By Brian Walton
As regular readers know, each Monday the Mastersball team recaps the free agent acquisitions from the Tout Wars and LABR leagues. The other way anyone -- including the industry types who compete in these leagues -- can improve their fantasy team is via trades.
Jansen acquired at right time
In this piece, we will delve into six player(s)-for-player(s) deals made in National League Tout Wars this season. Excluded were sell-offs, in which only FAAB changed hands on one side of the deal.
The selected trades all occurred over a month ago, allowing for some time to have elapsed before evaluating the deals.
Speaking of evaluation, rather than subjecting you to reading my opinions, I asked the principals in each deal to comment directly. They will discuss what they wanted to accomplish in making the trade and whether or not it has achieved its desired effect.
Special thanks go out to my NL Tout peers Tristan H. Cockcroft, Peter Kreutzer, Todd Zola, Chris Liss, Phil Hertz, Derek Carty, Scott Wilderman and Mike Gianella.
Trade 1 -- May 1
Chris Liss gets: Ike Davis NYM from Phil Hertz
Phil Hertz gets: Todd Helton Col, Jeff Samardzija ChC from Chris Liss
Liss: "My objective in trading Samardzija and Helton for Davis was to destroy my batting average for no good reason and give away a valuable surplus trade chip for nothing. I succeeded resoundingly."
Hertz: "Chris approached me with this one out of the blue and it made sense -- for both of us. I was near the top in all hitting categories; Chris was near the top in all the pitching categories. I had a dearth of pitching. I also had I'm not sure what you call it -- a premonition, a fear -- but I had a sense that 2013 was not going to work out the same for Ike. Upon making the trade, Samardzija became my ace and while he was better than Ike, he wasn't an ace. Helton was gravy; indeed, he frequently was on reserve over the next couple of months. BTW, I wrote a column on the trade: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/fantasy/2013/05/10/baseball-hq-draft-day-values-are-irrelevant/2149895/ In any event, I'm happy I made the trade; sorry I didn't try for a better 'ace.'"
Trade 2 -- May 4
Mike Gianella gets: Welington Castillo ChC from Derek Carty
Derek Carty gets: Matt Garza ChC from Mike Gianella
Gianella: "At the time of the trade, I had a rash of injuries and was middle of the pack in offense. I did not expect big things from Castillo, but was expecting similar numbers to last year. Part of my strategy coming in was maximizing all of my points in runs/RBI/HR, and carrying two back-up catchers all year long was not part of the plan. From a raw value perspective, Castillo for Garza seemed like an overpay, but it fit my needs ... or would have if Castillo had done anything at all with his PT. Picking up his much more productive caddy, Dioner Navarro, has offset some of the damage, but this trade did not work out."
Carty: "I had drafted three catchers and was wasting some value by playing one as my UT, so I knew I wanted to trade one no matter what, but my pitching wasn't as strong as hoped with Lincecum not really bouncing back, Mike Fiers crapping the bed, and Shaun Marcum being out longer than expected. Garza was still expected to be out like another month, but I think I was gaining a couple bucks on pure value plus it helped me needs-wise (which isn't always a big consideration that early in the year but still something I wanted to address). I'm not in love with Texas as Garza's new home, but the trade definitely accomplished what I wanted and seems like a win in retrospect."
Trade 3 -- May 15
Todd Zola gets: Marco Scutaro SF from Phil Hertz
Phil Hertz gets: Kenley Jansen LAD from Todd Zola
Zola: "I felt I had a competitive pitching staff but with overachievers like Eric Stults and Jeff Locke I didn't have strength from which to trade. On the other hand, I wasn't sitting them either, so Jansen was on my bench most weeks and that was with my using an 11th pitcher as a swingman.
"On the other side of the ledger, I was falling behind in counting stats with Aramis Ramirez being hurt, Josh Rutledge struggling and saying 'Alex Gonzalez, $1' instead of 'Yuniesky Betancourt, $1.'
"At the time, it was fairly certain Jansen would be the closer. He just had not officially been named yet, so I decided to test the market.
"Phil's offer of Scutaro made some sense as it addressed a position of need from a value standpoint. At that time, they were comparable.
"The key is at that time, since Jansen as a closer should fetch more. So I had to balance falling further behind with waiting and getting a better hitter. I went with the bird-in-hand path and accepted Scutaro even up."
Hertz: "I think Peter nailed this in a write-up at the time. Scutaro was essentially a one-category player -- batting average -- and I had suitable alternatives: Jimmy Rollins, Neil Walker, DJ LeMahieu. Indeed I've got Anthony Rendon at UT right now. Jansen wasn't quite the closer yet, but as Todd put it at the time of the trade: worst-case scenario, I was getting a lot of help in ERA and WHIP. From today's vantage point, I got a lot more."