Andrew’s thoughts: Haddy swinging this deal from court is ironic since I think he should be put on trial for robbery. Hey-ooooooo!
I traded $6 and one of the 4ths in this deal for the 24th overall pick. So for some reason Dusty’s paying basically the same price for picks two full rounds later. Whatever, I guess. Feels like an overcorrection to having a ton of auction budget and no draft picks. Aren’t Will Benson and Joey Wentz the type of guys you can wait and find on waivers later? Meh. Maybe they’re awesome and I have no clue what I’m talking about. Better hope they sprout trade value by July.
Jordan’s thoughts: The price of getting on the draft clock seems to be roughly $5. This is for back to back picks. Cool I guess.
The inaugural Dynasty Grinders regular season is over! Team Hydra edges out TBD on the back of recently traded Corey Kluber. We’ll never know if the 90 point swing was enough to sink TBD or not.
Hustle Loyalty Respect edges out the Trumpa Loompas to finish in 3rd place. We Talk Fantasy Sports topped Team Canada to win the second tier bracket. Who’s Your Haddy beat Rocky Mountain Oysters to win the third tier. Finally, In shorter line for the win topped The Foundation to win the Toilet Bowl bracket.
The first season was a real experience. I’m already looking forward to season 2! Have a fun off-season.
Yesterday, I pulled the trigger on a 14-piece trade that could succinctly be described as the first “sell” move of 2016. That is to say, the first trade aimed toward improving a team in the future more so than the present.
The deal, agreed to with the Preseason Double Stuffs, is outlined and analyzed by third parties right here.
First things first: though there are a bunch of pieces in this trade, many of them are superfluous. Some guys went to the Double Stuffs that would have been cut from my end to make room for new guys and I received one player back that they would have cut. In my mind, the deal was this:
Right out of the gate, my decision to sell was really pretty simple: my team is last in record, last in points, and has two major injuries (Carlos Carrasco and Tyson Ross) that make digging out of that hole extremely difficult. If those two guys are healthy, I’m not selling yet (and frankly, my team is probably significantly better to the point that selling parts hasn’t even entered my head).
Our championship bracket allows only four teams in, so I saw my team as being in a deep hole five plus weeks in and needing to jump 12 teams to get into that bracket. That’s a tall order, particularly without the pitchers I mentioned before for at least a few more weeks (I’m not sure Ross makes it back this year, but who knows?).
When I ultimately decided to sell and set out to do so, I’m pretty sure I told everyone I spoke to that I wanted multiple pieces for any of my impact players. And my preference was to check multiple boxes. By that, I mean a minor league piece, a major league piece, a draft pick piece, and/or an auction cash piece. I didn’t need all four, but I wanted a multi-faceted return.
Without divulging private conversations, I can tell you that almost every team I spoke to was balking at that. Draft picks were being viewed at a premium and most teams seemed unwilling to offer more than one prospect in return.
The obvious question is: does waiting a while longer change that? If in the next month a contending team suffers a few injuries, do negotiations change? Probably. The flip side of that is, with Gray coming off three rough starts, he could conceivably just be broken and worth nothing in a month’s time. He’s suffered some velocity decreases recently and he’s a little guy, so that’s worrying. Personally, I think he’ll be fine. He’s a top-20 pitcher two years running and $49 for that type of performer is a bargain. But still, there’s a chance that he’s broken and the risk of waiting to find out just didn’t seem worth it.
Side note with regards to approaching Gray with trepidation: I don’t trust a word Billy Beane says and if Gray does end up getting traded this season, I think most logical destinations sting his value. Going to the Dodgers isn’t so bad, but the Red Sox? I don’t like that.
It’s also possible that a month from now, two or three other teams see the walls close in on their 2016 and enter the market. I’d rather just be the first buyer.
I look at this deal as getting five pieces back that check three boxes: minor league piece(s), major league piece, draft pick piece.
In Phillips, Happ, and Bellinger, I see three top-100 prospects — Phillips and Happ are, at least in my mind, top-50 types — that are relatively close to the majors. In our minor league draft, these guys went 25th, 57th, and 104th overall. MLB.com ranks them 29th, 72nd, and 97th on their prospect list. Baseball America says 57th, 87th, and has Bellinger way up at 54th. Lists are what they are. Take them or leave them, whatever.
I don’t need these guys this year, so not debuting until 2017 is fine. Coupled with my recent addition of Clint Frazier, it’s conceivable that I have an entire outfield in 2017-18 that costs essentially nothing.
