**********
MVP Baseball 2005
Roster Management Guide
Version 1.0
Created by: Bruce Bruce (CodeNamePlasmaSnake)
Last Updated: May 7, 2005
**********

Table of Contents

1. Introduction / History (Section 1)
2. Navigation (Section 2)
3. Disclaimer (Section 3)
4. Position Players (Section 4)
     A. Indispensable
     B. Everyday
     C. Situational
     D. Backup
     E. Tips
5. Pitchers (Section 5)
     A. Ace
     B. Starter
     C. Spot Starter
     D. Relief
     E. Closer
     F. Tips
6. General Information Tips (Section 6)
7. Credits (Section 7)
8. Contact Information and Closing Comments (Section 8)
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 1) Introduction / History

Welcome to the MVP Baseball 2005 Playing Time and Roster Management Guide. My
Name is Bruce Bigg, and this is my first FAQ on GameFAQs. Fortunately, I have
an extensive background in my both baseball and the art of video games, so
this will hopefully go smoothly and help out many of my follow users. This FAQ
is the product of a recent topic on the MVP Baseball 2005 board, and I figured
my answers in that thread could be of great assistance. Without any further
ado, let's sit back and try to improve the quality of your team, while also
keeping your team's chemistry as high as possible. I will continue to add tips
if anymore come to my mind.

5/7/2005 - Version 1.0 completed and submitted
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 2) Navigation

This is obviously a small FAQ, so no one should get too lost. Just in case,
though, I have labeled each section. You can simply hit Ctrl+F to find what
you are looking for.
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 3) Disclaimer

Just the usual stuff, folks. I, Bruce Bigg, have no ties with EA Sports or
the development team behind MVP Baseball 2005, which is a registerd trademark.
Also, I, Bruce Bigg, claim ownership of the guide. I know it is not a big deal,
but my time and effort went into it, so please do not reproduce it without my
prior consent. With that out of the way, let's have fun!
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 4) Batters / Fielders

MVP Baseball 2005 has four type of playing time contracts for position
players. There are as follows: indispensable, everyday, situational, and back
up. The following is a guide as to what kind of contract you should sign
individuals to and how much you should play a guy who possesses a certain
contract. I will also provide the reader with some tips that will help in the
creation of a solid team of batters and fielders.

A. Indispensable: You should only sign players to indispensable contracts if
you plan on playing them just about every, single game. Such players are Manny
Ramirez, Todd Helton, etc. There are many guys in MVP 2005 who have
indispensable contracts, but do not deserve them. Do your best to avoid
signing such players. If you have been saddled with one of these pains in the
neck, attempt to resign them for an "everyday" contract or trade them. If you
think you are going to get away with sitting an indispensable, you aren't, so
don't try it.

Playing time = 90%-100% of your games

B. Everyday: These are generally good players, but not the superstars of the
league. Unless you have a true star who slid by on an everyday contract, you
might want to consider playing them only about 75% of the time. This is
because you need someone to be benched in order to get your other guys in. As
long as everyday players get in most of the time and perform well, they will
remain pleased. Of course, only sign a player to an everyday contract if you
actually plan giving them a spot in your starting line up.

Playing Time = 75%-85% of your games

C. Situational: Right here is the biggest issue I have with EA Sports. In real
life, a situational player can mean different things. He could be a guy who
hits particular pitchers well, which is what EA portrays them all as. For
example, Bernie Williams is a much, much better hitter from the right side of
the plate. The Yankees are now platooning him at DH, so he can get a lot of
at-bats against lefties. Unfortunately, some "situational" players are just
pinch hitters, pinch runners, or defensive replacements. EA should have
included this option. Unfortunately, they didn't, so we must forge ahead.
Generally, situational players desire to be everyday players against the type
of pitching they hit well. Thus, let's say Bernie Williams had a "situational"
contract in MVP 2005. He wants to play about 80% of the time against lefties.
This also means he does not want a lot of starts against righties. From my
experience, playing a situational player against the type of pitching they do
not excel with will more than likely upset them.

Playing Time = varied (It depends on type of pitching they excel against.
Obviously, a hitter who clobbers righties is going to play a lot more than one
that does the same with the lefties.)

D. Backup: For the most part, it does not take a lot to keep these players
happy. A start or two a week, as well as sprinkling them in for late inning
defense, should keep your true backups happy.

Playing Time = 15%-25% of your games

E. Tips:

     - Don't get too greedy in regards to your bench. It is great having a star
       on your bench, but they are only going to get annoyed. Plus, it is
       highly unrealistic. As I preach through most of the guide, keep it real.

     - Try to get bench players that have a particular skill, like base
       stealing ability or good defense. That way, they actually some value on
       your bench. Also, make an attempt to have bench players with multiple
       positions. If a guy only plays one position, it lowers his usefulness
       and also means that you are always going to have sit a particular player
       to get the bench guy into the game. Obviously, utility players are a
       great find.

