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Depending on how long you have been a Baseball Prospectus subscriber, welcome or welcome back to the Expert FAAB Review. Every week, I’m going to take a look at the players and the process behind the expert bidding in LABR mixed, Tout Wars NL, and Tout Wars AL. Bret Sayre and I participate in LABR mixed while I have a team in Tout Wars NL, so I will provide insights behind the reasoning on some the bids. Budgets in all three leagues start at $100 at the beginning of the season.

Tout Wars uses a Vickrey Auction system. A basic description of the Vickrey bidding system can be found here.

Random Quote of the Week: “I love it when a plan comes together” —Hannibal Smith, The A Team

The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline brought with it a flurry of action, and while this certainly had an impact on mixed leagues based on players gaining or losing everyday jobs, it is in AL or NL-only leagues where the trade deadline has the most tangible impact on the league – and where a season’s worth of FAAB strategy comes into play. Because of this, I will start with the Tout Wars AL and NL leagues and then shift over to LABR mixed at the end of the article.

Tout AL
Entering the week, this is how much FAAB each of the AL-only Tout Wars experts had lining their pockets:

Table 1: AL Tout Wars FAAB Remaining: Sunday, August 2, 2015

Team

Budget

Spent

Trades

Adjust

Balance

Rob Leibowitz

$100

$36

$12

$11

$87

Seth Trachtman

$100

$19

$0

$0

$81

Mike Podhorzer

$100

$26

$0

$-13

$73

Steve Moyer

$100

$47

$0

$7

$60

Jason Collette

$100

$38

$-16

$14

$60

Ron Shandler

$100

$58

$0

$1

$43

Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton

$100

$57

$0

$0

$43

Jeff Erickson

$100

$88

$16

$1

$29

Lawr Michaels

$100

$89

$0

$9

$20

Larry Schechter

$100

$77

$-12

$1

$12

Andy Behrens

$100

$68

$0

$-24

$8

Chris Liss

$100

$63

$0

$-32

$5

Rather than go through this rundown on a player-by-player basis like I always do, with so many players crossing the transom from the NL to the AL I thought instead that I’d look at how each team bid, in descending order of FAAB dollars.

Rob Leibowitz, Mastersball. FAAB Left: $87. 9th place, 57.5 points

1. dis Coco Crisp Oak:

2. rel Matt Moore TB:

  • 1. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 1

Depending upon your team’s needs, an argument could have been made for any of Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gomez, Johnny Cueto, or Cole Hamels as your high-end FAAB purchase this week. Leibowitz needs categorical help everywhere, but is dead in strikeouts so the acquisition of the all-around fantasy hitter makes sense, particularly if you believe that Gomez is going to bounce back and is healthy. Tout Wars penalizes teams in future FAAB that finish under 60 points, in case you’re wondering why a ninth-place team is bidding so aggressively on a player in a redraft league.

Seth Trachtman, Rotoworld. FAAB Left: $81. 10th place, 49.5 points

1. res Travis Snider Bal:

  • 1. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 70
  • 2. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 70 ($31)
  • 3. pur Ben Revere Tor 50
  • 4. pur Ryan Rua Tex 15
  • 5. pur Travis Shaw Bos 15

2. rel Sam Fuld Oak:

  • 1. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 40
  • 2. pur Ben Revere Tor 40
  • 3. pur Ryan Rua Tex 10 ($1)
  • 4. pur Travis Shaw Bos 10

3. rel Drew Pomeranz Oak:

  • 1. pur Nick Martinez Tex 10 ($1)
  • 2. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 4

Two owners into this analysis, and there’s already a curveball, as Trachtman not only doesn’t procure any of the big four, but only bids on one of them. In defense of Trachtman’s decision, Parra has out-earned Tulowitzki and Gomez in fantasy year-to-date and it is entirely possible that he will continue to do so going forward. What I find more unusual than the decision to go for Parra is the lack of bids on any of Tulo, Cueto, or Hamels. To be sure, Trachtman needed the offense, but he had a need for pitching as well. Trachtman is carrying 10 pitchers at the moment, and could have slid Tulo in for any of those pitchers. Trachtman probably assumed what I would have: that the owners behind him and ahead of him were going to be more aggressive with their FAAB and that he only had a shot at one of the “big four”. If I had been in this position, I probably would have loaded up both of the first two bidding blocks with as many players as possible and hoped for the best.

