Is the recent trade of a draft pick from Baltimore to Los Angeles what they've been warning us about?
The Dodgers and Orioles made a peculiar trade last week. They swapped catching depth, the Dodgers tossed in an arm who suits Dan Duquette’s tastes well, and the Orioles sent back Ryan Webb and the 74th pick in June’s Draft. It’s a minor move, one R.J. Andersoncovered well on Monday, if only in passing. I don’t want to spend forever picking apart this one transaction, because even though I find it almost unendingly interesting, I acknowledge that it is, objectively, boring.
As part of a larger conversation, though, I can stake a much stronger claim that you ought to pay attention to this move. Notably, this trade involved the Dodgers getting the Orioles’ competitive-balance pick this June. It’s the eighth trade that has involved this small class of tradable picks, and (maybe most notably, or maybe not) makes four such picks in this draft alone that have changed hands. There’s been some talk about that, but even more talk about the fact that the Dodgers appear to have more or less bought the pick from Baltimore. They released Webb shortly after acquiring him, effectively swallowing his $2.75-million salary as a way of paying for the pick outright. In fact, because they also gave more than they got in the details of the deal, we can say that they valued that pick at something around (or north of) $3 million. The Orioles must have valued it similarly, or the trade would not have shaken out the way it did: Baltimore would have held out for something better than Chris O’Brien and Ben Rowen, if they didn’t think the pick at least balanced out the money they saved by dealing Webb. Rowen is a strike-throwing righty with a platoon spl—
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Clay Buchholz has been dominant this year, and Clay Buchholz has been terrible this year. Saturday will break the tie.
For the first time in his career Clay Buchholz was Boston’s Opening Day starter. Starting on Opening Day doesn’t mean much in the specific, but in the aggregate it means the Red Sox are depending a lot on Clay Buchholz. This could be great or terrible because Buchholz has had both great and terrible seasons previously in his career.
Doug expects Kris Bryant ownership to be supersaturated and wonders if Prince's power will return
Admit it: Kris Bryant is in your DFS roster today. You even jumped into an all-day tourney just so that you could get his ballgame in this morning. This game is supposed to be fun, damn it, so treat yourself to some rookie magic if you feel so inclined. Just be aware that he will probably be heavily owned today, as it's the natural cost of popularity.
Chris Archer is strong, Giancarlo is strong, the Giants are not strong.
The Thursday Takeaway
The Rays rotation took a hit during the spring, with Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly forced to the disabled list with an elbow and shoulder injury, respectively. If and when those two are back at full strength, Tampa Bay’s has the potential to be one of the best young rotations in the American League. One of the reasons to be optimistic is Chris Archer, who baffled the Blue Jays on Thursday with a mid-to-high-90s fastball and bevvy of nasty sliders.
Issues with pitch usage and command have led to a rough start for Taijuan Walker.
Anticipation was high for Taijuan Walker's first start of the 2015 season, following an injury-riddled 2014 campaign and an absolutely dominant spring. His line from spring training included just two earned runs allowed across a ridiculous 27 innings of work (seven games). He struck out 26 batters and walked only five, with just 10 hits allowed and a pair of solo homers accounting for the only runs. His raw stuff includes velocity in the mid-90s, a cutter and a hard changeup that both register in the high 80s to low 90s, and the occasional curveball that drops down to the mid-70s on the velo scale. His mechanics have received solid ratings from yours truly in the past, including an overall grade of B- in the 2015 SP Guide, which combined with the hard stuff to raise the optimism surrounding his first start.
Examining players who might pique your interest in deeper formats.
For the audience of this weekly piece, we all know the fantasy baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint, so it is never a good idea to panic after the first week. If your fantasy squad is underachieving and hovering in the second division of your league’s standings in early April, breathe deep… it will be okay. Lord knows, as an owner who drafted Hisashi Iwakuma, Kendall Graveman, Derek Holland, Taijuan Walker, Mike Napoli, C.J. Cron, Albert Pujols, and Alexei Ramirez in the AL-only CBS Analyst League, my first week’s results were laughable. While I don’t recommend taking drastic measures in terms of roster management a week into the season, it is never too early to scour the waiver wire for potential gems who can turn profits for possibly an entire season. Hey, I picked up Alfredo Simon and Aaron Harang last year during the first waiver wire period in one of my NL-only leagues and kept them both for the entire year. The end result was 25 combined wins along with a decent ERA and K numbers, which assisted in netting me a second-place finish—for a team that was pitching deficient after the auction.
The message here is to take gambles in the early season with your FAAB—the risk is low but the reward can be, well, big. In competitive only keeper leagues, it’s fine to be a little aggressive in the early going. In my old school AL-only 4x4 keeper league, the owner who was a little aggressive last April in FAAB’ing J.D. Martinez not only was the beneficiary of a $31 AL-only 4x4 season, but was also able to keep him for a $10 salary this year. That’s a game changer—and these FAAB finds happen in the early season each year.
Is it worth striking up negotiations less than two weeks into the 2015 campaign?
It is early in the 2015 baseball season. Any article about baseball at this time must at least try to mention this in good faith. We know the usual early-season fantasy baseball topics: small sample size, overreactions, regression, buying low, selling high, patience, it being cold outside, injuries, etc. We also know the usual, often good advice: Be patient, but not overly patient, check to see if skills have changed not just results, etc. Because trades happen infrequently in the beginning of the season, they are rarely discussed outside of the previously mentioned buy low, sell high framework. However, it probably behooves us to take a step back and view early season trades as they relate to strategy and human behavior in general. The interesting part of early season trades is that the influencing factors do not align; thus, we cannot responsibly advise that anyone seek or avoid early season trades without exception. Rather, it depends on the situation. We will now take a look at the reasons that make these trades potentially beneficial and those that make them potentially detrimental.
A deep dive into the Pirate first baseman's defense.
Call it poetic justice or karmic repayment, but there's something fitting about Pedro Alvarez having to corral wild throws at first base not even a year after leading third basemen in throwing errors.
Whatever the preferred term, Alvarez's transition across the diamond remains nascent. He suffered a season-ending stress reaction in his foot just five games after the initial move. Yet the Pirates proceeded as if Alvarez had taken ownership of the position, cementing his perch on top of the depth chart during the offseason by trading Ike Davis and non-tendering Gaby Sanchez. Though Pittsburgh later acquired Sean Rodriguez and signed Corey Hart—each of whom has and will see time at the cold corner—the implication came through loud and clear: Alvarez was Plan A.