Written by Tony Meale
Published: 12 May 2009
No one drafts the perfect team, and playing the waiver wire just isn’t enough. To contend for a fantasy crown, you’re going to have to pull off a trade or two – at least.
At the risk of sounding condescending, if you don’t think this fundamental fantasy maxim applies to you, you’re probably wrong. I’ve yet to come across a fantasy player who has won a league in any sport without orchestrating at least one swap. If you’ve won a league sans trading, that means one of two things: either you’re arguably the greatest predictor of athletic performance in the history of humanity, or you need to find a more competitive league.
Tony preferred to hang onto Dan Uggla.
I was offered a trade a few weeks into the season: Carlos Zambrano and Rickie Weeks for Dan Uggla and Emilio Bonifacio. I rejected this proposal. Yes, I knew Bonifacio was going to stop playing on cloud nine at some point, but I’ve never been big on Weeks. First of all, in four full seasons with the Brewers, he has never played more than 120 games. And if you take his best individual stats from each season, you get this line: a .279 average, 16 homers, 46 RBI, 89 runs scored and 25 stolen bases.
Not a horrible line, sure. But not that great, either. Besides, it’d be different had Weeks produced those numbers in the same season. Well, it appears the wait-till-next-year tag on Weeks has finally arrived. As of May 11, he is hitting .277 with seven bombs, 21 RBI, 24 runs scored and one steal.
Speaking of steals, had Carlos Zambrano remembered that he weighs nearly 260 pounds and that sprinting is a bad idea, this trade would have been of great benefit to me had I accepted it. After all, I dropped Bonifacio on April 25, and he remains a free agent. Uggla, meanwhile, is holding down the fort on my lone offensive bench spot because Aaron Hill has been rock solid (.353/8/29/25/2).
And now for the absurd I’ll-do-this-but-I-won’t-do-that logic of trades. Like I said, I rejected this proposal, but I did make a counteroffer. Instead of Weeks, I requested Robinson Cano, who is currently .321/6/18/21/1. Had my friend (whom we will call Bob) accepted this proposal, he would have received Uggla and Bonifacio – two second-base eligible players. There would be no need to have Cano on his roster (or Weeks, for that matter). Nevertheless, he rejected it. A few weeks later, Bob had a pending trade with another league member in which he would give up Russell Martin (.272/0/14/15/3) and Justin Upton (.309/6/16/19/3) for Willy Taveras (.283/1/5/20/7).
This is the fifth year my league has been in existence, and that is the first trade that has ever been vetoed – and it was done so in unanimous fashion. Regardless of how desperate you are for steals, that trade is just silly. Interestingly, Bob was genuinely confused as to why this trade was vetoed.
But every now and again, two parties will consent to a trade, and the league will accept it. Such was the case for me last week. I gave up Toronto outfielder Adam Lind (.333/6/31/20/0) for the services of Milwaukee stud Yovani Gallardo (four wins, a 3.09 ERA, 47 strikeouts and a .105 WHIP). I obviously think I got the better end of the deal; if hadn’t, why would I propose the trade to begin with? But I think this trade definitely had steal potential.
Lind, 25, is clearly enjoying the finest season of his brief career, but he was expendable for several reasons. At the time, Lind was my utility player, as my other outfielders were Manny Ramirez, Jason Bay and Carl Crawford. This trade was finalized three days before Manny’s suspension, so at the time, I didn’t see losing Lind as a big deal. But losing Manny for 50 games makes Lind’s absence a little more noticeable.
Still, I stand by the move. Lind’s value hinges on the health of Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. Plus, Lind is hitting .381 with runners in scoring position and .476 with RISP and two outs. I expect those numbers to fall. Gallardo, meanwhile, will be of immense value to me. In a 12-team rotisserie league, I currently have an 8 or higher in every offensive category – including 12s in average and stolen bases. But in pitching, I have a 6.5 or lower – including a 1 in WHIP. Gallardo becomes arguably the ace of a staff that includes Rich Harden, Aaron Harang and Chris Volstad, so he will be of great help to my championship chances. This move alone won’t give me the league, but at least I’m contending, which is good enough for right now.
Until it’s time to make another trade.