Andy (and all),
Will someone please explain to me why the following, simple system (that I have been talking about for months) is a) not workable and b) why were are better served by a system that is much more complicated?
I see things going like this:
1. We draft as normal this year.
2. At some date to be determined (either right at the end of the season or right before the next draft) each GM effectively "holds" three players that will automatically begin on his team the following year. Just like an expansion draft.
3. We take those 30 players out of the draft (last I checked, 3 players x 10 teams = 30) and draft as usual.
4. The following year, we repeat. You can choose any player on your roster at the end of the year.
This would allow a number of different strategies to take place. Think that Francisco Liriano is the next Santana? Draft him higher than you should hoping for potential gains down the line. Think that hot new stud that the Cardinals brought up (hypothetically) at the end of the season is gonna be big? Pick him up down the stretch and hold him for next year, sacrificing one of your more established veterans. Thrilled that you have Vlad this year? You get him next year too! Pissed that Andy has had Manny for two years? Over pay for him in the form of a trade filled with prospects and hope that it works out for you. Really like Jason Bay, beyond any reasonable amount? Choose to keep him rather than risk losing him in a draft. Angry at Omar for only drafting evil players? Well, I guess this doesn't get around that, but you get my drift.
Also, with this system, people would be able to make OFF SEASON trades, adding drama to the time between October and April. Winter meetings, anyone?
I don't buy this argument put forth by Congressman Beatty that allowing GMs to hold on to a player indefinitely is a bad idea. Why not hold on to Pujols until he begins to suck? That's part of the fun, right? Knowing when to hold em and when to fold em, so to speak. Plus, this will only make blockbuster trades that much more enjoyable and important.
Listen, I think the main goal of this draft/league should be to keep all parties interested and competitive throughout the course of the season as well as year to year. Adding preseason rankings would only add fuel to the augments that we're sure to have anyway. And contracts would seriously deminish the likelihood that people make trades since they wouldn't want to take on a good player if he was in the last year of a contract and they knew he was going to reenter the draft in the following year. We already have a league filled with people unwilling to make trades during the year. Why limit this aspect of the game? It would also seriously complicate how the next draft works. If I trade Pete a guy I just got for a guy he drafted two years ago, does that mean that I lose him (and consequentially one of my keepers) at the end of the year? And does he then gain a keeper for a whole year? And if the contract becomes new year time it is traded, then what's the point of having trades. Am I wrong here?
Let's not complicate this more than it has to. Keepers is a fun idea because it rewards long term thinking but it shouldn't totally change the way the league is managed.