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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Trading King Felix

So I traded Felix Hernandez only 7 starts into the season.  With a 1.89 ERA.  And a 0.94 WHIP.  And a K/9 darn close to 9.  Am I crazy?  Maybe.  I have some splaining to do.

This trade was a part of a 5-for-5 deal in my AL-only "Expert" league.  I had holes all over the place.  I invested heavily in the outfield, but with Carl Crawford, Nolan Reimold, and Brett Gardner on the DL (and Shin-Soo Choo banged up to boot) I needed help there.  A bigger need was the fact that I had no real closers on the roster.  Plus, I was also choosing between Jeff Keppinger and Maicer Izturis at my MI slot with Erick Aybar at SS.

A smaller need was CI, where I had Kendrys Morales.  Morales is playing pretty well but he's not getting full-time AB's and I still have lingering doubts about him coming off of a year and a half away from baseball.  His power hasn't fully returned yet.

Felix is obviously a huge trade chip in a league like this.  I have no doubt that he will continue to be amazing.  Three thoughts about him, though:
  1. As I have written ad-nauseum, I was on auto-draft to start the draft and ended up with Justin Verlander and Felix with the wheel picks at #10 and #11.  If I had it to do over, I would have taken Adrian Beltre and one of the remaining first basemen - probably Prince Fielder, but possibly Mark Teixeira.
  2. I've already gotten seven starts out of Felix since his first start was in Japan on 3/28.  This is a roto league, so I've squeezed more than 20% of his season out of him already.
  3. I don't think that he will continue to get wins in 75% of his decisions.  Possible, but unlikely with that offense behind him.

So, I packaged Felix and Morales plus the worst three guys on my roster (who were promptly dropped by the other guy) for Mark Teixeira, Jake Arrieta, Robert Andino, Dayan Viciedo, and Jose Valverde.

Tex is an upgrade to Morales.  He always gets off to a slow start, is showing signs of heating up, and will always get full-time AB's.  Good start there.

I love Arrieta this year.  I think he should be 80% as good as Felix, so that estimate is a huge part of this deal.  If that is true, I win the deal in a landslide.  The day after the deal went down, Arrieta pitched masterfully at Yankee Stadium.  His WHIP is uber-tiny.  Nice.

Jose Valverde was phenomenal in 2011.  He has gotten off to a mediocre start in 2012, but in a 10-team AL-only league having him is a big win for me.  He should have an extremely long leash after the year he had last year, so I finally have a legit closer.  Problem solved.  (Now, if we can just get Aaron Crow the job in KC we'll really be in business.)

Robert Andino has been one of the best hitters in the AL so far and has continued to rake since the trade went down.  He's actually in my SS slot right now with Aybar moving over to MI.  That position can change, but bumping Keppinger and Izturis is a win.  Bonus.

And, finally, the outfield.  Look, Viciedo is no great shakes but there was absolutely nothing on the waiver wire.  I was seriously looking at Don Kelly, folks.  Viciedo will continue to get AB's and he has undeniable upside.  He gives me a good 6th outfielder to play with Reimold on the shelf.  I actually still have to start Gardner (and Choo) this week, so I'm not out of the woods.  If I hadn't picked up Viciedo I would have had to drop Izturis or Keppinger for a Don Kelly type.  It could be worse.  Hopefully Viciedo will catch fire and Reimold will get healthy.

So, what do you think?  Did I get the most bang for my buck in this deal?  I took my biggest strength (starting pitching) and made it fairly average, but filled 3 or 4 significant holes in the process.