Mike Podhorzer, Fangraphs. FAAB Left: $73. 2nd place, 89.5 points.

1. dis Devon Travis Tor:

  • 1. pur Troy Tulowitzki Tor 73 ($35)
  • 2. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 73
  • 3. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 44
  • 4. pur Ben Revere Tor 44
  • 5. pur Ketel Marte Sea 12
  • 6. pur Eric Sogard Oak 3
  • 7. pur Tyler Collins Det 0
  • 8. pur Jerry Sands Cle 0
  • 9. pur Ryan Rua Tex 0
  • 10. pur Tyler Holt Cle 0

2. dis Stephen Souza TB:

  • 1. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 73
  • 2. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 44
  • 3. pur Ben Revere Tor 44
  • 4. pur Ketel Marte Sea 12 ($6)
  • 5. pur Eric Sogard Oak 3 ($1)
  • 6. pur Tyler Collins Det 0
  • 7. pur Jerry Sands Cle 0
  • 8. pur Ryan Rua Tex 0
  • 9. pur Tyler Holt Cle 0

3. res Adam Warren NYY:

  • 1. pur Johnny Cueto KC 73
  • 2. pur Cole Hamels Tex 73
  • 3. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 44
  • 4. pur Ben Revere Tor 44
  • 5. pur Mike Fiers Hou 31 ($1)
  • 6. pur Alex Wilson Det 24
  • 7. pur Ketel Marte Sea 12
  • 8. pur Eric Sogard Oak 3
  • 9. pur Tyler Collins Det 0
  • 10. pur Jerry Sands Cle 0
  • 11. pur Ryan Rua Tex 0
  • 12. pur Tyler Holt Cle 0

4. res Tim Beckham TB:

  • 1. pur Cole Hamels Tex 73
  • 2. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 44
  • 3. pur Ben Revere Tor 44
  • 4. pur Mike Fiers Hou 31
  • 5. pur Alex Wilson Det 24
  • 6. pur Ketel Marte Sea 12
  • 7. pur Eric Sogard Oak 3 ($1)

The biggest beneficiary of the diversification strategies of other owners with higher FAAB budgets was Podhorzer. Not only did Podhorzer snag Tulowitzki at slightly less than half of his raw bid with a smooth $35 Vickrey price, he also picked up Fiers at a minimum winning bid of $1. Fiers certainly isn’t in the class of Cueto or Hamels, but in the watery pitching market of AL-only, this is a huge win for Podhorzer. I really dig the aggressiveness of Podhorzer’s bids on the whole, and even though he didn’t have much of a chance at most of these players in the FAAB sweepstakes, I am more of a fan of being aggressive and getting the best player on the board than worrying about the bargains other owners may or may not get if the league doesn’t bid aggressively on the whole. Marte at $6 is a nice, sneaky play in a week where nearly everyone was focused on the NL imports.

. Steve Moyer, Inside Edge. FAAB Left: $60. 12th place, 36.5 points

1. res Jemile Weeks Bos:

  • 1. pur Troy Tulowitzki Tor 29
  • 2. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 29
  • 3. pur Ben Revere Tor 29
  • 4. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 29

2. res Bud Norris Bal:

  • 1. pur Cole Hamels Tex 29
  • 2. pur Johnny Cueto KC 29
  • 3. pur Mike Fiers Hou 29
  • 4. pur Alex Wilson Det 29 ($25)
  • 5. pur Tom Wilhelmsen Sea 29

3. res Alexi Ogando Bos:

