Monday, May 7, 2007

Transaction Analysis: Aunt Gertrude's Revenge

We're back to the original "purpose" of this blog, that is, to offer silly commentary on the ever-present Wankdorf fantasy league. After roughly 8000 words about the Kentucky Derby, several Red Sox reminiscences, and a vacation in Aruba, it's time to do it up, old school style. Keepers of Phil Nevin, beware! (El Angelo)

The league may often be far from our minds, but never from our hearts. Our loins have thus far declined to comment on the matter. (Teddy)

b. mcbeef goldthwait

Signed Xavier P. Nady, OF, Pittsburgh; Released Jamie Carroll, 2B, Colorado [4/21]

Claimed Aaron Hill, 2B, Toronto off waiver; Released Nady [4/26]

Signed Jason Hirsch, SP, Colorado; Released Josh Barfield, 2B, Cleveland [4/26]

Signed Aaron Rowand, OF, Chicago (AL); Released Kei Igawa, SP, New York (AL) [4/27]

Signed Shawn Green, OF, New York (NL) [4/29]

Released Mike McDougall, RP, Chicago (AL) [5/3]

I can't really say a lot is bad about this, but we've got basically a lot of playing with the margins and the 22nd/23rd spot on the roster here. Kei Igawa has proven himself to be largely sucky, and now with the Clemens inking, largely irrelevant. Having him play bedmate for Kyle Farnsworth doesn't exactly help you in fantasy standings. By contrast, the Jason Hirsch flyer's a nice one; while I generaally can't sign off on Colorado pitchers as good investments, he's not a bad young guy to at least try to meld into the Cain & Co. fray. Plus when you combine him and Shawn Green, you're at the league average for players' ages. (El Angelo)

Boy, that's a lot of dross getting shuffled around at 2B. I think the short version of events here is that Ryan Theriot has some job security for the intermediate future. I also can't countenance the signing of two different Aarons in one transaction period. Hank Aaron can probably still outhit Aaron Hill, and Aaron Rowand has even poorer impulse control than Aaron Burr, so I don't think I can even say that Mayor McBeef added the best Aarons available. He did at least lay off of Aaron Neville, which counts for something

Ed Rooney's Office

Signed Rafael Betancourt, RP, Cleveland; Released David Riske, RP, Kansas City [4/19]

Signed Travis Buck, OF, Oakland [4/21]

Threw Buck under the Bus; Signed Jason Jennings, Broken SP, Houston [4/22]

Signed Michael Lowell, Eunuch, Boston; Released Brandon Morrow, RP, Seattle [4/27]

Released Betancourt, Signed Hideki Okajima, RP, Boston [4/29]

Released Okajima; Claimed Jarrod Santalmacchia, C, Atlanta off waivers [5/7]

The "benefit" of doing a longer time period between TAs is you get to sometimes see a master plan. Here's basically the transformation of a roster spot of the course of 3 weeks: Riske--Betancourt--Okajima---Saltalamacchia. It's an upgrade every step of the way, and it's moves like that that should help these guys get competitive in 5 years. In seriousness (whatever that means here), JS is a fun flyer to take, as he really has no position on the Braves, but you've gotta think he's high on the list as trade bait if they're still in it come July. I'm befuddled as to the Mike Lowell signing though, he's really not any good for a 3B-man, isn't a long-term answer, and always sucks in the 2nd half as his testosterone runs out. What gives, dude? (El Angelo)

Well, I had to play somebody at 3B until Andy Marte gets healthy and shows whether he has any long-term value. I figured that a pre-ASB/post-ASB platoon of Lowell and Eric Chavez should keep my head above water at that spot in the meantime.

Honestly, while my head knew that the Veal Saltimbucca pickup was the right move, it hurt me to let go of Hideki Okajima. Just in the short time Okerjeemer has been with the Sox, my dominant emotion towards him has moved from dubiousness through cautious optimism all the way to burgeoning man-love. He's not quite at lifelong-commitment love yet, though he's definitely past massage-with-release love. Middle relievers don't often spark that sort of depth of feeling.

