Trade: In Line 4 the Win | TBD

In Line 4 the Win sends: C/1B Alex Avila ($5)
TBD sends: CF Denard Span ($8)

Andrew’s thoughts: Oh man, am I pumped to see a Denard Span trade!

I like this small deal for both teams. Good job, fellas.

In two days, TBD has cheaply solved their catcher position for 2018 by adding Robinson Chirinos and brand new Arizona Diamondback Alex Avila. I highly doubt TBD was keeping Span for $8 just given their roster construct and cap situation, so in some ways this is a free #2 catcher for them. They’ve got what should be a sufficient platoon behind the plate now.

Meanwhile, In Line 4 the Win obtains former Ironmen legend Denard Span, who is basically generic Adam Jones but much cheaper. No, seriously, look. They aren’t all that different. I mean, as always with this metric, obviously Jones is  better because he scores more points in total, plays more often, has more pop, better home park, etc. You can set him and forget him in your lineup. But if you can pay Span $30 less than Jones, you can probably chip another $10 (or less) away to find another Span-like guy to platoon in center, and still come out with  $20 to spend. In fact, IL4W already has that guy in a $6 Cameron Maybin. I legitimately ran Maybin and Span’s numbers last year against Jones for some reason, and they’re comparable. I’m not going out of my way to pick on Jones here, it just so happens I’ve already done the math. I do submit that a Span/Maybin platoon for $14 total will give you equivalent production to a $39 or whatever he is Jones, with $25 to spare.

IL4W came into the offseason with a very frustrating OF of potential and salary, but not much production. Randal Grichuk‘s move to Toronto helps a great deal, but he’s still $16. Joc Pederson is a $24 platoon hitter. Jason Heyward at $17 may not even be replacement level. Kyle Schwarber has almost no room for surplus value with a $61 salary, and all hope of catcher eligibility is gone. So I like adding Span, who should unlock LF eligibility in Tampa, to the mix. He’s old and boring, but safe, and safe is one thing IL4W doesn’t have in their outfield.

Added bonus for IL4W: Denard Span is a player that knows what it’s like to go from the bottom to a championship caliber team here in Dynasty Grinders. He’s got experience. He’s got leadership. He will no doubt improve IL4W’s clubhouse morale which, let’s face it, must be pretty bad following a 1-19 catastrophe.

Also, I was literally just yesterday contemplating asking TBD what they’d want to reunite with Span. Just because. I’d probably rather dump him back to auction and try my hand at winning him for $3-4, but the thought did cross my mind. Maybe I’m just bored. I’m probably just bored.

I do wonder what IL4W is going to do at catcher now. Are they really keeping Jonathan Lucroy for $30 after the season he had? I like Chris Iannetta at Coors for $5. Should be interesting, but it does seem like Avila could’ve been useful to them as a starting catcher in a good home park with a low salary.

Hustle’s toxic $0.02: I haven’t read what Bailey has said, but I’m sure Avila is better than posey too. .365 woba from Avila last year and now he’s moving to Chase Field (standard Hustle humidor reminder). TBD has hustled their way to a very productive cheap catching core. As for Span? He’s useful, but I’m not sure he’s an attractive use of budget for a rebuilding team who likely won’t be competing in 2018. I’d rather have Avila here considerably because of catcher scarcity. I think you probably need to shoot higher upside for outfielders unless Span is just depth piece, which in this case it isn’t. TBD has really been working magic this offseason.

Trade: TBD | Capital City Ironmen

TBD sends: C Russell Martin ($20), 2017 5th Round Pick
Capital City Ironmen send: 2017 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I don’t love the $20 salary but it’s tough to argue with the consistent production of Russell Martin. Here are his ranks at the catcher position over the last six seasons, working backward from 2016: 8th, 3rd, 4th, 11th, 10th, 8th.

The catcher position sucks. Being the 10th best catcher isn’t a special accomplishment. But last year, I opted to punt the position with platoon players and free agent streamers and it was just a horrible mess.

I started Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, the White Sox tandem that had decent career platoon numbers, a combined 101 games at catcher. I figured one of them would be in the lineup every day and they’d combine to produce mediocrity which, because it cost me nothing, was fine. But the active, starting catchers in my lineup (Avila, Navarro, and random scrap heap guys) last year scored 358.15 points and averaged 2.94 per game. That’s really just embarrassing. Twenty three individual catchers scored more than that. Gary Sanchez played in just 53 games and Willson Contreras and Sandy Leon played in fewer than 80 a piece and they scored more than that. Martin was garbage all of March, April, and May (which I don’t think he’ll do again and which I think suppressed some of his perceived value right now) and still totaled 628.4 points. He outscored my catchers by 270.25 net points.

