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Monday 21st Aug 2017

At last spring’s Tout Wars draft weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting one of fantasy baseball’s pioneers. F.X. Flinn joined us to present the SABR Trophies to the three 2009 league winners, of which I was one and our Lawr Michaels another.

F.X. was one of the original American League rotisserie players in 1982 and the editor of the first "Rotisserie League Baseball" book in 1984.

Recently, I received an email from F.X., who is recruiting a new owner for one of his long-time roto leagues, the Stamford (CT) Rotisserie League.

As he was explaining the basics of the keeper league, F.X. caught my eye with this remark. “…we don't use FAAB, we have salary arbitration…"

My natural curiosity led me to ask friends if they knew what he was talking about. No one did. So I went to the source for clarification. After all, I have come across many good rules ideas from others and the focus of this column is to share them with you.

In reply to my inquiry, I received an email response that was five printed pages in length, including an excerpt from the league constitution. These guys take their play seriously!

The key objective seems to be to avoid the pox of dump trading and keep as many owners in the hunt as possible until the end of each season. Certainly those are the noblest of intentions.

Here are some of the league’s interesting elements.

No FAAB. Claims from the free agent pool are executed from last-to-first place priority order. These free agents are assigned $5 non-renewable contracts. The league has no transaction fees, believing they penalize teams that incur injuries.

In-season maximum and minimum caps. The league has an in-season cap of $320, something I have seen in many leagues. However, they also have a more unique twist, a minimum cap that begins at $225 and drops to $200 in mid-May. This looks to be a real deterrent to mass quantities of dump trades.

Trade of waiver spots and farm picks. Teams can deal away as many as three of the current season’s waiver claims and as many as four of the next year’s farm picks.

Trade of draft dollars. Teams can add or spend as much as $15 of their $260 draft allotment, with a maximum of $10 allowed to change hands in any one trade. There must be at least one player going each way as well.

Arbitration. Players not given long-term contracts can be nominated (arbitrated) during the first three rounds of the auction draft. This includes the previous season’s signed free agents. The current owner has the right to match the high bid and the player then gets a new contract. F.X. explains this drives a greater level of owners guaranteeing long-term contracts.

The members of this league believe these rules and others help them create a player market that functions naturally, reflecting an MLB general manager’s job, without creating what they consider artificial assets like FAAB dollars.

Like any suggestions, view these through the aperture of your leagues, and determine if there are ideas that can be used directly, or perhaps with modification. No matter how good our leagues are today, they can eventually become stale. Hopefully, your compatriots are open-minded when the thought of rules changes come up.

That’s all for now. Until next week!

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 13-year history. He is a 2009 NFBC league winner and finished in the top 25 nationally in both the NFBC and NFFC that season. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com.

Comments   

0 #7 Lawr Michaels 2011-01-23 00:13
i kind of like the rules. i really enjoy a tough single league format, with restrictions. for i believe that is the surest way to separate luck from skill. not that luck won't always play a part, but i always thought having to choose between mathis and cervelli and that being the difference between winning and losing was where it is at.

i also think ultimately, the rules don't matter. long as you know what they are.
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0 #6 Perry Van Hook 2011-01-22 18:22
Quoting captgus:
Captain Hook, would you care to elaborate on which rules are "terrible"? I'm not sold on the idea of in season salary caps and minimums, as I think dump trades are just part of keeper leagues. A topic I'm sure that has already beaten to death on message boards. I do like the idea of trading auction money and the arbitration concept is intriguing, although it seems like it would remove decisions such as, "do I keep Pujols at $43? or Wainwright at $27". Wouldn't the smart move there be to make them available, see what the highest bid is and then go from them?

1) No FAAB and $5 non-renewable contracts
FAAB is a much fairer way to distribute free agents, I won't belabor that but FA should have a $5 salary against the cap BUT a $10 salary to be kept the following year > this is an important way for teams to augment/rebuild their rosters (but should only apply to players who were in the league pool on draft day or promoted minor leaguers)
2) Trading draft dollars ALWAYS leads to abuse and really poor trades
3) Arbitration/toppers is really punishing those teams who have built up their rosters and would then have to outbid teams with money that year to protect players that they own. Turrible

I am in favor of trading minor league draft picks - that is really important in keeper leagues. Trading waiver spots is okay if you accepted the inferior waivers to FAAB....BUT can lead to abuse. The in season cap and floor are fine and most good leagues have the cap. Unfortunately the floor prevents teams from totally rebuilding unless your league is really against that in which case you should just play in redraft leagues.
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0 #5 michael clapinski 2011-01-22 17:57
Captain Hook, would you care to elaborate on which rules are "terrible"? I'm not sold on the idea of in season salary caps and minimums, as I think dump trades are just part of keeper leagues. A topic I'm sure that has already beaten to death on message boards. I do like the idea of trading auction money and the arbitration concept is intriguing, although it seems like it would remove decisions such as, "do I keep Pujols at $43? or Wainwright at $27". Wouldn't the smart move there be to make them available, see what the highest bid is and then go from them?
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0 #4 Perry Van Hook 2011-01-22 17:23
There are really some terrible rules there IMO for what should be a much better league
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0 #3 Todd Zola 2011-01-22 16:51
MUST

RESIST

TEMPTATION

AS

WELL
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0 #2 Brian Walton 2011-01-22 14:01
They were not necessarily recruiting me personally, but were looking to the members of the XFL, www.fantasyxperts.com/ as we are long-time players, all over 40 years of age.

I was intrigued by the league and am within driving distance for their in-person draft, but am over-extended in league participation already, so I am going to do my best to resist the temptation.
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0 #1 Mike Ladd 2011-01-22 12:32
was it you they were recruiting? If so, did you accept?
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