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Sunday 18th Feb 2018

Welcome, and thanks for tuning in on the actual Fourth of July holiday.

Since we are just about at the season midpoint, it is now pretty easy to see which of my teams have a chance to do what, which in my season-long teams is not very good.

In the League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR), where Clayton Kershaw was the centerpiece of my draft (at $40, and more to come on that in a few weeks), my team is in eighth place, about 45 points behind leader Derek Van Riper of Rotowire. And amazingly, that is the only league where I have a chance to do much.

Clearly, Kershaw does need to kick it in gear, but there I managed to make a few trades, including Lucas Duda for Carlos Rodon and Gio Gonzalez for Jason Grilli, fixing my closer issue. And those deals--with Steve Gardner and Shawn Childs respectively--were pretty easy to negotiate.

Kind of the same in AL Tout Wars, where I swapped off one of my closers in Cody Allen in a deal that netted me the pop of Nelson Cruz, although my main objective there is to simply crawl out of the cellar.

But in all my other leagues--which are the keepers, while LABR and Tout are throwbacks--making a deal has been tough, and the issue is usually that horrible disparity between perceived value and actual value.

In Tout, I did turn down a deal recently where I was offered David DeJesus, to ostensibly push my last place OBP, in exchange for the very weak hitting thus far Mark Trumbo (whom I grabbed for $88 in FAAB). Unfortunately, DeJesus, whom I saw a lot in Oakland, has only a .255 OBP over the past month, and the chances of his playing time being reduced are a lot greater than Trumbo, no matter what the Mariner DH does. I passed.

With David Wright, Sean Doolittle, Kenley Jansen and Alex Cobb as part of my XFL core, that team, as you can imagine, never had a chance. I have made some deals there, picking up picks and prospects. But, in that format, where I can keep 15 players, I can be a little flexible and in a tough rebuild, I now have Jon Gray and Billy McKinney and some extra picks in next March's expansion.

But, I have found swapping in my Strat-O-Matic and Scoresheet leagues tough.

My Strat team is actually very good, although the one thing I could use is a serious fifth starter (my guys now are Dustin McGowan, Brandon Maurer and T.J. House), and I regret not trying to move on either David Price or Cole Hamels, who each went for a 2016 second-round draft pick. (Since Strat is a simulation of last year, that means in this 30-team league, Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa et al will not be available until next year.)

I did try to make a move for Adam Wainwright, but a second-rounder was not good enough, even though that was the cost of him five years ago and next year I will get minimum, if any, use of him. Wainwright is five years older than that last trade in 2010, but somehow a second rounder is not equitable to Wainwright's owner, though it seems fair to me.

Tougher, in my Scoresheet contest, we can freeze a soft eight of what will be a 37-man squad, and are also allowed to protect one prospect as a 19th round selection. Soft eight means within the 24-team league, we can freeze eight plus a 19th rounder, but that the teams who keep less than eight draft until we all have that number starting in Round 9.

My team has struggled this year, my first such in Scoresheet, largely because my ninth round pick this year (as in first selection) was Ervin Santana, leaving me to scramble for a fifth starter.

There are teams who would like to grab my first baseman, Albert Pujols, as well as one of my four good outfielders--Steven Souza, Alex GordonMarcell Ozuna and Michael Brantley--in exchange for a 19th rounder (each team can collect up to three of them), a 25th rounder and Oswaldo Garcia in exchange for Gordon, Pujols, George Kontos and my last two picks.

This basically suggests that I can get a prospect who might be good some time in the future for two freezes and I just don't understand why someone would think that is even or fair.

Not that I mean to either trash the owners, or write extensively about my teams, but rather, this is the time when deals are made, both in keeper and throwback contests, so I'm simply walking through my litmus test for swaps. That is, would you as the owner do this deal were everything in reverse?

So, put yourself in your trade partner's place, and then even ask them if they would do the deal were they in your shoes, and equally important, ask them why.

Trading is tough. So, don't be afraid to trade, but realize that trades should hurt both teams while also offering a chance at numbers, either immediately or sometime in the near future. Similarly, weigh the pluses and minuses carefully!

Again, the happiest and safest of Fourth of July holidays to you and your family.

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