This article is part of our The Long Game series.
While much of what I write about in The Long Game is focused on long-term keeper leagues, every league has to start somewhere. This year, some of the RotoWire staff took part in a brand new league (officially the Staff Keeper League 3, as there are two other ongoing ones at present) and since I haven't gotten in on the ground floor of a keeper league in a long time, I figured it would be fun to jump aboard a new one. In fact, the last one was the first Staff Keeper League, which launched in 2003. And who won it that first year? This guy.
Yeah. "Fun". Ha. 18 teams, 23 active roster spots, 17 reserve and minor league spots...I forgot just how long it takes to fill all those holes when you're starting from scratch.
Heading into the auction, my plan was to perhaps pay a slight premium on a young stud or two but otherwise focus on assembling a strong, competitive core, and worry about the future with my minors and reserve picks. The contract structure of the SKL leagues puts heavy emphasis on building from within. Minor league players all start with a big league contract of $3 the season after they lose their eligibility, while players taken in the reserve rounds get a $5 salary the following year if they are kept. That eventually leads to dizzying levels of inflation, but in the short term that wouldn't be an issue. Basically, I planned on