Kicking Rocks: Death, Taxes and the DL

You thought there were only two certainties in life, huh? Well, if you play fantasy baseball, then you know that there’s a third lurking out there and it always seems to rear its ugly head at the absolute worst time. An alternative title to this piece was, “Who Is This Murphy Guy, What’s With the Stupid Law, and Where Can I Find Him So I Can Punch Him in the Face?” but it wouldn’t fit within the framework of the web site. Nevertheless, you know where I’m going with this one, I’m sure. There’s nothing worse than building a championship-caliber team only to see it ravaged by injuries in August and free-fall in the standings.

I was strutting around like a proud peacock with this team. My draft went without a hitch, I pulled off a few savvy deals, including one of Ryan Braun right around the first in-season mention of Biogenesis suspensions, and was cruising up the standings in June until I reached the top right before the All Star break. I spent the month of July stretching out a lead while the rest of the league started preparing to fight for a second place finish in this 15-team mixed, 7×7 roto extravaganza. But as the wagon motored towards the finish line, the lugnuts loosened and suddenly the wheels have begun to fall off. My starting lineup now resembles those three, bandaged-up revolutionary war guys playing the fife and drum and when I shook my Magic 8-Ball to see if I could weather the storm, I kept getting “Outlook Not So Good.”

Carlos Gonzalez finally hit the DL with a sprained finger, Tyler Chatwood recently joined him, and John Jaso just went from the 7-day concussion DL to the 15-day one with little or no hope in sight. It’s bye-bye Bobby Parnell, curtains for Corey Kluber and David Wright has all the wrong stuff these days. Salvador Perez is recently concussed, Desmond Jennings has a broken finger and did I forget to mention Matt Moore? Chances are Howie Kendrick will follow suit as well. Seriously, you just can’t make this stuff up. I have more red crosses next to my team than…well…everyone else in the league and I’m almost willing to pony up a bet to say that I have more than anyone reading this right now.

So what’s a girl to do at this point? The trade deadline has passed, the waiver wire has been picked cleaner than a turducken on John Madden’s party bus and my team is hitting the skids. I’d like to think that my fantasy karma is on the positive side, but perhaps Krishna’s fantasy baseball team is so bad that he’s turned his attention to football (must’ve drafted Jason Heyward too). Meanwhile, the rest of the league is licking its chops as they all made a flurry of deadline deals to make one final push. Now that push is going to topple me over.

It’s like that feeling you feel when you’re sitting at the poker table and you go all-in with your aces, pre-flop, only to watch some clown with jack-10 off-suit call you and suck out a diamond flush on the river. You know you had him beat but the gods decided to kick you in the bojangles and watch you write in agony. But that’s poker. That’s the game. And fantasy baseball is no different. You may think you have control over your destiny. You may think you can beat the game with your fancy sabermetric know-how. But the fact remains that we are all helpless in the grand scheme of things and are forever at the mercy of players whom we have zero control over. Kicking rocks is all that’s left.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

15 Responses to “Kicking Rocks: Death, Taxes and the DL”

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  1. ettin says:

    Instead of the DL problem I had both James Shields and Jeff Samardzija in their last starts…. that is an anti-DL devastation.

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  2. Zimmerman says:

    If your competitors licked their chops and made a flurry of deadline deals because they saw how weakened you had become, why didn’t you make a deadline deal? Another fun and relevant article btw. Thanks.

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    • Howard Bender says:

      I didn’t need to make a deadline deal. My team was set. All of this DL action came just after our deadline. Like a nightmare.

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      • Zimmerman says:

        Moore and Jennings back soon. Just weather the storm. if you stay in hunt, you will strike back in September. Grind away and as Jimmy V said “Don’t ever give up”.

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  3. David Wiers says:

    In two sentences, you mentioned the word “pony” and used an expression referring to yourself as a girl.

    You can’t make fun of me and my MLP action for a week.

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  4. Emcee Peepants says:

    I hear ya brother, Kemp, Jennings, Niese, Infante, and Kluber currently, Lawrie, Freeman, and Wei Yin Chen earlier in the year and hoping Shelby Miller isn’t lying about making his next start. Hope there are enough rocks for both of us.

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  5. Paul says:

    Join the club my friend. I had Brown hit the DL the day my trade for him went through. Parnell quickly followed suit, then Jennings and Kendrick this week. Luckily I picked up Lawrie, with his 2B eligibility came in handy right before a flurry of MI moves throughout my league. I was also able to get Farquhar before anyone else, but my pitching is taking a hit this week cause I have one bench spot dedicated Kendrick. Clearer skies to come!

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  6. Juan B says:

    If you go all in pre-flop, you’re the only clown at the table.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      Oh, also, as a Vegas guy who has played poker before, this is pretty much true: You should only go all-in pre-flop if you have a very low amount of chips or aren’t playing for/with cash, barring some truly exceptional circumstances.

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    • Carl Weathers says:

      Regardless of context, only a clown would go all-in with the best possible hand. I strongly agree.

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  7. Ruki Motomiya says:

    My personal opinion, and what I’ve done with Fantasy Teams, is that your team is NEVER “set”, unless you have the best possible player at every possible position and on the bench I suppose. My team is $1 in my league (Albeit close) so far, but I’m still making deals and have been improving it: For example, I was what a lot of people would call “Set” at OF, with Alex Gordon, a returning Jason Heyward, Shane Victorino, Werth when he entered his hot streak and even B.J. Upton, who I had gotten low. But a shrewd eye showed the man with JUpton, who had gone a bit slow at the time, had Beltran, McCutchen, Domonic streaking, even McLouth and Torii Hunter, but a large SP gap: I turned my Latos and Liriano into Verlander (Liriano a FA add, Latos from an earlier trade for King Felix), then turned Verlander into JUpton since I had pitching. And since my OF was now so good, I could trade Werth and Alex Gordon, along with Mujica (I had 4 closers in a H2H league), for Ivan Nova, McCann (My Yadier Molina is injured) and Andrus (My Everth Cabrera was suspended(, in addition to turning Darin Ruf into Coco Crisp from a desperate owner during Crisp’s slow streak.

    Obviously, I am not suggesting you doing this exactly, as my league is smaller (12 teamer, mixed) and I imagine my quality of competition is a lot lower than yours (So my stuff isn’t too impressive). But I wanted to show how you can turn advantages into larger advantages and how you can never really be “Set” if the chance presents itself. Despite losing Yadier (There weren’t many good replacements on the wire, basically just Castro) and Kluber, my team isn’t even hurting, and I could lose probably 3 guys more and still be pretty fine because I’ve been building depth even in areas I was set at.

    I am sorry for going on so long about my fantasy team, I just wanted to say I’d never consider my team set, and that you should ALWAYS be looking to make deals if there is a “flurry of deadline deals”: There’s no reason you couldn’t have made some of those deals yourself, after all, especially if there was wire-pushing going on (Unless you had a REALLY good bench…which would mean you could just use it now).

    Still, I hope you do well!

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    • Matt says:

      Well, there’s 5 mins I’m never getting back.

      And please, reread the part where Howard says the injuries to his team came AFTER the deadline passed. The flurry had come and gone.

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      • Ruki Motomiya says:

        I read that already. My point is, in a comment above, Howard made the following comment

        “I didn’t need to make a deadline deal. My team was set. ”

        I dispute the idea one should not make a deadline deal because their team is “set”, given all that can happen and the potential for value deals.

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  8. Turbo Sloth says:

    Are you currently writing in agony?

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