Trade: We Talk Fantasy Sports | Long Ball to LF

We Talk Fantasy Sports sends: 1B Chris Davis ($48)
Long Ball to LF sends: 1B/3B Travis Shaw ($5), SP Matt Moore ($11), 2017 1st Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: Long Ball to LF needed a 1B and got one of the better ones without giving up any significant pieces, so I definitely like this deal for them. Chris Davis is one of the best power bats in the game and at $48, he’s priced well.

On the WTFS side, I guess I get it here. They’re cutting costs and trying to find surplus value. On the cutting costs front, I’m just having a hard time figuring out who they’re chipping off value to keep. Like, with Hustle Loyalty Respect, he’s got a $49 Adam Wainwright and a $42 Garrett Richards that if he can finagle his budget enough, he might like to keep. They’re overpriced, but pitchers are valuable, whatever. With WTFS, I’m not sure if they’re hoping to have budget space for auction or positioning themselves to keep certain players.

I can’t really identify any players that make the latter seem likely. Punting Davis in order to keep, like, $17 Elvis Andrus and $27 Colin McHugh, for instance, seems weird. I want to imagine they’re dumping to keep $38 Byron Buxton. Because that means he’s got to perform that much better not just to justify his own salary, but to justify the dumping of quality talent to keep him around. :buxton: If it’s the former, well, that’d be kind of a fun “zig while everyone else zags” strategy, since it seems like the consensus is that the auction won’t have a ton to offer.

I’m not a Matt Moore fan because he’s HR-prone and that’s a dagger in this format, but pitching in San Francisco helps suppress bombs and raises his floor quite a bit. He’s worth $11 either way, as most any competent pitcher is. And Travis Shaw is only $5, moves to a full time role in hitter-friendly Milwaukee, and has bonus 3B eligibility. Downgrading from Davis to Shaw is a massive drop-off though.

And the pick is whatever. It’s the ninth overall pick, so they’ll land a top-100 prospect there almost definitely. Depending who they get and how well that player does through May or June, they could turn around and flip whoever they draft for profit.

Jordan’s thoughts: I think the haul for Chris Davis here is a bit light. Not so much that you need to make a big fuss about it. I know that Davis was shopped around and if this was the most attractive package they could get, well that’s the market. Bravo to both teams.

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: The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses | Capital City Ironmen

The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses sends: SP Edinson Volquez ($9)
Capital City Ironmen send: LF Corey Dickerson ($12)

Andrew’s defense: Meh.

Neither of these players are exciting, but Dickerson fills a LF need for WBFD and my pitching staff has a low floor for innings pitched, so Volquez seemed like a cheap way of helping out there.

Dating back five years, Volquez has averaged more than 187 innings per season. Here are his fantasy points per start each of those years: 18.13, 26.4, 26.33, 18.23, 25.03. Pretty boring stuff. If I can get the guy who was a league average starter three of five years for $9, I’ll be content. I think there’s plenty of surplus value in an average pitcher for $9. I also think moving to the National League and pitching in Marlins Park help him get to that average level. Plus, he’s really the only proven durable guy on the Marlins’ staff, so he’s likely to be the default “number one starter” type guy who gets asked to soak up extra innings.

Steamer projects Volquez at 25.36 points per start this year and Fantrax, whose projections you shouldn’t buy into, peg him at 24.28. For his purposes, acceptable all around. FYI, Steamer has Dickerson at 4.84 points per game and 672.7 points total, which is respectable. Fantrax has him at 4.73/695.5. I grew tired of his $12 salary and inability to hit lefties (.259 wOBA) or on the road (.271 wOBA), but if he actually hits those totals, $12 is perfectly fine.

I think both of these players were probably facing good odds of being cut. Given their cost and volatility, there’s still probably a chance WBFD and I end up changing our minds two months from now and dumping them. But by swapping teams, their odds of getting cut probably went down a bit.

Jordan’s thoughts: I’d rather have any SP who might be useful for under $10, than lots of things. I don’t think Corey Dickerson is a bad pickup, he might be better next year, might not.

