in the amounts you determine (example: salary floor $350; salary cap $1000). Your combined salaries may not exceed the cap or go under the floor at any time during the year. A team has the ability to spend more money if they want, with everything having a real cash value. Trades can be made with stipulations that one team will pick up some of the money but then that money counts against their cap.

All finances including yearly salaries need to be paid prior to the start of the season. All teams need to be committed long-term and may be required to post a bond insuring they don’t drop out when they’re sitting on a financial mess. Roster lengths and taxi squads can be determined by each individual league. A per player salary minimum would also make a lot of sense.

There are obviously a boatload of other rules that would need to be implemented and a whole lot of other tinkering, but the gist of the idea is broadening the strategy. You can be a high-spending team and sign big free agents or you could play the lower-spending strategy and bring in a lot of minor leaguers and college players and try building a dynasty while keeping financially stable. When you give out a bad contract you have to chew on the consequences. On the other hand, you can give a high schooler a 10-year deal, which could, ultimately, be a steal.

I don’t know if anything similar to this exists, but I’m definitely interested in feedback regarding the basic premise.

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