For as long as I can remember, I've always been the one who others go to when they have any questions related to game rules, whether it be board games, real sports, or fantasy sports. I guess you can say that over time, I built a reputation as both logical and detail-oriented, and I like this reputation because it is true. I actually enjoy reading directions, or in the case of fantasy sports, reading league constitutions or even writing my own list of rules for the many leagues in which I have served as commissioner through the years. And that's why what happened this past week in Mixed Auction Tout Wars was so unusual.
In fact, the whole thing would not have happened if Patrick Davitt did not receive a $5 FAAB redemption for Anibal Sanchez, who is currently on the DL due to a rotator cuff strain and could very well be shut down for the rest of the season by the out of contention Tigers. To review, Tout Wars has a rule where any drafted player who lands on the DL can be released by their team and awarded their draft day price in FAAB dollars. If released prior to the All-Star break, owners will receive the full amount. After the break, the redemption amount is cut in half. Anyway, upon scanning the year-to-date list of players who were released in exchange for a FAAB redemption, I noticed Adam Wainwright had been released by Patrick back in April for $19. Then I remembered that Patrick had purchased Wainwright for $1 in the most recent FAAB run. Then I remembered a Tout rule stating that owners who received a FAAB redemption for a certain player must pay at least the amount of the redemption in order to re-acquire that player. Hmm. Shouldn't Patrick be docked an additional $18 then? So I sent an e-mail to Peter Kreutzer (aka Rotoman), who handles commish duties for our league, asking for clarification. As it turns out, this little rule even stumped me.
Peter's response: "The language in the constitution is unclear. It says an owner must bid the amount he was redeemed, which Patrick did. It doesn't address what actual price he must pay or the Vickery adjustment, so I think we have to live with the usual process here."
"I've put this on the list for offseason rules discussion."
Sure enough, here's the rule, as worded in the constitution:
"For any team owner to reclaim a player he previously redeemed, he must bid at least as many FAAB units as he reclaimed originally."
Ultimately, Peter and I agreed that the rule needed to be modified in some way for next season, as it didn't make a whole lot of sense that an owner could receive a FAAB reimbursement for a player and then re-acquire him for a lesser price. We blamed the Vickery system for the confusion. I have always preferred Vickery over straight FAAB because it adds a fun strategic element to the game, but scenarios like this one certainly expose its flaws and have me questioning my allegiance to Vickery. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Tout Wars abandons Vickery sometime in the near future, as there seems to be a growing anti-Vickeryy sentiment within the industry.
But, Vickery tangent aside, I guess the moral of the story is that as much as you might think you know all of the rules, sometimes you don't. And for commissioners, it is very important to make sure that the wording in your league's constitution leaves little room for misinterpretation.