Fantasy Baseball: Tumbling Dice

by Lawr Michaels, on March 29, 2011 @ 20:13:37 PDT


When Trade Winds Go South

I really enjoy playing in all my leagues. And, all things, I don't play in that many. I do both Tout and LABR, AL 5x5 formats, and the XFL (mixed keeper 5x5) every year. Along with the MWest Strat-O-Matic league. This year I am also in the FSTA experts league, and later in the season, over a nine week run, I will play in SOMBOE (Strat-O-Matic Baseball Online Experts league).

There is also my Scoresheet league, the Murphy League. I have played in this league for a couple of years, with pretty good success at playing and drafting. Not so good when it comes to trading or freezing, though. And it is tough, but I have found that Scoresheet owners spend a lot more time trying to build for the future than just about any other type of fantasy player.

The Murphy draft was indeed tough, as I have documented (over eight hours). So, after the draft, when a team offered Jered Weaver, and Mike Cameron and Magglio Ordonez to the league for trade, I thought that was worth a look.

Now, one of my freezes was Kurt Suzuki. A main reason is this is a 24-team league, and getting, let alone keeping, a good and healthy catcher is a tough thing. I traded for Kurt during my '09 pennant run, and did not think twice about freezing him in the league where defense also counts.

Atlanta Braves P Julio Teheran
Worth the wait? Teheran

But, this year I also drafted Humberto Quintero and Landon Powell as part of my 35, as back-ups, and since Quintero offers such good defense, and is likely to go into the season as a starter, I thought Suzuki as a start for Weaver, and possibly something larger which would include Ordonez, was a reasonable beginning.

The response was no real interest in a Suzuki and something for Weaver and something, but I could get Cameron and Ordonez for a pick.

Some offers for Maggs ensued, but I ultimately declined, noting my principal interest was in Weaver/Suzuki, and that Maggs wasn't worth it to me at this point. Note that offer of a 12th round pick for Ordonez and a later pick was reasonable, I just decided I was not willing to give that high a pick just yet, and that Maggs probably would not make or break my team right now. So, I would wait.

Which prompted a lecture on how to play and trade and the nuance of the league, and that Weaver was a Top 50 player, and he (the owner) would only let him go for an impact prospect, like Mike Trout or Julio Teheran. And, how Ordonez was clearly better than any of my existing outfielders wich included Michael Cuddyer and Brett Gardner. And, well, maybe Maggs does hit for better average, but now 37, with two injury prone years behind him, there is some risk.

But, the whole notion of Weaver's worth really puzzled me.

First, I don't really think Weaver isa Top 50 pick, in a mixed format, but that is as subjective as the value of Ordonez relative to Gardner and Cuddy. Not that Weaver is not good, but, if you were in a 15-team snake draft, Weaver would likely still be out there for plucking in the fourth round. And, our Mastersball projections ranked Weaver #39, so OK, Weaver is good.

But, for someone so cautious to get value for Ordonez, how come this same owner is willing to let a top flight pitcher go for someone completely untested in lieu of an established star? Or better, a 19-year-old with promise - for both Teheran and Trout are 19 - when an All Star backstop, who is 27, is offered?

I don't understand this, not that Suzuki is one-for-one equal to Weaver. But, perhaps some of my prospects, for I have Brett Jackson, Nick Weglarz, Zach Britton, Ben Revere, and Jemile Weeks available too. Meaning a little older, but also a closer to The Show than Trout or Teheran.

I might have traded Britton and Jackson and Suzuki for Weaver, for example, but the other guy was so sure of what he was doing he never bothered to ask. Because the deal he wanted to negotiate was for Ordonez. And, I do understand if he does not want simply to trade Weaver away for what he can get.

But I do wonder. I wonder why the promise - for that is all it is - of having a potential star in two or three years outweighs having a good and serviceable player now? Or, is it more important to take a chance on discovering the next Pujols or Hanley than competing now and building around the present? (Not to mention were Pujols or Hanley coming up, but not yet in the majors, would the owner have swapped Weaver or an equivalent for one of them? Somehow, I doubt it.)

I also wonder how, or why, in a league that prides itself in being different, let alone taking a more cerebral approach to assembling a team, why Suzuki - a solid everyday player - would be dismissed in lieu of a 19-year-old with a lot of potential?

I mean, Trout or Teheran could be a star in a couple of years. They could also turn out to be Mario Encarnacion or Deolis Guerra.

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About Lawr Michaels,

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for as a statistician. Fantasy Baseball

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