I made two trades this week, and I lost both of them.
How do I know already? Well, the best player in each trade seemed pretty obvious to me, and I gave him up both times, willingly, defying both conventional wisdom and my own personal advice. Yep, I'm out of control.
Or am I? See, for all the Fantasy knowledge available on the Internet -- all the tips and guidelines, both familiar and radical, that people rigidly, maybe even religiously, follow -- nothing applies to every situation. There's a time for everything, even breaking the so-called rules.
|Jose Reyes (DL)||SS||NYM|
|Pat Burrell (DL)||OF||TB|
It's the reason why I end my yearly Draft Day Dos and Don'ts with the most universal but maybe most important rule of all: Be flexible. Rules are great to help give you a clear focus and sense of direction, but not if they blind you from something that needs to happen.
The key is figuring out if it really needs to happen, because almost always, it doesn't. You don't want to get frustrated after a losing streak or critical injury and end up doing your team more harm than good by making a trade that conventional wisdom would tell you not to make. You want to take your time, explore your alternatives and weigh your options, avoiding the pitfalls of apathy and desperation.
OK, maybe not desperation. I mean, have you seen my AL-only Rotisserie team?
12-team mixed Rotisserie (3rd; 5x5 Score: 74.0)
Not much new to report here, which I realize is becoming the status quo for a league without a bench. But I know I can't keep sailing merrily along, content with third place forever. At some point, I have to make a move.
Unfortunately, trades don't happen easily in leagues of this sort, mostly because nobody has a chance to accumulate excess. When a breakout second baseman emerges, the only person who bothers to add him is the one who needs a second baseman. The talent, thus, becomes evenly distributed: To gain a strong player off the waiver wire, you first need to have a weak player at that same position. So now that the waiver wire has run dry, with most of the breakouts already divvied up, you can't fill anyone else's need without making it your own. And understandably, nobody wants to do that.
We'll see where it goes, though. I certainly need hitting -- even stolen bases, ironically. How does someone who drafted Jose B. Reyes rank second-to-last in steals?
Speaking of Reyes, I didn't want to get only half a week from him -- if even that -- so I stashed him in my DL slot formerly occupied by Ryan Ludwick and started Emmanuel Burriss instead, cutting Nick Swisher. Maybe Burriss will get me a steal or two. He had started to heat up.
I also cut Melky Cabrera for Kendry Morales earlier in the week, when Cabrera first hurt his shoulder. Either player works for me, but I think Morales is a safer bet for home runs than Cabrera is for ... anything.
With so-so options like Morales, Michael Cuddyer and Jack Cust in my outfield, you'd think I would've taken a chance on Luke Scott, who hit six home runs in four games last week. I thought about it during homers four and five, but I thought too long, apparently. If I could do it over again, I would, most likely for Cust -- Morales if I had to.
In the end, though, I doubt Scott will get the at-bats to hit 30 homers. You could argue Cust and Morales both have a better chance.
10-team mixed Head-to-Head (6th; Record: 4-4)
|Ryan Doumit (DL)||C||PIT|
This league frustrates me to no end. After making hitting such a priority on Draft Day, I still ended up with not enough. I blame Carlos Quentin. Or is it Andre Ethier? No, wait -- B.J. Upton is the obvious culprit.
Whatever. I don't have enough, and I need to get more. I've started the tepid trading process of making offers I don't expect anyone to take just to feel them out -- Chris Volstad and Adam Lind for Nate McLouth, for instance. So far, I've gotten nothing but silent rejections. A little feedback would be nice.
I'll get something to work eventually. I have more than enough pitching.
And I could have had even more after somebody cut Gil Meche. That shouldn't happen; I don't care if he's struggling now. He pitched far worse at the beginning of last season only to look like an ace down the stretch. If I could've pulled off a two-for-one trade, he would've been the guy I added.
Someone eventually beat me to him. Oh well. Hopefully, Chien-Ming Wang will get back in the rotation soon. If not, I'll probably regret my inaction with Meche.
