As I noted in my LABR article of earlier in the week, when I bid $17 on Joe Nathan last Saturday, I had not seen that he tweaked his elbow, and was removed from the game just a few hours earlier. It was a whirlwind day, and I am not making excuses, but, this is a good lesson to at least check the latest news before you enter your draft or auction.
That aside, earlier in the day my freeze list for my Scoresheet was due and in that 24-team league Nathan also made my freezes. What was I to do as he has been arguably the best closer in the Bigs over the past five years, and Nathan helped me coax the best W/L record out of that same Scoresheet team last year. Not to mention he was on my winning Tout Wars team last season as well.
So, a $17 bid right out of the chute seemed like owners just being a little cautious with one of the early nominees (he went second).
In LABR I did pick up Brian Fuentes later in the auction to spell Nathan, but I always prefer to get two closers if I can anyway in a deep league, partially as insurance, but mostly so I can build a surplus--for there is always someone scrounging for saves mid-season--and then trade when I have a solid enough stockpile.
The reality is generally one good closer and a couple of middle relievers who can earn -4-5 saves each is enough to keep you competitive in that category, so in LABR, I do need to find a couple of those guys, but despite the loss of those $17, I should be able to compensate because, well, my bets are covered and the season has not yet begun.
In Scoresheet obviously I wasted a freeze pick, but there will be a lot of closers available after the 192 frozen players, not to mention one can get by in that format with a couple of good middle relievers, I should be ok and able again to field a pretty good team despite the draft handicap.
The thing is, the season has not yet started and we all know there will be surprises all around, especially in mixed leagues, so if you find yourself in a similar position, remember that and whatever you do, don't panic.
Because the season has not yet started, so there is no reason to panic. Lots of games ahead, and lots of opportunities.
More important, even if your league is so deep that the possibility of picking up someone to fill the closer hole is remote, that also means there are enough points and numbers left that for now, you can live with the hit of freezing Nathan.
I have pretty much calculated that you can indeed be competitive making mistakes. Those errors might be in overspending on David Price last year, or spending on Erivn Santana or Alex Gordon (both of whom I paid for in LABR last year), but they don't necessarily spend the end of the season (I did not win, but I did finish a respectable sixth).
But, back to the original premise, the worst thing you can do during a draft, or over the course of the season is panic, for decisions made out of panic are generally bad ones, and well, that is the way to kiss your season goodbye. And worse, not have any fun.
Baseball is indeed a game of patience, and baseball is also a game where the unexpected certainly does happen. Of course, as the season progresses, and the strengths and limitations of your team(s) are revealed, there will be opportunities to compensate and get points back that are needed.
But taking action, and building or fleshing out your team has to be as concerted as your focus when you draft in the first place.
So, once again, remember. If you are stuck with a problematic player now, be he Nathan, or Gordon, or Russell Martin, take a deep breath, do your best to hedge your bets in the draft, and play your best game.
Because, once again, the entire season is indeed before us. And, well, its baseball. Anything can happen.