Unread for 6/25 and Upcoming 411 Chat
NOTE: The next 411 chat will take place on TUESDAY, JULY 1 at 3 PM with everyone’s favorite, Cory “Stats” Schwartz!
Now on to today’s question:
I was not a fan of a trade that happened in my league last week and wanted the 411 take on it. I don’t think any sort of collusion took place, but I was surprised when I saw it.
I play in an 18-team mixed league, 5×5, keeper ($5 added on to your keeper player’s salary each year). Both teams are still in contention. Team A got: A. Pujols ($38) / J. Vazquez ($21). Team B got: C. Jackson ($14) / M. Kemp ($9) / A. Laffey ($1). Now, granted Pujols is hurt, but I believe the trade was WAY in Team A’s favor. Kemp may be a keeper, but Pujols at $38 is a keeper in my book too. Let’s just say that Vazquez and Laffey are equal (which I don’t believe), that means that team A got Pujols for C. Jackson and M. Kemp!!! Am I just ignorant or could team B not have gotten a lot more for Albert?
J in Chicago
What’s up J,
I don’t think you’re ignorant. Maybe Team B is your league’s equivalent to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies: the team’s owner wants to shed payroll, even if it means trading an elite player (Pujols for Team B, Pau Gasol for the Griz) for 50 cents on the dollar. As a devoted Lakers fan, I nearly passed out when I first heard about that trade, by the way.
Back to your issue, at least credit should be given to Team B for acquiring a sure-fire keeper in Kemp. Players with good speed/power combinations like Kemp (17 doubles, seven home runs, 13 steals this season) are even more valuable in larger leagues such as yours. Team A sort of kills two birds with one stone by having a player who can contribute in home runs and steals. Kemp is hitting .289, and he should be able to maintain a solid batting average throughout the season. He’s a certified bargain at $9, as well.
Conor Jackson is batting .308 with 40 RBIs, but he obviously doesn’t measure up to Pujols. Not too many players can match Albert’s .347 batting average and still hit 16 homers and drive in 42 runners. There’s no doubt Pujols is the stud of the trade and a cornerstone for any fantasy owner, regardless of league format. However, if player salaries weren’t an issue, perhaps your league size made an impact on this trade. I don’t know Team B’s roster, but perhaps the owner feels that squeezing production from every position is more valuable than just owning a superstar at one slot. I play in a 20-team league, and team depth can become very dicey at that level. It’s really a constant struggle to ensure that production is maximized from every position, so Team B might feel more comfortable with two productive players rather than one extraordinary one.
As for Vazquez/Laffey, perhaps Team B isn’t enamored with Vazquez’s last four outings, in which he has a 6.94 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP in 23 1/3 innings. Laffey, on the contrary, has thrown four consecutive quality starts, lowering his ERA to 2.83 and his WHIP to 1.20 in the process.
I don’t think the trade is an example of collusion, and I don’t think it should be vetoed. Team B is trading a badly slumping Vazquez and an injured Albert Pujols for a hot starting pitcher and two offensive players who probably qualify as keepers, considering your league’s size. Sure, hypothetically, Team B could have received more talent for Pujols. Maybe he made some trade offers, received some trade offers and felt that this trade made the most sense. Whatever Team B’s thought process was, as long the move was made with the intention of improving the roster, then the league needs to move forward.