  • 1. pur Johnny Cueto KC 29
  • 2. pur Mike Fiers Hou 29
  • 3. pur Alex Wilson Det 29
  • 4. pur Tom Wilhelmsen Sea 29 ($1)

4. res Nolan Reimold Bal:

  • 1. pur Josh Rutledge Bos 1
  • 2. pur Travis Shaw Bos 0

5. res Brad Brach Bal:

  • 1. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 1

Moyer needs a lot of help to get to the 60-point threshold, so instead of putting all of his eggs in one basket with one big purchase, he decided to diversify and wound up with Fiers and Wilson. Or at least I thought he wound up with Fiers and Wilson; it turns out that Podhorzer got Fiers for $1. I don’t quite understand what happened. Moyer and a few other teams bid more than $1 on Fiers and didn’t get him. It seems to me like Moyer should have walked away with Fiers and Wilson but didn’t. This would change my analysis of Podhorzer’s haul somewhat if the transactions at the Tout Wars website are incorrect.

Getting back to what Moyer did, I like the strategy to a degree. There is enough variability with the 57 or so games most major league teams have left to play that there is a better chance that two good players could earn more than one great player, especially in an AL-only, where the replacement level consideration is hardly a factor. However, had I been in Moyer’s shoes I would have probably tried two $30 bid blocks in the hopes that I could have walked away with two players of a higher caliber.

Jason Collette, Fangraphs. FAAB Left: $60. 5th place (tie), 65.5 points.

1. res Brandon Moss StL:

  • 1. pur Ben Revere Tor 53 ($45)
  • 2. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 22
  • 3. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 52

2. res Blaine Boyer Min:

  • 1. pur Mike Fiers Hou 23

3. res Chase Anderson Cle:

  • 1. pur Alex Wilson Det 5
  • 2. pur Jake Diekman Tex 2 ($1)
  • 3. pur Scott Carroll CWS 0

4. dis Robinson Chirinos Tex:

  • 1. pur Curt Casali TB 3 ($1)
  • 2. pur J.R. Murphy NYY 0
  • 3. pur Drew Butera KC 0

In the case of Collette, I have a specific insight into his thought process thanks to a conversation he was part of on Twitter with another Tout Wars owner. He bid aggressively on Revere—and passed on Tulowitzki, Cueto, and Hamels—because he felt he had more of a need for stolen bases than for any other category. In this case, although an argument could be made that Collette should have put in backup bids for those other players, unlike Moyer he would not have been able to purchase any of those players with the limited FAAB he had left after getting Revere. I do wonder if Collette would have bid differently had he known how “cheap” the other NL-imports would be,

I dig Collette’s cheap plays here. Casali will cool off, but a catcher who even has a chance at hitting is worth his weight in gold in a two-catcer AL-only. Diekman throws hard, and while he might not get any saves, the strikeout play here alone is worth making.

Ron Shandler, Shandler Park. FAAB Left: $43. 5th place (tie), 65.5 points.

1. res Jake Marisnick Hou:

  • 1. pur Ben Revere Tor 37
  • 2. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 35
  • 3. pur Troy Tulowitzki Tor 34
  • 4. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 30

2. res Zack McAllister Cle:

  • 1. pur Johnny Cueto KC 40 ($30)
  • 2. pur Cole Hamels Tex 25
  • 3. pur Mike Fiers Hou 10

3. res Chris Carter Hou:

  • 1. pur Christian Walker Bal 1
  • 2. pur Ketel Marte Sea 5

Shandler tried to get offense first, lost out on every player in the first bid block, and wound up with a nice buy in Cueto at $30. Given the priority of the bids, I do wonder if Shandler would have kicked all of those hitters up to $40 had he known this was the way it was going to play out. Based on how the categories are playing out, there are more hitting points for Shandler to gain than pitching points, though with the trade deadline in Tout still a month away, there is still time to make a deal. This is the point in the FAAB hierarchy where diversification would not have done any of the experts any good, so in terms of how the bids are structured here, they are quite solid.

Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton, Colton and The Wolfman. FAAB Left: $43. 8th place, 61.5 points.

1. res Rick Porcello Bos:

  • 1. pur Cole Hamels Tex 43 ($30)
  • 2. pur Johnny Cueto KC 43
  • 3. pur Troy Tulowitzki Tor 43
  • 4. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 43
  • 5. pur Ben Revere Tor 43
  • 6. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 43
  • 7. pur Tyler Holt Cle 7
  • 8. pur Alex Wilson Det 7
  • 9. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 7
  • 10. pur Mike Fiers Hou 7

2. res Jackie Bradley Bos:

  • 1. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 0
  • 2. pur Tyler Holt Cle 0
  • 3. pur Alex Wilson Det 0
  • 4. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 0
  • 5. pur Mike Fiers Hou 0

3. res Marwin Gonzalez Hou:

  • 1. pur Josh Rutledge Bos 0

Pitching was a more significant need for the Wolf/Colton team than hitting, and this was reflected in their bids. Some have Cueto ranked higher than Hamels, but I can see arguments for both pitchers and there is nothing wrong with preferring Hamels over Cueto. As was the case with Shandler, Wolf/Colton didn’t have enough money to get two players, so it didn’t matter much if they diversified their FAAB dollars or not.

Jeff Erickson, Rotowire. FAAB Left: $29. 3rd place, 87 points.

1. res Jake Smolinski Oak:

  • 1. pur Troy Tulowitzki Tor 29
  • 2. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 29
  • 3. pur Johnny Cueto KC 29
  • 4. pur Cole Hamels Tex 29
  • 5. pur Ben Revere Tor 29
  • 6. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 24
  • 7. pur Alex Wilson Det 24
  • 8. pur Mike Fiers Hou 24
  • 9. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 24 ($6)

2. res Alex Colome TB:

  • 1. pur Alex Wilson Det 0
  • 2. pur Mike Fiers Hou 0
  • 3. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 0
  • 4. pur Tyler Wilson Bal 1

3. res Vincent Velasquez Hou:

  • 1. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 0
  • 2. pur Ketel Marte Sea 0
  • 3. pur Ryan Rua Tex 0
  • 4. pur Travis Shaw Bos 0
  • 5. pur Curt Casali TB 0

We have reached the portion of the program where teams didn’t have enough FAAB to get one of the big names. So while Erickson bid all he could on the players above in the hopes that he would purchase a big-ticket import, he failed to grab any of them. Brooks, Wilson, and Shaw are all interesting plays, but Erickson obviously would have preferred to get any of the big names above than the players that he did.

Erickson’s big purchase to date was Vincent Velasquez at $24. His other $10-plus purchases were Hanser Alberto at $19 and Chi Gonzalez at $11. Erickson’s strategy of diversification didn’t result in a big winner via FAAB. It happens, and while it’s easy to point now at Erickson spending on players who didn’t work out, there are also no guarantees that waiting for a significant import will work either.

Lawr Michaels, Mastersball. FAAB Left: $20. 11th place, 38.5 points.

NO BIDS

Rather than attempt to bid futilely on players he wouldn’t get, Michaels sat this one out. His big purchase of the year was Mark Trumbo for $83. This obviously didn’t work, but given how far out of first Michaels was/is, I believe bidding aggressively on Trumbo for seven extra weeks of stats over an import that may or may not have come into the league was the correct play.

Larry Schechter, Winning Fantasy Baseball. FAAB Left: $12. 4th place, 72 points.

1. res Carlos Beltran NYY:

  • 1. pur Johnny Cueto KC 12
  • 2. pur Cole Hamels Tex 12
  • 3. pur Troy Tulowitzki Tor 12
  • 4. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 12
  • 5. pur Mike Fiers Hou 12
  • 6. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 12
  • 7. pur Ben Revere Tor 12
  • 8. pur Alex Wilson Det 12
  • 9. pur Blaine Hardy Det 0

Schechter’s big-ticket purchases year-to-date were Francisco Lindor ($38) and Tommy Field ($19). This is the wrong way to look at this, but add the $19 dollars that Field cost to Schechter’s FAAB budget and he could have purchased either Hamels or Cueto. This is hindsight talking, though, especially given the atypical, nonaggressive bids as noted earlier.

