King Of The Mountain
Give me a show of virtual hands if you’ve ever taken over a team in an established dynasty league? Now, keep those virtual hands up if the team was a championship contender the previous season. I’d imagine very few readers would still have their hands raised. After all, dynasty owners — especially in money leagues — don’t leave money on the table.
In the past few years, I’ve joined a handful of dynasty leagues. Each finished 11th out of 12 teams the previous year. In each instance, the same strategy was incorporated with success. Trade the superstars for a handful of talented players. Once the black holes are filled, use remaining resources to trade for upgrades and improve through the draft.
The best example of this was 2011 when taking over a team with Jose Reyes and Bryce Harper. Harper was dealt for Jason Kipnis, Chris Sale, Jacob Turner and a draft pick (Pirates Alex Dickerson). Jose Reyes was traded for Michael Choice, Jose Tabata and Daric Barton in a league which heavily rewarded OBP and power (This one didn’t work out so well). A third trade was made which brought Matt Joyce, Justin Masterson and Scott Sizemore into the fold, but I don’t remember who was traded. In all, three star players netted 10 assets at the time.
Once the trades were made, we drafted Xander Bogaerts, Kris Bryant (out of HS), Kevin Gausman (out of HS) and traded Carlos Martinez and change for Jurickson Profar and change. I wound up leaving the league in a dispute over Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish, but whoever took over was primed for future success. Rebuilding a team from scratch is a process I understand well.
Taking over a 98-win team the previous year? Not so much. So, what’s the plan now?
The obvious answer is the opposite of what I’d do if the team was bad. Instead of trading for a spread of talent, the goal is to trade multiple pieces for a superstar or two. As a prospect guy, it’s difficult to trade young pieces, but I’ve seen enough elite prospects fail to understand how often they fail.
On the flip side, being at the park has afforded me looks at Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward and Bryce Harper, but never an MVP like Andrew McCutchen. In knowing how special a talent he is, I’m forced to take a stab at acquiring the Pirates superstar.
So what’s the offer exactly? In a league with a 120-million dollar salary cap, “Cutch” is signed for five more years at between seven and 14.5 million dollars. It’s a substantial amount of money, but pretty insignificant considering his production. Plus, a center fielder receives bonus points at a corner outfield spot. You might ask who could possibly move him to a corner? Well, Mike Trout of course!
Trade etiquette aside (to be discussed in another piece), our final offer was White Sox Avisail Garcia, Indians Danny Salazar, Padres Matt Wisler, Dodgers Corey Seager and Mets Steven Matz. With this league mirroring MLB, only one player was currently on the 40-man roster (Salazar) and the rest had 0.0 years of service time. In essence, it’s 25-years of cheap control for five of McCutchen.
it’s a substantial offer and decimates the minor league system, but acquiring a player with McCutchen’s talent adds .3 runs per game on offense based on lineup optimization. Over 150 games, he’s worth an extra 45 runs or so not including contributions on defense. To us, McCutchen is worth about 10 wins. Remember, this was a 98 win team last season. Adding a productive and healthy McCutchen to the fold guarantees two things.
1. A playoff birth
2. Real $
After all, isn’t it all about the money in MONEY leagues? It is to me. Just like Major League Baseball, the value of a win for a good team is considerably more valuable than a poor team. If the team won 88 games the previous year, this trade would be even more important. At 78 wins? not so much. It’s vital to consider your chances of finishing in the money, or winning it all with every trade. How does acquiring player A for player B bring you closer to a championship. If the answer isn’t obvious, pass.
Far too often, owners make trades as a form of rosterbation — and that gets you nowhere.
4 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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