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!

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | The Wilfred Brimley Diabeetuses

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Jake Arrieta ($86)
The Wilfred Brimley Fightin’ Diabeetuses sends: CF Kevin Kiermaier ($7), 1B/2B/3B/SS Jedd Gyorko ($6)

Andrew’s thoughts: I love, love, love this for WBFD. For two depth pieces, WBFD landed one of the game’s top starting pitchers. He’s expensive, but so what? If pitching is as volatile this year as it was last year, then it probably pays to splurge on reliable guys.

For Dusty, how’s this math: since December 30, he’s acquired Hunter Pence, Lance McCullers, Wei-Yin Chen, Yordano Ventura, and now Kiermaier and Gyorko. You know the return for the last two. For the other four, he gave up basically nothing, dispersing middling draft picks, an auction buck or two, and some prospects and guys that he was probably cutting to teams that were over budget and just wanted to dump. That’s fine. Pence was the first guy added there and I’d argue he was the least superfluous, safest of the group. He’s done it longer. Let’s omit him. The salary of all the other guys combined? $85.

I don’t know if there was some grand plan, but what’s happened here, essentially, is Arrieta’s exact dollars (plus those prospects, the 3rd round pick or whatever it was, negligible stuff, etc) have been swapped out for McCullers, Chen, Ventura, white Denard Span, and Gyorko. Dusty’s eggs have been distributed across many baskets.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s good or bad. There’s an opportunity cost associated with locking up four extra roster spots. But depth is good. Kiermaier is an instant starter for him at CF. Dusty had tons of cash to spend before this trade barrage and should still have money to spend. He’s probably cutting $50 Heyward and $30 Shields, plus all the injured guys he picked up throughout the season, plus others. A $13 Jesse Hahn? There’s a bunch of budget space here. He’s not hurting for room, which brings me to this…

As a standalone, this trade baffles me. Is Kiermaier that much different than Carlos Gomez, who will be at auction? Or Heyward, who will probably be? Is Gyorko that much different a Swiss army knife than Sean Rodriguez?

Like, if you’re way over budget, I get selling off Arrieta and maybe you have to sell low, because this time of year there aren’t a ton of teams swimming in budget space. I don’t really get selling him off for pieces that have reasonable comps already guaranteed to be at auction, plus whoever else ends up getting dropped. It’s nice to secure those players and not risk the auction, where you’ll have to outbid others, but the cost to do that here is really high. I mean, yeah, I’d rather trade a fringe keeper or comparable player for Kiermaier now than risk having to win either Gomez or Heyward at auction to fill my CF slot. But Arrieta doesn’t strike me as the chip you use simply to hedge.

I also don’t get doing it when you can afford to keep him. And I don’t get doing it at this time of year when, as I just said, there are only a few teams with budget space. The market for Arrieta is so, so small right now just by virtue of teams not having budget room, that I think it’s really tough to get an optimal return. Budget flexibility is great and all but talent and points-scoring trumps that. Arrieta could’ve been held until 30 seconds after auction, at which time anyone can go over the $500 budget and suddenly there are 15 suitors for his services.

I think, if I was Dusty and didn’t like Arrieta at $86 — which isn’t unreasonable, pitchers are combustible parts — I would have just cut him and tried winning him back cheaper at auction. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. I just might rather gamble on that scenario than on Kiermaier and Gyorko, who I like but I think are better rostered as depth.

As I said, I love it for WBFD. Great, great swap. He turned guys who were firmly backups on his roster into a difference making, top-10 starting pitcher.

Jordan’s thoughts: If Dusty doesn’t get the cure for diabetes in this deal, I think he went and fucked up. I think Dusty would have gotten more for just taking $1 for Arrieta.

On top of that fact: why, if you’re Dusty, would you sell this kind of a player to a team who doesn’t have to even bother cutting anyone off their roster to keep said player. I know there’s people who aren’t hyper concerned with their competition’s situation, and that’s fine. But, there should be other teams who take Arrieta for some auction budget cash or a 1st round draft pick. Most of them would have to cut a few mildly interesting players that might be useful.

WBFD last year during the draft must have been in what only can be described as a diabetic coma and he left significant money on the table. Couple that with the tragedy of Jose Fernandez. He’s basically swimming in available budget even if he decides to keep the overpaid youngsters he’s invested into.

All that being said, I’m not all that upset over this trade, it happens. Dusty probably did shop around Arrieta to a dozen teams and got what he wanted and moved on. Classic Dusty.

Trade: Team Canada | Rocky Mtn Oysters

Team Canada sends: 2B Robinson Cano ($38)
Rocky Mtn Oysters send: SP Tyler Glasnow ($1; cost controlled)

Andrew’s thoughts: This trade gives me lots of mixed feelings. I like it for both teams. Then I wait 30 seconds and feel like both teams sold low. Does that even make sense? This is a fascinating one.

