Well after those trades I had some holes to fill.

You say you punted, so who cares? Well that is not the right way to play – for many reasons. Teams that are rebuilding still have an obligation to all the teams in the league to play the best lineup they can. Maintaining the integrity – or as much as possible – in all the categories is the right thing to do.

Beyond that, keeper leagues should have some mechanism to get every team to play as hard as they can throughout the season. In this league (as in several others that I play in) part of that incentive is that the highest team in the standings that finishes out of the money – 5th place in this league – gets the first minor league draft pick as well as the first reserve pick in next year’s draft. Well that could be VERY important and fits in perfectly with the idea of this team – rebuild it to be competitive as soon as possible.

You have likely heard people refer to two year plans. Some players think this means rebuild for two years and of course it is possible you have to do that but it shouldn’t be your objective. My punting any chance to finish in the money was dictated by injuries (I certainly wouldn’t have gone this route if Madson was closing to start the year) and by the fact that there were several teams in the league with fantastic freeze lists. My hope for 2013 is to be one of those teams.

Free agents you may collect may also be fine ten dollar keepers the following spring (Vance Worley, Darwin Barney; Paul Goldschmidt just to name a few from 2011). So you constantly try to mine the free agent pile for those AND for any potential closers – whether for this year where they can either gain you points or be more trade chips or for next year.

So after my trades I had two “zeroes” in my lineup (Matt Hague and Kyle Blanks) and wanted to replace them for last week. I may have overspent for the Cardinals CI Matt Carpenter - BUT keep in mind he has a clear road to playing time while Lance Berkman is out and neither Berkman or David Freese have been in the lineup every game. That means again he may be a trade chip or if the stars aligned perfectly maybe he is the first baseman in St. Louis next year (okay it’s a long shot but it’s also worth the try, as the old adage goes – if  you’ve got the slot, he’s worth the spot). So I did outbid a few of the competing teams with a large $234 of my FAAB. That took care of the corner slot and $15 more FAAB got me Matt Diaz for the outfield position.  I also spent $69 to roster Kyle Kendrick (yeah looked a lot better before Monday’s start) who will be starting for the Phillies while Cliff Lee is out.

Things were going fine – still maintaining a nice 6th place which realistically is probably the best I can do unless one of the contending five teams flips later and trades out. But again it means a lot to have that earlier minor league pick.

As the end of the week approached I was suddenly contacted by Team 5 who should have won the league last year after a brilliant draft. But team management just starts there and the owner was very negligent about free agent pickups to plug holes and also very reluctant to trade his minor league chips to improve his team. So he finished second on a year he was dealt the Championship. This year he agreed to let his minority partner help him with some team management (and he made a very nice albeit via a gigantic overbid to roster Tony Campana called up by the Cubs who has already delivered five stolen bases in part time play this week).  So they want Tommy Hanson to pitch for their team. Well I explain that will cost a significant amount since Hanson’s contract 15C13 is one of my best keepers for next year. Yeah he understands that and will deal their best minor leaguer – one Anthony Rizzo who will now have a much better hitter’s park when called up later this year. Long story short we are on our way to a deal….

When the “phone” rings and Team 2 is back having watched all their competitors in my cupboard last week and they have more injuries. AND they want Hanson and while I think they wanted to expand the deal I tell them I have another buyer so I will need something extra besides Brett Jackson who they know they will have to put on the table.

Well this is fun but ultimately I didn’t get to make the decision – Team 5’s majority partner wouldn’t trade Rizzo in what would have been a fantastic deal for them as I was going to include the Brewer’s shortstop Alex Gonzalez for their Rizzo and another player I liked.

So trade four was made, Hanson for MLers Brett Jackson (CHC), and Matt Lipka (ATL), an infielder that the Atlanta Braves decided was better suited for center field. 2011 was Lipka’s first full year in professional baseball (at age 19) and he didn’t show as much power as expected but did steal twenty-eight bases. If Lipka continues to develop as a defender, he may well grow into the power at that age. I can wait.


Jackson on the other hand if you don’t already know is a likely 20-20 center fielder who I expect to see in Wrigley field later this summer. In a way adding a player to my future outfield is better than potentially having a third first baseman to go with Gaby Sanchez and Ryan Howard.

Another great outing by Joe Saunders and news that Wade Miley will stay in the Diamondbacks rotation helped the local baseball coverage and kept my place in the standings. Let’s see what we can find next week.