There are multiple paths to a fantasy baseball league title. If you drafted well and are able to avoid significant injuries, sticking with almost the exact same team for the entire season is a fine way to go. On the other hand, making a lot of trades, even if you did draft well, could pay off. First, there's that whole buy low/sell high strategy. Even more importantly, trading can be fun if you don't fall for the trap of becoming too emotionally attached to your players. Why not add some new life to your roster? I've always viewed Memorial Day as the point in the season when we can closely analyze our rosters and accurately identify strengths and weaknesses. Not surprisingly, it is around this time when trading picks up. I'm expecting at least a handful of swaps over the next week or two in Mixed Auction Tout Wars. This has always been a very active league, both on the FAAB and trade fronts, and 2017 is no different.
So, as we head into the heart of trade season, here's a look at some of the more significant trades that have already been made.
Ron Shandler trades Freddie Freeman and Jose Peraza to Ray Flowers for Corey Knebel and Josh Bell (effective week of 5/29)
This is an intriguing one, as Ray was willing to part with a productive bat in Bell (who sees a value boost in OBP leagues like Tout) in addition to one of his four closers in exchange for a high-end speed source and Freeman, a DL stash. The Braves first baseman is expected to be sidelined until at least early-August, but as an elite run producer, he could be well worth the wait. More reward on Ray's side, though Ron, who leads the league in steals, was able to fill an immediate need at closer (the Jeurys Familia injury left him with only Hector Neris) while also securing a solid 1B replacement for Freeman.
Scott Pianowski trades Wil Myers to Scott Engel for Michael Fulmer (effective week of 5/29)
A fair hitter for starting pitcher exchange, though I tend to give the edge to the hitter in such trades. But Myers' production fell off dramatically in May following a stellar April while Fulmer has been very consistent so far, his most recent outing marking the first time all season that he has allowed more than three earned runs in a start.
Zach Steinhorn trades Jonathan Schoop to Brent Hershey for DJ LeMahieu (effective week of 5/22)
This seemed like a logical move for me at the time, and I'm still glad I made the trade as I had and still have a greater need for runs and OBP than homers and RBIs. In 11 games for Brent's team, Schoop has already tallied two home runs and six RBIs while LeMahieu has posted a .245 OBP in 12 games for my squad. Not good. I'm not panicking though.
Al Melchior trades Eduardo Rodriguez to Brent Hershey for Byron Buxton and 80 FAAB dollars (effective week of 5/15)
Tough break for Brent as Rodriguez is now on the DL due to a knee injury suffered during warm-ups prior to his last start. Rodriguez ended up taking the mound despite the injury, which ended up being a mistake, as he allowed a season-high seven runs. Still, the Red Sox southpaw has been productive for Brent, notching three wins in four starts to go along with a 1.17 WHIP and 23 strikeouts across 25 2/3 innings. As for Buxton, he's been one of the more frustrating players to own this season, though he has picked up his play of late, with three RBI and two steals over his last four games entering Saturday. The verdict on this trade is to be determined, with the health status of Rodriguez up in the air for the time being.
Ray Flowers trades Christian Yelich to Fred Zinkie for Addison Reed, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Randal Grichuk (effective week of 5/15)
What a surprise, Fred is punting saves again. He was able to snatch Reed off the waiver wire just before the announcement that Familia would miss several months. So how about a 3-for-1 trade involving Reed where you get clearly the best player in the deal? I like those trades for the owner getting the best player. Keep in mind that roster spots have value. Unless a DL slot is available, the owner getting the three players would need to drop two players, so those guys are essentially part of the trade as well. Grichuk has since become a non-factor in mixed leagues while Bradley is just beginning to heat up.
Tim Heaney trades Avisail Garcia to Scott Engel for Brandon Maurer (effective week of 5/8)
I'm not usually a proponent of trading for closers, but this made a lot of sense for Tim, who came out of the draft with Seung-hwan Oh as his only source of saves. He had added Garcia in FAAB back in mid-April, and since the much-hyped outfielder has never lived up to expectations, not many owners were buying into his hot start. I know I wasn't. The funny thing is Garcia has continued to hit, slashing .325/.367/.536 with eight homers and 37 RBI through 51 games, and it's beginning to look like 2017 will indeed be his long-awaited breakout season. Maurer has provided Tim with five saves, but at the expense of ERA (11 ER in 10 2/3 IP). This could turn out to be a win for both sides, though Garcia currently holds a strong lead in the contest.
Alright, enough analyzing. I need to send out some offers.
Zach Steinhorn is the 2016 Mixed Auction Tout Wars champion. Follow him on Twitter @ZachMLB