Really, I can't complain, because I somehow snuck away with Ben Zobrist the night after the Akinori Iwamura injury, cutting Jeremy Hermida for him. That pickup might end up the turning point of my season, and I don't even need a shortstop. As you can see, I activated Zobrist right away as a DH. I don't remember the last time I used a middle infielder at DH, which should tell you something about his ability.
I had planned to keep Michael Cuddyer in my starting lineup before he hurt his finger Sunday. That injury forced me to choose between a slumping B.J. Upton, a slumping Andre Ethier and a slumping Adam Lind. Celebrate good times, come on. I ultimately went with Upton because, come on, how much longer can this slump last?
As for my pitching staff, I made the somewhat unorthodox decision to start Wandy Rodriguez over Jon Lester, who finally looked like an ace in his last start, striking out 12 Blue Jays. Rodriguez's struggles last week came on the road, though, and he has a track record of pitching infinitely better at home. Going against a poor-hitting Rockies team, I couldn't justify sitting him. Plus, Lester has to face the Rangers.
12-team AL-only Rotisserie (12th; 5x5 Score: 49.0)
Here we go.
|Jose Molina (DL)||C||NYY|
|Pat Burrell (DL)||OF||TB|
|Xavier Nady (DL)||OF||NYY|
|Lou Montanez (DL)||OF||BAL|
|Koji Uehara (DL)||P||BAL|
After two months of watching my team gasping for air at the bottom of standings, I finally had enough -- enough of biding my time, hoping it gets better once Jhonny Peralta and Ty Wigginton heat up (or play regularly, for that matter). If I want it to get better, I have to get my hands in there and make it better.
And so I did. Well, I made it different, anyway.
Now, I don't mean to give you the wrong impression. In a vacuum, I absolutely got the worse end of both deals, and for that reason, I wouldn't advise you to make them yourself. Jackson, Burnett and maybe even Rodney are most-own options in mixed leagues while Polanco, Nady and Burrell are barely rosterable. But you have to account for the complete dearth of hitting in a league this deep. If you have a shortage of pitching, you can add a middle reliever off the waiver wire and improve in two categories (ERA and WHIP). But if you have a shortage of hitting, you have no choice but to grab a minor leaguer and hope he gets promoted.
I have a shortage of hitting -- a big one. Of my 49.0 5x5 points, 39.0 have come from pitching, leaving me with a pathetic 10.0 from hitting. I rank second-to-last in every category. So when I say waiting for a more suitable offer was no longer an option, believe it. If I have any hope of a halfway respectable finish in this league, I not only have to improve my hitting, but improve it with enough time for it to have an effect.
It's not like I didn't explore every option. I had offered trades to every team in the league since the second week of the season. I sat on the Polanco trade for three weeks, waiting for a better offer, and even before I accepted it, I let the league know I'd accept it, giving everyone a chance to make one last-ditch offer.
I got as much as I possibly could for Burnett and Jackson -- no doubt about it. And that's why, given my extreme needs, I didn't mind taking the losing end of both deals.
Besides, I picked up Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares off the waiver wire, and the two of them should combine to produce numbers similar to Jackson's so far, minus the wins. Hey, don't underestimate the impact of middle relievers in this league. I finished second last year despite having only three starting pitchers: Burnett, Matt Garza and Tim Wakefield. I can do it again.
Burrell and Nady immediately went on the DL for me, allowing me to add Guerrier and Mijares. Lou Montanez and Koji Uehara also went on the DL this week, allowing me to add Joe Nelson and Joey Gathright. I don't honestly expect to keep Nelson, but until the Rays officially name a closer, everyone deserves a look. As for the Gathright pickup, consider it a case of me adding a minor leaguer and hoping for the best.
Crowe immediately moved into my starting lineup since he'll start some with Grady Sizemore on the DL. Aaron Cunningham and Alexi Casilla both came up from the minor leagues, so I decided not to squander this opportunity to get at-bats from them. Otherwise, I would've started Burrell and hoped for a miraculous return this week.