I think this trade is fine for both sides honestly. As Andrew said above, both players were not far from the chopping block, but they’re more useful to the other team. It’s a valuable swap in that way.

Trade: Team Hydra | Capital City Ironmen

Team Hydra sends: RF Nelson Cruz ($34), 4th round 2017 Draft Pick
Capital City Ironmen send: 1B Dan Vogelbach ($1 ML), 1st round 2017 Draft Pick (#11), $2 in 2017 Team Budget

Jordan’s thoughts: Hey look, back-to-back trades for my co-commish for older outfielder stars. One thing that I didn’t consider in my opinions of the previous trade, was the potential that WTFS would need to cut McCutchen due to budget reasons. As for that deal and this deal. I don’t think it changes my opinion a whole lot.

I hope beyond hope as a Mariners fan that Vogelbach is an interesting piece to own in fantasy soon. I don’t really believe it as I see his fantasy upside something as your swing UT #2 guy. Useful, but not great.

The 11th overall pick could be interesting in the long term and has some value. But, its really only worth its weight in hype. The budget money moving one way or another I’m sure helps Hydra make one decision easier and that has value.

But, I think punting the #3 overall RF last year is a bit of mistake. At least this is a sell low. It is early in the off-season to be in this position for my liking. I know they were shopping him, but this is the best?

As for Andrew, consider his position. He sold his team, upgraded young assets, and then bought two win now assets on the market for dimes on the dollar. Is Cruz as good as he was last year next year? STEAMER projects say no, not close. But, they still have him as a serviceable starter. Again, I believe this is a high floor buy, with proven talent to reach 1,000 points.

If you believe the draft will be full of these kinds of guys, I think you’re wrong. If I am wrong, then Andrew probably would rather have kept his money and bid on things. But, he literally sent a few tiny assets and upgraded his active roster.

I hate it for Hydra, love it for Capital City. But, Hydra is the champs, and Capital City settled for #1 overall. So maybe they know more than this trade leads on.

Andrew’s defense: Hydra won the championship, so I’m sure they’re not too bummed about being way above our $500 cap. But the fact remains, they’re way above the cap.

In that sense, you could assume they might cut a player like Nelson Cruz who, at $34, strikes me as a bargain. Maybe it isn’t Cruz that goes, but someone similar. They do have some easy big dollar cuts ($41 Prince Fielder, $49 Sonny Gray). Still, someone has to go. But “having to go” also could mean they trade him to someone else. Right? It doesn’t mean that player will just be there come auction time, guaranteed, when I’ve got cash to spend. I also have some doubts about what’ll be available in the auction anyway. If a guy like Cruz gets there, I think there’s a good shot he’s one of the few impact players available and as a result, goes for well more than $34. He was easily worth more than $34 last year.

As for projections and such, here’s Cruz’s wOBA over the past four years: .383, .396, .370, .359. That’s consistency. There’s some risk because he’s old and sometimes old guys see their skills erode or get hurt. But Cruz seems safe to me. That is to say, if he does suddenly fall off, it’s not like I would pull up his FanGraphs page and go “oh yeah, should’ve seen this coming.” And if he gets hurt, well… it happens.

As for what I gave up, I like Vogelbach a lot. He’s fun. He’s a big old round guy that hits a ton. He’s like Ferns, but you know, hits a ton. I don’t doubt his ability to hit, but I worry for his opportunity and think the lack of defense could be a detriment to his playing time. Plus, if he’s only a 1B or UT, the bar is higher. And his cost control clock has started, so if he’s only going to get 250-300 PAs next year, that’s another year of control gone for the sake of a bench hitter.

The pick is neat. Based on my early draft rankings, the 11th overall pick translates to something around the 65th or 70th prospect on a list (an overall list, not a fantasy list). Those players are risky. Also, there are a lot of pitching prospects in the 11th overall range, and pitchers are risky too. I would have loved to use that pick, but I also spent all of last year acquiring prospects and have picks two, three, and four. I think I can spare one lottery ticket for a really good player at a good salary.

