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Friday 23rd Feb 2018

Life is indeed a funny and fortuitous thing.

As I drove up towards our Lake Tahoe house for both the Memorial Day Weekend, plus another week just to stay up and enjoy being away, I was concocting this very column in my head.

The trouble was I got a bit of a late start and the normally three-hour drive turned into more of a five-hour marathon, so not only was I beat when I finally hit Soda Springs, where the house lives, but as I sat down to write, the ever schizy high elevation Internet connection died.

I was able to text my mate Todd, who said not to worry, that our fellow partner had us covered with his Saturday piece "Being Jeff Luhnow Is Not Easy."

In his article, Brian notes that he has seriously undertaken the "rebuild" word in the Experts Fantasy League (XFL), which I believe is really the toughest fantasy league of all.

Unlike Brian, who challenged for an XFL title for several years, my teams over the span of the league have been nowhere close to good. In fact, they have been beyond bad in a Mixed format that used to be my strongest environ.

The deal with the XFL, however, is that if you can stumble into the Hanley Ramirez-types in the Minors, and bring them up as part of your franchise system that allows 15 keepers over the off-season, you can hit paydirt.

That is because Hanley, as an example, is owned by Alex Patton and Peter Kreutzer, who pay $25 for his rights. They acquired him from Lord Zola as a farm player, and his salary has simply gone up $3 a year since.

That means there is a premium in grabbing Yordano Ventura, who will be $4 next year for Steve Moyer since I just swapped the Royals flamethrower to Steve for a $25 Matt Kemp, who came up through the system just like Hanley.

What this also means, however, is that with 15 smart and well versed owners, there are no secrets. As an example, Yu Darvish, who is presently at $7 on his $3 path the Kemp/Ramirezdom, in his fourth year in the Majors, was actually drafted six years ago by Trace Wood.

Indeed the pickings are thin. So, in trying to figure a way to stock with these guys, I went the route of rebuild during the 2012 November auction (another fun twist to the league) in overspending on some stars, leaving $40 on the table to hopefully destroy some of the dollar values for the rest of the league, as well as grab potentially cheap youngsters like Leonys Martin ($11 this year).

And, then I dumped all the big names, like Roy Halladay and Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols for youngsters with the $3 promise.

That has meant sacrificing a couple of years in the absolute cellar, as in Brian finished 14th in the XFL last year because I was 15th.

Truth is, as this season began, my team, peppered at the time with Mike Zunino, Yoenis Cespedes, Yonder Alonso, Matt Moore, Nick Castellanos and Jedd Gyorko all on the $3 path, was again floundering at the bottom, making me wonder why I was sticking with the path I had taken.

And then, out of nowhere, the boys got hot. Mike Morse ($1 reserve pick) and Zack Greinke were delivering, and Jose Reyes returned to add some fuel and suddenly we moved up to eighth place, about 23 points behind the leaders.

I admit that 23 points seems like a lot to make me optimistic, but the reality is that my team was at the bottom of steals and saves, however even as I write, ten steals are worth almost half of those points, while 15 saves are worth another seven.

Since I traded Moore for Kenley Jansen, while I have both Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour, the saves are indeed doable, and since Reyes is not stealing like he used to, his swipes, and those of Kemp have similarly increased, so the reality is if each of the guys can simply add five steals to the base I already had, 17 of those 23 points are mine.

Couple those moves with the addition of Mark Teixeira (part of the trade with Brian, wherein he got Miguel Sano as well) and Kemp, the pair--if they can stay healthy--should surely help my offense. And, again, if each player can simply boost my offense by three points aside from the steals, I am there.

Now, I am not sure if the above logic is realistic, or I just got tired of sitting at the bottom of the pile, and impatient for my guys to kick it up a notch, but the reality is I am going for it now.

The best part is the real impact in my future is not really impacted, as I kept the bulk of those $3 a year increase players, and still even have a handful of prospects, as well as some well priced stars, on my current roster.

Meaning 2015 suggests that I will not be a last place team any more than I will this season.

At least I hope it means I am reading those tea leaves correctly.

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