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July 23, 2012
Resident Fantasy Genius
Getting Aggressive With 10 Weeks To Go
On Thursday, I talked about the way I approach making trades at this point in the season. Today, I thought I’d walk you through a real-life example of how I think about trades from one of my own leagues: Tout Wars NL. Below, you’ll find the standings by category and my roster. Before you read about how I’ve been approaching trades, try to figure out what you would do in my situation.
While I’m presently in ninth place with 66.5 points, the first place team has only 86 points. Making up 20 points in two-and-a-half months isn’t unrealistic, and getting the 15 points to manage a top-three finish is attainable. Of course, I’ll need to manage my categories well and hope for a little bit of luck.
As you probably notice, I’m really having trouble in the hitting categories. Between Justin Upton struggling, Mike Morse missing the first two months, and a slew of smaller maladies and struggles, I’m in a bit of a bind. Luckily, I’ve set myself up quite well in pitching. I have huge leads in ERA and WHIP, which lends itself nicely to dealing my top pitchers. Given my situation, I can afford to play a number of mid-tier pitchers while still holding onto most or all of my ERA and WHIP points. So it’s time for a fire sale, and I’ve got tons of quality trade chips, led by Matt Cain and R.A. Dickey.
The easiest place to make up ground appears to be saves. Just 15 saves could give me six points. After that, I’ll need to make a serious push on the offensive side. I certainly have my work cut out for me, and there aren’t any categories where it appears there are easy gains to be made. In a situation like this, I may be best off acquiring as much value and as much upside on the hitting side as possible, regardless of categorical impact. If Upton and Morse can heat up and I can add a few reinforcements to help them, I may be able to put some points together piecemeal and make a run for a money spot. The good news, in a glass-half-full kind of way, is that I have plenty of nearly-dead spots on my roster: Greene, Janish, Uribe, and Izturis.
A couple days ago, I made my first deal, trading R.A. Dickey, Tyler Greene, and Ernesto Frieri for Rickie Weeks, Adam LaRoche, and Kenley Jansen. Whether it works out or not, this is exactly the kind of deal that a team in my position needs to make. While Weeks has struggled mightily this year, his upside is enormous—that of a $20 or $25 player. I’m not going to win this league if I don’t take risks, and Weeks is a terrific risk to take. LaRoche fills another dead spot, sending either Uribe or Izturis to the bench, and combined with Weeks gives me a good spread categorically. While Frieri has been getting saves, I get to swap him here for a guy who isn’t sharing opportunities and who is one of the most talented relievers in baseball. This gives me either 1) more leeway to play crappy starting pitchers, or 2) a valuable trade chip to acquire a less talented closer plus some extra hitting value. Dickey is potentially great, but he’s unnecessary for my team, so funneling his value into the categories I need is a win for me.
To further add to my saves, I placed a big bid ($57) on new Astros closer Francisco Cordero last night and won him for $17 via the Tout Wars Vickrey system. While he’s not the pitcher he once was, he shouldn’t have too much competition in Houston, and I can afford to take subpar peripherals. He’s kind of the perfect closer for my situation, and he only cost me a little FAAB.
Next up, I’ve been attempting to trade Matt Cain. I have a couple of appealing offers on the table, and I’ll likely be making a deal over the next few days. In the meantime, I made a smaller deal that seemed like a good value play to fill a dead spot: Juan Uribe, Elian Herrera, and $5 FAAB for Mark Ellis. Ellis is no impact bat, but he does play every day and is an upgrade over Uribe or Izturis at middle infield. That step up the ladder could also help me in a potential future trade for an even bigger upgrade at the position, being able to include a starting second baseman in the deal.
I’ve got a bit of an uphill battle, but I’m starting to make waves and feel as though I’m in a pretty good position to begin moving up.