When he slid into second and immediately grabbed his knee, my heart dropped. The sickening taste of bile crept up my throat and into my mouth as I anxiously awaited for him to stand up, dust himself off and signal to the trainers that he was fine. When that didn’t happen and he gingerly limped off the field, immediate thoughts of a torn ACL raced through my head. In three different leagues I grabbed Evan Longoria at the tail end of the first round and until that moment, I wasn’t giving third base another thought. Now, with news of a partially torn hamstring and a six to eight week recovery period, I’m left here staring at my computer screen, feeling like Kramer when the Kenny Rogers Roasters sign was finally turned off.
Now I can certainly see the bright side of things here. Six to eight weeks is a lot better than “lost for the season.” At some point, and please let it be closer to the six than to the eight, I will get Longoria back and, with fingers crossed, will have made it through this ordeal without falling too far behind in the offensive categories. I can stay afloat, right? Perhaps there is someone left on the waiver wire that can help my cause and ease my expected burden?
Well, as my grandaddy always used to say, “You can sh*t in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up first.”
Sure, I could sit here and give you some rah-rah speech about staring into the face of adversity and fighting hard to overcome this obstacle. I could tell you that making savvy waiver pick-ups and just doing your due-diligence will make this all right again. But I’d be lying to you. You can’t replace a Longoria a month into the season; not with what’s left out there on the wire. The difference in expected production between a healthy Longoria and the best available third baseman out there is huge. And the deeper the league you play in the worse off you are.
I mean really, who’s left out there? Each of the leagues in which I own him are no less than 15 teams. The number one free agent listed is Wilson Betemit. Really? Wilson freakin’ Betemit?!?! Come on! Maybe that’s an extreme for some of you, but even if you’re sitting in a 12-team league, chances are that you also use a corner infielder which means that, if you’re lucky, you’ll be choosing between Pedro Alvarez and Chris Johnson. Sure, Alvarez seems to be on fire right now and Johnson just connected for his first two home runs of the season, but do you see either one of them matching the production of a healthy Longoria? If you do, then I’d like to borrow that pair of optimism goggles that you’re wearing.
So with little or nothing available on the waiver wire, the next course of action is trade, right? Well, first off, no one is trading you a top third baseman. The position is too thin and anyone who is sitting on one of the top options probably doesn’t have a back-up that they’re willing to roll with the rest of the way. Your next move is to shop for a mid-level player that sits somewhere between Longoria and the dregs of your waiver wire.
“Welcome to Price Gouge, may I take your order?”
Brutal, right? Suddenly, your request for Chris Davis or Chase Headley translated in their head as you asking for David Wright or Pablo Sandoval and the astronomical prices that you would have to pay would, in essence , cause you to slit your own throat at another position. I don’t care how well Edwin Encarnacion is playing right now, there is no way he is worth Justin Verlander. They know you’re weak. They can smell the blood in the water.
But that’s the way it goes in this game. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Just ask the guy who drafted Jacoby Ellsbury in the first round how he’s doing in stolen bases right now. You’re going to have to change horses midstream and find another way through the next two months. Bulk up on the cheap steals, hoard some closers, whatever you have to do. The next two months ain’t gonna be pretty and every time you turn on the TV and see a Rays game, that sick feeling in your stomach is going to come back and haunt you.