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Approach to A-Rod

So A-Rod will be out until May. How does that impact his auction value and -- perhaps more importantly -- auction strategy?

The dollar values we throw around -- in my opinion -- are useful as general guidelines, but in auction leagues -- particularly auction keeper leagues -- there are dozens of factors that will push those numbers higher and lower. In my home league, for example, Cliff Lee was picked up in April for a $5 FAAB bid... and is now keepable at that price for the 2009 season. That means Lee's owner -- I'm happy to say it's me -- has an extra $20 or so at auction time to throw around.

In that same league -- which is an AL-only, 5x5 affair filled with Yankee fans -- A-Rod is typically one of the costliest players in the auction. Last year he went for $51. This year, it seems reasonable to expect he'll go for something less than that... but how much less? If the Yankees' projections hold, he'll only miss 20-30 games. Third base isn't exactly a deep position in the AL -- would you rather have 130 games of A-Rod and 30 or so of Cody Ransom or similar -- or 160 games of "I hope Joe Crede's back holds up"?

The keeper aspect makes the bidding even trickier... $40 or so might seem high for a player that will miss the first month-plus of the season. But let's say he's back at full strength for 2010 -- $40 in next year's auction would be a steal.

I think the right play -- in my league, at least -- will be to call A-Rod's name early in the auction and try to get him for a $10-$15 discount off last year's price. If it works, I'll be set at the position for years to come. If not, I'll price-enforce and get another owner to blow his 2009 budget early.

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