Saturday Rockpile: Baseball's most cost-effective players, bad steroids-related news (again), plus more...

COST-EFFECTIVE FANTASY DRAFT

ESPN baseball analysts Steve Phillips, Buster Olney, Rob Neyer, and Jayson Stark recently conducted a four-team, 100-player mock draft, with the focus being placed on cost-effective players. Each person was given a $40 million budget to work with to use toward drafting a complete 25-man roster. Four different Colorado players made the cut - Ubaldo Jimenez (who was the first Rockie taken, in the 11th round and 41st overall), Chris Iannetta, Ian Stewart (more on him in a minute), and Ryan Spilborghs.

This Monday, the simulation will commence with all four teams pitted against each other in seven-game series format (with payroll determining the seeding), with the winners going on to the championship round. Each participant has a Rockie on their roster, so I'm impartial as to who to root for. However, it looks like Phillips' team is loaded (especially on the offensive side), so he may have the upper hand. But, as they say, that's why you play the game. Either way, from a Rox fan's perspective, it should be interesting to follow.

DO PLAYERS NEED TO DEVELOP A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FANS?

In what is a pretty good read, ESPN.com's Buster Olney argues that players should be more interested in showing fans that they care. A Rockie is mentioned in this excerpt from the article:

The best and brightest among the players -- guys like Carlos Pena, Derek Jeter, Michael Cuddyer, Jamie Moyer, Jimmy Rollins, Dustin Pedroia, CC Sabathia, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Webb, Troy Tulowitzki, Derrek Lee and Tony Clark -- would do themselves and their brethren a great service by leading a discussion about this, and creating a set of guidelines for players. If there has ever been a time for all players to make themselves available for 20 or 30 minutes a day to sign balls and talk to kids before games, this is it. If there was ever a time for the fans to know that they have a very good chance of pregame access to players, for 20 minutes, this is it. If there was ever a time for the Players Association to create a fund to help families in need, this is it.

Not a bad idea, I say. In the same article, Olney justifies his selections in the fantasy draft that was talked about above. He is the wise one who drafted Ian Stewart (in round 21), and explains that he did so to provide a lefty-killing bat off of the bench. Some of Stewie's 2008 numbers against lefties: .370 batting average, .704 SLG%, 1.137 OPS.

THIS CAN'T BE GOOD

In some fresh-off-the-press news from ESPN, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was one of 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003. This is not exactly what baseball needs right now. I'm sure there will be more on this to follow.

A FAMILIAR FACE GETS ANOTHER CHANCE

Finally, The Denver Post's Troy Renck reports that former Rockie Jason Jennings has signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. I'll be rooting for Jason coming out of Spring Training. It would be nice to see him get his career back on the right track.

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