Work on the Fantasy Football Guide 2014 hasn’t distracted me from my fantasy baseball teams, but it has distracted from writing about it. Last weekend I made a trade with Phil Hertz in Tout Wars NL that might be of interest.
Background: Tout is using OBP instead of BA this year, as we’ve talked about, and in the auction I decided to treat OBP as a more reliable category than BA. So, when Joey Votto was nominated first I bought him, for $5 below my bid max on him (but for $4 more than his BA bid price was). But it turns out no one else was willing to pay the full premium on OBP, so after Votto I kept getting decent OBP guys for BA par prices. Bargains every one, in a sense.
The Problem: I have an awesome team of stars, but early in the season many of my scrubs didn’t play much. Plus Ryan Zimmerman got hurt. I trail in at bats by a huge amount, but am competitive (barely) in the quantitative stats. And I have a big lead in OBP. I needed to convert that OBP lead into hard hitting assets.
What Happened: Phil Hertz has suffered a horrendous run of injuries to his corners. He sent an email last Saturday asking for a corner in exchange for an outfielder. I said I had Votto, who has been on the DL with a bad knee (the same knee he had multiple surgeries on before) and it was announced would not be back this Saturday (31st), when he was eligible. I sent a note to Phil saying I had Votto and in the right circumstances would trade him, but given his injury wasn’t sure what the market was. I said I’d consider an offer.
Next: Phil offered Matt Holliday, who has a decent walk rate, but doesn’t have as much power as Votto. Given the injury risk it was a fair deal, but the problem for me was that Holliday was kind of a Votto lite. He’d protect my OBP, but I couldn’t expect more homers from him if both he and Votto were healthy. In fact, I had to assume I’d lose homers. Not a bad deal for injury mitigation, but not a deal that addressed my needs.
Counter: I told Phil I would make the deal for Jay Bruce. Bruce hasn’t had the on base skills of Votto, but he’s hit more homers. And he’s stolen more bases, especially more than a knee-sore Votto would. So, more quantitative numbers in exchange for a way better OBP hitter with health issues. It was easy for me to say yes. For Phil, who is close to the OBP bottom, Votto may come with some risk, but he brings huge rewards if he stays healthy. You can count on OBP, it is a skill.
The Tickler: Phil asked for $3 FAAB to offset the injury risk. I thought the deal was fair as it was and said so, but countered by offering him $1 FAAB. He accepted. Deal.
Conclusion: My hope had been, before Votto got hurt, to deal him in June to a team at the bottom of the OBP pack for two more productive quantitative players. In other words, trade OBP for AB. But when Votto got hurt, and when the Reds started saying that he might not be 100 percent all year, I thought it made more sense to go for a power hitter now.
Jay Bruce: One problem, of course, is that Bruce isn’t acting like a power hitter at all this year. He’s hitting more grounders, has only hit three homers. Oh, he’s sucked. I call this buying low. He’s a 27 year old power hitter. If he’d been himself Phil wouldn’t have traded him. I think.
But I’m scared, of course, because Votto could get healthy quickly (he played catch today!) and he’s a better hitter than Bruce. And something could be wrong with Bruce.
Of course it could. Bring it on.