Captain's Log

Trades From an NL-Only League PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 00:43

These are trades from an 11-team, 5x5 league where minor leaguers can be traded but future minor league draft picks cannot. If there is an extreme price differential (deep dump trade) in the players involved in the trade, there are trade restrictions on the teams involved.

For those unfamiliar with the keeper status abbreviations, here are a few examples:

26D15 - $26 auction salary, Drafted, in 2015

10F14 - $10 salary, as Free Agent, in 2014

21C16 - $21 salary, under Contract, through 2016


Trade #1 Effective April 27

Team A trades Michael Taylor (10D14) and Aristides Aquino (farm) to

Team B for Matt Holliday (26D15)


Trade #2 Effective April 27

Team C trades Yasmany Tomas (farm) and Noah Syndergaard (farm) to

Team B for Max Scherzer (41D15)


Trade #3 Effective May 4

Team B trades Khris Davis (10D13) to

Team D for Amed Rosario (farm)


Trade #4 Effective May 11

Team E trades Brandon Belt (24D15) to

Team F for Aaron Blair (farm)


Trade #5 Effective May 18

Team G trades Trevor Rosenthal (7D13) to

Team H for Javier Baez (farm)


Trade #6 Effective July 5

Team A trades Francisco Liriano (10D13), Jake Peavy (2D15) and Matt Holliday (26D15) to

Team F for Alberto Callaspo (3D15), Tyler Kolek (farm), Grant Holmes (farm) and Wilmer Difo (farm)


Trade #7 Effective July 5

Team A trades Jordan Zimmermann (27D14) to

Team J for Cliff Lee (2D15) and Brandon Drury (farm)


Trade #8 Effective July 5

Team A trades Ryan Braun (34D15), Josh Harrison (10D14) and Madison Bumgarner (15C15) to

Team H for Maikel Franco (5M15), Orlando Arcia (farm) and C.J. Edwards (farm)


Trade #9 Effective July 12

Team E trades Andrew McCutchen (50D15), Daniel Murphy (20D15) and Bartolo Colon (6D15) to

Team C for Ryan Zimmerman (33D15), Enrique Hernandez (5F15), Jim Johnson (5F15) and Peter O'Brien (farm)

Interesting to note that the first trade by Team A was to fortify their roster in April, but by early July they had given up hope of cashing and decided to trade (mostly) expiring contracts or other non-keepers for minor leaguers or cheap contracts and try to get an early draft pick next spring Their partner in the first trade, after being able to hang amongst the contenders, reloaded again in later trades.

Also interesting to note that Team E, the one team clearly drafting to set their roster up for 2016, waited until May to make their first trade and then didn’t make another trade until July. Of course, in this NL league and last week’s AL league, we could see a flurry of trades at the trade deadline, which is usually the first weekend of August. So next week we will look not only at the deadline trades in the AL but the FAAB from both the AL-only and NL-only leagues.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 16:54
Keeper Leagues - A Variety of Trade Options PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:00

In keeper leagues, especially those with minor league drafts, there are a number of ways for the contenders or pretenders to augment their roster and a lot of chances for the rebuilding teams to build for the future as well.

This week, we will look at several trades from a very deep, 11-team AL-only league that has a deep farm system - 139 minor leaguers owned by the 11 teams after the five-man draft held at the conclusion of the auction.

This league doesn’t allow trades in April in order to give everyone a fair opportunity to assess their team’s chances, so the first weekend in May is very interesting each year.

Here is one of those trades:

Team A traded Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Vogt, Kyle Lobstein and their 4th round minor league draft pick in 2016 to

Team B for Geovany Soto, Zach Putnam, minor leaguers Dylan Bundy, D.J. Peterson and Luiz Gohara and their 2nd round 2016 minor league draft pick.

Team B was now a real contender but with the largest minor league list had plenty of ammo to make this trade and Team A got three prospects and a draft upgrade. This was one of three trades Team A made to rebuild for 2016 and beyond during that first trade week.

Here is another trade – one from late-May that didn’t include any future draft picks:

Team C traded Austin Jackson and Colby Rasmus to

Team D for Craig Gentry and minor leaguer Jonathan Singleton.

