Trade: TBD | Night King’s Undead Army

Night King’s Undead Army sends: SP Alex Reyes (cost controlled), SS Jean Segura ($10), SP Alex Wood ($16), SP Mike Soroka (minors)
TBD sends: SS Corey Seager ($64), $35 2016 Auction Budget

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†¬†This is one of the bigger trades we’ve ever had and its clear to me that both teams were thinking outside the box on this one. I think last year we saw $30 moved for, like, Dallas Keuchel and Devon Travis if memory serves me correctly, so there is some precedent to moving big time auction budget. I will say that $35 of auction moving doesn’t seem like a huge deal. I think the willingness to part with chunks of budget is a big market inefficiency. I can’t tell you how many people offer me $1 for a player as if $1 really matters. Generally speaking, I think auction budget should probably be swapped in $5 increments before it starts having any impact whatsoever. Go look at the results of last year’s auction and then try and tell me you think $1 really matters in a significant way. I don’t think you can convince me.

Moving on: Jordan is getting the best player here in Corey Seager. Granted, he’s $64. With getting $35 in the deal, he’s essentially locked Seager up to a one-year, $29 contract, which is obviously favorable in the short term. As a long term asset, who really knows. Seager’s young, obviously, and just tapping into his potential. But depending how cuts and auction go, he may still be unprotected again next year and vulnerable to greed, which is probably insignificant but could become an issue once he starts pushing $70. So a year from now, barring a future trade, Jordan will have to shuffle things around this contract. But he’s an elite talent, so oh well. I think you can find a real edge in not fixating on the long term ramifications, and instead just operating year to year and trying to be competitive. If enough other teams are operating with 3-5 years in their mind just because “dynasty,” that should present opportunities to improve on a one-year basis almost every single offseason.

Speaking of market inefficiences and game theory, how much value does sending budget to offset larger salaries help facilitate deals and return real talent? I think Jordan, Joe, and Josh unlocked an avenue (that should’ve been obvious) for everyone. Hey, if you’ve got a $40 player that no one wants, but will send $20 along with him, you can probably actually get something done!

TBD, meanwhile, has added several players with clear paths to surplus. Alex Reyes is the big get for them. Despite all the hype, he’s still unproven and coming off injury. I love the potential though, and he’s likely going to cost only $3 even after arbitration. He’s more appealing long term, because his usage and effectiveness this year offer a wide range of possible outcomes. I won’t be surprised if he’s a top-10 SP this time next year, which can’t be said of most pitching prospects.

At $10, I think Jean Segura is probably undervalued by the league. I don’t see much difference between some unproven, mediocre SS on a cost controlled salary and a guy as good as Segura’s been for $10. Over the last two seasons, two qualified shortstops (Seager, Correa) have wOBAs better than Segura. In some ways, you could actually argue the entire framework of this deal is busted because Jordan punted on several potentially valuable assets for a marginal upgrade from Segura to Seager at short, plus whatever long term hindrances Seager’s salary brings. Segura isn’t exciting but he’s been productive.

Alex Wood is not super exciting to me. At $16, he’s certainly affordable, and the talent is very real, but he’s so hard to trust. He spent time on the disabled list again last year (when it mattered most, during H2H playoff time, if I recall) and just doesn’t look like a guy you can ever bank a full season from. Maybe that’s irrelevant though, as TBD continues building a dirt cheap rotation, high upside around Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom. I don’t mean to knock on Wood (lol unintentional), and I like him, I just think he’s a tough guy to really pin down as a trade piece.

Mike Soroka is, to me, a throw in and I don’t have it in me to waste more words than this on him.

I actually think TBD “wins” this trade over the long haul, but I give the edge to Jordan for 2018. I also sort of wonder what the point is of amassing prospects and cheap salaries if you’re not going to be willing or able to keep your Seagers. These are smart owners, so I know they know what they’re doing. I’d probably just rather keep Seager than, I don’t know, shuffle stuff around to free up money to keep Justin Upton and/or Chris Davis (I think they’re cutting both, but you get the point) or roll the dice on Reyes. I’d sooner cut and re-bid a guy like Jacob deGrom than deal Seager, though obviously they got a pretty big haul here. I don’t know. Although, here’s another market inefficiency: actually making good prospects available. Most teams, in my experience, won’t even talk to you if a guy’s name appears on a list somewhere. I think there’s several teams that want to offer up, at best, like their 8th best prospect for real talent. If TBD stocks up on cheap resources and then actually makes them available while other teams won’t, it gives them a real edge on the trade market to add elite players at high salaries in season, simply because no other team is willing to part with the cost controlled guys.


