This is indeed such a fun time of the fantasy baseball season if your team is in the hunt for those of us who love the season-long contests.
In my two most visible leagues--AL LABR and AL Tout--my squads are sitting pretty much where I love them to be this time of year, with my Tout Team in fourth, 12 points behind Seth Trachtman, while my LABR team rests in fifth, albeit with a much larger gap of 30 points to make up.
For certain, in Tout, the points are right there for me to grab and all I need is for my team to really get hot, something as a squad they have really not done all year.
But, my team is finally healthy on offense, and if David Price and Craig Kimbrel can simply buckle down through the stretch, and with Devon Travis now batting leadoff, if he and Ketel Marte can steal some bases, we should be right there down to the wire.
The big issue with that team is I drafted pitcher heavy, grabbing Sonny Gray along with Price to anchor my staff, but $25 spent on Gray seems to pretty much be down the crapper which is the strategy let down. That is because part of my plan in obtaining the two big arms was anticipating swapping one arm for whatever I might need down the stretch.
Oddly, while in Tout, my team seems solid enough to hold on through the end of the festivities, in LABR, though the points are there, injuries and unrealized power have been my enemies.
In the past, when my teams have actually won such extravaganzas, the Tout plan worked well as I made big swaps--one involving then closer Keith Foulke, and another sending off CC Sabathia, both for hitting--that indeed spelled a pennant for my teams.
So, in LABR, I did manage the big swap with Rick Wolf and Glenn Colton, trading off Chris Sale in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion in a league where my team is among the leaders in pitching, but lackluster in power numbers.
Ideally, Steven Wright, Marco Estrada, Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago as a core can keep my innings and strikeouts atop the heap while Encarnacion just helps push five points in runs, homers and RBI, which makes up half the deficit. Wins, steals and average hold the key to the remaining points that might help me catch Larry Schechter's team.
If you are in a similar situation, and have the surplus to swap, irrespective of type of league or format, whether it is a throw back or keeper setup--then give serious thought to what you need to let go of and what you need to get to win.
For example, in the XFL, which is indeed the toughest of my roto-style leagues, I am out of it. But, I offered Zack Greinke, Roberto Osuna, Kyle Seager and Angel Pagan to another owner for Wil Myers and Christian Yelich in a deal that never did consumate. This was a keeper format, and I was essentially dump trading stars for cheaper stars with upside.
And, the reason the deal did work was not so much because of the players involved, but due to salary cap considerations.
However, the bottom line is that life does imitate art, and while the Majors were juggling players at the deadline, dump trades now offer the same opportunity for you to either get the players who will help you win, or on the other end, get the players who can get you there next year.
In essence, this is not a game for the sentimental. An owner who has his or her eye on the title, and not who to keep in 2017, will more than often wear the victory wreath.