Tuesday, May 3 – 6:46 AM
I’m still only half-awake so maybe I’m misreading this. So I read it again, and again. Nope. A trade was just agreed upon which happens to involve our good friend James Shields. His owner, obviously sensing that now is a great time to sell high, trades Shields ($4) for Chad Billingsley ($14) and, get ready for this, Josh Hamilton ($31). Now, I never like to be the one who makes a big fuss over the fairness of a trade, but I’m really having a tough time with this one. I understand that Shields is looking like a great keeper and that Hamilton is always hurt, but he’s expected back in a couple weeks and is without question a top-20 player. Not to mention Billingsley, who is far from a throw-in. Actually, considering Shields’ ridiculous start to the season, I would not be surprised if Billingsley posts the better stat line from here on out. The law of averages has to catch up with Shields at some point, right?
Anyway, I’m debating whether or not to send out a message to the league. I know that the general rule of thumb when considering a trade veto is to let it pass as long as there is no evidence of collusion or if the trade is so lopsided that it would dramatically affect the league’s balance of power. This deal does not fit either of those categories and will most certainly go through. But personally, I don’t feel good about it. I decide to speak up, if for no other reason than to start a dialogue and find out if anyone else feels the same way I do. My e-mail will have to wait though, as I’m running late to work
Tuesday, May 3 – 2:14 PM
The hardest part about playing in a fantasy league with friends is that you don’t want to let this game, that is supposed to be fun, damage a friendship. Minutes after sending the e-mail, I get an angry response from the new Hamilton owner, suggesting that I didn’t bother to look up how unlucky Shields was last season (I work in baseball, I remind him, so I’m well aware) and several other owners rattle off the “You can’t legislate against stupidity” slogan. The trade will stand. As the commissioner put it, “Some people may believe this is a bad trade, but it’s not an illegal trade.” Fine. I’m glad I let my voice be heard, but I would have liked it if a few more people at least conceded that I had a point.
Wednesday, May 4 – 4:00 PM
I realize that I’ve been overly negative recently and promise that I will soon bring plenty of positive energy to this diary, but not quite yet. What exactly was I thinking drafting the closer duo of Jonathan Broxton and Brandon Lyon? The Dodgers announced today that Broxton has been shut down with pain in his throwing elbow and Lyon just blew another save chance, allowing three runs without recording a single out in a loss to the Reds.
I own Lyon in two leagues, including one NL-Only, and although I have never been a big fan of the guy, due in large part to his shaky track record when thrust into the closer role, I did see the value in drafting him for a cheap price, particularly in non-mixed leagues, since he faced virtually zero job competition. He also pitched exceptionally well down the stretch in 2010, registering a 2.51 ERA while nailing down 19 saves in 20 chances from the start of August through the end of the season. But he’s been an absolute bust so far in 2011. My disastrous experience with closers this year is slowly but surely converting me to the “draft top-tier closers” camp. Who needs the headache?
Thursday, May 5 – 2:08 PM
Now on to the good news; my NL-Only head-to-head points keeper league that I just joined it this season. Fortunately, I inherited a roster that includes Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki, so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch here. In fact, I’ll make the non-scientific claim that 95 percent of fantasy teams featuring this duo currently reside in the top half of their league’s standings. But I will give myself some credit for making a number of fine draft day selections, snagging Jonny Gomes for a buck, adding Jason Hammel for $4 and snatching up the Mets’ Chris Young in the reserve draft. Well, through four weeks I’m a perfect 4-0 and lead the league in total points.
A few minutes ago, I was chatting with a league mate and we started talking about the strengths and weaknesses of our rosters. “Outside of Justin Upton and Gomes, my outfield is a mess,” I said. He had some depth at outfield and, as a Broxton owner, was hot after Hong-Chih Kuo. Here’s what he just proposed to me: Fred Lewis and Wilson Valdez for Kuo. I’m not too enthused about this offer. I really need an outfielder who is getting fairly regular at-bats, and Lewis simply doesn’t cut it. He just came off the DL and will be hard-pressed to find much playing time in a crowded Cincinnati outfield. Valdez, who has recently been losing some at-bats to Pete Orr, doesn’t excite me either. I reject the offer and instead propose Kuo for Emilio Bonifacio. Considering the high-probability that Kuo picks up at least a handful of saves while Broxton is sidelined, this is a pretty fair offer, I think.
Friday, May 6 – 11:16 AM
My counteroffer has been rejected. He seriously thought about it but Bonifacio was too much for him to give up. Although I’m a little disappointed, holding onto Kuo isn’t such a terrible thing. But above all, I’m proud of how these negotiations were handled. Both of our offers were reasonable and we were honest with each other. I wasn’t trying to outsmart him and he wasn’t trying to outsmart me. It just didn’t work out, and that’s OK. Now I’ll have to address my needs through FAAB. This week’s deadline is less than five hours away.