If you buy into the theory that the auction is likely to be weak, as I think several owners do, then acquiring a player like Robinson Cano at just $38 fundamentally seems like a good strategy. He’s good, he’s reliable, he’s pretty cheap. Dusty was poised to start Josh Harrison, sans all the extra position eligibility that once made him valuable, at 2B, so this isn’t some marginal upgrade. This is a big deal. And to do it, all he had to do was give up a single cost controlled pitcher whose clock has already started. It feels cheap. But… it also feels kind of expensive. Again: how is this possible?

On the other hand, I’ve got Julio Urias, Blake Snell, and Sean Manaea. Like Tyler Glasnow, they’re $1 and cost controlled for many more seasons to come. And they’re pitchers. The first year of this league taught us that cost control players and pitchers, mutually exclusive of one another, are very valuable on the trade market. Together, they’re worth even more. I get asked about my three pitchers constantly. Granted, the three of them performed better than Glasnow in their first tastes of the majors. But they’re essentially the same guy as the Pirates’ young pitcher. I’m sure lots of teams would’ve loved to acquire Glasnow.

Getting Cano at a great price is a big get, but I wouldn’t have sent one of my three starters for him, and I’m in need of a 2B. Of course, circumstances matter. Dusty has better pitching than I do, so he can afford the blow. He’s still got Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, and John Lackey anchoring his staff. But Dusty’s team, like mine, was bad last year. My own reluctance to deal a cost controlled pitcher right now is that, if my team still sucks, I’ve punted one of my most valuable assets and haven’t improved my standing. To me, trading a Urias or a Snell, or a Glasnow in this case, makes a little more sense once the season begins and you get a feel for your team, unless your team is clearly awesome already. I admire Dusty’s boldness to strike and worry about the rest later though.

Before this trade, Team Canada was at $683. Anyone buying Cano had significant leverage, because TC has to shed salary somewhere. They simply can’t afford to keep everyone. TC also doesn’t have any obvious cuts, at least not of the big salary variety. Sending a valuable asset like Glasnow seems like a last resort, and maybe many offers were exchanged, but Cano went from listed on the trade block to dealt before I even had a chance to get in an offer (21 hours, actually), so I can only guess that Dusty started high. And again: kudos on being bold. But TC’s trade block said he wanted two prospects and a first round pick (it’s not often teams publicize what they want with that much specificity), so that he didn’t wait and see if other teams would approach that sticker price should show just how valuable Glasnow is on the trade market.

But it’s fine. Dusty’s got cap space, can burn some pitching, and just can’t go into the year with Harrison at 2B. And Glasnow may not even be good. For as valuable as he is on the trade market, it’s very conceivable that he’s at peak value right now and will only go downhill from here. So selling for a cheap productive Cano is a good cash out. And if his team sucks again mid-season, oh well, Cano should still be a valuable chip. For Team Canada, it’s a great swap because he still can just play Trea Turner at 2B and has now cut costs while adding a premium pitching prospect. It might have made more sense to wait and see if he could get the three pieces he wanted, but if a Glasnow-type pitcher is what you covet, there’s no big incentive to wait when you’ve got what you want on the table.

Honestly, I feign interest in a lot of trades so these posts are a little more interesting to read, but this one’s a legitimately intriguing trade with a lot of fun angles. In the end I like it for both teams, but if you check back in 30 seconds I might think otherwise.

Jordan’s thoughts: I would prefer to have Robinson Cano and it is not even very close. Glasnow has issues with walking batters. He wasn’t ready last year, and there’s little reason to believe he’ll be ready going forward. He could even end up in the bullpen.

I think there’s definitely scenarios where Glasnow makes this trade look incredibly foolish. I think that happens with any pitcher. They find the thing that makes them tick. Then they break. Pitchers who figure it out are incredibly valuable. Pitchers who have broken or haven’t figured it out, are only as valuable as their potential to figure out their way.

Robinson Cano somewhat quietly hit 39 homers last year. He’s still pretty great. He’s got some room to give before he’s not valuable at the price tag. I would prefer to have this trade if only it gives me one good year of Robby Cano. If I get two or three decent Cano seasons, Glasnow really has to be great for a long time to make up that difference to me.

I’m always willing to error on the side of the proven veteran, but here I don’t think its really close. I feel like Glasnow is less valuable now that he was a year ago, and Cano is probably more valuable.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | We Talk Fantasy Sports

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Max Scherzer ($86), SP Rookie Davis (minors)
We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: SP Tyler Glasnow (minors), CF Manuel Margot (minors), SP Robert Stephenson (minors), SP Lucas Sims (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: This is a really interesting deal. I think for both sides, it works out well.

For We Talk Fantasy Sports, this has been a unique season. They are 9-6 and in prime spot to challenge for the final playoff spite despite being objectively bad. They are 15th in total points which, since we’re mid-week, is a little finicky because some teams have used more starts than others. Still, an extra start or two isn’t going to make much difference. My stinky team is 14th in points and has a 324.3 point edge over WTFS. To say that WTFS, who has had the fewest points scored on them by a margin of 527.95 points over the next team, has been lucky is just a massive understatement.

