Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reserve Lists and Carryover Leagues

Last week, anonymous took issue with leagues that are too liberal when it comes to dumping. One thing he said his league does allow is for major league players to be kept on a reserve list.
We also have a 5-man reserve roster and rules that allow for a demote-promote-waive-FAAB to occur as a single transaction. Thus, a (Mark) Kotsay would most likely be demoted, and what should be a lesser reserve player promoted, waive the promoted player and FAAB (Chris) Dickerson. Still have Kotsay to fill a hole later if needed.
I've played with the reserve list (sometimes known as a taxi squad) for the last five years in the CBS Sportsline expert league and I can't say I'm a big fan.

In that league, we have seven man reserve lists instead of five man reserve lists. There is a separate list for disabled players (though you can only keep a finite number of players on your disabled list, which is a large part of the problem).

There are things I like about the reserve list. It allows me to keep a struggling starting pitcher on the bench, or to play match-ups with those starting pitchers. It also lets me keep a hitter or two at a weak position so that I don't have to scour the free agent pool in desperation for a replacement.

However, some of the benefits of the reserve list can be problematic as well.

For one, a deep reserve list means less FAAB play during the season. The first time I ever played with a reserve list, I made almost no FAAB moves all year long. This meant I had a good team, but it wasn't very exciting for me shuffling players back and forth from my active sqaud to my reserve list.

That leads right to the other problem. If you have a weak reserve list, and another owner is hoarding active major leaguers, you might wind up with nothing to add to your roster. Now you can argue that managing your reserve list is skill, and is part of the game. But I would argue that there's a great deal of luck tied to the players you get on reserve, particularly at the beginning of the season.

I also don't like what anonymous is suggesting about using the reserve list as a way to curb dumping. It's obviously a matter of personal preference, but I'd rather see an owner have to choose between Dickerson and Kotsay than be allowed to hoard everyday players because he has a lot of FAAB or is contending. I also feel like not having a reserve list means that there is more of a battle of strategy between contenders and non-contenders. Every week a decent player is called up from the minors, the contending teams have to decide if they can place a conservative bid or if a keeper-prevention bid is necessary. It's an extra wrinkle of strategy that gets lost if you can keep a taxi sqaud.

I know that these are simpy my preferences. Anonymous probably loves his league the way it currenty is.

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