But Salty is a future stud at a position where I'm already squared away, and I figure that he'll make for a nice trading option down the road, maybe with some other no-hope franchise that has a young 1B or something I could use. (Teddy)

Evil Empire

Signed James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay; Released Doug Davis, SP, Arizona [4/24]

Signed Fernando Cabrera, RP, Cleveland; Released Geoff Jenkins, OF, Milwaukee [4/25]

Released Chuck James, SP, Atlanta [4/29]

Signed Jeremy Accardo, RP, Toronto; Released Chad Gaudin, SP, Oakland [5/4]

There's a pair of things that are really nice in this quartet of moves. The first is picking up Shields, who's looked like a new pitcher in the last couple of weeks, and one that might actually play well for the Devil Rays. Certainly he's a better idea than replacement level scrubs like Doug Davis who won't amount to much more than Chet Morton's jalopy. The other good move is ridding one's self of the pitching version of Chet's jalopy in Chuck James, who the Mets have smacked around pretty badly. I suppose this makes Cabrera the not-blown-up-version of Iola Morton of the EE's Frank W. Dixon squad, a world where Nomar is clearly the Joe Hardy of the group, while Carlos Delgado cautioned the boys sternly. (El Angelo)

Do you think Iola put out? You figure that even in the '50's, there had to be girls who functioned as the neighborhood Ryan Dempster (Dempster joke, check!). I never got that vibe off of Callie, and in any event Frank was too closeted to do anything about it. But I bet Joe was breaking out the full '50's-era misinformation campaign, starting with "But it hurts me when we don't" and touching on "We'll be together forever, anyways" and "If you really loved me you'd let me" before for settling in for what any responsible modern dorm RA would consider acquaintance rape. I have trouble seeing how Iola could resist that sort of psychological onslaught--assuming she shared Chet's genes she was none too bright. Plus, with Joe involved there would always be the looming threat of a blow to the solar plexus hanging over her.

Also, Jeremy Accardo sucks. (Teddy)

Hand Banana

Released Ken Griffey, Jr., OF, Cincinnati [4/22]

Signed Slick Wily Taveras, OF, Colorado [5/2]

Claimed Hunter Pence, OF, Houston off waivers; Released Lastings Milledge, OF, New York (NL) [5/5]

I feel like we go through this every year, but it's repeatedly sad to see Ken Griffey pass on the waiver wire. Plus, when it's for Wily Fucking Taveras he's being shipped out for, it's even more tragic. Wasn't this guy good once? (El Angelo)

If I ever get hold of a chart showing the rise and fall in value of my Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie card and autographed ball combo, I'll probably have a minor stroke. If I'd have sold out at the top (which I bet came while I was in college), I could have turned those things into 9 cases of Silver Thunder 40's and been a hero within my circle of friends. I probably couldn't get a Vitamin Water for them now.

The Hunter Pence pickup is a great one. I was poised to grab Pence if he fell to me in the waiver line, and given my OF weaknesses it was disappointing to miss out on him. With Milledge crocked for the next six weeks, the risk to HB was low. In fact, it will be interesting to see if anyone stashes Milledge away until he's healthy and ready to come up to the majors. My feeling is that the bloom is off that particular rose just enough to make it not worth anyone's while to do so. (Teddy)

It's Enrico Palazzo

Released Hank Blalock, 3B, Texas [4/22]

Released Rich Aurlia, 3B, San Fran [4/29]

Signed Casey Janssen, SP, Toronto; Released Matt Lindstrom, RP, Florida [5/5]

Okay, I know I probably should be paying closer attention, but how the hell is this team in 3rd place when their biggest pickup of the last fortnight was Casey Fricking Janssen? Hell, the way my team goes, Dan Jansen would be helpful. And yes, for those at the Derby party on Saturday, that's two Dan Jansen references in 48 hours, which is at least 1 too many. For more analysis, I turn it over to Alberto Tomba. (El Angelo)

