Friday, August 15, 2008

When Jose Guillen Isn't Worth $9

My pissing and moaning yesterday certainly got a lot of attention:
Well, if you're on comfortable-enough terms with that owner, I'd just ask him what stats he thought Guillen would produce next year.
...Brett wrote
If he says .265/11/53/2, then tell him "ok, I disagree but you're right, he's not a keeper to you". If he gives numbers similar to this year, then you have the discussion about why his valuation is out of whack, and hopefully convince him.
Well, I generally try to keep the lines of communication open with all owners. And I did ask this particular owner why he thought Jose Guillen was only worth $7.5.

He told me (and I know I'm rehashing some of what I said yesterday) that Guillen is only "X" amount better than a replacement level player and has negative value in SB.

I didn't really pursue the conservation further because I made a couple of assumptions that I'm guessing are correct based on his next responses:

1) He's assigning a player with zero stats a negative base value, since that player is "X" below replacement level in all categories.

2) Since this owner typically spends aggressively early in the auction, he's not undercutting his league's total budget. Instead, he's robbing guys in the middle (like Guillen) to pay guys at the top (like A-Rod).

It worked very well for him in 2007, but he also had a cheap B.J. Upton ($10), Dustin Pedroia ($10) and Matt Stairs ($2) in tow. Stars and scrubs (which is what we're talking about here, of course) in keeper leagues requires a few scrubs who come through. Or young players who were acquired via the farm draft or dump trades (which is how Upton and Pedroia were acquired) who turn into the Next Big Thing.

The problem is that you also need your stars to come through. This owner bought A-Rod at $42 in 2007. In retrospect, that makes the rest of us look stupid, but he was coming off of a $33 season in 2006. Yeah, we still screwed up letting him slip to $42. I said $41, but that doesn't make me feel much better.

This year didn't work out quite so well. He came off a year where he finished in the money, so he needed a more balanced team to compete. He started out with A-Rod and Carl Crawford ($50), and then bought Brian Roberts ($33), Erik Bedard ($40), and Mariano Rivera ($37). It didn't work out so well.

In the 2007 scenario, opting for $1 players was OK because this owner had some keeps like Upton and Pedroia to start with. If a guy like Matt Stairs worked out, great. If not, so what; you dump Upton and Pedroia and fill the holes that your $1 buys left you.

In the 2008 scenario, you're better off buying a balanced squad and hoping your $15 Kevin Youkilis turns into a $30 stud. In Stage Three leagues, your $1 buy is typically going for $1 for lots of good reasons. He could earn $20+, but the odds are very poor.

So, in the end, we come back to Stages One, Two, and Three. If you overvalue A-Rod and Crawford, you're back in Stage One, and you're not going to win unless both of them at least match their expensive price tags. If they don't, the odds are very poor that more than one of your $1 players are going to turn into double digit earners. And if they don't, you'll lose.

In this scenario, you'd better damn make sure you get one or two guys like Jose Guillen. At least.

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