Fantasy Baseball's Tumbling Dice: Fixing a Hole?

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on April 29, 2014 @ 08:40:11 PDT

 


Last week I wrote about needing to beef up the offense of my NL LABR team, and over the weekend RotoWire's Derek Van Riper and I did indeed complete our previously mentioned swap.

At the core, DVR hopes to spruce up his pitching with the acquisition of Jordan Zimmermann, while I got Aaron Hill to try and do the same for my hitting.

Mark Trumbo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Counting the days until his return

We both agreed to a pair of throw-ins -- Carter Capps from DVR and Joaquin Arias from me -- although as the week progressed, these names were in flux.

Capps was brought up by his new Miami club, while on my side, Mark Trumbo went on the DL.

Now that might not sound like the impetus to cause a change in throw-ins, I planned to slot Hill in the utility spot, moving Lucas Duda from there to the corner, spelling Arias and surely shoring up my roster.

Only Trumbo had to go join the elite cluster of players who went on the DL last week, and that meant I had to plug Duda into first, and that meant either I figure out a way to keep Arias, or ...

... I go to the free-agent pool and spend some FAAB on one of the following third sackers, and their respective stats:

This would be to replace Arias and his .135-0-1 line over 37 at-bats. The problem, though, is even in the process of keeping Arias, I am hardly improving anything with the loss of Trumbo and simply plugging Hill in the big scheme.

Of course, I will get Trumbo back before too long, and I can figure out what to do with third base then, but the question becomes just what do you do in a deep league when facing such a dilemma.

While it is indeed difficult to watch my third base slot look like the statistical abyss, the question is, “Am I better off with Arias, or replacing him with either Descalso, Nix, or Santiago?”

This is the kind of decision that shakes to the core of most fantasy owners, however, it is also why I really love playing in the deepest of leagues.

Somehow in my meager view of the world, if the free agent pool is littered with Juan Francisco or even Juan Uribe as National League hot corner guys in the free agent pool, the game I am playing is not really making me have to think about the move, let alone strategize. (Note both Uribe and Francisco are available in the mixed format XFL.)

But, I think winning -- or, more appropriately, trying to win -- with those said marginal players is hard, but it is fun. It is just like the Braves must try to muddle through with Ramiro Pena, who is on their bench and also in the XFL pool, so must I try to muddle through with Arias, at least for now.

The bottom line, though, is when do you simply let a slot go in deference to bad stats?

That is, I could have activated Maikel Franco, in the minors and on my reserve list, or even bid a dollar on free agent Jack Hannahan, who is on the 60-day DL, with the logic that though I will get no production from the spot, neither player drag down my already anemic batting average.

In keeping Arias, the gamble is that a .266 hitter might come with a few hits here and there and at least bat .250 over the next couple of weeks. That is because I am more desperate for counting stats than working my last-place batting average up at this point.

Ultimately, I just don't want to make that move now. But the idea of replacing him with nothing, especially when I get Trumbo back, is not beyond logical to me.

Neither should it be to you, should your team be in a similar situation.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

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 MLB.com as a statistician.

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