12-team NL-only Rotisserie (10th; 5x5 Score: 55.5)
|Jorge De La Rosa||P||COL|
|Aramis Ramirez (DL)||3B||CHC|
|Chad Tracy (DL)||1B||ARI|
|Alfredo Amezaga (DL)||SS/OF||FLA|
|Brett Myers (DL)||SP||PHI|
|Jose Valverde (DL)||P||HOU|
Now that I've finally taken action in my AL-only league, maybe I can turn my attention this team, which has started to get out of hand over the last couple weeks.
Again, the problem is hitting, and I don't totally understand why. Granted, the Aramis Ramirez injury hurt, but other teams have injured superstars and don't rank as low as 10th. Every player in my lineup gets at least semi-regular at-bats, which is really all you can ask for in a league this deep.
I might've even had to make some tough lineup decisions had Chad A. Tracy (oblique) and Angel Pagan (groin) not gone on the DL. Ryan Roberts takes over as my corner infielder. He should play every day with Tracy on the DL and hopefully provide a few steals.
The addition of fill-in everyday second baseman Edwin Maysonet allowed me to sit lefty killer Craig Monroe for the first time since early April, but if the Pirates faced more than two lefties this week, I would have started Monroe over Maysonet. I don't have high expectations for the middle infielder going forward.
In my week-to-week juggling of middle relievers, I might have found a Mark DiFelice-like gem in Nick Masset, who flew a bit under the radar because he spent some time on the DL earlier this year. I cut Nick Evans for him and benched Micah Owings, who seems to do more harm than good these days. I also swapped out Ron Villone for Sean Burnett. Meh ...
I have six players on the DL and only five DL slots. I could clear a roster spot by cutting Brett Myers, who'll probably miss the rest of the year, but I'd like to hang on to him just in case. Besides, if I dropped him, someone else would add him. We have five DL slots, after all. Not everyone has the good fortune of using them all.
20-team mixed Head-to-Head (2nd NL-only side; Record: 5-3)
(10 teams NL-only, 10 teams AL-only)
Speaking of DL slots, I'll go ahead and call them this team's MVP. Might as well. They house pretty much every other candidate anyway.
Goodbye, Chris Iannetta. Catch you later, Jose B. Reyes. Thanks for nothing, Brett Myers. Between those three and Brandon Phillips, I had nothing going for me last week but a bunch of bottom-of-the-barrel scrubs.
But low and behold, I won.
|Chris Iannetta (DL)||C||COL|
|Jose Reyes (DL)||SS||NYM|
|Elijah Dukes (DL)||OF||WAS|
|Brett Myers (DL)||SP||PHI|
|Anibal Sanchez (DL)||SP||FLA|
Not only did I win, but I scored enough points that I now rank second in the NL portion of the league. Holy waiver priority, Batman.
I decided to give David Eckstein another look, opting for a definite full week from him over a potential half week from Reyes. Hey, if he did it once, he can do it again. Phillips homered in back-to-back games after returning late last week, making me look like a moron for doubting him. Obviously, I had to get him active, but I didn't want to sit Mike Fontenot, who seems destined for a big week. Instead, I benched Pedro Feliz, who hasn't disappointed, especially for a second-to-last-round pick, but I don't think I ever have to worry about missing a monster week from him.
I also benched someone I thought I never would: Nick Johnson. I would've liked to start him, but I couldn't keep the red-hot Gary Sheffield on my bench, not with the matchups he has coming up this week.
Why not bench the slumping Jayson Werth, you ask? Ha, I know better than that. As soon as I bench him, he'll break out with 40 points -- it never fails. He's a legitimate must-start in all leagues 12 teams or deeper. You just have to live with his streakiness.
I took the Myers news surprisingly well. I had confidence in him, but I've grown more and more apathetic to starting pitching in our new standard scoring. It does more harm than good half the time, so you really can't count on it for anything. To illustrate that point, I added Carlos Villanueva, a middle reliever who I intend to use as a starting pitcher.
But not this week -- no, of course not this week. Todd Wellemeyer has two starts, and Chris R. Young, Randy Johnson and J.A. Happ all have good matchups. Can't waste those, right? Maybe I'll give the new strategy a try next week. Yeah, next week.
I'm such a wuss.
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