It’s about time. The Desmond Jennings Triple-A hostage situation is over! As a Jennings owner in a keeper league, I’ve spent more than a month thinking a call-up was imminent only to be disappointed and see my team sink further and further in the stolen base category. I mean, what were the Rays waiting for? Back-to-back cycles? In 89 Minor League games this season, Jennings posted a .374 on-base percentage with 68 runs, 17 steals and a surprisingly high 12 homers. Jennings will undoubtedly be in my lineup come Monday, but with so much ground to gain in steals, I’m not sure he’ll help me much in 2011.
Saturday, July 23 – 9:33 PMEveryone seems to like Jose Altuve. Standing only 5’ 7’’ and weighing a mere 170 pounds, Altuve has been compared by many to Dustin Pedroia; diminutive in size but makes the most of his ability and plays the game hard from start to finish. I don’t know a ton about him but this all sounds good. His 2011 Minor League numbers (.389-10 HR-59 with 59 runs and 24 steals over 87 games) sound real good. Altuve made his big league debut this past Wednesday and the Astros say he’ll play every day from here on out. The fact that he’s making the jump from Double-A to the Majors is a bit concerning, but a middle infielder who can hit for average and steal bases is plenty appealing, particularly in a non-mixed league. Here’s the problem though. I only have $44 left out of a $200 season budget, and Altuve’s bound to go for big money, even though this NL-only league is a non-keeper. I’m putting in a token bid of $6 but there’s no way I win this unless six of the other nine owners forget that FAAB bidding runs on both Saturday and Sunday.
Tuesday, July 26 – 11:24 AM
With my mixed keeper league’s trade deadline less than a week away and my chances of finishing in the money close to zero, I’m ready to do something drastic. I just proposed a trade that will undoubtedly hurt me for this year but I think will benefit me heading into 2012 and beyond. Matt Kemp is my target. I’ve always been a big fan of Kemp, even before this monster season, and his recent mini-slump (.229-2-7 RBI 1 SB over his last 13 games), if you can even call it that, has done little to change my opinion. In fact, I’m still regretting my decision to pull out of the Kemp bidding on draft day only to see him go for a very reasonable 30 bucks to the team who, coincidentally enough, currently resides in first place. I want Kemp badly, and since my 2011 campaign is all but over, I’m willing to overpay a little to get him. So my offer is this: I give Andrew McCutchen ($28) and Matt Cain ($17) for Kemp ($30) and Daniel Hudson ($10). I like McCutchen a lot but going forward I’m not convinced that he can develop into much more than a 25-home run hitter. Kemp, on the other hand, will be a 30-plus home run guy for years to come and should provide just as many if not more steals. Cain at $17 is actually pretty nice value but since he always flies under the radar due to his routinely low win totals, I don’t think I’ll need to pay much more than 20 bucks to get him back next year. And Hudson is a solid young starting pitcher with tremendous upside. Can I pull off this deal? Stay tuned.
Tuesday, July 26 – 2:32 PM
Rejected. “Decent offer,” he says, “but there’s not enough separation between Hudson and Cain.” OK. So I’m scanning his roster to find a suitable replacement for Hudson. Jeremy Hellickson? He’s been impressive in his first full big league season but what’s the deal with the low strikeout rate? After whiffing well over a batter per inning during his Minor League career and registering an 8.18 K/9 rate in 10 games with the Rays last year, Hellickson sports a mediocre 5.99 K/9 rate this season. Honestly, I’m a little worried about this. But at 24, the kid is bound to improve in this department. Plus, the former Minor League player of the Year makes for a fine keeper at $9. Since I’m really focused on the future anyway, I’ll go ahead and counter. McCutchen and Cain for Kemp and Hellickson. I’m not bending any more than this.
Tuesday, July 26 – 5:42 PM
Accepted. Now the obligatory post-trade remorse is kicking in. I got the best player in the deal in Kemp, but maybe I gave up too much. Sounds like the Rays will be limiting Hellickson’s innings down the stretch by giving him extra days off between starts. Great. And in a weekly league, this is especially bad news. Forget about those two-start weeks. But I keep reminding myself that this trade was made with the future in mind. I need to calm down.
Thursday, July 28 – 10:26 AM
What should you do when you receive a trade offer that appears too good to be true? Do you accept it immediately or wait an hour or two to make it look like you thought long and hard about it and, while it was a tough call, you ultimately decided to accept. Well, I just hit the “Accept” button on a trade proposal in my NL-only keeper league. I was actually in a meeting when I first saw it while pulling out my Droid to check my e-mail, and couldn’t get back to my desk soon enough. This one owner, who is out of contention, is waving the white flag and dangling some pretty appealing players in return for attractive keeper contracts. So he offers me the newest Blue Jay, Colby Rasmus, for Kyle Blanks, who is signed through next year at a cost of $2. Since I’m currently in first place, this is a no-brainer. Yeah, Rasmus is only a rental, as he will no longer be in the player pool next season, but I think he’ll benefit greatly from a fresh start in a hitter-friendly ballpark and with a manager who doesn’t hate him. Blanks has potential, but he’s yet to live up to it and Petco Park won’t exactly turn those long fly balls into homers. Some owners in the league might question the fairness of this swap, but since he was the one who proposed it and is clearly on a mission to become the fantasy baseball equivalent to Wayne Huizenga, I think I’m in pretty good standing if this somehow leads to a veto discussion.
Friday, July 29 – 3:29 PM
If you’re wondering whether or not I’m still agonizing over the Matt Kemp trade, the answer is yes. I guess the fact that I feel neither overly positive nor overly negative about it means that it was a good deal as risks were taken on both sides. But I’m a little freaked out right now. Why? It happened a few minutes ago while answering a question on the Fantasy 411 blog. My trade advice was “You can do better,” but I made a typo. “You cain do better,” the sentence read.