Trade: TBD | Rocky Mtn Oysters

TBD sends: RF David Peralta ($19)
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Zack Greinke ($80)

Andrew’s thoughts: Coming into the 2016 season, David Peralta was one of my favorite players. He broke out in a massive way the season prior, posting a .380 wOBA, which was good for a 12th in all of baseball. He only had a .299 wOBA against LHP, so he was still a platoon option, but at least he was destroying RHP. His batted ball profile also looked great: a meager 13.3% soft hit rate flanked by a 35.4% hard hit rate. Only 30 players hit balls harder than Peralta in 2015.

All that said, 2016 was a disaster. He came to the plate only 183 times and his wOBA dipped to a replacement level-like .308. Worse, while he got it up to .306 against LHP, his wOBA versus RHP plummeted to .309. But most of his pitfalls last year can be attributed to injury. His wrist ailed him all year and he eventually had surgery in August, which is the easiest explanation of what went wrong.

As a $19 bet for 2019, you could do a lot worse than Peralta. That salary is obviously way too much for a guy with a wRC+ of 84, as he hit last year. But a wRC+ of 137 like he did in 2015? Or even a 109 like he had in 2014? For $19, you’ll take it.

DrivingTheBus

But while Peralta has easy excuses for his poor 2016, Zack Greinke really doesn’t. He had the oblique injury, but he did his DL stint and came back from it. He moved from Los Angeles to Arizona and that obviously hurt him. At home last year, Greinke pitched to a 4.35 FIP, a 4.54 xFIP, and had a K-BB% of 8.9%. Peralta’s injuries can heal. Only a trade can rescue Greinke from hitter’s park purgatory.

But even away from home, Greinke wasn’t his usual self. His road FIP was 3.88 and he gave up bombs at a 1.46 HR/9 clip. You put all these things together and you’re looking at a replacement level type pitcher.

Prior to 2016 though, Greinke was one of the premier starting pitchers in baseball. His $78 salary last year was perfectly fine. He’d had seven straight seasons where he posted a FIP of 3.34 or lower. So in trading for an $80 pitcher with Greinke’s history, TBD is taking a rather expensive gamble that last year was a fluke. And I don’t hate that gamble.

Even as bad as Greinke’s numbers looked, he still averaged 24.81 fantasy points per start. This is because he’s on the depth chart as an ace, he’s paid to be an ace, and so he’s managed like an ace. A rotation’s fourth starter may struggle through four or five innings and get pulled, but that won’t happen to Greinke often. He’ll stay in and grind through six or seven innings. His floor is pretty safe.

And while ideally, yes, you want $80 of value or more from a guy you’re paying $80 to, TBD can sort of justify Greinke just being an expensive safety valve with colossal upside when they’ve also got a $4 Tanner Roark, a $8 Jon Gray, and a $5 Steven Wright. Looking at it through that lens, you’re investing $97 in four pitchers ($24.25/each).  And if Greinke struggles against in 2017, oh well, just cut him next year. For the short term though, I count six players, including Greinke, with $409 worth of salary — and that’s pre-greed allocation. So this is setting up be the stars-iest and scrubs-iest roster of them all.

I think this trade makes sense for both sides. Dusty absolutely had to dump salary and I can’t imagine many teams willing to give up anything significant for Greinke. TBD had been trying to sell Peralta for months, so clearly the market for him wasn’t strong. It’s very obvious that both of these players, given their 2016 seasons, are big time risks at their current salaries. So I also think you could very easily argue that both players should just be cut and sent back to auction.

Jordan’s thoughts: My early projections still had Dusty keeping Greinke despite his poor 2016 campaign. Zack dipped down to his 2010-2011 levels of mediocre pitching. He has a well documented case of issues that aren’t related to his physical health which could be coming into to play here. He also has 2200 innings under his belt and could just be beginning his decline.

There’s a lot of if’s surrounding Grienke. I still like him to bounce back to the good, but perhaps not great level of performance. He does seem to stay mostly healthy, so you should be able to count on him starting all season. If you can get 28 fantasy starts of 27 points per start out of a reliable starting pitcher, $80 isn’t really that much to ask. A high price sure, but not a terrible one.

