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Friday 19th Jan 2018

As regular readers know, each Monday the Mastersball team recaps the free agent acquisitions from the Tout Wars and LABR leagues. The other way anyone - including the industry types who compete in these leagues - can improve their fantasy team is via trades.

In this piece, we will delve into six player(s)-for-player(s) deals made in National League Tout Wars this season. Excluded were sell-offs, in which only FAAB changed hands on one side of the deal.

The selected trades all occurred over a month ago, allowing for some time to have elapsed before evaluating the deals.

Speaking of evaluation, rather than subjecting you to reading my opinions, I asked the principals in each deal to comment directly. They will discuss what they wanted to accomplish in making the trade and whether or not it has achieved its desired effect.

Special thanks go out to my NL Tout peers Tristan H. Cockcroft, Peter Kreutzer, Todd Zola, Chris Liss, Phil Hertz, Derek Carty, Scott Wilderman and Mike Gianella.

Trade 1 – May 1

Chris Liss gets: Ike Davis NYM from Phil Hertz

Phil Hertz gets: Todd Helton Col, Jeff Samardzija ChC from Chris Liss

Liss: “My objective in trading Jeff Samardzija and Todd Helton for Ike Davis was to destroy my batting average for no good reason and give away a valuable surplus trade chip for nothing. I succeeded resoundingly.”

Hertz: “Chris approached me with this one out of the blue and it made sense -- for both of us -- I was near the top in all hitting categories; Chris was near the top in all the pitching categories. I had a dearth of pitching. I also had I'm not sure what you call it -- a premonition, a fear -- but I had a sense that 2013 was not going to work out the same for Ike. Upon making the trade, Samardzija became my ace and while he was better than Ike, he wasn't an ace. Helton was gravy; indeed, he frequently was on reserve over the next couple of months. BTW, I wrote a column on the trade: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/fantasy/2013/05/10/baseball-hq-draft-day-values-are-irrelevant/2149895/ In any event, I'm happy I made the trade; sorry I didn't try for a better ‘ace’.”

Trade 2 – May 4

Mike Gianella gets: Welington Castillo ChC from Derek Carty

Derek Carty gets: Matt Garza ChC from Mike Gianella

Gianella: “At the time of the trade, I had a rash of injuries and was middle of the pack in offense. I did not expect big things from Castillo, but was expecting similar numbers to last year. Part of my strategy coming in was maximizing all of my points in runs/RBI/HR, and carrying two back-up catchers all year long was not part of the plan. From a raw value perspective, Castillo for Garza seemed like an overpay, but it fit my needs…or would have if Castillo had done anything at all with his PT. Picking up his much more productive caddy, Dioner Navarro, has offset some of the damage, but this trade did not work out.”

Carty: “I had drafted three catchers and was wasting some value by playing one as my UT, so I knew I wanted to trade one no matter what, but my pitching wasn't as strong as hoped with Lincecum not really bouncing back, Mike Fiers crapping the bed, and Shaun Marcum being out longer than expected.  Garza was still expected to be out like another month, but I think I was gaining a couple bucks on pure value plus it helped me needs-wise (which isn't always a big consideration that early in the year but still something I wanted to address). I'm not in love with Texas as Garza's new home, but the trade definitely accomplished what I wanted and seems like a win in retrospect.”

Trade 3 – May 15

Todd Zola gets: Marco Scutaro SF from Phil Hertz

Phil Hertz gets: Kenley Jansen LAD from Todd Zola

Zola: “I felt I had a competitive pitching staff but with overachievers like Eric Stults and Jeff Locke I didn't have strength from which to trade. On the other hand, I wasn't sitting them either so Kenley Jansen was on my bench most weeks and that was with my using an 11th pitcher as a swingman."

“On the other side of the ledger, I was falling behind in counting stats with Aramis Ramirez being hurt, Josh Rutledge struggling and saying ‘Alex Gonzalez, $1’ instead of ‘Yuniesky Betancourt, $1.’

“At the time, it was fairly certain Jansen would be the closer. He just had not officially been named yet, so I decided to test the market."

“Phil's offer of Scutaro made some sense as it addressed a position of need from a value standpoint. At that time, they were comparable."

“The key is at that time, since Jansen as a closer should fetch more. So I had to balance falling further behind with waiting and getting a better hitter. I went with the bird-in-hand path and accepted Scutaro even up.”