The low cost of prospects and the freeing up of over $100 of budget is an added bonus of this deal. In that sense, I could argue that my fourth box, auction cash, was checked as well. The Preseason Double Stuffs are now well over budget for 2017, which means there’s $100+ worth of cuts floating out there. Look at the Rocky Mountain Oysters as well. That team is also well over budget for 2017. It’s too early to put too much stock in future budgets, I think, but what I’m getting at is, next year, I could have a shot at buying Miggy back, or at least buying back a few players that add up to Miggy because other teams will be in a position where they’re forced to make drastic cuts to keep those high salaried players.
As for Soler, he’s still just 24 years old and ZiPS/Steamer project him for a .322/.319 wOBA the rest of the season. Coming into the year, ZiPS pegged him for a .333 wOBA and 17 homers. Playing time is a major concern for him, obviously, but a player with those numbers is useful. Maybe he gets sent down to AAA to get regular at-bats, maybe he gets traded, who knows? I think he’s a gamble worth taking. As Jonny pointed out in reviewing this deal, if we did our auction a year earlier, Soler likely goes for $30-$40 based on his performance the year prior, age, and upside. I mean, Byron Buxton went for $32 and his wOBA at the major league level is .066 points lower than Soler’s (small sample size, I know).
The last piece coming my way is a first round draft pick which, if the season ended today, would be fifth overall. Of course, adding Cabrera, Gray, and even Ruiz to improve the catching situation a bit likely improves the Preseason Double Stuffs enough to worsen that pick — perhaps significantly. The pick could end up anywhere. Either way, I’ve now secured myself two picks in the top-16 and four in the top-32, so when our minor leagues expand by five slots, I’m in a more favorable position. (Aside: I’ve got a 3rd rounder that I’d like to attach a useful player to in exchange for a 1st or possibly 2nd rounder, so get in touch if that’s something that might interest you.)
So where does my team go from here?
Offensively, a week from now I get Alex Rodriguez back and he slides into a UT spot, effectively replacing Cabrera in my lineup. He’s a lesser hitter, but I’m not sure the gap between them is going to be super noticeable given our head-to-head format. ZiPS says there’s a .042 difference in wOBA between them the rest of the way, which is significant but not disastrous.
My offense has a lot of similar, productive players — Nick Markakis, Corey Dickerson, Michael Saunders, Mike Napoli — that have made choosing a daily lineup difficult. I’ve had points on my bench instead of in my lineup a few times just from the coin falling on heads instead of tails, essentially. A fringe benefit now, I suppose, is having fewer choices and being able to just ride a core group of players. I’m only thinking of this now, it certainly wasn’t a driving force in doing a deal.
My pitching, which was supposed to be my strength, is probably going to suck, but it has sucked already anyway. As of today, I’ve lost more points to home runs allowed than any other team and I’m dead last in net pitching points by more than 100. Eventually Carrasco and hopefully Ross return and there’s a lot of positive regression due — the last I checked, my SPs’ HR/9 was somewhere north of 1.70 which just isn’t a thing that happens — but ouch.
Like I said, I do expect Gray to get it together, so not having him around when/if that happens will sting some. Tropeano would have been useful, but he was still likely a match-up play, as his 4.90 FIP and 1.71 HR/9 (with just a 13% HR/FB rate) alludes. And hopefully one or both of Blake Snell and Jake Thompson find their way into a major league rotation this summer anyway.
I’m also not sure at this juncture if there’s another big move in the pipeline. And by that, I mean whether or not Johnny Cueto ($60) or Joey Votto ($70) will get moved.
On Votto, I suspect he will not. He is available, but I never had it in my plans to purge both he and Miggy, so the offer would have to be compelling. He’s greed protected in 2017 by virtue of being one of the 30 highest paid players, so he’ll get his $2 raise to $72 and be perfectly keepable as an offensive anchor.
Selling Cueto, on the other hand, is a more likely option, if only because pitchers are pitchers and in the sense that they are all ticking time bombs, it doesn’t necessarily make sense for them to get closer and closer to going off on a roster that isn’t competing. But I really don’t like losing. I want to keep competing. With Cueto, who is the 7th best starting pitcher based on points per start as of this morning, my team can at least compete weekly, even if it’s futile in the grand scheme of things. Without him, my pitching floor is terrifyingly low until Carrasco comes back. And I’d absolutely love to have him back as a staff ace in 2017.
(So as I was looking up Cueto’s points, I noticed that he’s second overall in points for starting pitchers. He’s also started eight games, while most have started just seven. Anyway, Clayton Kershaw is predictably number one. He’s also started eight games. But get this: Kershaw has 128 more points than Cueto. 128! In the same number of starts! Jose Altuve is the top scoring hitter and he’s 113.4 points behind the Dodgers’ ace. My goodness, Clayton Kershaw is not of this Earth. He is so good that I am going to end this post that has absolutely nothing to do with him on a note about him.)
