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Flags Fly Forever. This is a well-established sleep aid concept at Baseball Prospectus, and it’s what caused me to get very aggressive when The Dynasty Guru Experts League was founded two years ago. This 20-team, 5×5, 35-keeper (including 10 minor league slots) expert dynasty league was created by Bret Sayre to pit knowledgeable, dedicated dynasty league fanatics against each other, as well as provide us with plenty of column material for years to come.

Without rehashing too much of my #TDGX history, let’s just say this: I went for it all in 2014 and I fell flat. Based on the original draft, in which I selected ninth, I ended up with an exciting but old team. Robinson Cano was my first pick. Curtis Granderson, Hunter Pence, Justin Verlander, and David Wright all fell to me at spots where they became irresistible. My farm system was just so-so, but I had good, young second-year players and bounce-back candidates, and I knew my team could compete.

And compete it did … for a time. In fact, I appeared so well positioned that in May of that year, I traded away a cadre of young players for Carlos Gonzalez (and Vincent Velasquez), doing the deed with J.P. Breen. Within a few months, Gonzalez was on the shelf with a season-ending knee injury, a bunch of my other assets were hurt and I plummeted in the standings. I finished the 2014th season in 10th place.

That’s not really what bothers me, though. If you’re going to fail, fail fast. What bothers me was my half-assed attempt at contending last season, in which I tried to make one more push with my aging core (are we not doing phrasing) before realizing my efforts were futile. The result? You guessed it: another 10th place finish, and a firm understanding that I need to tear this thing down in a hurry.

So, that’s what I did this offseason through a flurry of moves that have totally transformed my roster. The end result: six significant deals and plenty of roster cuts that have left just 18 of the 40 players who were on my team when 2015 ended on my roster today. The trades:

Transaction

Traded

Received

12/8/2015
Wilson Karaman

Joe Mauer

Aaron Judge

Justin Verlander

Amed Rosario

Adalberto Mejia

Keury Mella

Dustin Ackley

12/12/2015

Mike Rosenbaum

Hunter Pence

Josh Reddick

David Wright

Jesse Winker

Ervin Santana

Trevor Bauer

Keury Mella

Tyler Skaggs

Brandon Drury

Rymer Liriano

12/24/2015

Craig Goldstein

Danny Valencia

Brandon Moss

Mat Latos

Nick Franklin

2/29/2016

Wilson Karaman

Mike Leake

Tom Murphy

Jordan Patterson

3/2/2016
J.J. Jansons

Brandon Moss

Billy McKinney

3/6/2016
Greg Wellemeyer

Curtis Granderson

Jacob Lamb

Francisco Cervelli

Michael Taylor

Round 5 Pick (91)

Round 3 Pick (57)

That’s 13 players out and 19 players in, for those of you counting at home. And while I lost some very legitimate talent (Pence, Granderson, Verlander, Wright, etc.) I also went a long way toward restocking my farm system. Some of the players I dropped to make room for this influx of talent include: Brayan Pena, Jimmy Rollins, Daniel Nava, Ryan Raburn, Josmil Pinto, Nolan Reimold, Chase Utley, Ackley, Luis Sardinas, and CC Sabathia. Things were bad, guys.

Once the draft rolled around, I was able to further bolster my young ranks. Selecting 11th overall (ah the curse of being bad, but not awful in dynasty), I nabbed these players:

Round 1, Pick 11

Willson Contreras

Round 2, Pick 31

Garrett Whitley

Round 3, Pick 51

Mark Canha

Round 3, Pick 57 (Wellemeyer trade)

Mike Foltynewicz

Round 4, Pick 71

Ryan Madson

You might be surprised to see that I didn’t go even younger, but a) the pickin’s after my second-round pick were mighty slim and b) as you can see from the trades I was able to make, players like Canha and Madson can easily have (modest) trade value in this league.

In waivers so far this year, I’ve further bolstered my ranks (sort of) by winning bids for Dioner Navarro ($0), Jarred Cosart ($5) and Steven Geltz ($0). A 2016 championship is not in my future.