But whatever! I think in some ways, simply being so lucky and being in this spot is all the reason you need to push in some chips. It could be ill advised and screw future seasons, but I would hope everyone’s goal is to win championships, not just out-kick your coverage and finish seventh (their current place in the standings). It’s almost August, they’re in playoff contention, so why not go for it (especially as it looks like all the other teams are content standing pat)?

Max Scherzer is a difference maker. He instantly becomes WTFS’s best pitcher and it isn’t really even close. Their second best starter is Michael Pineda, who is just around league average. Of course, the price to take on the league’s sixth-highest paid player is a big one. Tyler Glasnow was a top-5 overall pick, Manuel Margot is a prized outfield prospect (I’m not super high on him for fantasy purposes), Robert Stephenson is a regular on top-100 lists (he’s another guy I don’t like because he can’t stop serving up homers and will get to pitch his home games in Coors Lite), and Dusty’s team stinks, so that pick (his own pick, which he’d previously dealt) will probably be top-20. Given all the context — that WTFS has been far more lucky than good — I assume they’re making this move with the intent of keeping Scherzer beyond this year, which seems reasonable. While I like that they aren’t taking their fortune for granted, I’m not sure they swing this move for a rental knowing that they still have tons of ground to cover, even with Scherzer on board. It’s really just your run of the mill high risk, high reward move for WTFS. I respect their aggressiveness.

For Dusty, the truth is, there was never really a good reason to ignore (and in some cases dismantle) his offense in favor of his nasty pitching staff (formerly Scherzer, plus Jake Arrieta, Zach Greinke, Kyle Hendricks, and John Lackey). Instead of a balanced team, he punted offense and went all-in on arms which is probably the biggest reason he’s at the bottom of the standings. By swinging this deal, he doesn’t do much to fix his offense. Margot pretty much has to be a stud from day one to be a marked upgrade over Brett Gardner in center. To be clear, if Margot produces exactly like Gardner, that’s great, because Gardner is good and Margot would cost nothing. I think too often people get tantalized by “upside” and ignore that players can be really valuable just simply by being good. It’s just that, adding a single good hitter won’t magically propel an offense. Anyway, he does free up $88 headed into next year, which gives him better odds of keeping the rest of those pitchers if he wants.

The problem is, I’d actually looked at his team recently and thought it looked fairly simple to keep all those pitchers in tact, which would then clearly outline an offseason gameplan where you need to address only hitters. I mean, you can just cut Jason Heyward ($50 in 2017) and Mike Fiers ($13) and then apply the $20 auction cash you have sitting in till to keep Scherzer. That covers him almost completely. $16 Blake Swihart looks like an easy cut, $9 Hyun-Jin Ryu probably should be dumped unless his arm regenerates itself, $18 Neil Walker doesn’t strike me as a keepable investment, paying Josh Harrison, who looks like he’ll only qualify at 2B next year, $15 seems pointless. Keeping Scherzer was certainly a realistic option. I love Glasnow’s talent though (I almost took him third overall) and if you think he hits his ceiling, he’s certainly a better value than Scherzer at over $80. Plus you get Margot, Stephenson, a Lucas Sims lotto ticket, and that pick. But if I can afford to keep my studs, I’d rather do that, I think. I’m a Scherzer fan, so I’m likely harboring some bias toward him.

That all probably sounds like I don’t like it for Dusty, but I do. Bottom line is he didn’t need all the pitchers he amassed, and this way he distributes his talent a little better and frees up significant budget space. The trade is done so I don’t think it matters now, but I had very loosely pursued Scherzer and just didn’t want to part with the prospect package Dusty wanted, and I didn’t think Dusty would find anyone who would. The package he ended up getting is lighter, I think, but it’s close. Like I said, I think both sides come out clean on this one. There’s risk — there always is — but sometimes you have to just push down on the gas and see what happens.

Jordan’s thoughts: It’s really boring to just say that I agree with Andrew on all points, because I do. I love this deal for Dusty. Yes, Max is very keepable. Yes, its not a bad strategy to keep Max. Yes, there is reason to not sell off despite being “out of it.” But, Dusty’s trading one major asset for a bunch of interesting ones. Some more than others obviously.

Dusty still has a formidable staff and gets to punt on Max who has shown signs of shakiness (oh wait, that’s all pitchers in 2016, the worst year of baseball since 1994) at times. The flexibility he adds in four decent minor leaguers has its perks.

