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RotoAuthority League Update: Recent Trades

The RotoAuthority League is a highly competitive 12-team fantasy baseball league run by Tim Dierkes. The settings consist of standard 5 X 5 Rotisserie scoring and 23-man lineups along with 3 bench spots. In an effort to keep owners interested as well as to infuse new blood into the league, the teams that finish below 8th place are kicked out of the league each year. The author of this column just hopes he’s not one of them.

It's been awhile since we examined some of the trades in the RotoAuthority League, so let's take a look at some of the recent action.

05/21 - A Century of Misery trades Matt Wieters to Yu at the Animal Zoo for Victor Martinez, Andrew Bailey, and Junichi Tazawa

Our first trade today is the only one involving my squad. I've been playing from behind all season long in the saves category after leaving the draft with just one closer, so my main objective in accepting this offer was to acquire the highly skilled yet often hurt Andrew Bailey. While Victor Martinez has struggled this season, he only sits during interleague road games for the Tigers. He's begun to heat up recently, so perhaps he can begin to turn around this disappointing season. Oddly enough, I actually view Matt Wieters as a nice Buy Low target, but I desperately needed the saves. Overall then, I was willing to downgrade at catcher in order to address a need. 

05/27 - Yu at the Animal Zoo trades Felix Hernandez, Starling Marte, Justin Morneau, Gerardo Parra, Marco Scutaro, and Brandon McCarthy to Forty 2 Twenty 4 for Edwin Encarnacion, Norichika Aoki, and Ben Zobrist

As you'll see shortly, Yu at the Animal Zoo has been very active over the past few weeks. In this particular trade, this owner sought to consolidate some pieces on his second-place roster. Given that Yu at the Animal Zoo currently leads every pitching category except saves, he can certainly accommodate the pitching needs of Forty 2 Twenty 4. If we try to break down this colossal deal, Felix Hernandez and Starling Marte for Edwin Encarnacion and Norichika Aoki seems pretty fair. I actually prefer Edwin to King Felix by a hair, but the added power-speed production from Marte over Aoki offsets that edge. One can make the case that the remaining pieces that Forty 2 Twenty 4 received are all replacement level to slightly above so in 12-team mixed leagues. If you don't own Ben Zobrist, you might assume that he's in the middle of another solid fantasy season. In reality, however, he enters today with just 4 HR and 4 SB; this is a player who seems to have more name value than actual value at this point. In summary, Forty 2 Twenty 4 improved his staff while Yu at the Animal Zoo beefed up in power. 

05/29 - Say it Ain't So Cano trades Angel Pagan to Philly Cheez for Rafael Betancourt

Sometimes both teams improve in a trade; at other times, there is a clear winner. Still other times, though, neither owner improves his roster as a result of a deal. At least to this point, this trade falls into that last category. After all, both players have gone on the DL since the transaction. I actually liked the trade at the time for Say It Ain't So. While Angel Pagan is undervalued just about every year, there are outfielders on the waiver wire who can contributely reasonably close to the production that he provides. Rafael Betancourt is nothing special among closers, but acquiring a closer for a low-end outfielder is more often than not a good move. Ultimately, though, any analysis of this deal is incomplete until we know when each player returns from the DL. One thing that Philly Cheez may have had in mind is that Betancourt is a free agent at season's end, so he seem very likely to be dealt at the deadline. Rex Brothers may very well hold that job all season long.

06/06 - Smell the Glove trades Steve Cishek and Josh Johnson to Forty 2 Twenty 4 for Brett Lawrie

The league's current leader, Tim Dierkes's Smell the Glove, recently got roster-crunched and made this trade to acquire an injured player instead of being forced to drop either Steve Cishek or Josh Johnson. For Forty 2 Twenty 4, this trade make sense, too. While the Marlins are certainly miserable, Cishek does still seem to be the go-to guy for saves, so adding another closer never hurts. Johnson, meanwhile, is exactly the type of high-variance player that owners near the bottom of the standings should seek to acquire at this point. Along those same lines, it's worth pointing out that Dierkes wisely chose to make a deal with an owner who's currently not a direct competitor in the standings. Moreover, Forty 2 Twenty 4 may be able to pass up second-place Yu at the Animal Zoo in the saves category, so there's an added benefit here for Smell the Glove. This is an often neglected element in the game theory behind fantasy baseball.

06/07 - Yu at the Animal Zoo trades Heath Bell and Adam Dunn to Men With Wood for Sergio Romo

Here's a trade in which we have one owner clearly putting his money on sabermetrics with another content to simply acquire the best player in the deal. Over the past several seasons of competing against Men With Wood, it's been easy to see that this owner appreciates the advanced metrics. Here's yet another example. Adam Dunn enters today with the lowest BABIP among all qualified hitters in baseball. Now we should never expect Dunn to post a league-average BABIP given his propensity to hit the ball in the air. Even so, we should anticipate that he'll receive better fortune going forward. Heath Bell, meanwhile, may be one of the top closers to target via trade at this point. The old veteran seems to still have the perception of the poor reliever that he was for the past couple seasons. In reality, though, the skills are stellar this season. In fact, there's very little difference in his peripherals and those of Sergio Romo this season. Another factor to consider in this trade is that Men With Wood is already in last place in AVG, so perhaps this is the first step in a strategy to punt the category. 

06/08 - Yu at the Animal Zoo trades Michael Morse and Jarrod Parker to Brewsterville Bruins for Jim Johnson

Here's yet another trade for the hyperactive Yu at the Animal Zoo. Just like in the previous deal, he acquired a closer. In this deal, though, he didn't give one up in return. After a hot first week of the season, Mike Morse has cooled down considerably. Quite the contrary for Jarrod Parker, who was rocked the first month of the season but has slowly begun to turn around his season. Jim Johnson is a player whom the fantasy community has maligned so much so that it may have gone too far. Say what you will about his strikeout rate, but he keeps the ball in the yard. More importantly, with full support behind Manager Buck Showalter, Johnson has one of the longest leashes among closers, in spite of his mediocre skills. That being said, the Bruins could certainly afford to move the closer, as this squad leads the saves category. Overall then, this trade appears to have bolstered both rosters.

06/08 - Smell the Glove trades Michael Pineda to Philly Cheez for Chris Perez

Just yesterday, it appears Dierkes landed a closer on the cheap. Both Michael Pineda and Chris Perez are expected to be back some time around the end of this month. In the case of Pineda, however, he's coming off very serious shoulder surgery, so there could always be a setback. One would expect Perez to resume closing duties soon after he returns from the DL. He was the one and only closer for Philly Cheez, so at this point this owner is clearly punting the category. Given that Philly Cheez resides near the bottom of the standings, there's some incentive to try to catch lightning in a bottle with a player like Pineda. Still, kudos to Dierkes for actively seeking out a trade and acquiring a closer at a very reasonable price.

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