Part III – Reshaping the Roster
In Part II we looked at how I acquired this team in the auction:
C – Hanigan (6C12) and Ramos (8D11)
CI – Sanchez (10C13), Freese (8C12), and R. Howard (29D12)
MI – Dnl Murphy (2D11), Crawford (5D12), and Furcal (16D12)
OF – Heisey (5D10), Schierholtz (10F11), Ethier (34D12), Parra (6D12), & Venable (16D12)
UT – Alex Gonzalez (10D12)
SP – Hanson (15C13), Beachy (12D11), Delgado (5D12), Detwiler (5D12), Samardzija (8D12)
RP – H. Bell (22D11), Madson (2D11), D. Hernandez (1D12), & Brothers (3D12)
[Contracts D/drafted; F/free agent; or R/reserve are the year in which the player was rostered; C is the year a long term contract ends;semi-standard keep three years or give long term contract at +$5 per year]
In the reserve rounds I drafted:
Tyler Greene, 2B/SS, STL – put at second so I could move Murphy to CI putting Howard on the DL
Freddy Galvis, 2B/SS, PHL – some upside or lineup fix if I traded a shortstop early
Joe Saunders, SP, AZ – had good ratios first game out to use Week 2; and subsequently another good outing and a W in Week 3
Wade Miley, RP/SP, AZ – subbed in for Madson Week 1
Josh Lindblom, RP, LAD – subbed in for Week 1 when Detwiler didn’t pitch
I froze five minor leaguers (we pay $10 cash for each one retained to the prize pool but they are five dollar players when we activate them) – Jose Ceda, P, MIA; Nick Akins, OF, LAD; Kyle Skipworth, C, MIA; Ivan DeJesus Jr., SS, LAD; and J.C. Ramirez, P, PHL.
In this year’s minor league draft (held after the auction) I had the third pick – unfortunately but naturally the teams ahead of me took Trevor Bauer and Christian Yelich (sigh) so I went a little outside the box and took Brad Boxberger who came over to the Padres in the Mat Latos deal and looks to be the closer of the future in San Diego. I followed that up with Joe Panik, 2B, SF; Robbie Erlin, P, SD; Scott Van Slyke, 1B, LAD; and Christian Bethancourt, C, ATL. The minor leaguers are a key part of rebuilding. You want the most impactful players you can get for the long term but in this league I don’t want them up in April this year which would force activation. IF Boxberger eventually closes for San Diego that will be huge – there aren’t many true closers you can identify early. Panik was the Giants first round pick last June and IMO is likely their second baseman next opening day (could also play at shortstop). Erlin along with Joe Wieland came over to the Padres in the Mike Adams trade and are two excellent young pitchers (in fact Wieland got the call up after this draft). Van Slyke (yes, son of Andy) is a power hitting first baseman who I think is getting closer and unless James Loney rediscovers how to hit the ball over the fence could be in Dodger Stadium by 2013. Bethancourt wowed everyone in the Arizona Fall League – unfortunately the power hitting catcher will have to wait for Brian McCann to retire or leave Atlanta as a free agent, or get traded to a new organization himself.
Okay the next order of business which I did the day after I drove back from LALAland was to email the ENTIRE league with a list of the players who were available in trade. The entire is capitalized because it is key – you never know who thinks there are competing and who isn’t. Maybe a team is off to a great start in the standings for the first two weeks and can’t see the forest through the trees. More important you want every competing team to realize they had a shot at these players. You don’t want to be the guy that just negotiates with one of your friends and leaves the other teams out in the cold. You also want to stimulate some early competition for the most sought after players.
I know a lot of players who would tell you to wait – you would get more if you waited until June or July to make the trade. Trust me that is not the case, especially if you have several players you want to move. If you move a player or two in early trades you stimulate the OTHER teams because they don’t want to be left behind – you WANT them to want to make trades too. It may not be with your BUT early trading stimulates later trading. (If you don’t believe me keep reading and tell me I could have done better in June).
The same day I sent the email I got two responses. The first from a friend of mine who had a hole at 3B/CI and wanted Freese. The second was from the team that froze their entire team and they were also interested in Freese as well as Beachy (who I wasn’t eager to trade since he was a likely keeper for 2013 but he was the only starting pitcher who would generate the buzz aside from Hanson who I was not trading (at least not right now).