I love this trade even more for We Talk Fantasy Sports. Honestly, who gives two shits about prospects when you have a legit shot at a championship? I don’t. You shouldn’t. Max in this kind of a formatted league offers a huge upgrade. Late August/early September, Max will be throwing against tired and expanded rosters. Probably toss a couple of 50 spots in playoff weeks. If you get a 2-start week in the playoffs from Max, hot dog, you nailed the jackpot. Sure, any of the prospects could be hard to lose, but at this point for WTFS you’re playing for now and winning today is more important than having a chance at some serious talent in two or three seasons.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Senior Squids

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: CF/RF Bryce Harper ($109)
Senior Squids sends: SP Zack Greinke ($78)

Andrew’s thoughts: It’s tough writing trade reviews sometimes because, as an owner, I occasionally have information and context to a trade or a player’s asking price behind closed doors that doesn’t really seem fair to publicize. That is true in this case. So I’ll be careful not to share how the information that I have influences my perspective of this trade. Let’s just say that I know what the asking price was for Bryce Harper, like, yesterday, and move on.

First of all, both these players are really good and quite valuable. I love Bryce and would give up essentially my entire team for him, $111 in 2017 be damned. I also love Greinke and at $78, he’s priced very well. He’s had a slow start to the season, but he truly is an ace of staff — and on the Oysters, joins Jake Arrieta and Max Scherzer in a horrifying trifecta of pitchers — that even at $80 next year doesn’t seem like a problem to keep.

I think my problem with this trade, as with Dusty’s first Bryce trade, is that pieces just seem to be lacking. The 1-for-1 is nice, simple, clean. And Bryce being traded three times suggests teams are scared of his salary. But I really don’t understand how you trade a transcendent, once in a lifetime talent twice and each time only get back a single pitcher. And you guys know how I feel about the value of pitchers. I just really feel like value is being left on the table.

I mean, Greinke is awesome and you could argue the top 8-10 pitchers or so make a greater difference to a team’s success than the top 3-4 hitters do. But how does Dusty not pry Dansby Swanson from the Squids here? How does he not get Hunter Renfroe and Carson Fulmer thrown in? How does he not get some draft pick conpensation? Is it that unreasonable to also get Mark Trumbo or Kyle Seager back? Something else?!

Truthfully, I don’t hate the deal for either side and both teams may come out feeling alright. I just think, as Dusty does pretty regularly, the haste to get a flashy deal done quickly got in the way of sapping the most possible value out of his asset. And who knows, a week or two from now if Dusty’s great-on-paper squad keeps underperforming, maybe he’ll turn around and start unloading Arrieta, Scherzer, and even Greinke and just reshuffle the deck that way. Though this is twice now that Bryce has been traded for the bare minimum, so I would hope our stable of owners here are savvy enough to recognize that there’s a pattern here. Just wait it out, and eventually you can buy guys from the Oysters for a price that suits you best.

I don’t mean to beat on Dusty (again). I love that he can unleash those three aces on his opposition, plus deploy Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey on weeks where those guys only start once per week. But even that, I think, leads to an interesting point: how much pitching is too much, even in a format where they’re super valuable? I mean, isn’t having those five starters, plus quality arms in Collin McHugh just a big opportunity cost problem? In other words, did Dusty’s roster need Harper’s offensive production more than it needed Greinke? I think it probably did.

To date, the Oysters have been the second worst offense in the league… with Harper. Dusty’s offense is now dramatically worse. I think another trade pretty much has to happen, and at what point are you chewing into values by making a thousand moves just to end up in roughly the same spot?

I don’t know. This deal is exciting and I love the rotation Dusty’s assembled, I just feel like Squids got off light here.

Jordan’s thoughts: Andrew just wrote so beautifully. I know RMO could have gotten more. I know that Squids wasn’t getting more. Another head scratcher. I just have to shake my head and move on. There’s no reason here why Squids would say no to getting Bryce. There’s no reason Dusty should only ask for Greinke for Bryce. None. There’s been plenty of lopsided deals, but even at $111, Bryce is a value keeper piece next year. Just crazy.

Trade: We Talk Fantasy Sports | Rocky Mtn Oysters

We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: SP Kyle Hendricks ($18), 2017 5th Round Pick
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: CF Byron Buxton ($32), 2017 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: What a great, great deal for Dusty’s Oysters.

First of all: I love Kyle Hendricks. You can ask Jordan, I privately gushed about him leading up to the season. I still ended up with no shares of him, but that’s fine. Here’s why I liked him so much: between 2014 and 2015, Hendricks posted a 3.34 FIP and a 0.73 HR/9. In our format and in the real world, those are some pretty fantastic peripherals. After striking out barely anyone in 2014, he K’d more than eight batters per nine innings last year, which showed growth and the promise for more.

I also loved that Hendricks came into this season largely underrated. In fact, I remember reading debates about whether he or Adam Warren would win a spot in the rotation. He’s responded to the tune of a 2.89 FIP and a 0.39 HR/9 rate. For comparison’s sake, Jake Arrieta is currently putting up a 2.47 FIP and a 0.29 HR/9 rate. Arrieta is striking out more guys and going deeper into games, but those numbers are otherwise interchangeable. Hendricks is really, really good. On a points per game basis, he’s SP28. He’s basically a team’s number two starter.

