Continued Ongoing Fire Sale Coverage

Three weeks ago, I wrote a piece about my intention to commit the greatest of sacrileges (at least in my mind) – a fire sale. More recently, I wrote about my first blockbuster of that rebuilding process. Yesterday I made another two blockbusters, so let’s breakdown the motivations behind those moves and what they accomplished.

Let’s recap. It’s an ottoneu league aptly named FanGraphs Staff Two. We use a points scoring system. For those who are unfamiliar with ottoneu, we have a 40 man roster and $400 budget. We can keep any number of players at a cost of draft price + $2. There is also an offseason allocation system that can add anywhere from $11 to $33 to your overall player costs. In a nutshell, the league is between a standard keeper and a dynasty format. The trade from a couple weeks ago was as follows:

The Razor Shines receives
Joey Votto – $43
Ryan Braun – $39
Bartolo Colon – $1

Bradley Boo Boo (me) receives
George Springer – $2
Mookie Betts – $1
Ervin Santana – $3

The general consensus agreed with my analysis at the time. It wasn’t a great deal for me on the basis of perceived value, but it did accomplish a goal – adding cheap, high quality talent to my roster. You’ll see that’s very important after these two most recent trades. Before we move into the new stuff, I found this comment exchange which gave me a chuckle (my reply should say “top keeper”).

Votto-Braun injured comment

Both players sustained injuries since that comment, with Votto hitting the disabled list. Obviously that was just a tongue in cheek comment; I certainly didn’t have any role in either player’s injury. No sir, not me.

The Trades

As part of my fire sale, I targeted established major league players on underpriced contracts. Ottoneu leaves a lot of flexibility for rostering prospects, but I find they tend to be overpriced both in dollars and perceived trade value. The allocation system weighed heavily on my mind as I negotiated options.

Before the two trades below, my only big surplus value guy was Springer. I had other keepers, but almost all of them were no more than $5 under list price. Springer probably would have been dinged for about $20 in the allocation process. So instead of costing $4, he would cost $24. Let’s discuss the trades (readers of The Daily Grind already know the details).

Trade #1

Clown Meat receives

Craig Kimbrel – $21
Curtis Granderson – $8
Adam Wainwright – $28

Bradley Boo Boo (me) receives

Yasiel Puig – $12
Dallas Keuchel – $2
Dellin Betances – $1
Corey Seager – $4

Trade #2

The Razor Shines receives

Miguel Cabrera – $59
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – $5
Seth Smith – $1

Bradley Boo Boo receives

Edwin Encarnacion – $23
Evan Gattis – $4

Lessons

Now Springer is joined on my roster by Puig, Encarnacion, and Gattis as substantially underpriced assets. This accomplishes an important goal. There’s little doubt I’ll get hit for the maximum $33 allocation, but it probably won’t be concentrated on one player. I should have multiple players on contracts $10 under their actual value. Moreover, my lesser keepers like $14 Jon Lester, $10 Greg Holland, $10 Hisashi Iwakuma, and $10 Corey Kluber should remain untouched, thus preserving their value. Could my rivals target most of their money on one player? Sure, but that means others will remain extremely valuable as trade assets.

As for the trades themselves, they were negotiated simultaneously and executed within a minute of each other. There are currently four teams hunting for first place. Clown Meat is the current points leader. Chad Young is dogging him and The Razor Shines isn’t too far behind them. I did the somewhat unscrupulous thing of helping two teams without telling them, which kind of cancels out the moves. They both improve relative to Chad though, which is important. Apparently, Chad always wins (this is my first year, and I took over the worst team from 2013).

I think the lesson is obvious – play your cards close to vest and you just might pull value from multiple teams. Alternatively, you can try to weasel more future talent out of someone by accepting one deal and then pointing out the greater urgency to improve to the other owner. However, people tend to dislike being strong armed, so they’re liable to make their keepers-for-studs trade with a different owner. In this case, I was able to negotiate two acceptable deals without pulling out the claws. It’s better that way.

Analysis

Trade #1: Wainwright is one of the best players in our format, So his $28 price tag is very keepable. I made Puig a condition of putting Wainwright on the table. Since Puig is banged up with a nagging hip injury, his current value is slightly depressed. I have the luxury of paying full price with the assumption he’ll fix the issue over the offseason.

For me, the rest of the deal probably hinges on how well Betances can continue to dominate opponents. He’s pitched like a $15-20 pitcher this season. I’m hoping he can provide $10-12 of value next season. I assume he’s safe from allocations. I view Keuchel and Seager as interesting pieces I can either keep or cycle for studs in the offseason.