Giving up David Peralta here is not hard to do. He’s keepable at that salary, but its not a fun keeper in my opinion. Depending on how big the free agent auction pool will end up being this March, he could have probably gone for less than $10 or  more than $30. Supply and demand is going to be an interesting experiment this off-season.

I don’t love or hate this deal for either team. Fun trade!

Trade: Capital City Ironmen | Hustle Loyalty Respect

Capital City Impalers send: $1 2017 Auction Cash
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Felix Hernandez ($70)

Andrew’s thoughts: 2016 Felix Hernandez is definitely not worth 14% of a team’s budget space heading into 2017. But 2015 Felix Hernandez might be, and 2009-2014 Felix Hernandez most definitely is.

Truthfully, I think all of King Felix’s innings have caught up to him and going forward, he’ll be more 2016 than 2015 and definitely more 2016 than 2009-2014. But here’s the thing: I got $1 of 2017 auction budget last May for Wilmer Flores, so I’m really just sending that dollar for the option to decide what to do with Felix in January or February. I suspect that the Mariners will continue to manage him like he’s their ace regardless of the numbers he’s putting up, which means squeezing seven innings from him when they’d probably pull Tai Walker or James Paxton after six. More innings means more outs, and more outs means more points. He averaged more than six innings per start last year.

On a normal team, the choice is easy: cut him and send him back to auction. What does he go for at auction next year? $25? $30? But I’ve run my projected keeps and cuts, even with $15 greed built in, and I project to have an ample surplus of auction cash. That’s before factoring in Felix’s hefty $70, but even after accounting for it, I should still be among the leaders in budget space (and if I’m not, that means several teams took machetes to their payroll, which means there should be plenty of talent to go around at auction). My pitching staff for next year looks to cost less than $10/starter without Felix. With Felix, that jumps over $15/starter. If you look at it as just an overall cost of a pitching rotation, Felix’s $70 becomes easier to absorb.

For HLR, it’s clear Felix was never going to be kept anyway. He was acquired solely for a playoff run. Compared to his price on August 2 (a reasonably priced MLB outfielder and two quality prospects), $1 of auction budget is nothing. I realize we’re not comparing apples to apples, but whatever. Anyway, HLR turns a player he was going to cut into an easy $1, which maybe makes the difference in a bidding war. He’s up to, I think, $507 in total budget now, so he’s incrementally improved his freedom to spend.

Long story short: HLR gets something instead of nothing, I get a decision to make come roster cut time.

Jordan’s thoughts: Mmmm, Felix.

Trade: The Foundation | Hustle Loyalty Respect

The Foundation sends: SP Felix Hernandez ($68), LF Alex Gordon ($17)
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: LF Melky Cabrera ($4), LF/CF/RF Harrison Bader (minors), LF Alex Jackson (minors)

Andrew’s thoughts: All the playoff teams are snapping up pitching.

This one’s interesting. For The Foundation, going from Alex Gordon to Melky Cabrera is a very solid upgrade, both in performance and salary. Gordon has traditionally been very productive, but at $19 next year and given how he’s looked this year, he’s an easy cut. Melky at $6 in 2017 is a candidate for greed because of how good he’s been. At just 31-years-old, Melky has a few solid years left and the low starting nature of his salary should keep him on Jordan’s team for 2-3 years.

The balance of the trade is a $68 King Felix, who looks like he might be broken, for two quality outfield prospects that have promise but aren’t atop many lists — though Jackson spent two years in the top-50 or so.

In Bader, The Foundation gets a 22-year-old Cardinal prospect — Cardinals prospects always seem to be worth something — who has hit at four minor league levels in two seasons. He’s not a big time prospect, but he looks like he could be another Stephen Piscotty and if he is, that’s worth quite a bit. Jackson, meanwhile, is risky. He’s almost 21-years-old and still at A-ball, but he’s got a .348 wOBA there this year and may be getting back on the right track. After the 2014 season, he was Baseball America’s 20th ranked prospect, so there’s pedigree here. But Mariners prospects are like the antithesis of Cardinals prospects, so who knows?

