Sacred cows make the best burgers

Fantasy trade deadlines are either fast approaching or have already come and gone. For keeper leaguers who still have some time left to deal, the time has come for some of us to make a tough decision. Should we continue to compete for this year, build toward next; are we buyers or sellers? Many have already made this decision, but I’m among many others mired in limbo and now unable to postpone this decision any longer.

One of my leagues is a simple, shallow mixed league. It’s a draft league that allows you to keep your top five players. Nothing fancy, no price inflation, just whoever you choose to be your top five guns. I’ve spent considerable time in just about every slot between first and sixth in the standings this season. Currently, I’m occupying sixth place. My team has been treading water recently and though an ascent back to the top of the standings is not unfathomable, it is unlikely and seems to appear more so each day.

Each season is unique and this season, in this league, I’m experiencing the closest title race I’ve ever seen. Over the past two weeks, there have been no more than seven points, and as few as three separating the top five teams in the league. At one point last week, there was a three-way tie for first, and the team that has held the top spot for the majority of the season is now sitting in fifth… until tomorrow, when the leaders will likely rearrange themselves once more.

I’ve made my decision; I’m going to be a seller. This decision was based on two core reasons. First, there are a number of teams in front of me. While the amount of points I’m behind isn’t insurmountable, there are just too many teams I have to compete with for each point. This also means it will be difficult to settle into a lesser money slot. Second, the context of the standings really sets up a seller’s market. With so many teams in the mix and so closely packed, adding multiple quality assets for one superstar might very well give a team the inside track to the top. Flags fly forever, and checks get cashed only once.

So, from now until Friday, I will be pushing hard to add the single best player I possibly can for my two best non-keepers. I’m starting at the top; I’m coming for Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera, and the likes.

And, I urge my leaguemates and those in similar positions to very seriously consider these kinds of offers. The top players very rarely change hands in this league, but when you take a step back and think about fantasy baseball, teams play out each season hoping to be in a position to have a chance when the stretch run sets in. There’s no guarantee that there will be a next year to speak of. If you’re in a close title race and you don’t commit to trying to win it all, you will likely regret it.

In leagues around the country, people like me are going to be looking to make deals that will alter the balance of power at the top of the standings right in time for the stretch run. Don’t get sucked into the entitlement effect. For sure, nobody should be giving away their top talent for anything but premium, price-gouging rates, but when somebody offers you exceptional value, you must be willing to sacrifice a sacred cow to eat the meal of a lifetime.

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I ended up dealing Brian Wilson, Brian McCann, and Troy Tulowitzki for Miguel Cabrera in my keeper league. I’m 5 games behind the last playoff spot and a number of my teams current keepers are out with injuries or under performing so I think the deal made sense for me.