Saturday, August 25, 2012

Did the Dodgers Change the (Fantasy) Landscape Forever?

Boston Red Sox trade Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ivan DeJesus Jr., James Loney, Allen Webster and two players to be named later (Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands)

Unless you've been under a rock the last couple of days, you heard about this trade.

Time permitting, I'll get into the fantasy implications of this deal later tomorrow. Tonight, I'd like to look at question posed by one of my Twitter followers that looks at an angle I didn't even consider: the strategic angle:
does the Nick Punto trade change how you think of FAAB at all in AL/NL only? charting new waters.
To expand on what scarge is saying, while waiver trades in Major League Baseball aren't all that unusual, most waiver trades involve only one Major League player and typically don't see a player of significant value like Gonzalez change hands at this late juncture, let alone three potential impact players in Beckett, Crawford and Gonzalez.

One of the first thoughts I had when this trade went down was along the lines of "oh crap, bidding $54 on Alex Presley turned out to be an even shittier idea than it was at the time I bought him."

Steve Gardner and Nate Ravitz may have both very well made a similar exclamation when the blockbuster went down. Nate bid $57 on Matt Adams back on May 21 (full disclosure; I had the second highest bid). Steve had the most FAAB after the Major League non-waiver July 31 trade deadline and did what I would have done in his shoes, breaking the bank for Travis Snider with a whopping $83 bid. Steve might feel bad about this tonight, but he shouldn't, as the odds of a trade of this magnitude happening fell squarely into the realm of slim and none.

In Tout Wars, it doesn't matter to Gonzalez's owner - Jeff Erickson - where Gonzalez lands because you can keep players traded to the "other" league in Tout. In some home leagues, though, if a player gets traded to the other league you lose that player. In the CBS expert league, you get nothing for the player you lost. In my home leagues, you get the traded player's salary in FAAB.

The problem here is that $41 in FAAB won't help this particular owner much. James Loney is the only Major Leaguer of (cough, cough) "note" returning here, and blowing $41 on James Loney isn't going to make up for the loss of Adrian Gonzalez. Stephen Drew is also available this week, but even if this owner somehow gets Drew and Loney, it's not going to be enough.

Will any of this make me change the way I bid on players or put together my FAAB strategy next year?

No, it will not.

In deep leagues, the best thing to do is try to maximize your AB totals all year long. My goal is to try to field a full line-up as soon as I possibly can once dumping season begins. Hoarding my FAAB and keeping a dead spot open just in case the next Adrian Gonzalez comes along seems foolhardy.

Tout Wars is a different story because it's a non-keeper. While I sure would like to have my $54 bid on Alex Presley back, I'd still be behind the 8-ball on FAAB because Phil Hertz has the most FAAB in the league at $81. One of the reasons I'm pretty much dead in the water on FAAB is because I had a significant number of injuries/holes throughout the season and had to spend, spend, spend. Waiting on Adrian Gonzalez wasn't going to stop the injury train from leaving the station, and 34 games of Gonzalez aren’t going to cure what ails me.

This is the main reason why I won't alter my strategy in case there's a big trade like this in the future. I still think trades like this aren't likely to happen every year. But - even if they do start becoming more common - hanging back to bid on 34 games of even the best player in baseball isn't a winning strategy. A $40 season prorated for the games left on the calendar is about $8 worth of production. A $20 player added to your squad in the middle of the season is worth about $10. The Todd Fraziers of the world are going to have far more impact on who is or isn't going to win your league this year than the Adrian Gonzalezes.


Eugene Freedman said...

More likely it will change league rules so you can keep stats of players traded to the opposite league. We've voted it down 5-7 for the past decade or so, but it comes up every off season and we already know who's voting which way.

je Morgan said...

Grat analysis. Thanks.
It is why my home league for the past 26 seasons changed from a deep NL only to a deep Mixed League, though it did take a while to figure out how to accomplish that depth. But you'll be surprised how it can be done and so satisfying.