Jordan’s thoughts: I love this deal for Dusty. Martin Prado has been good. He fills two positions that makes Prado’s floor look a bit higher. Prado is decent enough to fill in the utility role as well. John Gant is an interesting prospect, he’s close to the majors, he’s a pitcher, could he make the jump? Sure! Or maybe not, whatever.
Clint Frazier is tough to lose, he was a prospect on my target list on the draft, and post draft, but he does not appear to a transcendent talent. He’s 21, he’s primed, but he could still be another away. Frazier could turn into a replacement level fantasy outfielder, or be a decent one, who knows. I know that’s such a cop out with prospects, but that is the point of their value in fantasy is it not?
Prado could go on for 3-4 years being useful to various teams. Frazier could go on to be anywhere from nothing to extremely useful for a whole career. How do you weight that value? This trade marks the first one that I can recall that a betterish prospect gets traded for something for today. Sure Gant’s value is there somewhere, but that’s like trading lottery one cost slightly more, has better odds, but either one ultimately could be worth more. Is Bailey selling already?
Andrew’s thoughts: When I acquired Chris Coghlan a while back, it was in part to give myself the flexibility to do something like this eventually. At the time I thought my pitchers would be healthy and team competitive, so I didn’t anticipate trading a vet for a prospect, but here we are.
For the Oysters, Prado should be a good, inexpensive piece. Prado’s the definitive boring but productive player and starting at $6 in 2017, he’s got a couple years of good value left in him. Dusty can slot him into two positions, freeing up the versatile Josh Harrison to slide around elsewhere. What this move really does is boost his second utility spot, since he no longer has to play match-ups and lineup cards with guys like Sean Rodriguez, Ben Paulsen, and Ryan Howard.
He’s been absolutely lights out lately, including a streak of five straight games with multiple hits. But I also expect some regression from him, as he’s currently sporting a .440 BABIP that’s led to a .398 average and a .433 on-base percentage. He should still be good the rest of the way, but this was a good opportunity to sell at his peak.
For me, I feel like getting a top-25 prospect in all of baseball is a big win in a year where I’m struggling to score points. In February, Baseball Prospectus pegged Frazier as the 23rd best dynasty league prospect, slotted between Rafael Devers and Austin Meadows. Frazier was the 39th guy off the board in our minor league draft and I remember thinking at the time that it was too low. Some guys that went ahead of him that I don’t think should have: Tim Anderson, Willson Contreras, Brady Aiken, and Anthony Alford.
With Prado gone, I can plug in either Coghlan, Chase Utley, or Howie Kendrick at 2B and shouldn’t see too precipitous a drop.
Jordan’s thoughts: I still believe in Anibal Sanchez in that something will click and he could be fixed kind of way. He battled injuries last year while being useful when he was available. High strikeouts while getting deep into games was his calling card. Now days he’s padding his stat line with walks and homers, not ideal.
Utility men are useful but lose-able. I think this is a good deal for both teams. I’d rather have Anibal, but that’s more less because I’m a whore for pitching. Both teams can walk away from this deal a winner.
Andrew’s thoughts: This is a fine trade for both sides.
Anibal Sanchez used to be very good but it’s now debatable whether or not he’s even serviceable. For the Oysters, he slots in as a wait and see emergency starter.
Jose Ramirez isn’t special as a slap hitter that makes consistent contact, but he plays a bunch of positions so there’s value as a utility man. As of typing this, he’s a 4.02 point per game, 1.064 point per plate appearance hitter. That’s essentially average. Average is good.
Jordan’s thoughts: Well when you get Francisco Lindor, clearly you don’t need Brandon Crawford anymore. So you give him away. Hernandez has some value from being a strong backup at three positions. Do not confuse him with actually being good. Paulsen is fine, he hits in Coors.
Double Stuff win themselves a likely top ten short stop candidate, even in a field that has risen to the occasion. If Crawford ends up just being top 16, they ended up paying two bench pieces for a starting player. It’s a winning deal. I doubt any of these players have any long term value.
Andrew’s thoughts: I like this one for the Double Stuffs. As Jordan said above, two utility bench players is worth it for a starter. I don’t like Crawford much at all, but for $14, he’s more valuable to a roster than Hernandez or Paulsen.
