Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Striking out swinging

by Lawr Michaels, on August 21, 2012 @ 09:25:20 PDT


I have written often enough over the years about good trades and bad trades, and how frustrating and aggravating the trading process can be. Still, let's be clear: I like trading.

Cleveland Indians SP Justin Masterson
Masterson not so masterful

Although I am not so enamored of the haggling - as they note in the Life of Brian - as opposed to looking at respective needs and surpluses and conjuring a way to try to scratch respective backs, even mutually. Sometimes that means what you get won't bloom for a year or so, but that does not matter.

For example, I took it totally on the snout this year in the Experts Fantasy League (XFL), where I am currently almost 100 points out of first place, with a solid lock on last.

In fact I did indeed sacrifice this year, but I walked away with very cheap (as in they will all cost me $4 next year) Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Moore, Yonder Alonso, Ben Revere, Dustin Ackley (who might not be worth the freeze), Alex White, and Lorenzo Cain. Further, I can keep these guys as long as I want and their respective salaries only increase $3 a year.

But, the XFL is a keeper league. In AL Tout - a throwback league of the highest order - trading and moves only count as far as the current season will take one. And, at the time, I thought I had made a couple of great trades back in May that would set me up to be competitive at this very moment.

"Thought" is of course the key word that really indicates the sort of depth of my present despair.

But, back when Roy Oswalt was a shiny trinket on my mates Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf's Full Moon team, working his way to Arlington, I swapped from my closer excess, trading Jose Valverde (leaving me with Fernando Rodney) for Oswalt and $5 in FAAB.

Simultaneously, I moved Justin Masterson - now an extra starter for me - to Yahoo!'s Andy Behrens for Carlos Pena in a couple of moves that bolstered my rotation, gave Andy an extra arm in exchange for his power surplus, and netting a closer for Full Moon at the cost of a reserve player.

Pretty neat all the way around, ostensibly bolstering all of our stat bases, giving all of us a chance at first place, held for virtually all season by the unflappable Larry Schechter.

Well, sometimes a bad trade is an uneven one, and sometimes a bad trade is one that is well conceived, but simply does not do any good anywhere.

And this confluence of wheeling and dealing turned out to mostly be a bad trade for all of us, not so much because all the players save Valverde floundered, but because it simply did not help anything.

For the archivists, here are the numbers we all got from our spoils, along with our current place in the standings:

Player Before trade After trade Standing now
Carlos Pena .201-8-25 over 189 AB .191-8-25 over 230 AB 7th, 63 points
Justin Masterson 2-5, 5.09, 1.507, 53 K - 74 1/3 IP 7-6, 4.43, 1.374, 74 K - 87 1/3 IP 4th, 69 points
Jose Valverde 3-1, 4.64, 1.594, 9 SV - 21 1/3 IP 0-1, 2.86, 0.953, 14 SV - 28 1/3 IP 8th, 62.5 points
Roy Oswalt In minors 3-2, 6.87, 1.579 - 38 IP 7th, 63 points

Now, I will grant you none of these guys was tearing up the league at the time of the swap; however, all had much better than average stats (Pena counts for pop and OBP, anyway), and ideally all should give a shot in the arm, especially as the groove of mid-season arrived.

But oddly, or just sadly, all any of the players did was play in a mediocre fashion adding to the overall mediocrity of - and I am speaking for my buds Glenn, Rick, and Andy in the most respectful of ways, I hope - our teams.

No pennants for any of us, in other words. But, during the season an owner must do what he or she thinks will propel their squad forward, and try not to look back, is how I feel about it.

Still, at the time the moves were good and made sense and filled all of us with that joy and optimism baseball provides.

Unfortunately, on the back side, they also gave us the disappointment that baseball can dole out with equal equanimity.

Hey, now you can get me on Twitter @lawrmichaels!

You can also subscribe now to the Mastersball Platinum Package, and get the edge that has led to three Tout Wars titles, eight NFBC crowns, two Scoresheet Championship teams, a KFFL title, and a Fantasy Pros 911 title over the last three years.

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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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