I'm in fourth place in a rather competitive 14-team league. Closers went super fast in this draft which allowed me to scoop up some great deals in the middle rounds and bolster most of the 5x5 stats. Unfortunately, I waited on closers and ended up with guys like Glen Perkins, David Hernandez, and Mike Adams. Later I added Pedro Strop and Vinnie Pestano. Set-up guys with shaky dudes in front of them.
The problem is that Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, J.J. Putz, Jim Johnson, and Chris Perez have all been at least solid enough to keep their jobs. I'm at nearly the bottom of the list of saves with 2 points out of a possible 14. That is a glaring deficit when you are in 4th place overall.
I had to do something about it. I decided that I had to sacrifice a quality guy for two closers, hopefully one of those five that I mentioned above (might come cheap) plus another one who is seriously legit.
Okay, so away I went to further scan the standings.
- Step One: Who has saves?
- Step Two: What do they need?
- Step Three: What can I supply?
- Step Four: Make the offer with an explanation
- Step Five: Can you replace some of what you are giving up?
So, I discovered that a guy one or two spots in front of me was at the top of the list of saves but near the bottom in steals. Basically the opposite of me. Better yet, he had J.J. Putz and Jason Motte. Criteria fulfilled.
Did I have someone with more value to him than me that could supply steals? Well, yes in fact that was was exactly the case. Jason Heyward has 9 steals on this young season, which is phenomenal. I looked a little closer and he is only hitting .260 (.183 over the past 14 days) and he was dreadful last year. Quite possibly the perfect "sell high" guy to someone who needs steals. Conversely, it could also be that I'm giving up a total stud when you look at his numbers from 2010, but if that happens it happens. I need saves big time.
I've got Nelson Cruz, Matt Joyce, Lucas Duda, and Brett Gardner also... and it is a 3-OF league. So, even though Gardner is on the shelf for another 3-4 weeks I should be okay.
And, upon further review, someone in the league just dropped Cameron Maybin. I only have the #7 waiver priority, so I might not get him... but the guy I'm trading with is #13 so I don't have to worry about him taking Maybin for the steals. Maybin was always a super-prospect, he finally delivered in 2011, and even though he started slow this year he is starting to pick up the pace. A worthy gamble. If I get him he will replace the SB's I'm losing at least until Gardner comes back.
So, I made the offer of Jason Heyward and Pedro Strop for Putz and Motte. I included an explanation of my rationale which I usually like to do. Writing an explanation has risks because sometimes your potential trading partner will feel like you are somehow trying to trick them or over-convince them... and they don't want to be duped. If you really are trying to dupe them, maybe you should not include an explanation. I understand both sides of the issue, but I still like to include my reasoning for the offer so they can understand why I'm willing to give up the value I'm willing to give up.
My explanation went like this: "You need steals in the worst way and I need saves. Jason Heyward has been terrific all around, but the big thing is that he's got 9 SB's. I don't want to give him up, but to get a good closer and a bad one who I already have the backup for (I'm carrying David Hernandez) would really help me out. I'm throwing in Pedro Strop who doesn't have the job right now, but he gets the occasional save and has been awesome so far. It bears mentioning that both of the guys I am offering are ranked significantly higher than both of the guys I'm asking for. I really need some saves."
The fact is that I am giving up a lot and everything I said in there is true. I like the last sentence in there because it shows how desperate I really am. The bottom line is that if I can get up to 8 or 9 points in the saves category I'll be in 2nd place with a real shot to win it all.
If I don't climb the saves mountain, I'll stay in (maybe) the upper-middle of the pack. I really had to force the issue with saves. I'm going to hold on to Perkins, Adams, Hernandez, and also Dale Thayer in this league for a while too. I'm dropping Pestano for Felipe Paulino and putting a bid in on Maybin as well.
Now is the time of the season where patterns are emerging and things are starting to firm up and be pretty close to "real." But you still have a very large majority of the season yet to play. It's a great time to take inventory of what your team is really likely to be, scan the detailed standings, and make some calculated sacrifices where they make sense (and can be replenished).