Hustle’s Toxic $.02

Bailey said a lot of things, most of which I agree with. The cash coming over is quite interesting and creative. I don’t really track other people’s budgets and I’m not going to start for the sake of trade reviews. So good on Jordan for getting $35, I’m assuming Joe could afford it without Seager!

I thought before this trade, while Jordan may have not had a top 2-3 SS, he has the best SS depth in the league with Didi, Dejong, and Segura.¬† I do think Seager is a clear upgrade, but he costs a lot more.¬† When Seager starts against any RHP, he’s an obvious start every time which pushes Dejong and Did to Util, which isn’t ideal. I guess Dejong also has 2b eligibility this year but Jordan also has a cheapish Kinsler, Lowrie, and Albies for 2b.¬† It’s not an ideal situation to maximize value, but this could sort itself out with injuries or subsequent trades.

What I don’t love about this trade for Jordan is that it decimates his SP depth. Currently sitting on an aging Lester and Gio Gonzalez, the Undead army is lacking punch from the rotation.¬† I think Wood and Reyes represented cheap near ace production from pitcher spots and I don’t love the idea of getting rid of both guys with roster construction, and I don’t think Kyle Zimmer is coming up from the minors to save the day… although that Zombie like emergence would be very Undead Army of him.¬† I think Wood could be a pretty fine sell high after last season (probably would have been better after the 1st half), but allowing Joe to “buy low” on Reyes seems like it could be a hiccup down the line. I also don’t have much of a hot take on Mike Soroka, but TBD usually knows what they are doing with prospects. Soroka is in AA already and has been successful thus far.¬† I don’t think the Jordan had a particularly deep rotation before this trade, and now it seems quite worse even if Reyes and Soroka weren’t immediate help.

I would look for Jordan to move some middle infield depth for some starting pitching.¬† It seems like every team is going to be looking to add multiple starters during the auction, so I really can’t see how Jordan (or anyone) can feel confident coming away from the auction with value at SP. Maybe I’m just having flashbacks last year to spending most of my budget on Smyly or Rodon, but the auction isn’t pretty.

I think TBD downgrading at SS for a bunch of SP assets seems fun and interesting. With all the high cost players TBD has, trading one away for multiple interesting assets seems like the way to go and he finally found a suitable buyer for one of them.  If Wood, Soroka, and Reyes all bust (which I see as highly unlikely), then you still have yourself an affordable and good SS in his 20s for a few more years.

Something something, grinding differently.





Trade: Team Hydra | Long Ball to LF

Long Ball to LF sends: SP Tyler Skaggs ($9)
Team Hydra sends: 2B Devon Travis ($13)

Andrew’s thoughts: This is about as even as a trade gets. Two young guys with as much upside as injury risk. I like Devon Travis a bit more personally, just because he’s got a better MLB track record and, well, because I got 16 starts of 6.69 Pt/G out of him last year for the low, low cost of some FAAB. Never forget.

Basically even money here; one team that wanted a pitcher gets a pitcher, and one team that wanted a 2B gets a 2B. This is exactly the type of trade this league needed to get the hot stove firing.

Hustle’s toxic $0.02:¬†The trade seems fair enough. Long Ball now has Dynasty Grinders legend Devon Travis as his third 2nd basemen after Dee Gordon and Jose Ramirez, which doesn’t make a ton of sense unless you’re trading one away. Still makes more sense than paying double digit cash for him (on top of his salary) and dropping him a month into the season though.

Hydra picks up Tyler Skaggs, who is an interesting gamble at $9. The winner of this trade will pretty obviously come down to which of these guys have a better year, assuming they both get kept. The only losers are those that are reviewing it.

Trade: Team Hydra | Capital City Income


Team Hydra trades away
Vargas, Jason ($3)
Happ, J.A. ($5)

Capital City Ironmen trades away
Ray, Corey
Travis, Devon ($11)

Hustle’s .02

When I went to take a piss at 5 in the morning I checked my phone and saw the email notification of this trade. With my senses barely there, I though this was a steal for Bailey. ¬†Having had my breakfast, coffee, and shower…I pondered the trade some more. ¬†I still think this is a good trade for Bailey, but more justified from Hydra’s stand point.