Sorry, you're stuck with me--Alberto is out somewhere chatting up Kristy Yamaguchi and Debbie Thomas. The complete collapse of Hank Blalock is the real story here. It's a short list of guys who have had his level of success in the bigs at a young age, but then imploded like a Vegas casino before age 28. He joins the likes of Ben Grieve as a cautionary tale designed to drive rebuilding keeper teams insane as they try to make trades with an eye to the future. Also, IEP is doing as well as he is in large part due to the success of Si Si Sabathia, who has thoughtfully broken out over the past two years after a full keeper cycle of underachieving on my roster. Swell. (Teddy)

Nigerian Gentlemen

Signed Mike Stanton, RP, Cincy; Released Kaz Matsui, 2B, Colorado [4/21]

Released Stanton; Signed Brad Hennessey, SP, San Fran [5/5]

Released Hennessey; Claimed Freddy Garcia, SP, Philly off waivers [5/6]

Didn't Freddy Garcia just get dinged while shagging fly balls during practice and running into the golf cart? THIS is the guy you waste your waiver priority on? I suppose a dinged up FFFG is still better than a perfectly healthy Mike Stanton, but man, that's just awful. (El Angelo)

I still like Fab Five Freddy to be useful this year, but yeah, that's a tough way to burn your waiver priority. The one defense is that if Le Dupont Torkies keep on running away with the league, somebody is gonna fall ass-backwards into 3d place with about 73 points. That keeps a whole bunch of teams in the hunt for the money. (Teddy)

Le Dupont Torkies

Signed Ryan Garko, 1B, Cleveland; Released Brad Hawpe, OF, Colorado [4/25]

Released Garko; Signed Jorge de la Soul, SP, Kansas City [4/27]

Signed Jeff Bedpan, SP, Milwaukee; Released Fab Five Freddy Garcia, SP, Philly [5/3]

Signed Brandon Lyon, RP, Arizona [5/4]

The defending champs aren't resting on their laurels by continuing tryouts with Ryan Garko (not a horrible idea), Jeff Bedpan, and Brandon Lyon, each of which can contribute something. It's quite an interesting state of affairs; they're 20-something points in the lead, but are giving serious playing time to Raul Ibanez, Mike Jacobs and Josh Hamilton; none of which suck, but all of which are in the fungible mess category. Have to think they're just itching to trade for a real hitter to balance of the rest of the very very good core. (El Angelo)

The decisions of A-Rod and Rich Hill to absolutely stand on their heads this April have bought the team some breathing room and the luxury to play around with the last few spots on their roster. Losing Joe Mauer to the DL will throw up another roadblock, but if anybody can afford that kind of loss it's this team. The one thing you don't want to do with this kind of lead is stand pat and assume that everyone's hot starts will continue, and it looks like this team is avoiding that pitfall admirably. (Teddy)

Lefty's Revenge

Signed John Patterson, SP, Washington [4/23]

Released Patterson; Signed Pat Neshek, RP, Minnesota [5/5]

You know what's sad? That the Casey Janssen pickup wasn't even one of the two worst transaction kits this week. Pat Neshek's actually a useful reliever in the abstract, but query his role here: he ain't closing any time soon, and middle relievers really aren't all that helpful unless you get uber lucky. Of course, these guys are in straits a bit, what with Zumaya, Gagne & Schmidt all recovering from injuries, so maybe this is just indicative of the death of pitching that's actually available. (El Angelo)

You can see the idea here, which is to find some reliable middle relievers to hold the ERA and WHIP numbers down to a dull roar. Of course, that's a pretty tough row to hoe, given that every major league GM other than maybe Bill Stoneman has proven incapable of consistently identifying those sort of middle relievers on a consistent basis. If this works, somebody should hire Lefty as a consultant/fungible arm savant when the seasin is over. (Teddy)