Trade #2: I’ve been trying to pry Encarnacion away from The Razor Shines since I joined the league last October. He’s actually outperformed Cabrera this season. While that will probably flip over the rest of the season, we’re still talking about comparable players with over $30 difference in cost. Like with Puig, injuries to Encarnacion and Gattis made it easier for my rival to part with his keeper talent. I don’t care if either player misses time. For my rival, every day lost hacked away at his chances to win the league.

While I didn’t want to deal Saltalamacchia or Smith, neither player was worth disrupting an otherwise advantageous trade for me. One of my biggest complaints when owners execute fire sales is that they add too many throw-ins without regard to their value. Salty and Smith definitely have value, but I no longer need a catcher with Gattis joining McCann on my roster. Smith was a $1 find; I can track down another cheap outfielder when I need one.

Parting Thoughts

There’s one more lesson in this mess. Back when we executed the Springer trade, The Razor Shines and I discussed a deal that would have looked a lot like our two trades combined. He ultimately decided it was too much keeper value to give up in one go. I’ve run into this issue in the past. Splitting things up into two trades separated by some time can make a mega-trade easier to swallow. In this case, he also gained some ground in the standings, which made it easier to go for it.

The fire sale isn’t over. I still have plenty of mid-tier assets like David Wright, Josh Hamilton, Chase Utley, and Ben Zobrist. I expect to squeeze one or two more keepers onto my roster. I anticipate one more trade deadline update on this process. I’ll see you then.

 




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Brad is a former collegiate player who writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times, RotoWorld, MLB Trade Rumors, and The Fake Baseball. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballATeam or email him here.


6 Responses to “Continued Ongoing Fire Sale Coverage”

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  1. Sandy says:

    The Puig trade is a pretty even one–you traded away the best player in the deal, but you got a top-tier OF and some promising keepers. That deal will look really good if Keuchel produces a couple more good seasons.
    In comparison, you won the Encarnacion trade hands down. Cabrera is slightly better, but not twice as valuable as E5, and Gattis is far better than Saltalamacchia and Smith.

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  2. DanBC says:

    My league had a conniption after I traded

    $10 Bauer & $10 Kiermaier
    for
    $13Z Robertson & $26 Beltran.

    My defence was that Beltran was an ongoing injury problem, Bauer had a high ceiling and Kiermaier was a wildcard, but hitting very well, and his D would keep him around. This was 3 weeks ago.

    Classic dump for next year trade, right? Part of the game, right? Trade was vetoed, and arshholes vetoed the effin trade “wasn’t fair”……..League Commish was in first, and he vetoed trade, I was in fifth. This is a longterm 25+ year league.

    Needless to say, they can kiss min, will be leaving that corrupt %^&% without notice.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Trade vetoes are dumb. While I don’t really care for the side that got Bauer and Kiermaier, people need to allow for different brands of analysis. Vetoes should be reserved for deals like Miguel Cabrera for Alfonso Soriano. As long as both parties think there’s value to be had, the trade should be allowed. It’s not unimaginable to think that Bauer could outearn both of them.

      In the league I run, I finally did away with any veto process. The owners involved in the trade can back out of a deal within 24 hours with the added penalty that they can’t make a trade for another 10 days. If somebody were to ever do a Miggy for Soriano deal, I would lock the team and replace the owner.

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  3. Matthew Bultitude says:

    I don’t get it. You had Miggy, Braun, Votto, Hamilton, Wright, Utley, Zobrist, Salty, Wainwright, Lester, Kluber, Colon, Kimbrel, and Holland. How could that team be bad enough to warrant a fire sale?

    Also, I think that if not for the Encarnacion injury you might have actually improved your team for this year. Was this a “fire sale” in sheep’s clothing?

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Kimbrel, Zobrist, and Colon were acquired about 6 weeks ago.

      If you think about it, all of those position players except Utley underperformed or spent a bunch of time on the DL. My team has played well enough to be 5th, but 1st through 3rd were out of reach.

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  4. Two Jakes says:

    I don’t know who made that comment, but calling readers out on comments like that trade one is pretty unfair. You’ve got legions of articles that are way off (see, e.g., Garrett Richards, May 2, Three Pitchers Who Do Not Pass The Eye Test), so perhaps you should link them when you want to brag about being right against a person who doesn’t have a bullhorn on this site.

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