Navigating The Trade Deadline
In your fantasy baseball leagues, the trade deadline is close to passing, if it hasn’t already. In general, teams in contention overpay for name players and a shot at their league championship. For me personally, this is the worst time of year as trades made leave me shaking my head in disbelief.
Back in June, I mentioned a trade where a $25 Michael Bourn was dealt for a $4 Kyle Seager and $2 Oswaldo Arcia. At the $2 Ottoneu bump, it will be 2018 before Arcia/Seager’s combined salary surpasses Bourn’s salary allotment this season.
For me, keeper leagues with salaries are all about cheap control and spending big money on the right assets. Admittedly, Jason Heyward and Matt Kemp bit the big one in 2013, but other high-salaried players on my Ottoneu Experts League team include Robinson Cano (#1 2B), Buster Posey (#1 C) and Clayton Kershaw (#1 SP).
Speaking of Posey and Cano, I added both in trade deadline deals last season. However, their salaries, $35 and $45 respectively, left them as fairly valued assets considering both earned every penny on the field AND other top players in the Experts League are valued in the $50’s and $60’s. In this instance, I was willing to give the farm for franchise players worth keeping for a few more years.
In yesterday’s newsletter, I mentioned pulling a deal involving Andrelton Simmons off of the table. Below is the entire deal.
Joey Votto @ $58
Without a doubt, Votto is an impact talent, but there’s no way I’d consider extending him at $60 for next season — especially when this is a 5×5 format and Votto’s walks don’t count for much. In this league, the same owner controls Votto and Miggy Cabrera and is sitting 40 points out of first place. Knowing this, you can imagine just how bad the rest of his roster is.
And by holding onto Votto and Cabrera so long, this owner missed an opportunity. My first email to him was on June 9th to check on the availability of both players. That was more than 10 weeks ago. Ask yourself what’s worth more? 16 weeks of Votto or Cabrera or six? One might say holding onto the players heightens another manager’s level of desperation, but I don’t buy it. Here’s why.
My current first base combination is Logan Morrison and Chris Johnson. Johnson is worth playing against both lefties and righties this season, but his .927 OPS against lefties makes him an auto play. For the rest of the season, he’s projected to hit .283 with three home runs, 13 runs and 17 RBI. As for Morrison, he has a .907 OPS against righties on the season and is comfortably in the .800’s for his career. He’s projected for .265 with three home runs, 11 runs and 12 RBI.
Votto projects for .305 with 6 home runs, 18 R and 20 RBI the rest of the way. A couple of steals are also expected.
Most weeks, Morrison will face four-to-five right-handed starters. Johnson will face 2-3 left-handed starters. Moving the best option in and out of the lineup will result in a .900-plus OPS first baseman five-to-six days per week. On other days, Johnson and his .800 OPS vs. righties will be a fall back option. At worst, I’m expecting a .875 combined OPS from my first base position the rest of the way. For comparison’s sake, that’s Freddie Freeman-like production.
Is a couple of extra home runs, runs, RBI and stolen bases worth four, cheap keepers? Not in my book. In this scenario, Votto is a marginal upgrade now, but will make my team considerably worse over the coming years.
Viewing the trade deadline through this lens will make you less active than other managers. This is fine. Build rosters for long term success and you’ll never need to be desperate at the trade deadline. And if you are an owner who’s rebuilding or having an off year, remember to sell those assets early. Each day you wait makes the player less valuable.
2 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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