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August 11, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Other Competitive Balance Mechanisms

by Mike Gianella


Last week, I talked about salary caps in auction-style leagues and how they can still allow non-contending teams to rebuild without destroying the integrity of your league. As many of my readers have pointed out, there are several other methods you can use to either curb dump trades or prevent them entirely if you so desire. Over the years, I have used some of these methods in my carryover leagues. Others I have not used but have heard about through either reader feedback or from other fantasy baseball analysts who also play in keeper leagues. The list below is not intended to be comprehensive but offers a guide to different ways you can navigate this issue in your league or leagues.

Salary Floor
A salary cap addresses how much salary a contender may put on his or her roster, but does little if anything to discourage a team at the bottom of the pack from simply vacating its roster and shipping everyone away to another squad. An alternative suggested by many of my readers is a salary floor. Putting a minimum required salary on a team still allows teams to play for next year but prevents teams from simply jettisoning everyone off of their rosters and potentially disrupting the competitive balance of the league.

Advantages: Curtails the most lopsided present-for-future trades while still allowing for these types of deals. Prohibits teams out of the running from simply jettisoning expensive non-keepers off of their rosters after the trade deadline and allowing contenders with the most FAAB or highest waiver claims to swoop in post deadline.

Disadvantages: This method is by no means foolproof. Teams can get around this by using FAAB to obtain an expensive player or players to reach the floor. It is also possible to acquire an expensive bust to simply circumvent the rule. In 2014, think Prince Fielder or Justin Verlander. Dragging a $30-35 Fielder out there week in and week out wouldn’t be palatable to a contender but in a league with a salary floor would be perfectly acceptable.

Salary Escalators
A player traded during the season with a salary under a certain amount would see his salary rise to an agreed upon minimum salary. Ten dollars is sometimes used but for maximum impact $15 is probably a better minimum. For example, Dallas Keuchel was purchased for four dollars at your auction this past March. He is traded during the 2014 season to a non-contender. His salary jumps to $15 for this year and next year as well.

Advantages: Teams can still play for next year but the number of players targeted in trades with future value plummets. Elite players would still have future value under this rule but cheap, marginal keepers who are often used to justify some of the most egregious dump trades would lose their value.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (08/11)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Jer... (08/08)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Set... (08/13)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Au... (08/11)

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