By Brian Walton
I admit that in recent weeks, I have had free-agent allocation budget, or FAAB, on the brain. The reason why is simple. In my most important league, National League Tout Wars -- and in fact in most every industry league in which I have ever competed -- making trades are extremely time-consuming and difficult.
Cingrani paid off early
Given the two primary methods of improving one's roster is via trade and free agency, if the former is diminished in importance, it stands to reason that the latter becomes even more prominent.
In terms of the basics of FAAB management, there are a variety of theories. Some believe that spending early will provide the greatest benefit. After all, it only makes sense that the longer your team receives the positive benefit of a good acquisition, the better your results in the standings should be.
However, there are several big assumptions inherent in the above statement. One is that the player can be FAABed at a fair value. Another is that he actually delivers on his promise.
One owner in NL Tout, Chris Liss of Rotowire, spent heavily early on pitching and landed a couple of solid performers. Cincinnati's Tony Cingrani ($52) and Jose Fernandez of Miami ($22) joined his roster in April.
In a very common approach, others hold back on using their FAAB, hoping to hold the most money at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Of course, this is only relevant in single-league formats, and then one has to be in the right place at the right time with the most cash.
To date in 2013, most of the early selling across MLB has been from the Chicago Cubs to the American League (Matt Garza to Texas and Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees). National League owners are still waiting for their chance to spend crazily.
In Tout Wars, there is an additional twist that FAAB can be traded. In an initiative to improve in ERA and WHIP, Phil Hertz of BaseballHQ has been dealing off his starting pitchers. In deals big and small (Taylor Jordan for $2, Carlos Martinez for $8), Hertz is also accumulating a considerable war chest of cash.
After dealing Jeff Samardzija ($25 in a multi-player deal) and Julio Teheran ($28) in the last two weeks, Hertz has added $65 of FAAB, catapulting him to the second-highest total in the league.
Hertz also added $9 by turning in Pittsburgh's Wandy Rodriguez just before the break.
That is where my strategy comes in.
What did Brian do?
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