All-Decade Team: 2000's AL

This 2000's AL squad was tough to square up.  We had a fairly easy time agreeing on a majority of the team but ran into some difficult road blocks in the infield and outfield.  There were some underrated players that put up solid numbers during the decade that you don't really think about.

Paul Konerko and Michael Young just missed the cut in the infield despite multiple all-star appearances and great numbers.  While we haven't used a DH in the past, we felt that David Ortiz (who posted a triple slash line of .283/.378/.554 while belting 307 home runs in the decade) was worthy of the nod over Young and Konerko.  We might have reached a little bit with Teixeira and we never really had consensus with this pick.  We recognized the fact that he played parts of two seasons in the NL and that didn't play his first game until 2003 but we also acknowledged that he was the best all-around first baseman in the AL while he was there in the 2000's and felt that he deserved to represent the AL.

Truth be told, this is probably one of the better all-around outfields of any decade.  Ichiro Suzuki, Manny Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero rank among the best of all time in the outfield and Magglio Ordonez posted a .902 OPS for the decade.  Maggs was a late addition to this roster but after looking closely at the numbers, it would have been really difficult to leave him off of this team.  Three silver sluggers, five top-25 MVP finishes and an OPS+ of 132 tells you the type of player that Maggs was in the 2000's.  With Manny* and Ichiro being shoe-ins, that set the stage for a "pick one of" Torii Hunter of Vladimir Guerrero.  The short- we went with Vladdy.  The long- leaving off Torii Hunter was as painful as any decision we've made.  Hunter won nine Gold Gloves in the decade and was probably as deserving a representative as anyone we picked.  Had Vlad the Impaler played the entire decade in the AL, there would have been no question here but Vlad did spend four seasons in the NL in the early part of the decade so the decision was a little more complex.  In the end, we went with Vlad because we felt like he needed to represent a team in this decade; there are four guys on this team that could retire today as potential first ballot Hall of Famers and Vlad is one of them.  In the 2000's, he won an AL MVP, had six top 10 MVP finishes (four while playing in the AL) and won six silver slugger awards (four consecutive in the AL).  And he did it clean.

We agreed on the pitchers rather easily.  Mo' is the greatest closer of all-time and he made his name saving big games for the Yankees in the 2000's.  The one name that was mentioned that didn't make the cut among our starting pitchers was Barry Zito.  Despite posting a respectable 3.55 ERA in the AL in the 2000's and winning a Cy, we went with CC Sabathia because he was the most consistent for the entire decade (and he has the Cy to match).  Sabathia finished in the top 5 in Cy voting three seasons in the 2000's (compared to just one for Zito).  If you factor in Zito's NL years, it's not even close; Sabathia was the better pitcher but we recognize the fact that Zito's prime years in the AL in the early 2000's were worthy of recognition.

Without further adieu, here's our team.  Tell us what you think.

C - Ivan Rodriguez
1B - Mark Teixeira
2B - Brian Roberts
SS - Derek Jeter
3B - Alex Rodriguez
IF - David Ortiz
OF - Ichiro Suzuki
OF - Manny Ramirez
OF - Magglio Ordonez
OF - Vladimir Guerrero
SP - Johan Santana
SP - Roy Halladay
SP - CC Sabathia
SP - Mark Buehrle
RP - Mariano Rivera

4 comments:

  1. It's hard to believe you can leave Pedro Martinez off this list. His run in Boston while only five years this decade was one of the most dominant ever. I understand Buehrle played all ten years and has the compiled stats but at his best was nowhere near Pedro.

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  2. I'm fairly certain we discussed Martinez... it's hard to choose a guy to represent a league for a decade when he spent more than half of the decade in another league. Sort of like picking Pedro Martinez to represent the Phillies all-time team... he was great but I'm not sure if he was the best pitcher to represent this team. Buehrle had 60 more wins and more all-star appearances. You're absolutely right, Pedro was one of the most dominant pitchers of any era over that ten year stretch from 1995-2005. It's not an exact science and we respect the opinion of our readers. We will definitely go back and take a look at all of our teams (we'll be checking to see whether we need to make any changes based on our reader comments). Thanks for checking in.

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  3. i agree pedro needs a spot on this list... even if it was not most of the decade, his seasons in Boston were electric, one of the greatest stretches of all time, certainly more memorable than other pitchers you've chosen

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  4. When we reevaluate our team, we will discuss whether he belongs on this team. There are always tough picks - Pedro not making an all-decade team seems sort of wrong but he has the unenviable distinction of being a tweener (and a bit of a nomad). If we isolated 1998-2004, he'd probably be the ace of the staff but if you look at the entire decade - and if you're a Red Sox fan, you need to try to step away and be objective - he had four full seasons and one partial season compared to a minimum of eight for the other guys. I will make sure we review it and I would not be surprised if we changed our stance on this one. Thanks for commenting - feel free to create a name/URL next time you check in.

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