Meanwhile, at $70 going into next year, Felix is on track to end up cut and back at auction. He’s been right around a league average performer — he’s averaging 24.73 points per start — but is clearly not what he used to be. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up, and his FIP and xFIP are decisively mediocre. The downward trend that started last year has continued into 2016. He has 10 seasons of 190+ innings in his rearview mirror and it may be finally catching up to him.

So what I’m saying is, I don’t think Felix was worth a big haul. If he was prime Felix, sure. But this is 30-year-old rental Felix, with maybe a hope that he turns it around the rest of the way and gets kept. Bader and Jackson, plus turning Gordon into Melky, seems about right. I maybe would have preferred a pick upgrade or some other asset to go to The Foundation just as a “pitcher tax,” but that’s nitpicking.

For HLR, this is a fine upgrade heading into the postseason. His rotation is fronted by Adam Wainwright and Junior Guerra, then there’s a big dropoff to Mike Leake, Kevin Gausman, and Yordano Ventura. This is a volatile pitching staff and Felix is, at this stage of his career, a volatile pitcher. But the price was very reasonable and there’s considerable upside in Felix’s arm for the rest of the season. HLR is in a great spot, but his is a team that I don’t think can afford to just stand pat while his competitors get better, as the three other teams that currently hold playoff spots have all outscored his squad on the season.

Jordan’s thoughts: Trading Felix feels like breaking up with that girlfriend that you still care for, but you’re going in different directions. You leave the door open, perhaps our paths will cross again, and you say good bye.

For HLR getting Felix provides some ample depth at a position they could use. Gordon for Melky for this season is not a huge swing in either way, plus they have other hitters to cover. They’ve out grinded the rest of the league anyway.

For me, Bader is an interesting prospect, perhaps he’s good, perhaps he’s not. He is in a crowded system for a team that does not have an extra spot for hitters. I don’t expect him to help me soon. Swapping for Melky just made sense to me. Finally, acquiring Alex Jackson solved the issue of getting offered Alex Jackson on a weekly bases since the day he was drafted. Win-win-win.

Trade: Team Hydra | TBD

Team Hydra sends: 2B Yoan Moncada (minors)
TBD sends: SP Corey Kluber ($82), RP Dellin Bettances ($14)

Jordan’s thoughts: What a disaster. I get it. You have lots of aces. But, any veteran of fantasy baseball should be well aware, that come fantasy playoff time, pitching rotations change. Two-start weeks start to disappear. That’s why you want seven good and reliable starters, because when it counts (unlike MLB where you can get away with just 3), you need 6 (if you’re lucky) or 7 starters.

Yoan is an impressive prospect, I get it. He probably will see playing time next season. That’s not very helpful now. I don’t see the value in this trade even if TBD was not in the playoff hunt. Trading two real assets for one 21-year-old who is doing quite well in AA seems foolish. Sure, if Moncada comes up and is a top-5 2B, great, you’re sitting on a fat pile of value for a few seasons. However, sitting on players who have great value doesn’t guarantee a future dynasty. Far from it.

Championships require a good roster, great value, but most of all luck. Even if Moncada is a monster and a top 15 MLB fantasy hitter, you still need the other 29 spots on your roster to work out in any given season. And you took a great roster that has a real chance to win it all this season and bruised it hard.

Hydra gets way better here. I love this move for them. They probably can figure out how to keep both players, and they’ll provide more value in the next three or four years than Moncada. Easy move. EVEN IF THEY DON’T keep either player, their shot of winning the whole league just went up because they took from the team they’re tied with and added to their own. Brilliant.

If TBD wins it all anyway, great. “Better lucky than good” is something I hear all too often.

Andrew’s thoughts: Maybe I’m just jealous because I tried to get Moncada and failed, but as soon as this trade popped up in my e-mail, the instinctual feeling I got was “man, prospects are way too valuable.”

I hate this move for TBD and love it for Team Hydra. Respectively, they are the third and fourth place team. They are clinging to the last two playoff spots. I realize TBD can simply fall back on Madison BumgarnerJacob deGrom, Tanner Roark, et al now. But I just don’t love punting an indisputable ace and the top overall relief pitcher at this juncture of the season. Granted, RPs aren’t super valuable, but still.

