Thinking ’13: Three ottoneu Trades Focused on the Future

The past couple weeks have been the start of hot stove season in the original ottoneu league, with not one, not two, but seven trades going down, involving seven owners and 21 players, some of whom changed teams multiple times.

Towards the end of the article, I will post a couple charts showing all the deals for any interested parties, but what was most intriguing was the approach taken by Gerbils on Speed. The Gerbils were involved in three of the seven deals and almost all of their moves were focused not on preparing for 2012, but on 2013.

The Gerbils were by no means the worst team in the league in 2011 – they finished in 8th, but even in 2012, much of the talent on the Gerbils roster will be either just coming into its own (Matt Moore, Chris Sale, Lonnie Chisenhall, etc.), returning from injury (Adam Wainwright, Stephen Strasburg) or still a year or more away from contributing (Travis D’Arnaud, Manny Machado, Jameson Taillon). While not giving up on 2012 right away, the Gerbils owner is spending his off-season focusing on guys who he believes can position him to win in 2013. Here are the three trades he is made to date:

1) Gave up: Seth Smith ($7) and Joe Benson ($4) for Jay Bruce ($32)
Benson may not carry a ton of value in the 4×4 format used in this league, but Smith has been a very valuable player on the Gerbils roster for a couple years now. That said, by 2013, at $9 and likely outside of the hitter-friendly confines of Coors, Smith will probably have run his course at his salary. He’ll likely still be worth owning, but probably not at that price.

Bruce, on the other hand, probably won’t provide a ton of surplus value above is $34 salary in 2013, but he should easily be worth that price. Keep in mind, Bruce won’t even turn 25 until after opening day 2012. In 2013, he will just be entering his prime years and should be an ideal candidate to start atop an ottoneu outfield.

2) Gave up Mike Napoli ($18) and Scott Baker ($3) for Trevor Bauer ($8), Jurickson Profar ($4), and Jerry Sands ($6)
Napoli needs no discussion and Baker quietly had a very good year in 2011, but this is a case of trading from a position of strength. There isn’t an obvious catching replacement for Napoli in 2012, but by 2013, one of a few prospects (Derek Norris, Travis D’Arnaud, Ryan Lavarnway) should be in line to fill that role. As for pitching, Bauer may very well outperform Baker by 2013, but beyond that, there is a ton of pitching talent on this roster. Strasburg and Wainwright are the headliners, but Sale, Moore, Mike Minor, Daniel Hudson, and Rubby De La Rosa certainly make up a solid rotation.

Meanwhile, Profar and Sands help to fill needs on this roster. While Machado has a bright future at SS, there isn’t much MI depth here, and despite the addition of Bruce, OF is still a need that Sands can help fill.

3) Gave up Yovani Gallardo ($25), Yasmani Grandal ($3), and Kyle Seager ($3) for Michael Choice ($2), Ryan Lavarnway ($6), and Danny Hultzen ($8)
Gallardo remains a strong SP and will only be 26 on opening day 2012, Grandal has a bright future if he isn’t blocked in Cincinnati, and Seager is an intriguing bat with MI qualification for 2012. But, again, when when you fast-forward to 2013, these guys seem far less desirable. The Grandal for Lavarnway swap gives him a catcher closer to the bigs and less likely to be blocked. Gallardo will cost $27 by 2013, making him a bit of a pricey piece for an already deep rotation. Seager will likely only be 3B eligible after this year.

And the return, again, helps to fill an OF that remains thin, while providing another high-upside arm.

And my guess is, over the next 15 months or so, we will see the Gerbils owner make a number of other trades. His starting pitching is incredibly deep, but he still needs help at 1B, Util, MI, and OF. He can easily move one of the catchers, a couple of his SP, and perhaps even one of his 3B (Chisenhall, Nolan Arenado, Jedd Gyorko) to fill those remaining holes. Not to mention the fact that he has a nearly complete roster for 2013 that should cost well under $250, leaving him plenty of money to use the pre-season auction to fill in any remaining holes with big name free agents. And with a roster that cheap, he should have no problem keeping it intact into 2014 and beyond.

It’s not an approach that works well in most fantasy formats, but the ability to keep almost a full roster in ottoneu has allowed this owner to build a deep organization that will be set for a long time to come.

As I mentioned at the beginning, a few other deals went down, too. Here are two charts – the first showing each deal that happened, the second showing the net results for each involved team:

Trade Team 1 Gives up Team 2 Gives up
1 Negative EV Cliff Lee Dave Stewart’s Balls Trevor Bauer, Jurickson Profar, Robert Erlin
2 Last Years Leftovers Jay Bruce Gerbils on Speed Seth Smith, Joe Benson
3 Negative EV Trevor Bauer, Jurickson Profar, Jerry Sands Gerbils on Speed Mike Napoli, Scott Baker
4 Negative EV Brandon Phillips Overpaid Scrubs Russell Martin
5 Dave Stewart’s Balls Danny Hultzen Freeport Pretzels Martin Prado
6 Gerbils on Speed Yovani Gallardo, Yasmani Grandal, Kyle Seager Freeport Pretzels Danny Hultzen, Michael Choice, Ryan Lavarnway
7 Brewcrew for Life Jose Reyes Overpaid Scrubs Justin Verlander

Team Lost Gained
Negative EV Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Jerry Sands Robert Erlin, Mike Napoli, Scott Baker, Russell Martin
Last Years Leftovers Jay Bruce Seth Smith, Joe Benson
Dave Stewarts Balls Trevor Bauer, Jurickson Profar, Robert Erlin, Danny Hultzen Cliff Lee, Martin Prado
Gerbils on Speed Yovani Gallardo, Yasmani Grandal, Kyle Seager, Seth Smith, Joe Benson, Mike Napoli, Scott Baker Jay Bruce, Trevor Bauer, Jurickson Profar, Jerry Sands, Danny Hultzen, Michael Choice, Ryan Lavarnway
Overpaid Scrubs Russell Martin, Justin Verlander Brandon Phillips, Jose Reyes
Freeport Pretzels Martin Prado, Michael Choice, Ryan Lavarnway Yovani Gallardo, Yasmani Grandal, Kyle Seager
Brewcrew for Life Jose Reyes Justin Verlander

So what say you? Gerbils make the right moves? Who are the big winners and big losers in these deals?

Print This Post

Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Can I join your league? I proposed a trade with similar goals two weeks ago that is still sitting there, un-accepted/rejected/countered. There have been no trades during this period.