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Wednesday 23rd Aug 2017

One of the things I hear fantasy owners mention most frequently when they are suggesting rule changes is parity.

I am not sure exactly what that term means to each specific owner, but I suspect it means something to the effect of "I want to have a chance to win every year."

Now, if you are in a throwback league, where there is a redraft each season, this is not an issue as everyone has an equal chance year-to-year to build a new squad from scratch.

But, if you play in a keeper league of any type, then once the variable of freezes has slipped into the salary structure, the actual idea of parity year-to-year pretty much goes out the window.

Meaning that even though a great draft or auction might help a team without a stellar list of keepers win a league, the advantage going into a new season will always rest with the team possessing the highest value players at the lowest actual cost per player.

That means $15 worth of Jose Abreu is, like it or not, a better base to go into a draft with than $37 of Miguel Cabrera.

The problem for those owners craving "parity" is that aside from forcing the team that owns Abreu to either trade or dump him, an equal shot going into the coming season is probably not going to happen.

Again, that does not mean it is hopeless going into a draft: rather there are a lot of players, and many of the unknowns of baseball promise a couple of guys will step it up into the Abreu set of numbers, while a couple more will slip from the Cabrera baselines.

To me, that is where the fun lies: in trying to figure out just where to build and conjure and compensate in order to be competitive.

However, most of the time, it takes a year or two of trades and retooling to assemble a roster that can compete if your team has been less than successful (or, in the same vein, if your team won via dump trades).

As well documented here, I have been rebuilding a couple of my teams--MWStrat and my XFL--for a couple of years, and finally both look like they are ready to compete.

And, if we turn our eyes to the Hot Stove, the Marlins, Padres and Athletics have turned their squads upside down rebuilding. In the cases of San Diego and Miami, both teams had pretty good young cores being developed, so now the swaps for vets will ideally give both teams what they need to move to the next level.

But, Oakland has had one of the best teams over the past two-and-a-half seasons. They also hit such an epic meltdown second half of 2014, that Billy Beane felt the best path forward was simply to deconstruct what he had, and reinvent the team.

That might sound strange, and you might question Beane's tactics, but for the most part that is what he did four years ago--starting with the signing of Yoenis Cespedes--and bingo, within a year he had a team that was beyond dangerous. He also had a team that made the postseason three years straight, which is really pretty good.

The truth is, I doubt the Athletics, as they now would take the field, would be much of a threat to AL West teams like the Angels and the Rangers, and even the Mariners and nearly retooled Astros.

But, peppered with the likes of Marcus Semien and Brett Lawrie and Ike Davis, Beane will give this cycle's collection from the island of lost players a chance to show what they can do.

Which is pretty much the path for your roto teams: it takes till the break to even see whether or not your team has what it takes to compete in any given year.

I think what this boils down to is if Billy understands how "parity" works, it is probably silly for fantasy owners to expect much more.

As noted, I personally find that whole rebuilding process satisfying, and I would bet Billy does too.

Disgruntled owners, take note.

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