As proof that the 26-year-old (he’s super young, too!) Hendricks was being undervalued, I present this: he went for $18 at auction. Eighteen! I’m embarrassed not to have him at a price that low. Even with a $2 raise and every team slapping him with their greed buck, he’s still a good value a year from now. And beyond, probably. Given that every single team competing in this league has been actively pursuing pitching, it’s not a stretch to suggest Hendricks as one of the league’s ten or so best values.

And then there’s Byron Buxton.

Just to lay some groundwork, here are some centerfielders paid comparably to Buxton and what they’ve done this year:

Yoenis Cespedes: $32, 334.4 points, 8.36 PPG, 2.03 PT/PA

Christian Yelich: $24, 299.1 points, 7.12 PPG, 1.71 PT/PA

Charlie Blackmon: $27, 169.9 points, 5.66 PPG, 1.32 PT/PA

You know what, I need to just stop there. Because there are so many productive centerfielders that went for so, so much less than Buxton did at auction that I’d be doing this all day. Adam Eaton went for $15, Jackie Bradley Jr. went for $3, Dexter Fowler went for $12, Charlie Blackmon went for $27, Brett Gardner went for $14, Odubel Herrera went for $2, Denard Span went for $4, Colby Rasmus went for $7, Marcell Ozuna went for $14. You get the point. There are a bunch of nicely priced centerfielders.

And then… there’s Buxton.

We all know who this guy is and what he represents. He’s a stud prospect that some have boldly compared to Mike Trout (uh, okay). He’s got all the skill in the world: speed, gap power, and athleticism to burn. He’s raked at every minor league stop. The one thing he does not have — not even a little bit — is Major League production.

Over Buxton’s first 187 plate appearances, he’s put up 117.5 points*. So he’s hitting thus far in his young career at a 0.62 points per plate appearance clip. To put that futility of inefficiency into perspective: Billy Hamilton, who can steal bases and do nothing else offensively, is hitting at a 0.91 PT/PA rate through 124 PAs this year. Jeff Francoeur has had 98 plate appearances this year and has scored at a 0.83 rate. It’s only 187 plate appearances, so take it for what it is, but the point is that Buxton has been arguably the worst possible hitter on the planet in those opportunities. Factor in his salary, and he’s just been an absolute vortex of suck.

*Let the record show that in 2011, Trout debuted and had 135 plate appearances. He slashed .220/.281/.390, so he was quite bad in his first taste of the big leagues. He amassed 141.1 points, meaning he hit at a 1.04 PT/PA rate. So while Trout was bad, he was 67.7% more productive over his first 135 times in the batter’s box than Buxton in his first 187.

This is a good time to point out that Buxton is still a phenomenal talent that was likely rushed to the majors and then mishandled by the Twins (who buries their elite prospect ninth every day?). He could be special. He could be called back up this week and suddenly hit everything thrown his way. Two years from now, he could be a top three or five centerfielder. There’s really no ceiling to what this guy could do. I still like him a whole lot as a prospect, but the underlying theme here is that he is paid like a regular in your lineup, not like a prospect.

He’s being compensated $32 to be a question mark. (Might be totally irrelevant but since our league is comparable to FanGraphs’ Ottoneu, I was curious so I looked it up: across all Ottoneu leagues, Buxton’s average salary is $11.54.) Technically, since we have no in-season cap, he’s being paid nothing and WTFS can sit on him for 2016 before making a decision leading into 2017. This move is obviously WTFS’ way of looking ahead to next season, but he’ll cost $34 minimum on Opening Day. Buxton is also a great target for every team’s greed. You want to make risky players like him more expensive to either force a decision from that team’s owner or make their risk even tougher to pay off. It’s conceivable that Buxton costs $40 heading into 2017 on the glimmer of hope that he becomes Trout (uh, okay), all the while getting out-produced by lesser paid players. Guys like Fowler and Span are “boring” and “old,” maybe, but I’d rather have boring, old, productive, and cheap than possibly exciting, young, unproductive, and expensive.

I guess what it boils down to is that on the spectrum of good and bad values, Hendricks is one extreme and Buxton the other. Hendricks at his current rate of production won’t be priced out by raises and greed (assuming teams even hit him with greed) for two or three seasons minimum. He’s young and he plays a position that’s coveted. Every pitcher is risky, but it’s just great process on Dusty’s part to flip someone he probably would’ve had to cut for someone that will make an impact for his team now and that he can plan to keep at a good rate going forward. Hendricks’ price and production dictate that you make cuts to accommodate keeping him, not the other way around.

Buxton, meanwhile, appears at this moment in time to be unkeepable into next year at $34+, and acquiring him at that price is not particularly good process. Again, maybe he hits. Maybe he emerges. It’s just that he has to hit at such a level to be worth the bloated salary he’s already getting, and then even more to provide surplus value, especially when compared to his centerfield peers, most of whom are already producing and many of which are doing so at a significantly lower cost.

