Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Its the end of April and time to re-evaluate our teams!!

.... this article comes from Wednesday's Fantasy Man F.E.E.D (Fantasy Email Every Day). If your interested in purchasing the FM FEED, please visit Fantasy Baseball Express for details...

Well, with just about a month down the drain and a rash of injuries and poor performances, its finally the end of April, which is the best time to take the first look at our teams/rosters and start the re-evaluation process. Of course, most of us have been keeping a close eye on our teams all along, but now if the time to make some initial tough decisions, especially those in the lower half of the standings. Now, if you are in the top half and are slowly but surely gaining momentum, then its ok to stand pat and not change anything. The old saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"….in which case, only an upgrade via trade is necessary…only if it's a true upgrade in your mind. But anyway….

This FEED is mainly for those who need help moving up the standings whether your in dead last or somewhere in that lower half on a consistent basis. Some leagues, the standings are so close that you could be in last today, have a good night and be in third tomorrow. Obviously, those teams don't need to read into this as much but we could all use the education. So lets get started, below I have simply listed tips and trade ideas to help get your team headed in the right direction….

1. We are in Step 1 of re-evaluation mode, nothing more. There is no need yet to "shake things up". Do Not make a trade just to make a trade. Only make moves that either fill a hole or upgrade a player that benefits an underperforming category. With that being said though, lets get into trading…..

2. If you look up and down your team and you feel you have someone that has value and is tradeable, first send a ridiculous offer. Not too ridiculous as you don't want to upset the other manager but send something that is ridiculously in your favor. This does two things. First, you may get lucky and the guy accepts (I have been lucky a few times). Second, the other manager sends a counter offer which he believes is fair or is helping him but in actuality is a fantastic deal for you. Point here is that everyone perceives the value of players to be different. Sometimes we need to let the other guy make the bad (for him) offer. A guy that lives in Boston would give up his left leg before he trades Papi but a guy in Arizona might trade Papi for Ichiro Suzuki and Randy Johnson. You just never know. The main idea is to give up the least amount in your mind for the most you can get. I know its obvious, but sometimes you can slip a trade by someone.

3. Just a quick story of how I learned from this very mistake… I was on the run to catch a plane with my wife for vacation. A manager in my league offered me a good deal at the time. It was Johhny Estrada at $1 and Mike Cuddyer at $3 for Joey Gathright $1 and my reserve pick. We pick 2 reserve players once a month. I happened to have the first pick on this particular month. At the time, I didn't need much help from the wire so I agreed to the deal because I got the catcher I needed in the trade. Well, he goes and picks Jered Weaver….and we all know how that turned out!!!!..... Moral of the story, don't be in a rush, and make sure you cover all basis when making deals.

4. Here is a list of big time players off to poor starts who value could be perceived as lower than normal, meaning a good offer could get something done as explained in #5…. We'll start at the top….
- Pujols - Still batting in the low .200's
- Santana – a few mediocre starts
- Ryan Howard
- Lance Berkman
- Alfonso Soriano
- David Wright
- Manny Ramirez
- Derrek Lee

- Mark Teixiera
- Paul Konerko
- Robbie Cano – No dingers
- Carlos Zambrano

- Mariano Rivera
- JJ Putz

- Jered Weaver

…. Obviously I did not include everyone but all of these players are star players off to a bad start, a poor April we'll call it. We really have no choice but to believe these guys will break out of it. But the question is when? Next week? Today? Second half? We cannot concern ourselves with that. The idea here is that we need to make smart offers, in a "low-ball" manner to snatch these guys from our trading partners for as little in return as possible. The best way to do this………

5. Is with over-hyped or just plain-hyped players who are playing well like Nick Markakis, Ian Kinsler, BJ Upton, Delmon Young, Tim Hudson, John Maine, Oliver Perez, or even Philip Hughes now. See here, for example, using the players I just mentioned, I am willing to bet that if you have a John Maine in your rotation and a Nick Markakis sitting on your bench, you can land your self a Mark Teixiera or a Carlos Zambrano. It's a combination of hype, performance and perceived value. We all know the possibilities of what Nick Markakis can do… .300+/20+HR/100 RBI/ 10+ SB, and he's living up to it thus far which makes him the perfect trade bait. Even if he does live up to it or at least close to it, your using his hype, current success and his perceived value to land a superstar pitcher who has struggled the same way he does just about every April…then he goes nuts the rest of the way. Just keep in mind, that Markakis on the bench is an example and that if he is on your bench and there's no use for him, its also like trading Zambrano for Maine in a roundabout way, because your gving up a player who is technically worthless to you because he is not an active player in your lineup. I play in 27 leagues, I have Markakis on the bench in 3 different leagues because there is no room, which makes him prime trade bait. Every team/league is different and have different bench players available, etc. For instance one of my teams, that utilizes a CI and a DH and I have Tex at 1B, Ortiz at DH, Swisher at CI and no room for Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder who are sitting on my bench (Actually, Swisher is now on the bench for Gonzo). I cant even trade these guys because this particular team is nasty with Nathan & KRod as closers and a nice pitching staff. I am in first place in this league. Its obviously a joke league for me but the point is that even here, I have good quality players who I can use as trade bait sitting on my bench.

6. Here are some interesting types of offers. Remember, we all have different teams/leagues so these are just idea. To me, these deal combine hype,performance and some value. Sometimes they'll work, sometimes they wont. But at least you'll get some ideas….
- David Wright for Ryan Zimmerman/ Chris Ray – entice with a solid closer.
- Lance Berkman for Nick Markakis/John Maine – great performances + hype
- Albert Pujols for Rich Harden/Lyle Overbay – Harden a huge risk + an all around solid 1B
- Johan Santana for Ian Kinsler (or BJ Upton) & Jered Weaver – Lets assume you had a 2B on your bench that is serviceable enough to fill Kinsler's slot.
- Mark Teixiera for Ian Kinsler & Javier Vazquez – People love Vazquez for some reason.

7. Look at the waiver wire and your ERA/WHIP. Are they high? A good solid reliever can help that, even in a 10 team league. If guys like Zumaya, Broxton, Aardsma, Shields, Bruney, Joe Smith, Neshak, etc are still available, they are more valuable then guys like Russ Ortiz, Anthony Reyes, Kei Igawa, Doug Davis, Vicente Padilla, etc. 2-3 innings per week with 5K and a 0.83 WHIP and 0 ER from a reliever will help your team more than one start from Padilla where he had 2-3 K, gave up 5 runs in 5 IP and had a WHIP of 1.433. The 2-3 reliever innings seem to be more valuable in leagues that don't count innings.

8. Some possible waiver wire pickups I recommend…. Orlando Hernandez, Kelly Johnson, Tom Gorzelanny, Chad Gaudin, Dallas Braden, and even Ronny Paulino who has been dropped by some. He hit a dinger last night so maybe that's the spark he needed. He will hit.

9. Gerald Laird – he'll be given a chance to prove he could hit, I mean after all, he made the team because of his hitting. Plus, there is no real back up, so don't give up on him.

10. Make sure you take a shot at Philip Hughes in non keeper Yahoo leagues. He is on waivers until April 27, so put your claim in!

Mike Kuchera
Fantasy Baseball Express
Home of "The Fantasy Man Show" Podcast
Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association

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