The posts this winter were a little more sporadic this winter than they were last year for a few reasons, but primarily because I wrote almost 100 player profiles for Rotoman's Fantasy Baseball Guide.
I'm generally not a fan of pre-season magazines, since the information in there usually went to bed in December and we're drafting in late March/early April. For players like Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols this doesn't matter, but we're not spending our disposable income for insights on players like A-Rod and Al-Pu. We're looking for opinions for guys on the fringe, the player who everyone else thinks is worth $5 but we secretly think is worth $10 (and are hoping to get for $7).
But I do enjoy the Guide, primarily because 18 experts give their thumbs-up or thumbs-down on a handful of players. These insights are always interesting, and often its useful to get a second or third or fourth opinion on the kind of players who we're always jockeying over in the middle or late rounds of our auctions.
Between now and the regular season, I'm going to take a look at some of the players who received multiple thumbs up/thumbs down from Rotoman's panel of 18 and throw in my own two cents (I wrote profiles for the magazine, not "picks" or "pans").
I'm also going to keep my commentary about the magazine to a minimum, since it's still for sale on newsstands everywhere.
Bobby Abreu: One pick (Alex Patton) and one pan (Craig Brown).
Patton and Brown held the same opinions about Abreu in Rotoman's 2008 Guide as well (with John Menna joining Brown on the negative side of the ledger). Abreu responded with a $32 season (according to Patton. Using the same pricing system with different formulas than Patton does, I had Abreu at $33).
The debate about Abreu doesn't center so much around whether or not he'll decline, but by how much he'll decline and how much to discount him in anticipation of that decline.
The biggest problem we have in analyzing players like Abreu is that the only thing we have to look at is what's in the rearview mirror. Logically, we all know that Abreu isn't going to play until he's 50, but emotionally all we can really see is:
$45, $38, $34, $28, $32.
These are Abreu's 4x4 earnings from 2004-2008. Logic tells me to take age into account (Abreu will be 35 this year) and bid $22-25. But I'm guessing that this price won't get him.
So I might up my bid to $27 if I really want him. But I'm afraid that at that price I might get burned, particularly when I factor my league's 20% inflation rate in and his adjusted price is now $32.
To make matters more complicated, I currently own Abreu at $33 in my league.
No, it's not that complicated. I'll either throw him back in my A.L. or trade him. The issue comes when it comes time to determine a bid limit for him.
$22 seems to low. $25 seems about right, but I recognize that at Abreu's age the decline can sometimes be sharp and sudden. So I might lower that price to $23 and then cross him off my list when he sails past $26, which he certainly will in my American League.