Jordan’s thoughts: ((picks mic off the floor))

Holy shit Bailey how do you really feel? Good lord that’s a lot to dig through and it’s about a player who offers very little for his value. I think Kyle Hendricks offers quite a bit of value to about any team in DG. So far in 2016 Hendricks has been one of the more reliable starters in the league:

h2016

This shouldn’t surprise anyone as Bailey already said, here’s what he did in 2015:

h2015

So far he’s avoided the “awful” starts, and been pretty damn good this season. I don’t need to pile on what Buxton’s worth. I think for Buxton to be worth keeping for me next season, he needs to be something sort of a top 30 hitter from the All-Star break on. I don’t believe he’s that good period, so he’s not worth keeping around.

The fact that Dusty got something for a mirage, bravo. Even if Buxton does come back and blow through and create some sentiment of an argument, great. You hit the 5% projection. Bad bets still hit.

Overreaction Thursday, you paid what for this?!

Welcome to Overreaction Thursday! Today we are looking into the first half of Week One and overreacting to how the star players have performed already. For some of these guys, the weekend cannot get here soon enough.

$117 Clayton Kershaw – 65 points.

Good lord I told you guys he was good. How in the hell did he go for JUST one hundred and seventeen dollars!? He’s worth two hundred at least! We are all idiots for allowing BetterNameLater (by the way, when it that better name coming?) to rob us blind like this.

$109 Bryce Harper – 23.1 Points

You’re the highest paid hitter and you are getting out scored by CHRIS IANETTTA! What in the world is going on here. Just one home run? Trevor Story has four! He’s two months younger than you, you’re getting old son.

$95 Mike Trout – -8 points

This is some serious bullshit. Negative points? The could-have-been four time reigning American League MVP has negative eight points? Sucks to suck, Who’s Your Haddy’s?. You bought a complete shit bowl of a player. He’s awful. Add him to the waiver wire and pick up Leonys Martin.

$93 Chris Sale – 48 Points

For being just $24 cheaper than Kershaw, you have no reason being 17 points worse than him too. You faced the Oakland Athletics who are due for contraction sometime soon. Just eight strikeouts? The 18 swinging strikes are really nice, but Jeremy Hellickson beat you by 1.5 points. Loser.

$88 Paul Goldschmidt – 30.3 points

I bet you want me to be proud of your 10.1 points per game, huh? Well I’m not. You should be scoring 100 point weeks. You’re behind pace. Do you know who’s outscored you this week, Paul? DJ LeMahieu! We’re not even certain that guy is a real person. But, he has more points than you do. Get with it.

$86 Max Scherzer – 28 Points
$84 Jake Arrieta – 56.5 Points

$83 Jose Fernandez – 40.5 Points
$82 Corey Kluber – 9 Points
$81 Madison Bumgarner – -3 Points

It’s a God damn perfect bell curve from awesome to dog shit. Bumgarner and Kluber dropped flaming bags of poo for their investment, while Arrieta and Fernandez both did alright. Max, my buddy, you’re better than that. C’s don’t get degrees here in Dynasty Grinders. Figure it out.

$81 Carlos Correa – 52.1 points

Have mercy on our souls. How in the hell did Alex Rodriguez clone himself into a younger and better version? This Correa kid is only being bested by some guy named Yasiel Puig. Correa is unlucky he cannot be bidded up for by a greed vote. He’d be rich, bitch!

Start me up, please get a no-no

The regular season is so close. The taste of baseball that counts is palatable. In the time between, because we are not there yet, let us look at starts from 2015 once again.

Using Baseball Reference’s Play Index I was able to grab all 4,858 starts from 2015. This includes each game line from each starting pitcher who started each individual game.  Before we dig deep into this data lets answer the easy questions as it relates to our scoring…

Average Start in 2015: 24.25 points
Median Start in 2015: 25.50 points
Mode Start in 2015: 35.50 points

660 starts, or 13.58% of the starts last year, ended up being negative points for the day. Ouch. Of those awful starts, the worst five were led by everyone’s favorite Jeremy Guthrie (pictured above, what the hell is wrong with his elbow):

May 25 – Jeremy Guthrie -75 points vs Yankees
May 30 – Shane Greene -66 points vs Angels
July 7 – Chad Bettis -54.5 points vs Angels
August 23 – Matt Wisler -53 points vs Cubs
August 15 – Felix Hernandez -52 points vs Red Sox

One of those is not like the others. Ouch. Felix actually had two starts that were absolutely soul crushing. But, on the other side of the table. Max Scherzer was king.

October 3 – Max Scherzer 101.5 points vs Mets
June 14 – Max Scherzer 94 points vs Brewers
May 13 – Corey Kluber 90.5 points vs Cardinals
September 25 – Carlos Carrasco 89 points vs Royals
August 30 – Jake Arrieta 88.5 points vs Dodgers

Wow! I think it should come as little surprise that two of the top five, and several of the best starts overall, came in September. Those September call-ups can make a difference compared to the rest of the season.

However, September call-ups do go both ways. As we can see below, the average points per start goes way down in September.