Firstly, I’m not a big Corey Ray fan. Moderate power and some above average speed which isn’t worth a lot in this format. In 2017 he’s striking out a ton with a .148 ISO in High A. If it wasn’t for him being the 5th pick last year (and a top 3 pick in our draft) he’d be completely off my radar. ¬†He’s still a bit away, isn’t that exciting (to me), and plays a deep position where you’ll really need to produce to be a contributor. On the other side, he’s young and has the pedigree to improve and be an impact player.

Devon Travis at $13 next year? ¬†This was famously a Dusty trade and ¬†drop and I believe the biggest FAAB acquisition in league history (Otani aside). I think a healthy Devon Travis is worth 13 bucks, maybe a few more. So there’s value here if he manages to stay healthy which he never has. Hydra doesn’t have a 2b to build around and maybe Travis is it. Travis is out for a significant amount of time, but Hydra has thrown their hat out of race for 2017.

The haul for Bailey is 2 veteran pitchers in Happ and Vargas. Vargas is obviously playing out of his mind now. ¬†I assume nobody was giving a big haul for a 34 year old having a career season averaging 30 points per game. ¬†JA Happ on the other hand was great last year and only recently picked things up with back to back 40+ point games. I think both are probably around top 75 pitchers (maybe better), which in this league is very relevant. ¬†Bailey’s pitching core is greatly improved from 2 players who won’t effect his bottom line this year.

I get that Hydra wanted to trade two 34 year olds because they could possibly be exposed and have very little value by season’s end. I think chances are one of them will be a very good value to keep next year, but it is unclear which. Even if we can predict Jason Vargas for having a good 2018 season, he’s still in the twilight of his career and getting 2 young assets is perhaps more intriguing. If this was the best they could get in their eyes, then that’s the market.. it feels a tad light.

Ultimately the trade is fine for both teams. If I’m Hydra, I would have liked someone better than Corey Ray, but this is a totally a prospect personal preference criticism.



TRADE: Foundation + Capital City Ironmen



Hustle’s Take

Oh look, the commissioners trade with each other again, and only a few days before the one year anniversary of the infamous James Shields trade. Truth be told, the trade is very similar in structure.  Two upgraded picks for a player. The picks are worse this time.


That being said I love this trade for Bailey. ¬†He has a glut of 2b in Devon Travis (hey Dusty), Neil Walker (who Jordan traded to Bailey), Marwin Gonzeles, and ¬†Chris Owings. Also, he has Ian Happ in his minors that he could call up at any moment. Basically, there’s no way he’s going to remotely miss Jed Lowrie.

Jed Lowrie is 33, playing in Oakland, very injury prone, and currently over performing. He’s over 6 points per game at the moment, which is very good for any player and even better for a 2b. ¬†Generally I think Jed Lowrie is an underrated player in this format when healthy and has a clear role, but he’s nothing special. When you’re owning Darwin Barney, I think you probably need to make a move for some middle infield depth or be more aggressive on the wire.

That being said, I think two 2nd rounders is a pretty steep price for Lowrie. ¬†Does Bailey actually say no to one 2nd rounder with that depth? Did he? I’d say it would be pretty irresponsible to say no to 1 for him unless he was confident he could milk 2 (which he did).

I get Jordan hating prospects and picks, but a 2nd rounder was selling for 5-7 bucks last year. ¬†I can’t get behind selling 2 of them for Lowrie. As our minor league player pool shallows out with getting 5 spots a year, the upper round picks in theory should be worth more. I also think Jordan could have used¬†the other 2nd rounder as a trade chip in a different more impactful deal down the line. Now we probably see Bailey use Jordan’s pick somehow.

I’d be pretty surprised if Lowrie moved the needle for Jordan this season, but if it does, it’s worth it.

Trade: Long Ball to LF | Rocky Mtn Oysters

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: $30 2017 Auction Budget
Long Ball to LF sends: SP Dallas Keuchel ($69), 2B Devon Travis ($11), 2018 4th Round Pick

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†My initial reaction was praise towards this deal for Dusty. I like what he’s doing here. Get two keepable players, only shell out some auction cash that is potentially not valuable.

Breaking this down for Long Ball to LF. You’re cutting Keuchel most likely. He was not quite elite last year, and while a bounce back is possible, its not probable. If you have to cut someone, he’s easier to manage. Devon Travis was hurt last year, and while quite keepable at $11, there was at least a decision to be made. But, now with an offer of $30 which is unheard of in this league so far, this was an easy trigger to pull. Long Ball turns nothing into another decent player.