Andy Behrens, Yahoo. FAAB Left: $8. 7th place, 63 points.

1. res Keone Kela Tex:

  • 1. pur Mike Fiers Hou 8
  • 2. pur Johnny Cueto KC 8
  • 3. pur Cole Hamels Tex 8

Behrens big-ticket purchases year-to-date were Robert Refsnyder ($27) and Kyle Blanks ($16). It turns out that Michaels is the exception to the rule; most of the Tout Wars AL-only experts at the bottom of the FAAB heap diversified rather than pushed for one big purchase, with poor results this year across the board.

Chris Liss, Rotowire. FAAB Left: $5. 1st place, 94 points.

1. res Mark Canha Oak:

  • 1. pur Carlos Gomez Hou 5
  • 2. pur Troy Tulowitzki Tor 5
  • 3. pur Ben Revere Tor 5
  • 4. pur Gerardo Parra Bal 5
  • 5. pur Ketel Marte Sea 5
  • 6. pur Ryan Rua Tex 0
  • 7. pur Geovany Soto CWS 0

2. res Jake McGee TB:

  • 1. pur Johnny Cueto KC 5
  • 2. pur Cole Hamels Tex 5
  • 3. pur Mike Fiers Hou 5
  • 4. pur Alex Wilson Det 5
  • 5. pur Aaron Brooks Oak 5
  • 6. pur Ryan Madson KC 0

3. res Rene Rivera TB:

  • 1. pur Geovany Soto CWS 0

Despite having spent the most FAAB in the league, Liss’s strategy year-to-date was even more diversified than most owners, with Zack McAllister the only player costing him more than $10 ($16). Liss’s big FAAB buy came in the form of Carlos Correa, who he bid aggressively on weeks before Correa’s call up, but only had to spend one dollar on due to Vickrey.

The pattern of FAAB ROI in 2015 in AL Tout was consistent with prior years. Big spending prior to the deadline didn’t correlate with big results, and low end bids were just as likely if not more likely to nab big results for players in the free agent pool.

Tout Wars NL

The National League did not nearly see the same bounty of players traded over from the “other” league that the American League did. As a result, there wasn’t nearly the same level of strategy and gamesmanship in Tout Wars NL. As a reminder, here is what the FAAB picture looked like heading into the weekend:

Table 2: FAAB Left, Tout Wars National League, August 2, 2015

Owner

FAAB Left

Mike Gianella

$106

Lenny Melnick

$82

Derek Carty

$77

Brian Walton

$75

Gene McCaffrey

$69

Tristan Cockcroft

$69

Ray Guilfoyle

$68

Scott Wilderman

$62

Steve Gardner

$45

Phil Hertz

$44

Todd Zola

$39

Peter Kreutzer

$24

Your handsome (cough, cough, even my Mom doesn’t think I’m handsome but please just humor my fragile ego and go with it) hero had the proverbial hammer with a whopping $106. I had a choice between Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Reyes with my $83 bid. Cespedes is having the better year but Reyes was a better fit for my team categorically. Another thing to consider was that allowing Melnick to get Cespedes would give him more of a chance to catch me in home runs and RBI. I suspected that regardless of who I chose I would probably gain about the same amount of points with either player. In the end, I decided to go with…

Jose Reyes $78 ($83). Other bids: $77, $74, $69, $69, $60, $45, $24. Player reserved: Kelly Johnson.
Reyes gives me an opportunity to pick up two points in steals and another two points in runs, whereas Cespedes wouldn’t have done quite so much for me in home runs and RBI. Melnick had Cespedes and Moss first and second, respectively in his bid block, which is why I “only” had to spend $78 on Reyes. Outside of my weak/awful catching slots, I have 12 starters on offense and the luxury of benching an everyday player. A trade for a catcher or a starting pitcher is a possibility, but even if I stand pat, having depth on a team carrying Carlos Gonzalez is a nice luxury.