So, for me, it’s pretty much that simple. I’ve got cap room to spare. I’ve still got four of the top-11 minor league draft picks, and my rankings start to feel really boring around the 15th spot anyway.

Jordan’s thoughts: C

The Best of What’s Left

We have all agreed that Fantrax projections are not very good.  That being said, it’s probably pretty important to follow along with the FanGraphs Auction Calculator considering we are basing future prices off of it.  So why not compare the two sites?  Let’s see just how bad Fantrax projections really are!

Both sites project undrafted starting pitchers to have the most fantasy points, but only Tom Koehler and Jered Weaver are on both top five lists.

Koehler tops the Fantrax projections while he is second on FanGraphs – a difference of 66 projected fantasy points.

Ignoring the most recent Weaver injury, he ranks fourth on both lists, with a similar split in projected fantasy points at 64.

The three free agent starters that Fantrax projects to have a good year are Colby Lewis, Danny Duffy and Matt Shoemaker.  Lewis has the largest projected point differential between the sites at 341.  Shoemaker is just under 300 points at 295 while Duffy is just over 150 at 152 points.

Joe Kelly is projected by FanGraphs to be the top undrafted starting pitcher – 356 points better than Fantrax projects.  Yovani Gallardo slides in at third and both sides are within 30 points of Gallardo projection.  That differential slides Gallardo down to 9th on Fantrax.  Matt Garza is the fifth best free agent starter projected by FanGraphs and is actually slotted two spots ahead of Gallardo on Fantrax.

James McCann tops both sites as the top free agent catcher.  Clearly he is the the top target should you not feel comfortable with your depth chart or your team suffers an injury.  Fantrax also like Angels catcher Carlos Perez while FanGraphs prefers veterans A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Avila.

The recent announcement of Adam LaRoche‘s retirement will leave a hole in the middle of the White Sox lineup.  Until we find out how the Sox plan on filling that hole, teams looking for a potential future 1B can turn to Ryan Howard, as both sites agree he is the one of the top three best options.  Fantrax likes Justin Morneau, despite not being on a MLB roster, while FanGraphs suggests Logan Morrison.  Fantrax will then point you towards James Loney while FanGraphs will say give Darin Ruf a go.

It’s going to be tough to find replacements at first base moving forward, that’s for sure.  Better hope your 1B minor leaguer makes the big league roster ASAP!

David Freese is the only player at the other CI position that both sites agree on.  Fantrax likes Cody Asche and Tyler Saladino while FanGraphs prefers Aaron Hill and Derek Dietrich.

Much like 1B there is so little left at 3B and I hope you drafted some depth at the position or have a minor leaguer that is near MLB-ready.

Both Johnny Giavotella and Jace Peterson make the top three 2B on both sites.  Jace Pederson jumps in between them on Fantrax while veteran Aaron Hill is the third best remaining option according to FanGraphs.

There is a general consensus at the SS position

SS Fantrax Pts FanGraphs Pts DIFF
Jose Iglesias 504.4 490.5 -13.9
Adeiny Hechavarria 494.6 440.8 -53.8
Jimmy Rollins 456.9 433.2 -23.7

Both sites agree that Austin Jackson is the top CF available but Fantrax prefers Angel Pagan after him while FanGraphs likes Leonys Martin next.  They return in agreement on Anthony Gose being the third best CF available.

Austin Jackson is RF eligible as well and is the top target there. Fantrax likes Alex Rios while Brandon Guyer is the next best thing on FanGraphs, despite a crowded OF in Tampa Bay.

I was very excited to see Adam Duvall get traded by the Giants last year as I have been tracking him for a while in the Minors and he was stuck there unless dealt.  Now with the Reds, they have no reason not to play him at 3B/LF a couple times a week.  Dude can mash and FanGraphs thinks he can put up nearly 500 points this year!  He doesn’t currently have 3B eligibility though, so he is strictly a LF/UTIL at this point.

Fantrax believes Cody Asche is 200 points better than FanGraphs and he can play LF as well as 3B.  He won’t beat out Maikel Franco to be the Phillies starting 3B, but Peter Bourjos is little competition in LF.