And there are smaller trades as well, sometimes buoyed by the high minor league draft pick or by a prospect:

Team F trades Danny Farquhar and their 2016 1st round minor league draft pick to

Team G for Jose Quintana and their 2016 4th round minor league draft pick, and

Team G trades Rajai Davis to

Team H for Carlos Sanchez and minor leaguer Gary Sanchez (NYY).

And one more from that league in mid-June:

Team B traded Chase Whitley, minor leaguers Luis Severino and Daz Cameron along with their 2016 1st round minor league draft pick to

Team C for Adrian Beltre, Joakim Soria, Mark Buehrle and their 2016 3rd round minor league draft pick.

So, Team B adds more for this year and Team C adds more for the future.

Finally, here is one from a different AL-only league, an old school 4x4 league, that went down at the All-Star break:

Team 1 was in 2nd place, four points out of first and four points ahead of third place. They were first in HR, RBI, W, and SV but middle of the pack in SB but with the potential to gain three or four points. Team 2 was buried in the bottom portion of the league due to lack of production from Robinson Cano and injuries to Victor Martinez and Jacoby Ellsbury. So the original trade proposal was Kole Calhoun and minor leaguer Dylan Bundy for Ellsbury. After a counter of Ellsbury and a pitcher for Calhoun and Dellin Betances, the final trade was:

Team 2 traded Ellsbury (an expiring $29 contract) and Adam Warren ($8 first year contract) to

Team 1 for Calhoun ($15 with two years left) and Betances ($1 with one year left).

The contending team got the steals they need and a useful pitcher while the rebuilding team got a good hitter on a good contract for two more years and an excellent reliever for next year.

Next week, we will look at some trades from an NL-only league with different rules.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 07:35
Trade Tactics and Strategies PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 15 July 2015 00:00

Now that you have a plan of what you want to accomplish with your trade, let’s look at some things that will help you achieve your objective.

And I mention a plan because you should very rarely make a trade on a whim. Yes, you may want your trade partner to think that, but if you don’t have a clear idea as to what you want to acquire and what you are willing to give up to gain what your team needs, you are not going to be very successful.

A trade plan could be as simple as:

-Trading excess saves for a starting pitcher.

-Seeing what the best minor leaguer or draft pick upgrade you can get for an expiring contract.

-Trading a middle infielder for a starting pitcher.

Whatever the plan is, use the old sales bromide "Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan."

I stressed direct live or phone communication whenever possible as you will learn more about your trade partner’s feelings and preferences when you are in the moment. This approach can often work better than someone reading your e-mail and then having too much time to get a second opinion or even worse, offer the player you want to a different team.

But whether the communication is direct or via your keyboard, here are a few tips to help you negotiate:

Use questions to draw your opponent into the process

This could be something as simple as “Who do you like better, Matt Carpenter or Kolten Wong?”, regardless of whether those are his players or your players. That information not only will help you in deciding on an offer but it will help your trade partner start to embrace or release the player he doesn’t choose.

Offer your trade partner a choice of players from your team

Different from above being that you are now closer to closing the deal, but this makes the other team feel like they are in control of choosing the player they are getting. Stating that “I would like either Wade Davis or Dellin Betances for this starting pitcher” is giving your trade partner more control, which gets you much closer to a deal. You can ause the reverse of “I will trade you Wade Davis for either Nathan Karns or Ubaldo Jimenez.” This gives them a choice, and while you should obviously ask for players that you want, you should frame it so you are happier with the less obvious choice and elated if you get the “higher rated” guy.

Unless you are dealing with a very fragile temperament or trading for a known widely desired commodity, you can always ask for another player or upgrade

Phrases like “We are really close but I just need a little more" or “Throw in any pitcher on your bench and let’s do this” will often get you another piece to use or trade later.

The one thing you want to get out of your head is the silly notion that you have to “win” a trade. I see this in questions all the time and it is worse than nails down a chalkboard. As long as you are improving your team and your trade partner is happy with what he got, it is a good trade for both of you, and that is all that matters. You shouldn’t care what anyone else (save your partner) thinks in terms of exchanged player value if you made your team better for the rest of the season.

