Here are several takes on how to manage your late-season Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB).
Ed Spaulding: The dog days of August. You (practically) can't make trades, half your league opponents are too busy preparing for football drafts to talk baseball, and there's not much potential standings gain or loss to any transaction you might make. Is there anything you can do?
Actually, yes. But given the standard Rotisserie style of play, your options are limited. Unless you have a specific need right now, grabbing $10 fill-ins should be limited to saves and speed. Any starting pitcher you grab for $10 is going to be a major risk to be kept next spring at that price.
Same goes for hitters, unless you are able to grab the next Jose Canseco (1985) or Ben Grieve (1997). These two real-life cases represent the rare late-season recall whose cost in next spring's auction would likely exceed $10. You get players like these every five or six years. Unproven starting pitchers are seldom - and almost never should be - purchased in a draft for $10 or more. But speed is becoming more precious with each passing season. Predicting who might be next year's surprise 30-save closer is tough, but FAABing a few high skills backups behind risky frontliners for $10 represents a fair gamble.
Look for the following in late-season, free-agent claims made with an eye toward the future: Building or rebuilding teams with openings in late relief, the closer's job, the leadoff spot in the batting order or center field or the middle infield spots. Occasionally, a weaker team will promote a youngster into the closer's role for a few months. Most of your stolen bases will come from middle infielders or outfielders who bat first or second. Because of the scarcity of closers and speed players, the auction cost almost always exceeds the $10 cost to retain them. The trick, of course, is determining on April 1 who will have those jobs on June 1 or Aug. 1.
Criag Goheen: Depending on your league rules regarding September roster expansion, this could also be an opportunity to pick up a minor league star cheaply. If you're one of the GMs who has saved some FAAB budget, make sure you check the other GMs' needs and pick the easiest target with the best base performance indicators. Spending too much on "next year's Rookie of the Year" is less sound from a Rotisserie point of view than getting the guy who finishes second in the ROY voting for a dollar.
John Burnson: In our continuing quest to secure any edge, real or imagined, in free agent picking for the remaining weeks of the season, a hodgepodge of observations:
- If you think your league title might hinge on one RBI or K, check out players from teams with more games left to play.
- For those who find significance in sub-.500 teams that have a winning record at home, identify those clubs and their remaining home schedule. You can probably get relievers on these clubs pretty cheap.
- Most Colorado hitters are probably already taken in your league. However, if you can't own a native, try a tourist - look for visitors to Coors down the stretch.
- Finally, recent call-ups who posted weak numbers in trials earlier in the year can glide under radar on their return, weighed down by their baggage. Some of them might be worth a look.
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