Andrew’s thoughts: I like this one for Marshall Law. Zack Godley has been pretty awful this year, but was projected to be a top-60 starting pitcher coming into the year. He’s been very good for stretches in the past. He’ll start at $12 to keep, so there’s potential future value here too. And the cost was… basically nothing. Pretty good risk/reward deal. If you’re clinging to 4th rounders when offered Godleys, regardless of where you are on the contention cycle, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Kudos to Marshall for joining the league, surveying the landscape, and quickly positioning his team to compete. Just goes to show what can be accomplished when one puts their mind to it.
For Hustle, this is whatever. Godley had been squeezed off his roster and sometimes when you’re a top team and have too many good players, you just have to take what you can get. A 4th rounder beats cutting a guy for nothing.
Andrew’s thoughts: Wow, what an exciting turn of events. The race to be the Rockies’ first baseman seems to have ended, and Hustle Loyalty Respect’s Daniel Murphy is the lucky winner. Johnny Hustle be all like:
Literally overnight, Murphy’s value skyrocketed. His Steamer projection went way, way up. Check this out:
For Hustle Loyalty Respect, this is a windfall. This is easily the greatest thing that’s happened in his franchise’s illustrious history. He “traded” literally nothing to land the DAMN Rockies first baseman. Truly incredible. We’re talking unprecedented luck here. I just love this “trade” for HLR. When you can add an asset like this in exchange for nothing… just, wow.
For We Talk Fantasy Sports, well, I don’t understand this “trade” at all. They are actually going to be paying Ian Desmond, back-up 1B and possible platoon LF, the only hitter to ever go to Coors Field and get significantly worse, $4 more than the actual Rockies 1B. I’m referring to Daniel Murphy of HLR, to be clear. Just as Murphy’s projection went way up overnight, Desmond’s projection went way down. He lost nearly 100 projected points and is now projected to amass as many points as someone named… *squints*… Austin Dean.
But as bad as this “trade” is for WTFS, it’s even worse somehow for Senior Squids. Not only did he not get the Rockies 1B. But instead, he has Eric Hosmer at an astounding cost of $32. Yes, that’s right, Eric Hosmer. Over the last full three seasons of baseball, Hosmer ranks second among all qualified hitters with a 58.2% ground ball rate. Only — OH SHIT! — Ian Desmond has a worse ground ball rate, at 58.6%. Sure, there’s some hope for Hosmer. Why, you ask? Here’s why: Hosmer has 5,070 career plate appearances. And as we all know, power comes later in the career. In fact, every power hitter in baseball history took more than 5,000 plate appearances to learn how to hit home runs. Barry Bonds had just four home runs at the 5,070 career plate appearances mark. He went on, as we all know, to hit 758 more from there. No bull, just facts.
Over the last two years, Eric Hosmer has hit 43 home runs. That’s 33 fewer than, oh… *draws name from hat*… Nelson Cruz, who by the way has hit 43 or more dingers in a single season twice. But he’s old and expensive (a whopping $8 more than Eric “Slow Roller to Short” Hosmer) though, and as we all know, we subtract points in this league based on age.
So in summation, I like this trade for HLR. Any time you can get the Rockies 1B instead of Ian Desmond or Eric Hosmer, you just have to do it.
Jordan’s thoughts: I’ve never heard of the two prospects in this “trade,” but Daniel Murphy seems good.
Hustle Loyalty Respect trades away 2019 Draft Pick, Round 4 (Capital City Ironmen)
Nova, Ivan $9
The Foundation trades away
Andrew’s thoughts: It’s a Christmas miracle! Ivan Nova finally got traded!
Trade seems fine to me. Hustle dumps a pitcher he’s wanted to dump for two years for a guy in the Lewis Brinson mold (“toolsy but terrible at baseball”) and The Foundation upgrades his pitching staff dramatically by adding a guy another team wanted to dump on someone else for two years. Win-win!
Andrew’s thoughts: I used to be a big Wil Myers fan. But these days I feel kinda underwhelmed by him, especially at $19. I wish I still had the chart I made for Hustle that showed where Myers ranked on a Pt/PA basis up against other guys. We’ve talked about him a lot privately. I forget who was on there now, but Lucas Duda was for sure better. It just seems weird. And I get it, no one’s buying Duda (or whoever) in lieu of Myers just because of the rate stats alone. And there were other Duda-esque guys on that list that just require some platoon management. First base is deep and while Myers is effective, he just hasn’t been a consistent difference maker there. Doesn’t mean he won’t become one. If he gets some outfield eligibility back, that adds value. He’s still in his prime. In June 2016, he was so scorching hot that he was traded in a package for Bryce Harper. But since then, while he hasn’t gotten worse, he hasn’t gotten markedly better either. Over the last two seasons, he’s 15th among 1B’s in wOBA.
