Roster Doctor

From Dan:

Twelve-team, head-to-head, non-auction, five-keepers-per-season league with the following offensive categories: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OPS.

My questions center around Mark Reynolds. Almost every single one of his peripherals suggest that his numbers are due for a significant drop-off, most notably homers, average, and, consequently, OPS. I’m currently in fifth place and, while I could certainly make a late-season run, the chances of winning my league outright are not great at this point. With the trade deadline looming and Reynolds’ value at an all-time high, should I ship him off for a more consistent, top-notch keeper, or stash him away until next season in the hopes that his talent is actually as good as his fantasy stats currently indicate?

If this question isn’t appropriate for the Roster Doctor column, please feel free to send it to one of your esteemed colleagues who might be interested in providing his/her opinion.

C Russell Martin
1B Ryan Howard
2B Brian Roberts
3B Mark Reynolds
SS Miguel Tejada
OF Adam Dunn
OF Nelson Cruz
OF Juan Rivera
UT Jimmy Rollins
UT Russell Branyan

BN Ian Stewart
BN Josh Willingham
BN Seth Smith

(Pitching categories are W, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP.)

SP Javier Vazquez
SP Johan Santana
SP Jered Weaver
SP James Shields
RP Huston Street
RP Brian Fuentes
RP Leo Nunez
RP Kiko Calero
P Octavio Dotel
P Daniel Bard

BN Joe Blanton
BN Jorge de la Rosa

DL Jordan Zimmermann
DL LaTroy Hawkins


If you think that your chances of winning are slim or none, then, given that your league lets you keep five players at no cost (in terms of salary or draft picks), you should try and get the best five players that you can possibly trade for. Package players. Empty your roster of all non-keeper but valuable players. Do anything to get the best five that you can.

As it presently stands, your roster has many borderline keeper candidates. Certainly Howard and probably Santana are two to keep. I’d throw Rollins in as a keeper. Then, unless your particularly high on either Martin or Roberts, you’d probably keep two of Cruz, Dunn and Reynolds. Of the three, Reynolds is the one that is probably most overachieving this year.

As you rightly noted, his home run to fly ball rate at 25 percent is high enough to make you cry. But even if he regresses to Adam Dunn’s 21 percent level, he’d still match Dunn in home runs. Both Reynolds and Cruz give you stolen bases. Reynolds runs more often than Cruz, but gets caught more often as well. So Reynolds’ green light may turn pinkish. Surprisingly, each of them has batted for a relatively high average this year. In the end, I’d probably keep Reynolds or Cruz over Dunn (depending on health).

I would certainly see what you can get in the trade market for each of those three players. At this point in the season, owners in a position to win should be willing to trade overall value for help in particular categories. So, look for owners that need help in certain categories and pitch your offer accordingly. Perhaps one team needs power and is willing to give up an Ichiro Suzuki or even a Carl Crawford to get it. This doesn’t just apply to those three players either. Vazquez could really help a team in need of strikeouts and might give you a Joe Nathan in exchange.

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What about keeping Vazquez?  His peripherals look great.  I know he has a tendency to underperform those, but he’s having a Santana-like season thus far in Atlanta.  Would we not expect him to perform similarly next year?

I wouldn’t keep Vazquez. I also wouldn’t consider trading for an elite closer to keep either. The vast majority of players kept will be bats, which means that there will be plenty of top tier closers and tier 1b or 2a starters to be had in the first two to three rounds of next year’s draft. You’re already keeping Santana, two out of your first five picks being starters is going to set you up to be chasing offensive production all year. I’d lean toward keeping Howard, Rollins, Santana, and Cruz. Then, I’d try different packages of Dunn, Roberts, and… Read more »

Not sure if anyone is checking up on this, but I recently pulled off a steal of a trade—Juan Rivera (going) for B.J. Upton (coming).  Assuming Upton is a surefire keeper for next season, do I keep Howard, Rollins, and Santana in addition to him, or should I not go with both Rollins’ and Upton’s inherent risk and take a more consistent bat (Dunn) instead?

-Dan (OP)