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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

This week marked the final opportunity to trade players across Major League baseball, and correspondingly, in many fantasy leagues as well. Some weekly transaction leagues had already passed their deadline last week, while others went right up to the last day in August.

One of my leagues, the XFL, Xperts Fantasy League, has an unexplainable rule. My guess is the original drafter of the league constitution was sleeping in grade school when the rest of us learned the jingle:

“30 days have September, April, June and November…”

The XFL constitution states:

“Trades may be made at any time except for the period between August 30 and the conclusion of the major league season. Statistics will take effect at the normal reporting period.”

Under this rule, an August 31 trade would be disallowed. Granted, this is minor in the overall scheme of things, but an irritation still. Why not change the wording to mean what was most likely intended all along? Keep your constitution relevant, fresh and avoid messy judgment calls.

In one of the highest-visibility leagues around, Tout Wars, we have another example where the literal interpretation of the words in the constitution do not match the league’s intent.

Tout Wars constitution says:

“Trades may be made at any time from the conclusion of the draft until August 31.”

At least to me, the word “until” is not inclusive. In other words, Tout Wars and XFL are really saying the same thing.

I brought this forward to the Tout overseers back when I was newer in the league. I admit that one reason was that a strong competitor had made an 11:59 P.M. trade on the night of August 31.

I was not frustrated by the ruling that the word “until” really means “through” to the league leaders. However, what did irk me was that my request to clarify the constitution was ignored. Tout is unlike your local league, which is hopefully a democracy.

Whether the deadline is August 30 or 31, I made no deadline trades in either XFL or Tout this year. The reasons are different.

In XFL, a 15-team keeper league, I am in sixth place, but sit 40 points out of first. I have some decent keepers and as I look ahead to the future, I really don’t need to add any more in a league where cheap keeper prospects are the standard currency.

National League Tout Wars has turned into a spirited battle between me and USA Today’s Steve Gardner. Steve has closed a huge gap and has momentum on his side. Last week, he used most of his remaining FAAB in a nice gamble on new Colorado Rockies third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. I stood pat.

My hope is that some part of my disabled list currently consisting of seven players is activated as rosters expand. Of course, we all hope for no more injuries and none of our starters being benched in favor of September call-ups.

From my DL, I have no hope for Zack Cozart, on the 60-day and out for the year. Same for forever injured first baseman Ike Davis, a player that had a very promising start to the season. Unfortunately, the Mets never put Davis on the 60-day, meaning I could not reclaim my $21 spent on draft day.

Pirate Ryan Ludwick, who his general manager admits should not have been placed in the DL after experiencing a brief episode of back spasms, could provide a boost upon his September 7 return. Same with his teammate Derrek Lee, who sucked up $66 FAAB for almost no return since his trade from Baltimore. Hand injuries are dicey, however, so Lee’s mid-September activation is not assured.

I also have a couple of speculative pitchers taking up half of my allotted four reserves. I had hoped Washington’s Brad Peacock would take Jordan Zimmermann’s rotation spot, but now it appears I will not only have to wait for his minor league season to end, I may also have a reliever, rather than a starter, on my hands.

Despite assertions to the contrary from club officials, one of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ beat reporters still believes that 2011 first-round draftee Trevor Bauer will be given a September trial. Again, it would likely be in a relief role, if anything, but I am willing to wait and see.

Here is hoping that is enough.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 13-year history. He is a 2009 NFBC league winner and finished in the top 25 nationally in both the NFBC and NFFC that season. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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