Back to Rocky Mountain. I still understand what’s going on. He is still going into the draft, having essentially spent $110 on two reasonably good players that he gets to keep going forward for less. Was that available in the draft anyway? Possibly. Could Dusty have done better? Possibly. I think my biggest concern is the price paid, but it could be reasonable. If you like Keuchel and Travis going into 2017 I can like this trade.

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†Keuchel was 100%¬†getting cut. Travis is good (.349 wOBA over his first 670 PAs), young, and cheap. Spending auction budget on Travis is fine. Thirty bucks seems steep¬†though and my impression was that Keuchel could have been had for next to nothing.

So I guess I would hope he was just a random throw in here that Dusty plans to cut, but at least now he’s guaranteed his availability at auction. Like, how much of the $30 was allocated for Travis and how much for Keuchel? Does it even really matter? I feel like $10-15 is more than generous for Travis. Buying him sort of acts like a front-loaded deal, where after this season you just have Travis starting at $13. Also, Travis has been in the majors for two seasons and has been hurt in both. It’s not like he’s a sure thing. With $41 ($30 + his $11 salary) you might be able to buy two or even three similar gambles at auction and hedge a little.

Long Ball lost a good talent but is in a much better keeper/auction position now. Dusty went from having more auction budget than almost every team to having very little to spend. Even if the pool does end up being rough, it feels like a sudden panicked shift in game plan given recent¬†— like for instance the¬†seeming¬†salary dump of Jake Arrieta.¬†Weeee!

2016 Auction Review – Long Ball to LF

Long Ball to LF


Where have all the first basemen gone… Alright step back take a second look. Perhaps Hanley Ramirez does take over at first base for Boston, qualifies, and now you have Michael Brantley in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center. Eh. I mean, the best news for Hustle Loyalty Respect and Long Ball to LF, is that between them, the shortstop market is all but cornered. And except when they play each other, they should handily win that position battle each week. This was one of the hardest teams to project. I see the logic behind the roster, but I don’t love forcing the issue of transactions to get better roster utilization.

Hitters – Alright

This¬†group is so close to good you can almost taste it. There is just pieces missing at key positions. First base is a concern even with Hanley presumably taking over. Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista are awesome in Toronto, but was last year the ceiling? Brantley appears to be ready to go to be ready close to opening day, but he’s had issues staying healthy. I don’t think any of us wanted a short stop to be a primary utility guy, and there’s almost no way around it here. Matt Kemp and Ellsbury sure, but they’ll be mixed into the outfield often enough. Just seems like a first basemen short. LBLF has that same rotating door utility problem. It’s not a glaring issue, but it can turn into one with an injury or two. It is not a huge problem that LBLF is also relying on Devon Travis, but three Blue Jays means on Toronto off-days this roster may have open slots.

Pitchers – Uh-oh

Dallas Keuchel is amazing. Now that he is out of the¬†way. He’s capable of being dominate in 2-start weeks. That’s fine. The other 12 weeks when he’s not starting twice, you’re depending on Wheeler being healthy, Leake being above average, and a bunch of maybes and hopefuls. Sure, pitching is a finicky bitch and perhaps 6 good starters come out of this group of 12. It just seems like a ballsy risk in order to own three shortstops. The bullpen isn’t great either. Best case scenario is that six or seven guys from this group flesh themselves out to be good enough fast, and two or three make themselves easy to chop and replace with other depth.

Depth – Good

So while things on the pitching side don’t look amazing, the depth here is actually good. I just dogged the group of guys in the back of his rotation as guys you want to depend on, but I like Tyler Skaggs, Aaron Nola, Josh Tomlin, Taylor Jungmann, and Daniel Norris, they could be quite dependable. It’s not unrealistic. And while I assume one of the short stops is getting traded for something, even if they don’t. The hitting depth in the outfield is great, catcher is good, and if you find some 1B to move Logan Forsythe to a backup roll, even better. Those pitchers should¬†be able to fetch something on the market and you can count on that happening most likely. Even with the Toronto issue¬†on offense, I like the depth here.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Both Xander Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor trend downward and become possible candidates for release next off-season. Keuchel loses his touch. The team never finds a first baseman. Take your pick. This team will take some real grinding to push to the top, especially if the market for shortstops does not bring something equivalent to what was spent.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

I could just be wrong. Lindor and Bogaerts are amazing, they are good enough even if they have to server the utility role. Devon Travis stays healthy and ends up a top 5 2b. Hanley Ramirez ends up being a steal and hits like a top 15 first baseman. Michael Brantley returns to 2014 form. Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson nail their encore. Of the twelve starters just six have to be good. There’s trade bait all around this team.