Bird, meanwhile, is interesting. He only had a WRC+ of 86 last year in a limited sample of 170 plate appearances. That’s awful. But Steamer projects him for a 122 this year with a .356 wOBA. He’s got a career .339 wOBA over 348 PAs and is two years younger than Myers. He’s riskier, for sure — haven’t even mentioned his injuries — but Hustle’s roster is in a spot where he can afford the gamble, I think. Granted, Myers is essentially his only 1B, so if the gamble fails, he’s going to potentially have a big 1B void.
And maybe you could argue the Double Stuffs need to gamble as well to climb out of the basement of the standings, but the fastest way to improve is to exchange risk for safety. It’s not sexy. In this case, they’re sending off potentially more upside in Bird for Myers’ relatively high floor, and are just shifting their risk to Colin Moran‘s swing changes and Starling Heredia‘s prospect profile. With only a $27 Maikel Franco (is he even keepable?) as their only real 3B option, gambling on Moran (who should unlock 3B quickly) while replacing Bird with Myers seems to have a potentially greater payoff than just gambling on Bird alone anyway. In order to get better, bad teams need to take gambles, but they also need to expand their portfolio of assets.
I guess I like it for both teams. I know Hustle really wanted Bird, so here you go. He’s got him. It probably looks like a slight overpay, but sometimes you pay a bit more for guys you really want. No big deal.
And I know Ferns is a competitive guy and hates losing, so while maybe Bird might have a higher ceiling than Myers over the long haul — Steamer projects him for a better Pt/PA than Myers next year, although it projects Myers to accumulate more points based on pure volume — this seems like a move that pushes his team’s floor up and still gives him ample upside. I think he’s more likely to be a bit more competitive in 2018 with this move, and being competitive now seems better than not.
Mostly, I’m just happy to see Hustle and Ferns in harmony together, at least until the next time Ferns forgets to start a seventh guy and Hustle calls him on it or until Hustle proposes some outlandish rule change.
Hustle’s less toxic $.02: If I told you I sent 100 Greg Bird trade offers this offseason to Ferns, it would not be an exaggeration by much if at all. A bet on Greg Bird is a gut call for me. One of my earliest lessons in fantasy is not to give up on players you love because of one bad season. I was big on him last year and not a lot has changed for me. Bird was a monster in spring training, his rookie year, once he got back from injury last year and in the playoffs. He was taking elite lefties deep with elite exit velocity. When evaluating trades it’s tough to separate enthusiasm with realistic expectations and Bird tows that line for me.
Colin Moran had 0 value a week ago, and while I think he’s big time sleeper this year, I would probably kick myself over and over again if Bird blew up and the reason I didn’t own him was Colin Moran. I’m torn on if Moran actually became a new player last year or he benefitted from being a 24 year old in AAA, I lean the fact that hes actually going to be a contributor next season. I like Heredia a lot too, but I have a lot of prospect outfielders I like as is.
I think Bird has a better shot to be a difference maker and I’ll bet some surplus to see if I’m right. The fact that Bird is 6 dollars cheaper and 2 years younger is also encouraging for his value, let alone potentially hitting between Judge and Stanton. That being said, I think Ferns got a very strong haul that improves his team right away.
Maybe this is calling out another manager, maybe it isn’t, whatever. I don’t care. Talking game theory is interesting and the offseason is slow because everyone wants to save room for Shohei Ohtani at auction, so we need stuff to talk about. And so when I read one of our recent trade reviews, and saw a comment left on it, I really wanted to explore what was going on.
So, the backstory:
Hustle Loyalty Respect and In Line 4 the Win made a trade. HLR sent a prospect, Logan Allen, to IL4W for $1. No big deal. I actually think buying prospects you really like for $1 is smart business, because you’re buying into so many cheap years of potential production from these guys and $1 doesn’t matter a ton. However, in reviewing his own trade, Hustle said this:
And then I happened to scroll down, and notice that IL4W fired back with this:
And so here we are.
I’m baffled by this. I’m not even necessarily trying to knock it, I just really, really want to understand what the strategy is behind simply not filling roster spots.
Our FAAB settings allow for $0 bids, so you can add as many players as you wish to fill empty roster spots at no cost. We don’t have penalties for dropping players. We don’t have seasonal or weekly add/drop limits. If one of your players gets hurt and you move him to the disabled list, thus freeing up a roster spot, there’s literally nothing preventing you from adding a player to that spot at no cost. Just pick your player, submit your bid for $0, and assuming no one else is in on that player, you get them. If they suck, you cut them. No harm, no foul.