Average PPS by Month

April 24.25
May 24.97
June 25.47
July 25.04
August 23.25
September 22.29

Shorter outings, extra pitchers sitting in the bullpen, rookies getting a shot, injuries taking a toll, pitch counts… Everything could be counting into that low September number. It was most surprising to me that August was trending downwards so dramatically. It really catches up to September quickly.

Diving a bit deeper into those monthly numbers. You see a similar trend in innings pitched per start.

April 5.73 IP
May 5.94 IP
June 5.96 IP
July 5.90 IP
August 5.80 IP
September 5.55 IP

Well, that is interesting. Starts in April are shorter than August by some small fraction, but April starts are good for a point more per start over starts in August. Obviously pitcher quality plays a huge role. Pitching is not a healthy thing to do and by August if the pitcher was going to break down, he is already broken by now. You can see it there.

In this kind of fantasy baseball league, starts are a very important commodity. I feel like the whole point of this post is to drive home how valuable those 6th, 7th and 8th starters on your roster are. Week 1, for most teams, you may not even use them at all. Barring some kind of amazing luck, you can see here that come August and early September when playoff races are finishing and the playoffs are starting, pitching gets thinner quickly.

You might just start to find comfort in having those extra guys sitting around and doing nothing in April, because you can see that the future is dark and full of terror.

Trade: TBD | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

TBD sends: UT Miguel Sano ($48), 1B Eric Hosmer ($25), SS Alex Bregman (ML), SP Jorge Lopez ($5) and SP Edinson Volquez ($7)
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses send: SP Madison Bumgarner ($81), SP Tanner Roark ($2), RP Dellin Betances ($14), 3B Matt Chapman (ML) and $4 in 2017 Auction Dollars

Jordan’s thoughts: Wow. I’m not sure where to begin and before I sleep on it I’ll write a few hundred words.

Okay so lets switch our strengths for weaknesses and see what happens? I honestly do not know what to think of this. So it wasn’t a secret that the Diabeetuses not only lacked insulin charges, they lacked starting pitching depth, right? So they send off three more pitchers, because you know, fuck them. They get back a stud hitter, a good hitter, a potentially exciting prospect, a wish and a floppy arm.

Alright…

On the other side, let’s give you a whole pitching staff. Sure. Bummy is outstanding, not really a lot to mention there. Roark if he sticks in the rotation, is fine. Betances should be fine. Some auction cash, a prospect, whatever.

I will take a stab at why this deal got done. WBFD had these aces they spent pretty money on, but no hitters. TBD had these pretty hitters but no pitching. Lets switch some. Okay. Done. I guess they both have a more balanced team going forward. That’s fine.

The simulator here suggests that neither really hurt or improved themselves. I guess that is a win-win. Trading holes is what I have been known to call this kind of transaction. If each participant feels comfortable covering the new holes they created, great.

I love this trade because it is exciting. There are so many pieces moving back and forth. I do not understand this trade, and I think I am okay with that.

Andrew’s thoughts: As Jordan mentioned, strengths were traded for strengths here.

I believe that before trades of any kind, the Diabeetuses had a bottom-3 offense and a top-3 pitching staff. Maybe it wasn’t that extreme, but you get the point. Following the trade, WBFD has maybe a bottom-6 offense and a significantly worse pitching staff? Hopefully my math is wrong. WBFD has added some keepable pieces and spread salaries around a good deal, which is awesome. Except you don’t know if this team is any good yet, so maybe you don’t want to keep all these pieces together? And maybe the team was competitive as a top-heavy unit? WBFD has also now spent $8 of 2017 auction cash already, which maybe ends up being irrelevant, but could be a hurdle if the plan is to go young and keep your squad in tact. Their trades have gotten them way under budget but as I’ve mentioned before, getting under budget for 2017 before the first pitch of 2016 isn’t necessarily advantageous.

If Carlos Martinez takes a step forward into ace territory (this might be more likely than not) then the blow of losing Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta is softened.

I think TBD, who was known to have been shopping Troy Tulowitzki for pitching, did the smart thing and instead put a young, affordable hitter on the block. I love Tulo, but at his salary and with his injury history, he’s just not worth a Bumgarner type guy. Miguel Sano, clearly, is capable of fetching that.

TBD’s offense is largely unaffected. It’s technically worse because Sano and Hosmer are gone, but I’m not sure it’s noticeably worse. The pitching is way better with Bumgarner at the top, but there’s still work to be done. On weeks where Bumgarner starts just once, you’ve still got to fill six starts from Phil Hughes, Jimmy Nelson, Andrew Heaney… meh. Someone there will take a leap and become a viable SP2, but there will be a lot of spin-around-with-your-head-on-a-baseball-bat-and-then-throw-a-dart choices going on here.

I’m inclined to prefer the Bumgarner side as a short term play, but WBFD probably has an edge if you’re looking to the future. Bregman is valuable, right? This one is even as I see it.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

Rocky Mtn Oysters send: OF George Springer ($49), SP Anderson Espinoza, 2017 1st Round Pick
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses send: SP Jake Arrieta ($84), 2017 5th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: In my opinion, this is a big win for the Rocky Mtn Oysters.

