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Monday, June 4, 2012

You Can't Handle the Youk

With Kevin Youkilis so famously on the trading block these days, I'd like to talk about the potential impact of in-season trades and what that might mean for your fantasy squad.

I've got a few things you might consider when a certain player is on the real-world trading block.  Their value may be ready to increase with a new ballpark address.

Here we go:

1) If they are selling why should I be buying?
  • Yes, it is true that the current owner is selling, but if the player is traded then there is also a buyer on the other end.  What does the new team see themselves getting from the player?  Take a look at what they give up for the guy, and that can show you how they value him.  Consider why the other team is acquiring the player and if that reasoning works with your risk/reward tolerance.
2) Will the player be in a better playing time situation?
  • Are they buried on the depth chart with no room to get regular at bats?  Sometimes there is a big free agent signing or a hot prospect that takes at bats away and a new lineup is just what the doctor ordered.
3) Is this a move from the National League to the American League in order to take advantage of the DH position?
  • If so, does that mean more at-bats?  Has the player ever been a DH before?  Some guys just can't get into the flow of the game at DH and it doesn't work.  Also, are they hiding some sort of injury?  This may not be automatically a bad thing...  Some guys can just go up and hit without worrying about certain injuries that they would have to be concerned about while playing defense.  Nevertheless, the player may be damaged goods...  Be on the lookout for this and look at the evidence.
4) Will a change of scenery do them good?
  • Too often there is baggage associated with a team, a city, a manager, or teammates.  A change of venue can be a huge shot in the arm to a player that has worn out his welcome.  Look for evidence of conflict with the manager or booing from the fans.  You may also look at a player who used to deliver big stats and has been trending down recently.  If you do a prime profile on the player and determine that there is still plenty of gas left in the tank, try to acquire them.

If playing time improves, at bats will increase, and statistics should go right along with them.  Look, I don't think that Youkilis has much left but I wouldn't be shocked to see him go somewhere like Arizona and get some pep in his step and start to mash.  Crazier things happen every day.

So, while I really don't like Youkilis in Boston this year I might take a flyer on him with the D-Backs. (For example.)  This same thing can happen with lots of players, of course.  Think critically about park effects, playing time concerns, and whether a simple change of scenery can breathe new life into the player's career.

Take these items into account and ask yourself if the recently-traded or maybe the soon-to-be-traded player is getting a bump in value that possibly their current owner isn't factoring in.  (Or it the player may be worth a pickup from the waiver pool.)  Maybe you can handle the Youk.