This is sort of a weird follow up to Dusty’s other deal. He basically bought someone here (Paulsen) who plays the same spots as Hanley Ramirez but not nearly as well, so he acquired someone his previous deal made superfluous, and downgraded his back-up to Francisco Lindor from Crawford to Hernandez.
Jordan’s thoughts: I really don’t like shipping off Kenta Maeda here. Five starts into his short MLB career so far, and he’s been better than advertised. 38 points per start. He’s efficient, able to get deep into games and strike hitters out. He also is quite fun to watch, which probably has less value in fantasy that I give it for.
Maeda just had his worst start where he finished with 27 points. His pitch counts have been well managed and there’s just so much to like about him. Even if Maeda gets hammered by greed dollars, he’s still keepable at under $50. I hate sending him away for anything less tier 1 ace return.
Long ball gets an ace, and they send off some overprice pieces. You’re not a baseball fan if you’re not aware of where Hanley Ramirez‘s value stands. So far this season, he’s not walking, striking out more and the power isn’t making up for it. A .696 OPS for a first basemen is not good enough. The Red Sox have a problem on their hands. Hanley was overpriced in the auction is certain to be dropped at the end of the season. While he does provide some what consistent low bar production, he’s a throw in for this kind of deal.
Francisco Lindor is the presumed prize coming back. He’s been good. Not great, but good. Andrew’s already written about positional adjusted values. Short stops this year have been all good. Lindor’s 5 points per game should have been top 5, but right now its 10th. Aledmys Diaz, Jean Segura, and Zack Cozart are names you should not expect to hold on to finish ahead of Lindor, but they are there now. Guys like Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Starlin Castro, and Corey Seager should not be surprising. If all the sudden short stops are a deep enough position, there’s just no prize here. Guys like Jed Lowrie, Brock Holt, Asdrubal Cabrera have all been better than average for years past. They’re all basically free. If you can get a player who’s an everyday guy without punting the position you are golden. If we knew what we knew now in the draft, I have to imagine that Lindor is going for $25-30. That isn’t insignificant. He’s good, but that perceived value is just gone when the 2nd and 3rd tier of a position show up.
Dusty has really won many trades in this league so far, and this was not one of them. Lindor replaces Jose Ramirez in the line up. It is an improvement. But, now Dusty is one less ace short in a world where you cannot have too many.
Johnny couldn’t cash this check fast enough in my opinion. He gets value for a player he didn’t need. Dallas Keuchel wasn’t enough to carry the rotation, adding Maeda to that makes his pitching staff leagues better. Fantastic move.
Andrew’s thoughts: I know Dusty really likes Lindor and has a solid pitching staff with or without Maeda, but I’d rather have the pitcher here.
For starters, Lindor is probably overpriced. He’s young and a shortstop though, so hooray, $40! I just don’t like his price — or Hanley’s, for that matter — and think Maeda’s a bargain. Anything can happen, of course. Maeda had some questionable medicals and he’s just making his first run through the league, so maybe we’re seeing the best he has. Even still, I wouldn’t view this as a “sell high” in a league where pitching is at a premium. To me, Lindor and a potentially finished Hanley aren’t a big prize.
But hey, who knows? As I said, Dusty still has pitching and now his offense should be slightly improved, salaries be damned.
Side note: Dusty previously traded Hisashi Iwakuma for Khris Davis, then abruptly cut Davis because he was underperforming through less than 20 games. Just thinking aloud here, but would you rather have Davis on your roster or Hanley? I think most would say Hanley. He’s got the longer track record and qualifies at an extra position. And that isn’t a bad answer. Point is, is the gap between Davis, who was cut flat out, and Hanley, who was a key piece in dumping off a really good starting pitcher, really that big? I don’t think it is.
Jordan’s thoughts: Deals like this just do not seem to happen very often. HLR dealt with the news of Swihart being sent down to the minors by shipping him off to another team. He replaces his backup catcher with a guy who in pre-season was projected to be a borderline fantasy starter. There is no real reason to love Realmuto. There is no real reason to dislike him. He’s an everyday catcher who does okay.
Swihart in 6 games this year went 5/18 with no extra base hits, but did add 4 walks. Getting sent down does not help Swihart’s case for future stardom. In the draft both of these catchers were likely overpays, and both do not appear keep-able in any real sense. With that said, does Swihart now being green flagged, does that change anything?
RMO can probably afford to drop their 15th prospect and cross their fingers. Perhaps Swihart comes back and has a great finish to this 2016 campaign. But its a two edged sword. He’s $14 going on $16 to keep. If he gets ridiculously hot, he’s a easy target for greed dollars. $16 would put him in to top 7 for paid catchers. There is just likely better options, and while HLR did not get much in return for him, I do not think he lost anything either.