Yoenis Cespedes $78. Other bids: $77, $74, $69, $69, $67, $62, $60, $24, $23. Player released: Clayton Richard
Obviously, I wasn’t going to be in this hunt after nabbing Reyes. Melnick grabbed his player of choice even though he had the second highest bid. The play is correct. Melnick can only gain one point in steals and has little to lose in the category but could swing three points in both directions against me if things break right for him and badly for me. I decided to play offense rather than defense, and the depth I mentioned above in the Reyes comment makes me believe it will work out okay.

Brandon Moss $75 ($77). Other bids: $74, $69, $65, $62, $40, $30, $24, $23, $21. Player reserved: Pete Kozma.
Predictably, Carty took Moss as the “consolation” prize at $75. Some of the bidders in Tout didn’t necessarily agree, as Hertz, McCaffrey, and Wilderman all had Moss as their first choice while Melnick had him as his second choice. It’s possible if Moss gets the at bats in St. Louis that he comes pretty close to Reyes and/or Cespedes’s earnings, especially since Tout Wars is an OBP league. The addition of Moss plus the imminent return of Giancarlo Stanton makes Carty’s team a sneaky force, particularly since he has hung in there despite losing Stanton.

Tyler Clippard $25. Other bids: $25, $14, $11, $3, $2. Player reserved: Tim Hudson
Here is where I attempted to use some of my remaining FAAB muscle in an attempt to improve my bullpen and push into some vulture wins and good ratios. Ray Guilfoyle of Fake Teams and Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN tied on Clippard at $25, beating my $11 bid handily. Guilfoyle already is loaded at closer with Jon Papelbon, Aroldys Vizcaino, and Kenley Jansen, but the rate stats from Clippard alone are worth the price of admission and even if Clippard doesn’t supplant Jeurys Familia as the Mets closer, having three closers plus Clippard gives Guilfoyle a good place to trade from in August.

J.A. Happ $16 ($37). Other bids: $15, $0. Player reserved: Chris Rusin
Todd Zola of Mastersball was the aggressive player for Happ, willing to go $37 but only having to pay $15 to grab the new Pirates pitcher. Happ didn’t do much with Seattle, but it’s possible that the move to the league where the pitcher hits as well as the shift to PNC Park will help. I didn’t want any part of Happ (probably because I have suffered through him this year in my AL home league), but besides the three bids above, Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN also had Happ on his contingencies list. It’s possible that the park plus the terrific Pirates outfield defense gives Happ a boost and makes him NL-only worthy.

Mike Foltynewicz $12 ($15). Other bids: $11, $2, $0. Player reserved: Clint Robinson
I had the second highest bid on Folty, but Phil Hertz of Baseball HQ beat me out. Foltynewicz isn’t any kind of guarantee, but he does have a favorable two-start week, and with Clayton Kershaw pitching like the deity that he is, I am at the point of the season where I can afford to take chances. Hertz typically goes in the opposite direction, dumping starting pitching for safer ERA/WHIP relievers, but he has decided to load up on starters this year in an attempt to push for wins and strikeouts. Given Folty’s performance last night, I’m glad I missed the boat on this one.

Joakim Soria $12 ($21). Other bids: $11, $10, $10, $0. Player reserved: Brett Wallace
After pushing hard for wins the last few weeks, Cockcroft’s aggressive bids on Clippard and Soria show that he is going in a different direction and is going to protect his rate stats, while also hoping for the vulture wins that eighth inning relievers like Soria can deliver. I’m a big fan of the move, and my $11 bid was the second highest bid for the Pirates new setup man. I could have bid all of my remaining non-Reyes FAAB, but despite Soria’s stature, the fungible nature of relievers in fantasy means that I can make a play for a lower profile name down the line is necessary and achieve similar results. For now, I’m satisfied with a six-man, three reliever staff, particularly since the presence of Kershaw allows me some wiggle room in ERA/WHIP as I continue to push for wins.