I get the logic. They rode Kluber long enough to get to this point and are in great postseason position with the most points in the league, thus giving them the tie-breaker should they finish with the same record as another team. They are now handing the keys to luck and in turn, getting arguably the best prospect in baseball. But I’m not sure they got enough for handing a direct postseason competitor two players of this caliber.

Oh well!

One other thing: I had forgotten what the original deal TBD made to get Kluber was and when I went back and looked… my god. This trade somehow manages to make that one look even worse. And from TBD’s perspective, you could argue that since they got Kluber for essentially nothing to begin with, he was just house money anyway. Their low initial investment in Kluber does make me like this move a little more for them.

Trade: The Foundation | Who’s Your Haddy?

The Foundation sends: SP Chris Sale ($93), 2017 4th Round Pick, 2017 3rd Round Pick
Who’s Your Haddy? sends: SP Alex Reyes (minors), LF/CF/RF Nick Plummer (minors), 2017 1st Round Pick, 2018 1st Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: At first glance, I really, really like this deal from the perspective of both teams.

To be clear, Chris Sale is the only piece The Foundation is sending away here. Third and fourth round picks are just whatever. To me, future draft picks that late are only a slight tick above nothing. They’re what you ship to someone if you need to buy a seventh start or what you ask for if you’re waffling about whether or not to cut a player. Or, in this case, they’re what you kick back to the team giving up first round picks to be a fair trade partner.

For Haddy, acquiring Sale this late in the season gives him not just a force at the front of his rotation to maybe go from an unexpected 9-7 to a playoff spot, but it also gives him a big time asset that he can keep. Just like I said with the recent Max Scherzer trade, I don’t believe this is a rental by any means. Earlier this year, Haddy swung a deal that effectively downgraded from Mookie Betts to AJ Pollock in 2017, while also freeing up $53. He doesn’t have a ton of easy cuts on his roster, but I think if you couple that savings with cutting someone like $30 Adrian Gonzalez or $32 Todd Frazier and then keeping Sale, you’re coming out ahead. So it’s a win-now move and sort of a long play into next year.

Let’s be clear though: Sale has some concerns. And I don’t mean his being a sociopath. His strikeouts are way down. Like, way down. He’s striking out three fewer hitters per nine innings than he did last year. He and the White Sox have been preaching a “pitch to contact” philosophy, but who knows if that’s just dancing around decreased performance. His walks are also up slightly, his home runs are up, and his BABIP is the best it’s ever been, so in some ways he’s been lucky. His FIP has gone from 2.73 last year to 3.69 and his xFIP from 2.60 to 3.74. He’s still Chris Sale. He’s still really good. He’s averaging almost 35 points a start. I’m just saying… his profile has some warts this year.

Meanwhile, for The Foundation, this move turns a lot of gears. The draft picks are fine. Haddy’s pick currently projects to be 10th overall and theoretically his team should improve, so that’s likely a pick in the 10-12 range. All first round picks are not created equal, of course, so while “omg a 1st round pick!” is cool, that really comes out to the 10th- or 12th-best prospect that is several years away from reaching the big leagues. The one in 2018 is nice too. Picks are just really hard to gauge, but for me personally, I’d always rather have them than not and they’re something I like to try to upgrade when possible. I think if you’re trading a player of Sale’s caliber, you need to recoup as much value as possible, and wildcard draft picks help accomplish that.

The headliner though is obviously Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes. I think you could easily make the case that he’s better than Tyler Glasnow, the headline piece for Scherzer, and maybe even the second best pitching prospect in baseball behind Lucas Giolito. Some might even debate that. Reyes projects to be really, really good. And as a bonus, he’ll get to pitch in a park that does a good job suppressing home runs for a team that is always competitive.

But here’s the other thing moving Sale does: it opens up the space to keep $111 Bryce Harper, $90 Paul Goldschmidt, and $59 Jon Lester. Or anyone, really. One swift trade opened up a bunch of space. And yeah, he could have just held Sale until the off-season and explored something else to free up space, but I think now was the time to strike if you can land a prospect like Reyes and some picks to tinker around with.

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.