For The Fighting Diabeetuses, the objective here was obviously to shed some starting pitcher salary — this is a team paying Jose Fernandez and Madison Bumgarner too — and so I get the logic. In George Springer, you get a young batter with a proven major league track record, room to get even better, and a palatable salary, all the while freeing up space.

The problem is that budget space right now is not really a thing. We can go over budget in season here, so WBFD effectively had a year to wiggle around and get set for 2017. To me, this is just too preemptive a move. I was somewhat in on Arrieta myself but still didn’t understand that aspect of it. This team is now way under budget and can probably keep the majority of the roster in tact next year, which is neat, but I’m not convinced that’s worth much. The offense is better today, sure. But I’m also not sure adding Springer changes it dramatically. “Better” is a relative term. I would’ve much rather held my three high paid pitchers and seen if they could carry me through the first several weeks of baseball.

Getting Anderson Espinoza and that pick are helpful, I suppose, but again, adding them doesn’t offset the wonky timing for me. I’d rather have Espinoza than my 15th best minor leaguer, but I’m not rushing to give up one of the 10 most valuable players in our league to get him.

For the Oysters, being able to pair Arrieta with Max Scherzer should provide a huge weekly advantage. The offense takes another hit and actually looks quite rough to me now, but there’s no reason someone won’t fork over a hitter for Luis Severino, Kenta Maeda, or Collin McHugh, guys that are now a whole lot more expendable. Of course, a savvy trade owner might look at his team, recognize Dusty’s need to flip one of those starters for hitting is greater than their own need to do the opposite, and gauge him a little on price.

Dusty’s team sits way over budget for 2017 now. He’s looking at having to shed $104 or so (remember, he bought himself $20 of auction budget), but that’s not a bridge he needs to cross today and his worst case scenario might just be dumping all but his best five or six guys, which might not even be such a bad thing.

Jordan’s thoughts: Right off the bat, this trade just confuses the hell out of me. According to my line up projection simulator, both teams were neck and neck in the bottom half of projections. Not a enviable place for anyone to be. Prior to the trade the Oysters were projected for roughly 569. points per week. The Diabeetuses were projected for 567.1 points per week. Bad Good enough to rank 11th and 12th respectively.

The trade for the Oysters looks pretty decent. They get the better player at a decent value. Anytime you can add another ace you have to do it. Springer does hurt the offense as Bailey stated above. I also agree with Bailey’s assessment that now Dusty has at least two solid pitching bullets to trade for hitting. Which if timed right, and a little luck sprinkled in, could be a huge positive swing.

All that being said, as it stands right now, Dusty did improve his weekly projected output to 572.3, but now ranks in the same 11th place compared to the entire league. But, for Dusty to take that jump into the next level he needs to make better use of his now stack of assets in the rotation. My simulator sees it as a waste, but I have yet to configure my simulator with the “Dusty factor” Although I’m not certain there’s an algorithm capable of figuring out Dusty.

Was the blood sugar low again for the Fighting Diabeetuses? Before jumping into the numbers, a qualitative look can say, well when you have Martinez, Bumgarner, and Fernandez, you can stand to lose Arrieta. That is mostly right. However, George Springer, while being a huge addition as the best projected hitter on this team in 2016, is not really enough to compensate the loss of Arrieta.

What the Diabeetuses are missing to make this deal alright, is starting pitching depth on the back end. Nate Karns has not won the job yet in Seattle, Roenis Elias will likely spend more time in the bullpen this season, and Tanner Roark was not a starter last year which means even though he should be a starter this year, his innings may be reduced.

All that said, my projection simulator now has the Diabeetuses suffering through 22 replacement starts. Nearly one a week. That’s too many, they now NEED another full time starting pitcher, probably two.

Springer does make the entire hitting core better. Springer slots into the CF position, flanked by Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty. Jackie Bradley Jr now gets to back them all up nicely and fill in at utility when needed. That’s great. Hitting depth matters too and now they have it.

The cost was just too damn high. The Diabeetuses tumble down to the 16th projected line up in Dynasty Grinders. Dipping to 556 points per week was a huge hit to their total. It’s hard to fall in love with a trade like this. As a commissioner it is great to see the league ready to move big pieces and create some stir, but baseball is a long year and I think what we saw here on both ends was a overlooking of what depth really is.

I can’t help but think, what if McHugh and Rusney Castillo switched teams in this deal as well. Maybe something else in the deal has to happen to make that work out, but both teams would have benefited more from that switch. Perhaps both teams have future moves on the table ready to move up or down.

This trade as a whole, I have to call it a win for Dusty, slightly, his team does improve, having more aces is better than not, but he went from relying on Buxton to coming through to desperately depending on him. It could work out. For Josh, well I see why he did it. I just think the reasons may be misguided. If George Springer breaks out as a top 10 fantasy hitter, this clearly works out for him, but…