Fantasy Baseball Existentialism: The Dumpster Dive

After a 13-hour work day, I took a walk through the North Bay suburb of Petaluma—southwest Petaluma to be exact. The sun had set but the sky was still mostly blue, surrounded with red paint above the mountains that surround our valley. I hadn’t had time to check Twitter that day, so when my brother, Ringo, texted me, “Got heeem!” I was hopeful he meant that the San Francisco Giants had acquired David Price.

“Price?” I replied.

“Not those Giants. No, we got your boy: Dan Uggla.”

“He’ll hit.”

“You’re insane.”

As a Giants fan, I’m legally obligated to compare each of general manager Brian Sabean’s dumpster dives to his acquisition of Pat Burrell in 2010. When a GM gets you two championships in three years and drafts players like Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Buster Posey, you learn to ignore the flaws in his scheme.

Burrell had hit .218/.311/.361 in one season-plus with Tampa Bay, earning his release. Sabey-Sabes picked up the 33-year-old left fielder off the scrap heap, and Pat the Bat went on to hit .266/.364/.509 with 18 home runs over 96 games with the Giants, helping the club to its first championship since moving west to San Francisco in 1958.

Uggla, who is 34, hit just .175/.295/.332 over the last season-plus, earning his release from Atlanta. Sabey-Sabes sent Uggla to Fresno for a quick tune-up, in which he’s gone 2-for-7 with two walks over two games. He’s back! It’s a small sample size against weak competition, but it’s okay to use small sample sizes in my book because baseball is a series of small sample sizes added together to form the totality of the game.

Look fantasy owners, this is science. Brian Sabean picked up a disgruntled Pat Burrell in 2010, and Burrell was suddenly rejuvenated. It’s an even year, so Sabean’s magic is bound to work again with Uggla. If you need help at second base for the stretch run, you need to ask yourself, am I smarter than Brian Sabean? Of course you aren’t, because as far as I know, you haven’t won two World Series championships as a GM of a Major League Baseball club (please disregard the appeal to authority nature of my argument).

Now, some of you are saying that while Sabean’s dumpster dive worked with Burrell, similar moves didn’t work with washed-up veterans like Orlando Cabrera, Jeff Francoeur, Jose Guillen (who stole playing time from eventual postseason hero Cody “Mr. October” Ross), and Bill Hall.

The Hall comp might be the most apt, as he t0ok over for a permanently broken Freddy Sanchez. When the Giants first acquired Hall, he claimed to have found major improvements in his swing under the tutelage of hitting coach Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens. Hall then proceed to hit .158 in just 16 games with the Giants.

Given that Uggla has been terrible for two years and pretty average for the two seasons before that, it’s more than likely he’ll got the route of Cabrera, Guillen, Francoeur, and Hall in San Francisco. However, he’s going to get a shot because Joe Panik’s only plus tool is his facial resemblance to Posey, Marco Scutaro’s back is held together by duct tape and pine tar, and Ehire Andrianza is not good at hitting baseballs.

If you need a second baseman in fantasy right now, you aren’t going to find Chase Utley or someone like that freely available. In real baseball, when your starting second baseman gets the plague, you aren’t going to find Chase Utley, either, particularly if you have the Giants atrocious farm system.

Everyone has to go dumpster diving sometime, especially in an era of baseball where it’s nearly impossible to field eight average or above-average position players. Where oh where has all the talent gone?!

Wherever it went, I don’t know, but even though I knew it was insane, I really did believe that Dan Uggla was going to be rejuvenated in San Francisco as I walked home that night earlier this week. Of course, he’ll then sign a two-year, $24 million contract with the Giants this winter and hit .170 over the life of the deal.

The point is that this is fantasy baseball, and my understanding of fantasy baseball is you get to believe what you want to believe. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that point. So if Sabey-Sabes worked his dumpster diving magic with the Pat the Bat once, it has to work with Uggla, too. More importantly, would you want to face a lineup with ripped, muscular bros like Uggla, Michael Morse, and Hunter Pence? Didn’t think so.




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Mark Reynolds graduated from Dominican University of California in 2008 with a degree in Political Science. Since graduating, he's been "blogging" about baseball and other topics.


7 Responses to “Fantasy Baseball Existentialism: The Dumpster Dive”

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  1. jim S. says:

    Uggla’s contract with the Braves extends through 2015. So your Giants can keep him all next year!!

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    • I think he gets to be a free agent at season’s end despite his deal with the Braves. The Giants pay him the pro-rated share of the league minimum through 2014 only.

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  2. Art Vandelay says:

    I love me some Helen Putnam.

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  3. Darwin Barney says:

    Hey guys! Look at me, look at me. Screw the rally monkey, stuffed Barney Rally Dinosaurs would be huge as I hit into rally killing double plays, I mean drive home game winning runs. If your roto league keeps track of weak grounders hit by former gold glovers then I am your man.

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  4. ballfour says:

    Needs a jump, the ‘read more’ tag.

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  5. jfree says:

    Ehire Andrianza may not be good at hitting baseballs but he’s got a future as a dotcom.

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  6. fakename says:

    That the average level offensive level has decrease in the past couple years doesn’t make it any harder to field average or above average players, it just moves the line for “average or above average” down.

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