Hertz: “I think Peter nailed this in a write-up at the time. Scutaro was essentially a one-category player -- batting average -- and I had suitable alternatives: Rollins, Walker, DeLemahieu.  Indeed I've got Rendon at UT right now.  Jansen wasn't quite the closer yet, but as Todd put it at the time of the trade: worse case scenario, I was getting a lot of help in ERA and WHIP. From today's vantage point, I got a lot more.”

Trade 4 – June 23  

Peter Kreutzer gets: Jay Bruce Cin from Tristan H. Cockcroft

Tristan H. Cockcroft gets: Cliff Lee Phi from Peter Kreutzer

Kreutzer: “I knew coming out of the draft that I was a little thin in power, but I felt that because I had a strong staff and the potential for some saves points, I would be able to focus on adding offense via FAAB."

“As we moved into summer, injuries to Angel Pagan and Ryan Sweeney undid whatever gains I had been able to make. My closer, Fujikawa, had died an early death. I really needed to add a power hitter. At that point, I wasn't shooting for the big prize, but felt that because I had some extra wins I could trade Cliff Lee and not take too big a hit."

“It just so happened that at the same time Tristan Cockcroft was shopping hitting for pitching. I suggested Lee for Bruce, Lynn for Howard or Capuano for B.J. Upton. He wrote back, 'Let's do Bruce for Lee (fitting).'

“I wrote back, 'Let's do some jujitsu. Game on.'

“My offense still stinks, but it has been better than it was, and while my pitching has taken a hit thus far, since the trade it is performing better overall. And I think it has the potential for some big weeks, at least in my dreams.”

Cockcroft: “Both of my trades were simple sales of power -- I had a healthy HR lead and my projections said I'd maintain it even with the sale of as many as 50 of them -- to address other needs."

“Bruce-for-Lee came first, and that was an attempt to boost my pitching -- wins and K's, specifically -- having seen an opportunity to score some extra points there. Peter came to me with the Lee offer, and it trumped some of the others I had available at the time.”

Trade 5 – June 28

Mike Gianella gets: Jordany Valdespin NYM from Phil Hertz

Phil Hertz gets: Wilmer Flores NYM from Mike Gianella

Gianella: “Like Phil, I did not think that Flores was going to get called up based on multiple notes from a number of beat writers. I wasn't supremely confident in Valdespin getting the call, but liked his power/speed combo, and was hoping to squeeze a point or two out of steals if/when Valdespin got called up. It obviously didn't work out, but I was on the verge of cutting Flores anyway so it's hard to feel too bad about this one.”

Hertz: “I was about to cut Jordany when Mike contacted me. I think he needed a middle infielder (and like many of us, he was hoping for the playing time that never materialized).  I believe he included 2 FAAB dollars, which was why I made the trade. Unfortunately, roster crunches materialized (and I believed the NYC media that indicated he wouldn't be called up) and I eventually decided to cut Flores. As of this morning, I'm not happy I did that.”

Trade 6 – July 5

Tristan H. Cockcroft gets: Ben Revere Phi from Scott Wilderman

Scott Wilderman gets: Ryan Howard Phi from Tristan H. Cockcroft

Cockcroft: “Howard-for-Revere was just a disaster. Scott came to me with that one, and with some worries that Howard might sit a few games now and then -- the Aramis Ramirez early-year treatment -- down the stretch, I decided to trade him, too, for some steals. You know the rest of the story: Howard went on the DL two days later, was headed for surgery a couple days after that, and Revere fouled a ball that broke his foot within the week. Just a nightmare trade all around. Thanks, Phillies!”

Wilderman: “I knew at the draft that I needed to trade speed for power -- I just never got a deal together, and it was getting really, really late. I had Marte, Cabrera and Revere to deal, and was close to having something worked out involving Marte and Cabrera. I was (I thought) about to get Matt Kemp back, and I believed in my struggling pitchers (Cain, Miley and Hudson), so the logical play was Revere for as much power as possible, eating any pretense of speed and also batting average if need be. Tristan was about the only guy with power to spare, and while I knew I was taking a gamble with Howard, that move seemed to have the most possible upside. Didn't work out, did it? Then came the Hudson injury and then the word on Kemp's very slow recovery.  Oh well.”

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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