     - Avoid becoming a George Steinbrenner. Yeah, it's awesome having a ton of
       bombers on your squad, but you also want contact hitters, great
       defenders, etc. The higher the level you play on, the harder it will be
       to rely on the long ball. Always be prepared to play some small ball.
       When it comes to avoiding a Steinbrenner mindset, you will also want to
       avoid a ton of older stars. Unfortunately, players over the age of 30
       seem to generally drop dramatically after the season. Obviously, it will
       be difficult to completely avoid signing older stars to your team, but
       don't get like the Yankees. Age will eventually catch up to you.

     - If you have a number of good players at a particular position, consider
       moving them to another position. This happens in real life all the time,
       so it isn't unrealistic to do so here. You shouldn't go nuts with it,
       though. Obviously, a catcher isn't going to move to short stop.
       Outfielders, though, move to first all the time. Be creative to get all
       of your best players into the game, but like I said, don't get silly
       with it.

     - This is something I have suggested to a number of people. I realize it's
       not everyone's cup of tea, but I hope it helps out. Minor league teams
       are always a source of low team chemistry. This is because there are too
       many indispensable contracts to deal with and too many guys playing for
       a level they are too talented to be at. Here is what I did. I take some
       of the indispensable players and edit them to decrease their talent and
       potential. Thus, you will be able to sign them to lesser contracts and
       keep them happy.
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 5) Pitchers

As we all know, pitching can make or break a team. After all, it does win the
championships. Anyway, there are actually five type of pitcher contracts in MVP
2005: ace, starter, spot starter, relief, and closer. Let's take a closer look.

A. Ace: Aces are the best starting pitchers in the big leagues. You need only
think of Randy Johnson or Tim Hudson to get a mental picture of what an ace is
capable of. An ace wants to be at the top of your rotation. If you have more
then one ace on your staff, they should be the top pitchers in the rotation.
Placing a starter or spot starter above an ace will probably annoy them. This
should go without saying, but obviously an ace wants to get the ball every
fifth day, at the very least, and he expects to get around 30 starts during the
season.

B. Starter: Typical starting pitchers can get the job done, but they are not
the sure things that aces usually are. Starters will help eat innings and give
your team a chance to win, which is all you can ask. Like an ace, starters want
to be in a normal rotation, but they really won't care what spot in the
rotation they hold.

C. Spot Starter: Personally, I try to do something with these guys as soon as I
take over a team. Either make them full time starters, full time relievers, or
trade them. A player with a spot starter contract will be content pitching out
of the bullpen, but they also want some starts sprinkled in there. If all of
your starters stay healthy and perform, there won't be many starts for this guy
to get, eventually getting him angry. If you are able to get a player with 60+
stamina to accept a relief contract, do it! You can still use them in spot
starts, if needed, but they won't complain about it if they don't start at all.

D. Relief: Here is a place where your team's chemistry can really go down the
old drain. I outlined the issue and solution in the previously mentioned topic,
so I will reproduce it here:

Obviously, this game's stamina system, like last year, is screwed up. You can
pitch a reliever every day and actually have a three man starting rotation, if
you want. Thus, you can begin to fall into a trap. You have six or seven guys
out in the pen, but only three or four that you really trust. The other two or
three are usually crappy middle relievers, which is what most middle relievers
usually are. Because you only trust a few guys and can pitch them almost every
game, that's exactly what you do. When I was playing with the Yankees, almost
every game was Stanton and Gordon matching up in the 7th and 8th, leading to
Rivera for the three or four final outs.

While this is going on, those other relievers are just eating up contracts and
screwing with the chemistry. Here's what I did:

- First of all, you have to break the mindset that you can pitch your relievers
everyday. I know it can be tempting, but play it like real life. If your closer
pitches three days in a row, shut him down on the forth and let your set-up man 
get the save, if you get into that situation. This will also allow you to move
some guys up that day's depth chart. If they are going to be in your pen, you
need to trust them in bigger situations than blow outs. Also, don't be cheap
and pitch relievers two innings all the time. Big time relievers, like a Gordon
or Rivera, only do that late in the season or in the playoffs. Again, my tip is
to work the bullpen like it's real life and ignore the stamina system.

- Second, don't always have your starting pitcher go deep into the game. This
sounds like a contradiction to what you usually want to do, but it works in the
context of this game. If your starter has given up 2 or 3 runs, is down to 45%
stamina in the 7th, and you have a comfortable lead, give him the hook. Yeah,
you could probably go the whole way with him, but you need to start feeling out
these other relievers. Even if they give up a few runs, you can just scramble
your set up men and closer, still salvaging the victory.

