Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Why We Don't Want Jeff Karstens

Jeff Karstens was missing from my last N.L. FAAB Log, and nwhorton wants to know why:
No bids on Karstens? Thought he's worth at least $1...was he already taken or something?
Nope. Karstens wasn't part of any odd loophole, wasn't on some team's reserve list as an A.L.-flier who might come over into the National League. He simply wasn't taken. Not one team thought he'd be worth the minimum $1 bid.

Ignorance isn't an excuse. As anyone who follows this blog year round knows, this is an experienced (almost 20 years old) N.L.-only league. It's also a deep league, and marginal middle infielders, catchers and middle relievers are picked up on a fairly regular basis. It's also a New York-based league, so almost everyone knows who Karstens is.

So why did everyone take a pass?

I went through this exercise earlier in the year for my A.L., and it's worth doing again for the N.L.

First place team: Jorge Campillo, Cole Hamels, Dan Haren, Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, Ricky Nolasco, Francisco Cordero, Salomon Torres, John Grabow.
Second place: Bronson Arroyo, Tim Lincecum, Roy Oswalt, Jonathan Sanchez, Johan Santana, Jonathan Broxton, Kevin Gregg, Joel Hanrahan, Jon Rauch.
Third place: Rich Harden, Randy Johnson, Ted Lilly, Oliver Perez, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Chris Young, Brandon Lyon, Jose Valverde.
Fourth place: Joe Blanton, Dave Bush, Josh Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Todd Wellemeyer, Taylor Buchholz, Mike Gonzalez, Carlos Marmol, Duaner Sanchez.

Out of these 36 pitchers, Bronson Arroyo is the only one I could see making the argument for waiving for someone like Karstens.

And a lot of carryover leagues are exactly like this one. By the time the trade deadline rolls around, most teams have maximized or come close to maximizing their rosters' potential. Injuries might leave a hole or two and permit a bid for someone like Karstens, but the argument that Karstens is too much of a risk for a team looking to protect their ERA/WHIP is a valid argument.

For non-contenders, the question is whether or not Karstens would be worth freezing at $10 next year, which is the price many leagues assign as a minimum for FAABed players. Not many of these players wind up as keepers the following year. I still might have taken a shot if I had the FAAB to do it, but I can see why an owner looking at 2009 would look at Karstens, think that he's a $5-7 pitcher, and shrug.

And this is one of the biggest differences I've seen between the expert leagues and the regular leagues. If you're in an expert league and floating around in 9th place with $100 of FAAB, there's no reason not to bid $100 on Mark Teixeria or Jason Bay with the hopes of finishing 6th. If you're in a carryover league, you're not going to bother.

The same principle applies in the other direction. A $10 Jeff Karstens in 2009 likely isn't a keep. My guess right now is that he's a pitcher you'd put a $4-6 bid limit on if he's in the Pirates rotation next year. That doesn't make him a bad pitcher. It just might not make him worth spending your FAAB on if he's out there in your league and you're a dead duck.


Mike Gianella said...

Someone from the Pirates must have read the blog, printed this out, and posted it up in the clubhouse bulletin board.

nwhorton said...

I'm starting to like this guy...