On September 13 of last year, HLR added Logan Allen to his team from free agency. He was a readily available player. All you needed to procure him was… an available roster spot. Months later, on January 11, sitting with five of 20 minor league spots barren, IL4W spent $1 to slide Allen into one of those vacant spots. Does this not prove that carrying empty spots is not at all a beneficial strategy? Am I nuts? It proves the opposite, in fact. HLR turned a minor league spot — occupied by a human baseball player, an asset capable of gaining value over time — into $1. It’s not much, but $1 is better than nothing at all. IL4W, meanwhile, spent $1 of budget to fill a roster hole that could have cost nothing to fill in September. Not a FAAB buck, not an auction buck, not another player in trade. I submit that having that spot full resulted in profit for HLR, and having that spot empty resulted in needlessly flushing $1 for IL4W.
From HLR’s perspective, I’m sure he’s confident he can just pick up another Logan Allen for free off waivers once the season starts. So he basically got a $1 to flip a replaceable asset. Again… isn’t this exactly why you want all roster spots full? You want the chance to have something of value. An empty spot is worth… nothing. A dollar is pretty damn close to nothing, but it’s still something.
And what if Logan Allen had cracked a couple top-100 lists this offseason? I mean… every offseason, lists come out. We know this. Sometimes, the names on them surprise us. Maybe we don’t even recognize them. But when we see a name on a list, we suddenly value that player. So if Allen had randomly made Baseball America’s list at number 94 or something, he’s got value, yeah? And probably more than $1, right? These are lotto tickets — free lotto tickets, at that. Maybe Allen miraculously cracks the top 60 or 70 of a list, and suddenly he’s a guy you can trade for a cheap major leaguer that’ll help your team score points in 2018.
Look at it another way: you have an investment portfolio. For whatever reason, you’re allotted only 20 investments. You have 15 of those slots full with investments you’re happy with. Then I say, hey, here’s a list of all the companies you can invest in… pick five out to fill out your portfolio, and you get a share of each company… for free. These shares have the opportunity to grow and mature, to put cash in your pocket. But you decline. So instead of five free investment shares, you’ve just got nothing. That nothing, like a seed that does not exist, cannot be planted and blossom into something. For it is nothing. Maybe the five shares you choose will putter out. But hey, it was house money and you gave yourself a chance.
I just… I don’t get it. What am I missing?
I bring this up also because, frankly, we’ve had complaints dating back to last year about teams not fielding full rosters. So is this a strategy or a competitiveness problem? It seems totally asinine to me that we would tell grown adults who’ve paid money to play in a fantasy league that they have to carry a specific number of players, but I also don’t get the strategy of playing shorthanded, so I’ve always just assumed that went without saying and didn’t require policing. Sure, MLB requires teams carry a minimum of 24 players, but their maximum is 25. You’d never see the Reds roll up to the ballpark with 19 guys, or the Toledo Mud Hens take the field five players short.
So please, someone explain this to me. Show me what I am missing.
Hustle Loyalty Respect to In Line 4 the Win
In Line 4 the Win to Hustle Loyalty Respect $1
Hustles Toxic $.02.: Where to begin? Neal called me out on slack for poor trade offers. I shaved $1 off my asking price and he accepted.
Logan Allen is a solid pitching prospect, top 10 in a stacked Padres system and could be up in 2019 if he continues to pitch well.
Prior to this trade IL4W had 15 prospects on his farm when we all have 20 spots (and expanding to 25). It really makes no sense to have less than 20 green flag players right now unless you recently traded down from 20.
IL4W’s farm improves because he added a $0 guy to his team in an empty roster spot.
Long Ball to LF sends: $5 auction budget Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Daniel Mengden ($5)
Andrew’s thoughts: These two teams have conducted a nice, fair trade here. Long Ball to LF has basically invested $10 to take a ride on the Daniel Mengden express, hoping that in 2017 he will discover the fast track to pitching stardom. HLR, meanwhile, probably saw Mengden as the caboose of his current pitching rotation — a back-end piece that was likely to just get left at the station, but maybe, possibly, could have have stuck. I would probably rather just have the $5 personally, but I find this trade difficult to truly rail against.
Andrew’s Thoughts: The real winner of this trade is me, for I will theoretically never again be offered Dillon Peters by Hustle Loyalty Respect.
EDIT: Seriously, this is whatever. To my surprise, Dillon Peters’ Steamer and ZiPS projections are in the realm of decent. He had six starts last year and four went for 20+ points. He’s only 25 and probably locked into the rotation. So it’s like a $7 gamble for WTFS that he’s useful. If he’s not, oh well, cut him and move forward.