Next week, we will look at some examples of rebuilding trades in keeper leagues.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 July 2015 08:26
Finding the Right Trade Partner PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Thursday, 09 July 2015 00:00

Okay, you have analyzed your fantasy baseball team’s strengths and weaknesses in each category and hopefully by positions. What now?

Well, you have to find a trade partner. Simplistically, that is a team (preferably behind you in the standings) that is strong in your weak category/position and could use help in a category where you have an excess.

Yes, as I mentioned last week, it might also be a category where you are buried but have one good producer. Let’s say for example that you drafted a lot of power but not much speed. Then you added Billy Burns as a free agent and he is stealing some bases for you (and will do more in the future as long as the Athletics leave him in the lineup – remember he stole 54 bases in the Minors last year and 73 the year before), but you are still buried in the category and have just two points with little hope of adding another and little danger of losing a point.

Okay, let’s say you have decided you want to trade either Burns or Francisco Rodriguez (one of your three closers) to get a starting pitcher. At that point, you have two choices – send a blanket e-mail to everyone in your league announcing that you will trade either player for a starter, or analyze all the rosters in your league to specifically identify the best trade partner or partners.

Personally, I favor the extra work of finding the right team to try and trade with so I can have a direct conversation with them about why getting K-Rod will gain them several points in saves for one of their second tier starters. But the lazy approach can work as well, sometimes in fact bringing a team you hadn’t considered to the table.

In the first case, I strongly suggest direct communication over an e-mail, which no matter how you meant it could be interpreted differently by your possible trade partner. If this is not someone you see often, pick up the phone and call them. And in today’s world, it doesn’t matter where they live (as long as you remember the time difference so you don’t wake them up or call during dinner).

The advantage is that you can start a casual conversation with them even if you don’t know their other interests or job situation or weather. You can start with just asking them how things are going before getting around to broaching your trade idea. If their response is not about their team or your league, again don’t immediately jump to the trade subject but ask them how their fantasy teams are doing or how their favorite team or player is doing. This will often lead to them mentioning their ideas about a trade and perhaps get you an offer better than the one you had in mind.

As in many other areas of communication, listening is often your best move.

Next week, we will look at some specific trade strategies.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 08:00
Planning for the Second Half of the Season PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 00:00

Sometime late this week, most major league teams will play their 81st game, marking the halfway point of the season in terms of games played, and for most regulars, half of their at-bats.

So how do you use that to set your game plan for your fantasy baseball team(s)?

Well, answering a question like that really needs to be stratified to how deep the league is. It is a much different answer in an AL-only or NL-only league where the free agent options are nowhere near as plush as in a 10 or even 12-team mixed league.

That said, the first thing you should be doing is some categorical analysis. Where are you in each category and are you falling further behind another point each week or are you gaining ground? Making trades or even free agent pickups without a firm handle on where you need to improve is flawed and likely won’t help you.

By the same token, there may be (sadly I know) a category where you really have little hope of gaining points. In that case, if you have a good performer in that category, maybe he is the player who will bring you help in other categories.

I will explore options in the coming weeks for trades in AL-only and NL-only leagues that are very deep as well as 12-team mixed leagues that are fairly shallow and 15-team mixed leagues that are in between.

For starters, take a quick numbers read on your teams. That is easier this week than any other because you can just multiply the stats of players who were on opening day rosters by two for their contributions in the counting (non-ratio) categories.

For players who were called up after the beginning of the season, try and break down their home runs, for instance, based either on at-bats or just weeks and then do the math to see what they would have done in full-time duty. Given we have the games to add this week, the range of at-bats for starting players will run from 280 to 330.

Players you have added via free agency may have an accelerated rate of contribution to your team’s hitting stats, so you would want to factor that in.

You also want to look at the rates of other teams in your league in those categories. Pay particular attention, especially in AL or NL keeper leagues, to teams that have already made a “rebuilding” trade which affects not only their projection for the second half but also the team they traded with.

Next week, I will start on a series identifying particular trade tactics as well as free agent options broken down by league format and size. If you have a question about your team in that regards you can either post your information in the Platinum Subscribers Forum or the Team Management Forum or you can send me a PM. Make sure to give a very detailed list of your roster and the category standings from your league, either from this week or next week’s standings.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 July 2015 09:15
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