• Draft order was selected at random.
• Player salaries based on 2009 salaries. For those involved in arbitration cases at the time of the draft, the midpoint between what the player wanted and what the team was offering was taken. Players with 1-plus year of service time but not eligible for arbitration were given 10 percent raises from their 2008 salaries; those with 2-plus were given 15 percent. Those with 0-plus were given the 2009 minimum of $400,000.
• Seeding for the tournament will be based on payroll -- No. 1 payroll vs. No. 4 payroll; No. 2 vs. No. 3.
• Each team must carry 11 pitchers.
• Each will act as a National League team -- so, no DH.
The economy is impacting everyone, baseball included. Teams are looking to build more cost-conscious rosters. But how? Is it doable? Are there enough talented, relatively inexpensive players to build a competitive roster for, say, $40 million, which is roughly the payroll the San Diego Padres hope to operate at in 2009?
Well, ESPN.com put four of its experts on the case.
And over a recent five-day stretch, Baseball Tonight's Steve Phillips, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and Rob Neyer drafted their own 25-man rosters. They also decided on home parks at which their teams will play, stadiums that fit the style of team they drafted. Of course, they also needed some managers, so they selected some men to lead their clubs.
All this week, we revealed their selections -- and their thoughts on each other's selections. On Monday, the four teams will begin going head-to-head in seven-game series conducted by ImagineSports.com, which provides online simulation baseball games, using its Diamond Mind Baseball software.
Now we start to find out who built the best team. SportsNation is allowing you to decide who has the best roster and who will win our first set of simulations.
The first semifinal, on Monday, will pit Steve Phillips' team, which finished with the highest payroll, against Rob Neyer's team, which ended with the lowest. On Tuesday, Jayson Stark, not far behind Steve in payroll, will take on Buster Olney, who made up for his slow spending at the beginning with a late push. On Wednesday, we will crown a champion.
To wrap it all up, on Thursday our ultimate general manager will take his low-cost outfit into a seven-game series against the deep-pocketed New York Yankees.