Add it all together, and here’s what my roster looked like when last season ended vs. what it looks like today

2015 TEAM

2016 TEAM

C: Francisco Cervelli (traded)

C: Dioner Navarro

1B: Joe Mauer (traded)

1B: Mark Canha

2B: Robinson Cano

2B: Robinson Cano

3B: David Wright (traded)

3B: Jacob Lamb

SS: Wilmer Flores

SS: Wilmer Flores

CI: Danny Valencia (traded)

CI: Brandon Drury

MI: Chase Utley (dropped)

MI: Nick Franklin*

OF: Carlos Gonzalez

OF: Carlos Gonzalez

OF: Hunter Pence (traded)

OF: Josh Reddick

OF: Curtis Granderson (traded)

OF: Ben Revere

OF: Ben Revere

OF: Michael Taylor

OF: Seth Smith

OF: Seth Smith

UT: Jon Jay

UT: Jon Jay

UT: Nolan Reimold (dropped)

UT: Jordan Patterson*

BN: Lonnie Chisenhall

BN: Lonnie Chisenhall (DL)

BN: Daniel Nava (dropped)

BN: Rymer Liriano (DL)

BN: Ryan Raburn (dropped)

BN: Dalton Pompey

BN: Jimmy Rollins (dropped)

SP: Julio Teheran

SP: Julio Teheran

SP: Justin Verlander (traded)

SP: Kyle Gibson

SP: Mike Leake (traded)

SP: Vincent Velasquez

SP: Ervin Santana (traded)

SP: Jarred Cosart

SP: Kyle Gibson

SP: Yovani Gallardo

SP: Yovani Gallardo

SP: Mat Latos

P: Brett Anderson

P: Trevor Bauer

P: Luke Gregerson (dropped … oops)

P: Steven Geltz

P: Joakim Soria (dropped)

P: Ryan Madson

BN: CC Sabathia

BN: Mike Foltynewicz

DL: Daniel Norris

DL: Tyler Skaggs

DL: Brett Anderson

Yes, that’s a bad, bad 2016 roster. A roster that’s going to net me a bottom-three finish in 2016, which is sort of the point.

But my farm system? At this point I own: Aaron Judge, Jesse Winker, Jose Peraza, Jeff Hoffman, Willson Contreras, Jake Thompson, Amed Rosario, Billy McKinney, Brandon Drury, Garrett Whitley, Michael Fulmer, Tom Murphy, Rymer Liriano, Chance Sisco and Jordan Patterson. With the exception of Whitley and perhaps Hoffman, all should be contributors by mid-2017.

Add that to my young group of post-prospect guys like Taylor, Lamb, Pompey, Norris, Velasquez, Folty and Skaggs, and I have something I totally lacked when 2015 ended: young depth with upside.

I realize this is not the sexiest of rebuilds so far. I have yet to land any incredible dynasty-league assets, and when the arguable headliner of your overhaul is Aaron Judge or Josh Reddick, you’ve still got some work to do. But if I’m reasonably trying to compete in 2018, I’m not sure who I gave away that I’ll miss. Maybe Hunter Pence. Maybe Mike Leake. Maybe Justin Verlander. But you sort of have to squint to see it.

There’s also one facet to this rebuild that we haven’t mentioned yet; I haven’t dealt either of my best assets in Robinson Cano or Carlos Gonzalez. It’s not for lack of trying — and I’ve whined many times about my troubles trading Cano — but it still gives me plenty of ammunition. Each of those studs should be able to net me several enticing young players. If they can’t, odds are Cano will still be a top-12 second baseman and CarGo will still be a top-40 outfielder when I want to compete again in two seasons.

The first stage of my rebuild—amassing young talent and overhauling the bottom of my roster—is complete. Moving forward, I’ll look to combine some of the young players I’ve acquired and some of my remaining veterans to move up a rung in the dynasty world and target some real blue-chippers. That’s easier said than done, but with a deep farm system and five or six remaining attractive MLB players, I’m confident. If nothing else, this is more interesting than finishing in 10th again.

Thank you for reading

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mhmosher
4/06
Rebuilding in a dynasty is one of the most rewarding aspects of playing fantasy baseball. Sure, your team this year is bad, but you have already gotten younger with just enough lottery tickets to net some return.
dcapofari
4/06
enjoyed the article, good luck next couple of years. Redsox finish 3rd in the East
BenC22
4/07
Thanks. And yeah, I have the Sox finishing third.
JoshuaGB
4/06
Really enjoyed the article. My team is in a very similar place, but maybe a year behind. In particular, I have three top 2B (Cano, Kinsler and Kipnis) and have had trouble trading Cano (who, on side note, I acquired for Sano during a pennant race two years ago).

Point is: if any when you trade Cano, it would be great if you could post an update so that we can see what kind of value you can get -- his hot start to the season should help.
BenC22
4/07
Will do!
MikePemulis
4/06
You had me at Archer reference.