Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

Who’s Your Haddy? sends: CF AJ Pollock ($54), CF Lewis Brinson (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick
TBD sends: SP Zack Greinke ($80), SS Willy Adames (minors), 2017 4th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I don’t love Greinke at his price or Pollock at his, but their track records are certainly cause for optimism. But man… was Greinke even getting kept? TBD was tight against their budget, he’s really expensive, and he’s coming off a discouraging year. I think it was like 60/40 he was getting sent to auction. So trading Pollock, a top-25-ish fantasy prospect, and a pick upgrade for him is a lot given that so many players that were going to end up cut seem to have been dealt at discount prices. I mean, within this same off-season, Greinke was already dealt straight up for David Peralta. So this looks like a really great short term investment for TBD.

The difficulty with Greinke or any $80 player, really, is that they have to be elite to return value. And I love Greinke historically. I’d rather gamble $80 on him than some other guys and I think every now and then you have to roll the dice on guys that have been great year in and year out. But still, it’s a big gamble.

And I sort of hate to do it, but because it was such a hot button deal when it went down, I have to circle back to it: Pollock was originally acquired, along with David Dahl, for Mookie Betts. Remember that? Pollock was hurt and Betts at $61 seems totally reasonable, so at the time, everyone was just so taken aback. It looked so much like a deal to save some cash and turn attention to 2017, which is fine. But here we are, and now Pollock got swapped for Greinke, who is $10 more costly than Betts. It’s just really hard not to connect these two. It’d be different if Pollock was healthy at the time, but his arm was broke and he was effectively done for the year, so there was no other way to look at it then “eyeing 2017.” Dahl still came of that deal, and with Coors setting his floor, he looks like he’ll be solid. But Brinson’s a similar prospect, right? Worse park, obviously. But a year or two from now, might Brinson and Dahl be interchangeable? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, including Brinson kinda chews into some of the value of Dahl from that original deal.

But that’s a totally different trade. For this one… I just really prefer the TBD side. Their pitching can absorb not having to take the Greinke gamble. Pollock should be good. Brinson should be decent at some point. I like Willy Adames, but shortstop isn’t as weak as it once was, so how much is his playing there really worth? And jumping up two rounds in the draft is just a nice bonus.

Jordan’s thoughts: Haddy gets another play that I really enjoy and like. Greinke. He’s awesome. But, what in the fuck are you doing here man? I believe Greinke bounces back, but Pollock should too right? There’s just something going on here. What does Haddy know that I’m not seeing? I’m lost.

Is Willy Adames the secret? Is his stock rising or something? Guh.

Trade: The Foundation | Hustle Loyalty Respect | Capital City Ironmen

The Foundation sends: 2B Neil Walker ($18) [to CAP]
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: SP Adam Wainwright ($49) [to CAP], C Yadier Molina ($6) [to FND], 2017 1st Round Pick [to CAP]
Capital City Ironmen sends: 2017 1st Round Pick [to HLR]

Andrew’s thoughts: So in summation: HLR gets the 4th overall pick, I slide back to the 16th overall pick, get Neil Walker and his back problems, plus Adam Wainwright, and The Foundation gets Yadier Molina. This was a fun trade.

I really needed a 2B and didn’t like any of the options already sitting in free agency or on the trade market. I also felt really torn with the fourth overall pick. My list is pretty clear for the first two or three guys, but after that, it’s just a random dart throw for me between players with low ceilings versus players that are three years away from debuting, much less being fantasy relevant. So I hedged a bit on the pick front, moving back to 16th where there are some names I like and going ahead and adding my 2B.

Walker ranks 11th in wOBA at 2B from 2015-16 and 6th if you go back to 2014-16. I have no doubts about his skills. He walks a good bit, doesn’t strike out much, and has some pop. He had the back surgery last year, which is where my doubts lie, but $18 is really not that much. I don’t see how, at that price, he’s any more risky than some 19- or 20-year-old that’s just getting their feet wet in the minors.

Oh, and Adam Wainwright! I like him. Whether or not I keep him at $49 remains to be seen, but I like having the option. He’s a little over-priced, but last year was basically the only sub-par year he ever had and pitching at auction isn’t likely to be deep, so I’ll take the wildcard. Inquire if you’re interested in him! Absolute worst case, I kept HLR from trading him to someone else for $1 and ensured that if he makes it to auction, it’s because I made the call.

Jordan’s defense: I have been after a catcher since the off season started. Yadi was on the trade block, but Jonny and I had issues making a deal that fit well. Yadi’s Steamer projections have him as the 8th best catcher next year while taking a significant step back from last year’s production.

I enjoy not having to deal with Derek Norris or catcher streaming going forward. It cost me Neil Walker who was a borderline keeper for my team anyway. I would rather have Neil Walker than not, but since I picked him up off the waiver wire (shouldn’t have been there), I felt little connection to him. I will take a starting catcher for the sacrifice of not having a good back up at 2B and UT.

For HLR the motivation for the deal is clear. Moving to the fourth pick of the draft is both exciting and potentially profitable for a catcher slated to be a back up on his team and starting pitcher headed to the auction pool.

For Andrew, well I actually think he could have sold the pick for more. But, when you have three of the top four picks, securing a starting 2B and an option on a former ace with potential to return to glory, there are worse deals.

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: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Preseason Double Stuffs sends: SP Lance McCullers ($30), 2017 5th Round Pick
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: CF Manuel Margot ($1; cost controlled), SP Luiz Gohara, 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: I like Lance McCullers, but he’s been hurt a lot and it’s hard to place trust in him to compile innings, at least in 2017. The most innings he’s thrown in a season was 125.2 in 2015. He only hit 81 last year. Is 150 a reasonable, maybe even optimistic, over/under for him in 2017? In a H2H league, can you trust him to be healthy come the postseason? The Double Stuffs need to cut salary, so someone had to go. Given the price here of a decent prospect and spare parts, I assume McCullers was a cut or at least on the bubble.

I mean, I like this for Dusty getting a talent like McCullers. I question a bit why he’s splurging his cap space on pitchers when that’s already his strength. Of course, McCullers probably has more re-sale value in season if he pitches well to start the year or even just after the auction, when people look at their teams and feel light on pitching.

But if the Double Stuffs were going to dump McCullers anyway, getting a cheap CF prospect with some upside is fine. The other pieces don’t amount to much, I don’t think.

Jordan’s thoughts: I think McCullers ends up being a bullpen pitcher, which in our league has some value, but not at that price tag. I’d probably shy away from paying his auction salary this year to see if I’m wrong.

I like Gohara for some reason. Probably because he’s in the Mariners organization and I hear his name more often than necessary. Is Margot going to amount to anything? Easy to pay $1 to wait and see for another year.  I like this deal for the Double Stuffs.

The deal could work out for RMO, the didn’t pay a ton for McCullers, besides the presumed auction price tag.

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.