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Monday, June 18, 2012

Roster Rot: Buy High, Sell Low

So, we're about 66 games into the baseball season.  That works out to more than 40% of the season.  At this point most players have shown what they are probably going to be this year.

That includes successful seasons and disastrous seasons, and also promise and warning.  You may have guys on your roster that are just not living up to their potential or aren't doing what they normally do.  They aren't performing but they are too valuable to just dump for less than what they are worth.

Let me ask you something, though: Is it better to get 50 cents on the dollar now or continue to suffer with them and chew up a roster spot for no value?  Go ahead and sell low.  It's okay.  (Sometimes... I'll explain.)

There is no better player to look at this year in this regard than Tim Lincecum.  Sure, he's only 28 years old and has a significant track record of eye-popping stats.  But look at his numbers this year.  He has been charged with 4 earned runs or more in 10 out of 14 starts this year... Plus, 2 or more walks in 11 of 14 starts.  He isn't commanding the ball like in the past.

The terrible thing is that the strikeouts are still there for him and he doesn't seem to be injured.  He's pitched at least 5 innings in 12 of 14 starts.  He's had a ton of bad starts, but only one has been close to complete disaster.  He's just getting tagged for more than one hit per inning with two or more walks per outing.  He's just sitting there, rotting on your roster.  Taking up space. 

Who knows why, but you can't just keep holding on to him.  Go ahead and ship him out for Lucas Duda or Trevor Plouffe.  You'll feel better.

On the flip side, there are some guys out there who seem to really be coming into their own, including a classic post-hype guy like Chris Davis.  This guy is only 26 years old and in his career he completely lit up minor league pitching to the tune of a .318 average and a .971 OPS.  And nobody believes he can hit for average because he didn't do it in the show at age 25 or 24 or 23. Even though he hasn't done much at the major league level his numbers have been trending up for a couple of years now, and this is the first time he's ever been a clear starter in the bigs.  He's currently hitting .294 with 12 HR's in 211 AB's.  I don't expect that to stop.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see him accelerate a bit as the weather heats up in Baltimore.  His left-handed power plays perfectly for Camden Yards.  I would not be surprised to seem him hit over .300 for the year with more than 30 HR's (My prediction: .308 with 34 HR.)

Everyone preaches "buy low and sell high"... Well, Chris Davis is the perfect "buy high" candidate.  The current owner in your league is expecting him to come to earth sometime soon and may be looking to "sell high."  You're going to have to make a strong offer to get him, but why not?  Give it a shot, especially if you are stuck in the middle of your league standings.

Now is the time to make some bold moves.  You can hang around 5th place in your league until the end or you can make an effort to jump up now while there is still time for the moves to pay off over a significant (~60%) amount of the season.