- Third, once you give these other relievers a shot, find out which ones you
actually play well with. In the end, even a decently rated middle reliever
might not be your cup of tea. If that is true, find a way to get him off your
team and now. You will only bury him in your bullpen and affect the team's
chemistry. While playing as the Yankees, I just couldn't pitch with Karsay.
He's decent in the game, but I hate most guys with only three pitches. So, I
sent him down to Columbus and recalled Mendoza. He ended up having a killer
year.

- That leads me to my last tip. There are gems in your minor league system,
especially AAA. A lot of broken down vets, satisfied with a AAA contract, are
probably floating around your system. If not, there are plenty in the more
financially secure organizations, like the Yankees. Either send down the guys
you don't like or trade them for a minor league vet, because some of them, like
a Mendoza, are often over rated in this game. You might say, "If I can't trade
them and have to send them down, they will be annoyed about playing for AAA."
This is true, but you probably won't play them on the major league level,
anyway. Either way, they are going to be annoyed, so you might as well have
them be pissed down in the minors. Throw them on the trading block in order to
offset some of their anger.

E. Closers: Oddly enough, EA retained this contract from last year's game, but
none of the closers are actually signed as such. I would probably just avoid
giving anyone such a contract. What's the point? If they stink up the joint,
you can move them out of the closer's role and not anger them.

F. Tips:

     - Have the ability to toss a variety of different pitchers at your
       opponents. Indeed, this isn't quite as important as it is in real life,
       but you have to remember: keep it real! It is also a great feeling to
       master both the flame throwers and the offspeed junk tossers.

     - Make sure your bullpen has pitchers to fill the various roles. You want
       at least one pitcher with 50+ stamina to serve as your long reliever. A
       lefty is necessary, as well. There are so many great left handed power
       hitters, and there is no worse feeling that giving a tying home run late
       in the game. Do your best to avoid this by having the ability to match
       up.

     - If you are trying to keep your payroll down, think outside the paradigm.
       You don't need some 5 million dollar pitcher to end games, especially in
       a video game. In 2004's game, I used El Duque as my closer. When Rivera
       got hurt in this year's game, I threw Proctor into the role, and he
       worked out pretty well. Closer is one position that you really can skimp
       on, so go for it, especially if you have another guy available with
       decent stuff.

     - Also, most relievers are just overpaid. I will remind you of what I said
       above: check out your AAA club. You probably have a cheap vet who has
       stuff just as good as the $3 million man on your big club. Get rid of
       the over priced reliever if you can. You will be amazed at some of the
       good prospects you can get for middle relievers who are overrated.
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 6) General Information and tips

I will use this final section of the guide to divluge some general stuff that I
couldn't find a better place for above. Some of these tips will be really
useful to people who are new to the game of baseball.

     - When you first take over a team, check out the payroll section. You
       might be able to lower some player's contracts. The opportunity might
       arise to dramatically increase a player's happines for a few $100,000.
       Lastly, if you can get a player on your big league team that accepts a
       minor league deal, do it. He will almost always have a green happy face
       even if he rarely plays.

     - Use the disabled list! All the time, I see posts from guys who are
       find themselves with no space on their bench. This is because you have
       injured players that haven't been moved to the DL. The only time you
       don't want to move a guy to the DL is if he is only out a few days.
       Anything more than two weeks warrants a trip to the DL.

     - Unfortunately, the disabled lists in MVP come with their downside. Once
       a player has been injured for a long time, they will probably never be
       happy again during the year. EA should have fixed this from last year's
       game, but they didn't. Thus, if an everyday player misses a few weeks,
       he will probably be angry the rest of the year. You can either ignore
       this or trade the player if this is annoying you.

     - Decide early what you need more of: relievers or bench players. The last
       thing you want is some guy that just takes up space on your squad.Every
       player on your roster should play some role. If you can't define a
       player's role in two seconds, get rid of him or send him down.

     - DON'T HAVE THE CPU OPTIMIZE YOUR ROSTER!!! Just don't. Take the few
       seconds to edit things yourself. Auto-optimize a single player if you
       want, because they usually doesn't screw anything up. But that damn
       CPU Optimize will destroy rosters. Using the positional rankings can
       reduce the problems, but it's still easier and quicker to just edit
       things yourself.
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 7) Credits

EA Sports - Thanks for creating the best baseball game on the market
Bruce Bigg - Creator of this FAQ
My fellow GameFAQers - Thanks for asking the questions that motivated this
guide's creation
_______________________________________________________________________________

(Section 8) Contact Information

If for some reason you disagree with what I have had to say (hopefully not) or
if you want additional information (gladly welcomed), please e-mail me at:

big_daddy_bruce@hotmail.com

Also, if you have a tip that you think should be in the guide, send that my
way, too. I will gladly add it and credit you for your help.

Copy 2005 Bruce Bigg aka CodeNamePlasmaSnake