Andrew’s thoughts: This is sort of like trading two nickels for a dime. In the immediate sense, Realmuto’s clearly more valuable. He plays for a major league team, while Swihart… who knows. There are rumors he’ll be demoted, lose playing time, switch positions. It’s just a mess.
That’s the thing about young catchers. They almost all develop their defensive game first, then work on their hitting. So they rarely hit the majors capable of hanging with big league pitching. It takes a while before these guys do anything fantasy relevant. That development is part of the reason Swihart is getting sent back down — except it’s the opposite for him. His defense and game calling needs work. So basically, his offensive game thus far is at least somewhat indicative of what he is. And that is serviceable but mostly meh. His offensive production is fine for a catcher, but if he becomes an OF or 1B, he’s instantly worth next to nothing. Obviously his bat isn’t done developing either, but you get my drift.
I agree with Jordan that neither of these guys have super attractive long-term prices and so yeah, give me Realmuto, who I can at least rely on today. Derek Norris went for $5 and Francisco Cervelli went for $7, and those guys were top six catchers a year ago. So that you’re already paying more for Swihart and Realmuto, I just… I don’t know what you’re paying for? I suppose with Swihart more so than Realmuto, you want him because “upside,” but I’m also not sure what that ceiling really is. Unless it’s Buster Posey, it probably doesn’t matter at the catcher position. The gap between catchers is so slim that whether you’re the second best catcher or eighth best catcher is almost negligible.
It’s a fair deal though. Or at least justifiable from both sides. There’s nothing wrong with it. Without an in-season cap you don’t have to do anything with Swihart until next season, but if he gets demoted, I’m not sure paying $16 next year is even an option at which point, why not just hold onto the 2016 contributor in Realmuto?
Last week was a busy week for Dynasty Grinders. As of today we’re now a full week removed from auction draft day. That 8 hour marathon was capped off this week by reviews, thoughts, notes and a monster trade. If you missed any of it catch up below!
Fun with similar price points… – Andrew looks at the draft again to compare players bought at the beginning and end of the draft showing how the nomination order probably played a large role in determining some players values.
Bryce vs Max part duex – Jordan takes a second and likely final look at the biggest trade of the week. Compares the two players’ 2015 campaigns on a week by week comparison.
If Vegas was taking odds on likelihood of me ending up with Bryce Harper or Bailey ending up with Giancarlo, they would have been favorites. The odds that Dusty ends up with both of “our guys”, was the parlay of the century. Between the two RMO paid about $91 a star. That is a fair price now and going forward. Springer and David Ortiz clogging up the utility spots is a good problem to have (or as it turns out: no problem at all). In a team primed for 2016, I would have liked to see Byron Buxton‘s money buy Adrian Gonzalez, but I could be wrong anyway. Neil Walker, Josh Harrison, Brandon Crawford and Brett Gardner are all good enough to build around. The trade has already happened, but Yonder Alonso is probably not good enough to stick with at first base all year long.
Pitching – Alright
I really had a hell of a time rating this pitching staff. First lets get out of the way, the bullpen is forgettable. This rotation has three Houston Astros pitchers, Lance McCullers, Colin McHugh and Mike Fiers. Is that exciting? No. Is that bad? No. Kenta Maeda, Hisashi Iwakuma, John Lackey are all good in my book, but they have their concerns. Seven dollars Dylan Bundy. C’mon. I should knock the rating down one peg just for that. I think this pitching staff will perform honestly. And it’ll be alright.
Depth – Alright
The depth exists, it is alright. I like the pitching depth, I like the outfield depth although you hope not to need it. There’s a lack of first basemen on this roster, but that is probably easily solved. No backup catcher. But, it’ll be easy enough to mill through these guys and get points where you need them when you need them
Why 2016 would be bad…
Things go South quickly if Giancarlo fails to play 100 games again, and the pitching staff is just mush. The first base spot on this roster creates a weekly deficit that is hard to make up. David Ortiz plays out his final season like Derek Jeter, just half assing it. If shit goes downhill fast, Dusty’s roster is better prepared to reload for next year than to save this season.
Why 2016 would be good…
You can see it now Giancarlo and Bryce are clearly leading each other in the home run race where they both clear fifty bombs. Maeda is as good as advertised, Iwakuma is actually healthy and the Dodgers used the medical to save face when the bear wanted to stay in Seattle. Buxton silences doubters by being a top ten fantasy center fielder goes a long ways on this roster even though Dusty doesn’t technically have room for him.