Tommy Hunter $4 ($11). Other bid: $3. Player reserved: Robert Stephenson.
Cockcroft struck again, with Hertz the only other expert in on the bidding. Hunter isn’t likely to take over as a full-time closer in the ninth, but Joe Maddon has shown he isn’t afraid to mix and match, so if Hunter pitches well he could find his way into the mix for the occasional save.

Brandon Finnegan $1 ($10). Player reserved: Daniel Hudson
Joe Blanton $1 ($9). Player reserved: Jeanmar Gomez
Kyle Parker $1 ($5). Player reserved: Chris Dickerson
Travis Ishikawa $1 ($3). Player released: Dan Uggla
Jarrod Saltalamacchia $1 ($3). Player reserved: Wilin Rosario
Daniel Descalso $1 ($2). Player reserved: Chris Johnson
Daniel Castro $1. Player reserved. Michael Conforto
Tyler Moore $1. Player reserved: Michael Cuddyer.
Jason Bourgeois $0. Player released: Wilmer Difo
Enrique Hernandez $0.
Other bid: $0. Player released: Jonathan Herrera
Keyvius Sampson $0. Player reserved: John Axford.
Jose Lobaton $0. Player released: Ryan Lavarnway
Addison Reed $0. Player reserved: Aaron Barrett

Not much has gone wrong for my Tout Wars team this year, but my catching core has been a black hole nearly all season long. Devin Mesoraco’s injury gave me virtually no production from one of my catching slots, and while Rosario wasn’t a zero (he was on pace to earn $ through July 31st), his demotion to the minors makes it unlikely he will earn the $12 I paid for him in Tout. Salty is unlikely to play much with Welington Castillo lighting up the box score of late, but I needed someone, and figured Salty could get a couple of starts a week if Beef cools off.

Finnegan was purchased last week, but the powers-that-be in Tout Wars said he should not have been available for purchase. He was a free agent again, so Hertz takes a shot at him. I like the Parker buy by Guilfoyle a lot; if Dickerson is out for a significant period of time, Parker could stand to benefit significantly. Ishikawa is the other nice buy in this group. Since the Pirates didn’t make a big time acquisition at the deadline, Ishikawa could play a fair amount of first base down the stretch for the Bucs.

LABR Mixed
Aroldys Vizcaino $22.
Other bids: $4, $2, $2, $1. Player released: None.
Alex Wilson $16. Other bid: $10. Player released: Addison Reed

Podhorzer made a big push this week for saves, grabbing both newly-minted closers for a combined $38 and leaving himself with a measly dollar to spend the rest of the way. With only three points in the category (13th out of 15 teams) and only 26 saves on the season, Podhorzer will have to make a pretty big push with these two and Brad Ziegler to make a dent. It’s also possible that he tries to trade one or more of these guys in an attempt to shore his team up elsewhere.

Hank Conger $6. Player released: None
Jesus Montero $3. Player released: Chris Young.
Tommy Hunter $1. Player released: None
Chris Bassitt $1. Player released: Michael Conforto

It was another relatively quiet week in LABR, as the lack of quality options on the free agent pool combined with the league’s dwindling FAAB both playe a role in the lack of moves. Three of the 15 teams in LABR mixed are out of FAAB, while another three teams have between one and three dollars to spend. The push for Conger makes me and Bret believe that we can swap out Welington Castillo, Derek Norris, or Kyle Schwarber via trade in an effort to shore up another area of our team. With C.J. Wilson out for the season, starting pitching is the area Bret and I most likely to address. Even though we’re out of FAAB, paying attention to what other teams are doing gives us a good idea of where we might be able to improve our team via trade from this point forward.