Although I've always been a very active fantasy owner when it comes to the waiver wire, I've never been a frequent trader. Maybe it's because I give the players who I draft too long of a leash in hopes my loyalty will eventually be rewarded, even if the numbers tell me otherwise. Maybe it's because selling them at a discount relative to their draft day price is kind of like admitting I made a mistake drafting them and it's time to move on. My Tout Wars Mixed Auction league tenure typically included one or two swaps per season at most, and many of those trades were smaller scale deals, not involving double-digit dollar players. But this season, I'm trying something different.
No longer am I emotionally attached to my original roster, perhaps with the exception of Jose Altuve, who is just fun to watch and an easy guy to root for. This season, if there's a trade opportunity that can help my team, I'll work to get the deal done rather than worrying about how I'd feel if the disappointing player who I believed in all of a sudden turned his season around while residing on another owner's roster. With a little more than two weeks to go before the Tout Wars trade deadline, I've made a total of five trades. So, in retrospect, how did I do? What have I learned?
April 25: Traded Colby Rasmus to Scott Pianowski for Mike Moustakas
As it turned out, the time spent negotiating this trade was a wasted. Moustakas would give me only eight games before suffering a season-ending torn ACL. Rasmus would cool off considerably after his hot start to the year, and he has yet to rediscover his April form.
May 16: Traded Pedro Alvarez to Derek Van Riper for Brandon Moss
I was a big believer in Alvarez heading into the season, viewing him as an underrated source of power who could legitimately surpass the 30-home run mark playing his home games in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. But on June 1, Alvarez owned a .194 batting average with a grand total of three homers and 11 RBI. My patience was gone, so I swapped him for Moss, another cheap power bat but one who was actually producing. Moss immediately sparked my offense but just recently returned from the DL after missing roughly a month due to an ankle sprain. Alvarez has launched 15 homers since the beginning of June, raising his batting average to .258 in the process. Moss' overall stat line is a little better, so this was certainly a worthwhile trade for me. Still, it's nice to see that Alvarez has salvaged what was looking like a lost season.
May 29: Traded Jose Abreu, Danny Salazar and Kevin Jepsen to Tim Heaney for Edwin Encarnacion, Todd Frazier and Aaron Sanchez
This is the big one, but keep in mind that while this trade now looks lopsided in my favor, at the time, it really wasn't. Who would have predicted that in mid-August, Abreu would be on pace to finish the season with only 20 home runs and a good but far from elite 87 RBI? As for Encarnacion, I actually had him ranked lower than Abreu on draft day and only asked for him in the deal because I didn't like the idea owning both White Sox corner infielders, as the original trade on the table was Salazar for Frazier. But the biggest surprise of all is Sanchez, who opened the year as Toronto's fifth starter but has emerged as their ace.
June 27: Traded Aaron Nola, Jay Bruce and $50 FAAB to Al Melchior for Justin Verlander and Matt Kemp
Perfect timing. Nola, after a brilliant first two months of the season, began to fall apart in mid-June. But even at the time of this trade, I was confident that he would right the ship. I just considered Verlander a safer option going forward. Seven weeks later, Nola is still struggling while Verlander has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his first eight outings as a member of my squad.
The one regret I have is choosing to include Bruce in this deal rather than Justin Upton. For some reason, I thought that Bruce was an ideal sell-high player while the best part of Upton's season was yet to come. So, instead of cutting bait, I hung onto my $30 auction investment, and this is exactly the kind of decision that has gotten me into trouble in the past. Call it the reluctance to let go, and while I have made some improvement in this area, there's still work to be done.
August 11: Traded Francisco Rodriguez and $5 FAAB to Scott Pianowski for Khris Davis
To be determined, as Davis doesn't officially join my team until Monday. But with four closers on my roster and with few points to gain or lose in saves, this was pretty close to a no-brainer for me. And a quick glance at the category standings reveals that it makes a lot of sense for Scott, too.
Who knows if my increased willingness to trade will help me become a Tout champion this season. But one thing is for sure. It adds more excitement to the managing experience.
And it makes for good article material.