Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Axing Tradewinds

by Lawr Michaels, on August 28, 2012 @ 10:10:35 PDT


OK, so I made a trade with a first place team in LABR.

Furthermore, I was in 11th place at the time. And, I traded with the first place team.

Now, this might not seem quite so earth-shattering, but if you followed either Lord Zola's Fantasy Round Table on Aug. 1 or his follow-up on Aug. 8, then you have seen there has been a lot of consternation regarding the ethics of trading as the season winds down.

Truth is - and you will see I am not alone if you read Todd's piece - I have compunctions about impacting the potential final standings by handing a player who can make a difference to a leader.

St. Louis Cardinals P Lance Lynn
Lynn: the best I could get

But, however moralistic this might seem, the counter arguments went deep, basically suggesting if owners are acting out of the integrity of simply trying to improve their respective teams, and the trade is fair, then a trade is a trade.

Furthermore, no matter what else, we all agreed that we each believed any owner should do whatever he or she can to improve his or her team, irrespective of the time of the season or place in the standings.

Adding fuel to the fire, my friend and partner Brian Walton followed up with his piece Plea for a Trade, more or less debunking - or at least demystifying or demythifying - the romantic notions of being innocently handed a title to a leader via trade.

So that has indeed made me rethink my position.

Well, that and the noted issue that I am indeed suddenly in 11th place in NL LABR, and that a handful of my LABR league mates were looking for closers.

So, after a thread of queries from those coveting saves, I noted, more jokingly than anything else, that John Axford was available.

I did not think much about it, and expected nothing when a week later, Axford was reinstated as the Brewers closer, and suddenly he became a player of interest.

And, since I already had Wilton Lopez and Ernesto Frieri on my roster, Axford was more than available.

The biggest problem, however, for my team is with six players on the DL I need a hitter. Making things worse, four of my injured batters are still on my active roster, although that is more a byproduct of how thin the free agent pool is as opposed to my sitting on my team and simply letting them die a slow end of season death.

So, early last week I began negotiations with three teams, though unfortunately none of them had a bat they could spare.

Still, there was very little harm in swapping Axford as far as I was concerned for he had not really been much of a help to my team in the first place.

Making it more interesting, my three suitors were the first place BIS team guided by Steve Moyer, Ray Flowers and his SiriusXM second place team, while Derek Carty and the Baseball Prospectus fourth place squad also expressed interest.

Then, adding to it were the schizophrenic performances Axford made last week, first earning a lights-out save with three whiffs last Tuesday against the Cubs, but then completely self-destructing two days later allowing a pair each of walks, hits, and runs to the Pirates, completely blowing a conversion.

In the end I swapped with Steve, the first place team, taking Lance Lynn in exchange (like I said, there were no hitters) hoping I can somehow swap a starter or two for that elusive hitter.

What could I do? I mean, Axford was as expendable as any player could ever be.

But, what makes this extra funny is that I walked out of the draft with two primo closers in Axford and Brian Wilson, and now both are gone, yet I still have two other closers I got on draft day in Lopez and Frieri.

I guess that is simply the kind of crazy season this has been.

One where I am reduced to trading with the first place team out of desperation. And, I guess to try and improve my team, too!

Hey, now you can get me on Twitter at @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 Pro 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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