So Team 1 was a good trade partner because he had drafted Giants catcher Jesus Sanchez for $3 and my feeling aside from the fact that Sanchez can rake is that whether it is for some games at 1B or DH the Giants will have to play Posey at first base. In fact they may need to move him there for his psyche and to protect him and it is easier since Brandon Belt can play the outfield. I could trade him both expiring contracts – Freese and Hanigan and get Sanchez and a top prospect. In all transparency here Sanchez was actually an auction target of mine if I could get him cheap I thought he would be a decent C2 if I traded Hanigan this year and if not certainly next year, but when I bought Alex Gonzalez it inadvertently filled my UT spot.
Team 2 would be more difficult. First they want Beachy but they refused to trade one of their top prospects (they have Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, and Brett Jackson on their farm along with Gerrit Cole from previous years and would draft some nice players this year). Be firm with these types of teams – it’s all about finding common ground. What I told them was that they were welcome to keep all three “untouchables” they just wouldn’t win the league this year. After a few frank communiques back and forth that was put to rest but they wanted Ethier “thrown in”. Yeah and I want to win the next Powerball drawing. But they finally agreed they would give up Jackson (look if you know a team won’t deal a particular player – in this case Harper who they drafted three years ago while he was in high school, don’t beat it to death) and some additional prospects.
However as I pointed out to them – it would literally hand them the league and stifle further trading and make me the league Ahole. Of course they didn’t care but that is not how to do business - it’s a Keeper league – that means keeping the owners as well as the players. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to do that to me.
The following day I get an email from Team 3 and living in Los Angeles they think Ethier would look great on their roster (and he would). They also had an interest in Beachy but didn’t need or want Freese. They have some very nice prospects and they are generally good guys to deal with. So in the reply I told the partner communicating with me that I was interested in Starling Marte a very good hitting prospect (who can already play major league defense in the outfield) in the Pittsburgh organization. In fact if the Pirates had not just signed Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata to long term contracts and if Alex Presley wasn’t as good as he is, Marte might have broken with the club. Still some in their organization would like to bring him up soon – but where would he play? Not a problem, I don’t want him playing this year. So Team 3 would call me back on Sunday after the partners conferred.
Meanwhile I had to keep the other teams at bay and deal with Team 4 who now wanted to tell me that Ethier was overpriced but they had some interest in both he and Venable. Fine - an email to explain how I felt about Ethier and they were on the back burner.
Team 2 writes me back to tell me they won’t deal for any one guy they want all three. I tell the computer screen where it can hide THAT email.
A few emails to Team 1 and we have that trade almost done – I just have to decide whether I want Pittsburgh fly chaser and power hitter Josh Bell or Phillies SP prospect Trevor May. I decide overnight that I don’t mind getting both Pirate outfielders despite the playing time jam – Bell has the higher upside.
I email back the completed offer with Team 1 – Freese and Hanigan for Bell, Sanchez and I need a CI because our first FA bidding won’t be until next Saturday and he wants Freese in his lineup right away so he sends me Matt Hague (sent down by Pittsburgh a day later but that doesn’t bother a rebuilding team).
Team 4 and I discuss minor leaguers and I send them an email offering Venable (16D12) for their choice of several of their farmhands and I need an outfielder to make this deal work, so how about Kyle Blanks who has hit the DL which will give Venable more at bats. They think this is eminently fair and deal three (Venable for Blanks (10R12) and MLer Raymond Fuentes who has stolen 40+ bases in both his minor league seasons) of the week is in the books. In fact those were the only three trades completed in the league but you can bet there will be more to follow.
Wonder how breakfast went down for Team 2 after the Commissioner’s email spelling out all the trades? They watched three competing teams get stronger and they didn’t plug any holes. True they have a great stash of minor leaguers to trade – currency of the realm in keeper leagues – and that will help them get better later in the year. But look at what I got in dealing with three teams and not with just one.
Option A – trade with Team 2
Freese, Beachy, and Ethier for MLers Brett Jackson, Jedd Gyorko, and either Jed Bradley or Zach Lee (we never discussed the third minor leaguer to be included and they would have had to include two scrubs, likely Shane Robinson and Chad Tracy)
Option B – trades with Team 1 and Team 3 (combined)
Freese, Beachy, and Ethier for Y. Alonso (5D12), H. Sanchez (3D12), J. Jurrjens (3D11), M. Hague (10F12), and MLers Josh Bell and Starling Marte
IMO the MLers Bell and Marte will have more value than Gyorko and either pitcher, but even if you think those parts are even, measure Alonso, Sanchez, and Jurrjens vs Brett Jackson and decide which trade(s) you would have made.
Besides the league still has many months to play out before a Champion is crowned…..and several more trades to help me get ready to compete next year.
But that was a good first two weeks.