Thursday, August 05, 2010

Anatomy of a League's FAAB - Part I

On Monday, I completed my usual FAAB write-up for my non-expert, A.L.-only.

Typically, I look at the bids player-by-player, rather than team-by-team. However, I thought it would be useful to drill down and examine the thought process for this 20+ year old league and see how each team bid and why they bid they way they did. Tonight I'll start with the contenders' bids and then look at the non-contenders in my next post.

Winning bids are in bold.

First place: Matt Capps $35, Jorge Cantu $18, Lance Berkman $18, Cristian Guzman $3.
This team's bids were driven by the league's salary cap. A deadline trade for Joakim Soria (part of a dump deal) led to a push for three closers as opposed to a drive for another hitter. This team will conservatively jump three points in saves and could gain as many as seven depending on how everything else shakes out. Cantu or Berkman would have been nice, but Capps was the right play for this team.

Second place: Matt Capps $27, Lance Berkman $27.
This team had $32 left to spend and could have spent all of it under the cap. The Capps play was sort of bizarre; this team had just traded Mariano Rivera (for Carl Pavano straight up) but probably only has one point to lose in saves with its one remaining closer. Given the team's holes on offense, I would have spent the full $32 on Berkman or Cantu in his position (Berkman went to a non-contender for $32.

Third place: Matt Capps $11, Lance Berkman $16, Jorge Cantu $16.
This team was capped out and nearly out of FAAB (only $18 left). It had the right instincts by trying to waive Jose Guillen for Berkman/Cantu but not nearly enough money to do so.

Fourth place: Matt Capps $4, Edwin Jackson $2.
This team is going to go home with nearly all of its FAAB, with $90 left out of our $100 team budget. After a series of aggressive deadline trades, it was left $1 under the cap and wasn't going to get any players.

Fifth place: Lance Berkman $22, Jorge Cantu $22, Matt Capps $22, Ryan Kalish $22, Francisco Rodriguez $1.
This team had been decimated by trades to the National League, losing Scott Podsednik and Miguel Tejada. Given how the FAAB played out, it could have bought any two free agents it wanted but instead went the trade route, upgrading two offensive positions in a dump deal and then getting Rivera in the trade mentioned above. I haven't looked at this yet, but the two scenarios were:

Scenario A: No trades, FAAB only: Pavano, Cliff Pennington, two of Berkman, Capps or Cantu.
Trades/FAAB: Rivera, Mike Aviles, Hideki Matsui, Michael Cuddyer.

The losses of Pods and Tejada led to the kind of tough choices that usually lead to a loss (through no fault of the owner). I might have chosen Scenario A if only to try and make the wins play with Pavano instead of the saves play with Mo...or make the saves play with Capps, maintain some speed with Pennington, and muddle through in HR/RBI with one of Berkman/Cantu...particularly because getting two of the three big FAAB targets would have meant playing keep away from one of the contenders. Of course, that would have only meant that one of the other contenders would have probably grabbed Cuddyer and Juan Rivera (who was flipped later straight up for Matsui) in another dump deal anyway. Like I said, this owner was in a damned if you do/damned if you don't situation any way you sliced it.

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