Roster Doctor

JW writes in:

Dear Doctor:
In the past week, I’ve slid from a very competitive tie for third place, with about 96 points, to sixth place and 86 points. Help!

League details:
12-team — mixed — keeper league – 25-man rosters.
11 active position players (positions listed below; 162-game max) — eight active pitchers (three SP, two RP, three P; 1,500 IP max)
6 bench spots — 3 DL slots.
Roto scoring in 7×6 categories – traditional 5×5, plus OBP, SLG, and HLD.

Keeper and draft format:
We keep up to 8 players for up to 3 years after drafting. We have “straight” keeper rules, by which I mean that you keep up to 8 without players without regard to draft position – those are the first 8 players on your roster. For each player less than 8 you keep, you get a selection in a supplemental round in our serpentine draft.

For example, if you keep only 6, you get a first-round pick, then a supplemental pick, then a second round pick, then an extra pick in a second supplemental round, and so on.

C – Mike Napoli
1B – Adam Dunn (1 – meaning, I can protect him through 2011)
2B – Martin Prado
3B – Evan Longoria (1)
SS – Yunel Escobar
IF – Pablo Sandoval (2)
LF – Adam Lind (2)
CF – David DeJesus
RF – Jay Bruce (1)
UTIL – Hunter Pence (0)
BN – Kelly Johnson
BN – Julio Borbon
BN – Nyjer Morgan
DL – Kyle Blanks

SP – Ubaldo Jimenez
SP – Tommy Hanson (2)
SP – Adam Wainwright (2)
SP – Dan Haren
SP – Colby Lewis
RP – Huston Street – CL
RP – David Aardsma – CL
RP – John Axford – CL
RP – Aaron Heilman – CL
RP – Mike Adams – MR
RP – Matt Guerrier – MR
RP – Sam Demel – MR
DL – Rich Harden

No surprise, I’m ripping up most of the pitching categories:

W: 12 points (64)
K: 12 points (711)
WHIP: 10 points (1.23)
HLD: 10 points (35)

But . . .
Saves – three measly points – I have 25 on the season.

R: 6 points
HR: 6 points
RBI: 2 points
SB: 6 points
AVG: 4 points
OBP: 2 points
SLG: 5 points

Treatment to date
I’ve been working on trading my SP strength for an elite hitter with an “old” contract, especially on teams that look like they might be rebuilding.

My most recent example — I offered Ubaldo (who has full keeper eligibility) and a choice of Nyjer Morgan/Julio Borbon for Ryan Braun (who is in his last year of his contract) and a choice of either Andrew Bailey/Ryan Franklin. That manager – who is currently well behind, in 10th place – AND who needs pitching help – counteroffered Curtis Granderson (who is in the last year of his contract) and another RBI-producing outfielder (I forget who). I turned that down because, in my view, 3.5 years of Ubaldo does not equal even 1/16 of 3.5 months of Granderson.

Note that only about half the managers trade much, and those that do ask for way too much – back before Napoli was playing every day, one guy offered me Buster Posey for Evan Longoria. Sheesh.


1) What can I do, especially to get a closer?
2) Which of my underachieving bats should I cut bait on? Lind?
3) Which overachievers (Prado? Johnson?) should I try to sell high on?
4) What is your opinion on this trade offer?
I give:
Adam Dunn
Mike Adams

May I Have Your Autograph, Please?
The payoff of being polite.

I get:
Either Justin Smoak or Gabby Sanchez (1B)
Billy Wagner (RP)

My gut reaction is that I’d be overpaying for a closer who is about to retire and seems to be on the cusp of an injury. That said, I like Smoak, but am afraid that given my need for power as it is, I’d be an idiot to sell Dunn.

My help:
You can’t have your cake and eat it too, especially if your leaguemates aren’t game for trading. You can’t play for this year without sacrificing something for next year. Right now, the causes of your offensive woes are mainly: Sandoval and Escobar’s collapse in power (ISO of .046), the sharp fall in BB%/K% from Dunn and Lind – Lind in particular is swinging at more pitches out of the zone and making contact less often, and the fact that many of your performing players play for weak teams which hurts their RBI and runs totals.

You look to be in a slightly better position for saves going forward. Street and Axford should be decent sources of saves for the rest of the season. Heilman is not likely to stick in the closer’s role and I doubt that Demel is going to be his handcuff.

I’m not sure where you are with respect to the innings limit, but you seem to have a nice balance of starters, middle relievers and, now, closers. You have three closers that you can start every week and a fourth in Heilman that you can start for now and make up lost ground in holds and the other counting pitching stats later when Heilman loses the job.

So, I would not trade Dunn and Adams away for Wagner plus one of those first basemen. You need Dunn’s guaranteed production in your lineup. If you can get something decent for Johnson, I would give it a try, but I think that ship has mostly sailed. You should think about using your bench to try to pick up players who might gain in value shortly. Borbon is still an example of that. So might be Tyler Colvin or Corey Patterson. I wouldn’t overvalue Granderson, giving your league’s scoring system.

In a rational world, I would think about using Lind or Sandoval as trade bait. You might find an owner with entirely reasonable (but still perhaps hopeful or optimistic) projections for them to return to last year’s form next year. You seem to feel they might do that too, which is great, but you need to trade on that hope if you want value for this year. If you can’t get something decent though (Sandoval for Paul Konerko?) then you’ll have to hope they improve this year.

I think you can definitely afford to trade Jimenez, though I imagine he’s lost some trade value in the last couple of weeks. See what he’ll bring in offensive players. Go for one stud rather than a bunch of filler – probably Braun is too much to hope for, but maybe an Alex Rios-type player.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my message and for the sage advice.

I’ve been keeping an eye on Konerko for a while, and might try that very offer. Adrian Gonzalez is out there. I also like Rios and will see what I can do.

By the way, I’m currently on pace to exceed the IP total by about 70.

Also, if I slide to 10th, I might be looking to sell off and rebuild entirely.



My pleasure. I wrote it early Tuesday and sure enough Heilman is nearly gone as a closer – not that you had have to a graduate degree in fantasy to predict that one.


In a league with so few OF spots, there aren’t any free agents available who would provide an upgrade over your current guys? Colvin and Patterson are good ideas, but with such shallow OF usage, I’d be surprised if someone even better wasn’t out there…

@Nutlaw: Although I listed my entire roster, I omitted the fact that we start a player at a generic OF slot. Each team starts 3 positional outfielders and one general OF slot, and most use an OF in their UTIL slot. Lots of managers have OF in their bench spots. Thus, league-wide, we start between 55-60 outfielders, with another 15-30 off the board at any time. Here are the 5 “best” OF available in my league, based on season-to-date stats (Y! rankings): Scott Podsednik (I like his SB, but have concerns about his ability to last and lack of power)… Read more »
I made a few changes based in part on your advice, and was able to get a trade done. I am interested in any other thoughts you might have! TRADE TALKS REVISITED. The manager I referred to reconsidered the deal, so I just sent Ubaldo and Borbon to his team and got Ryan Braun and Ryan Franklin in return. Can I expect Franklin to keep his closer role? ADDS. Seth Smith (LF) Vicente Padilla (SP) – I was considering adding Joel Pinero, who is still available. Evan Meek (RP) DL DEPTH. I am a firm believer in using my DL… Read more »