M**e

Signed David Aaaaardsma, RP, Chicago (AL); Released Seth McClung, RP, Tampa Bay [4/20]

Signed Jamie Moyer, SP, Philly; Released Gary Matthews Jr, BALCO Informant, Anaheim [4/22]

Released Moyer; Signed Jon Lieber, SP, Philly [4/24]

Released Lieber; Signed Kyle Lohse, SP, Cincy [4/25]

Released Lohse; Signed Mark Hendrickson, SP, Los Angeles [4/26]

Signed Jason Marquis, OF, Chicago (NL); Released Jake Westbrook, SP, Cleveland [5/1]

Re-signed Jamie Moyer, SP, Philly [5/2]

And speaking of the dearth of pitching, we come to possibly my favorite transaction line EVER. I mean, I haven't met Mike, I'm sure he's a great guy and a humanitarian, but I have this fantastic image of a guy sitting over a computer in a montage day after day screaming "FUCK! Maybe this guy will work...." The Kitchen Sink approach to fantasy baseball is a fun one to watch, though I don't think it's generally a winning method. The real fun parts are (a) that he cut Jake Westbrook about 90 seconds after Mark Shapiro gave him $35 million, and (b) that of all people he ended up with Jamie Moyer at the end of the day, who may collect AARP checks in July. Just a fantastic run of pickups and drops that I want to sit and admire once again. Well played, sir. (El Angelo)

Indeed. When viewed as a whole, the thing takes on a sort of mid-period Steinbrennerian ruthlessness. There was so much churn that we here at the GRBG wondered if there wasn't some sort of pattern involved.

Turns out that Mike was chasing starts against shitty offensive teams. He cut Moyer after a start against the Nationals, then signed Lieber who was pitching against WAS the next night. After that he got Lohse for a start against the similarly offensively-challenged Cardinals team. With that in mind, Mike appears to be crazy like an Earl Weaver. Massive ups to Mike for having the temerity to pull that off under everyone's collective nose. I much prefered this league when half of the owners could be reliably counted on to suck. (Teddy)

President Skroob

Signed Chad Qualls, RP, Houston; Released Zach & Mortimer Duke, SP, Pittsburgh [4/23]

And beating out the Casey Janssen Experience and John Patterson's Johnson....ladies and gents, Chad Qualls! I really can't even endorse this, and I made the goddamned transaction. Mother of god, my team blows. (El Angelo)

Hey, it's important to stockpile the setup men from a team that will win 74 games this year. That's how championships are won. We'll always have Fenton. (Teddy)

The Sex Cannons

Signed Shane Victorino, OF, Philly; Released Ryan Church, OF, Washington [4/20]

Signed Bobby Crosby, SS, Oakland; Released Aaron Hill, 2B, Toronto [4/23]

Signed Oliver! Perez, SP, New York (NL); Released Derek Lowe Face, SP, Los Angeles [4/25]

Signed John Buck, C, Kansas City, Sammy Sosa, OF, Texas and Shawn Hill, SP, Washington; Released Gustavo Chacin, SP, Toronto, Scot Shields, RP, Anaheim and Crosby [4/26]

Released Victorino, Signed Gary Matthews Jr, OF, Anaheim [4/27]

Released Buck; Fondled Alex Gonzalez briefly; Signed Craig Biggio, Nonagenarian, Huntingon Station [5/2]

Signed Doug Davis, SP, Arizona; Released Casey Kotchman, 1B, Anaheim [5/3]

Re-signed Victorino; Signed Brian Burres, RP, Baltimore, and Placido Polanco, 2B, Detroit; Released Biggio, Matthews & Sosa [5/7]

Released Burres; Signed Ryan Doutmit, C, Pittsburgh [5/7]

This is more jumbled and confusing than trying to get through the Derby PP's this week, but I think THINK it all boils down to adding Oliver Perez, Doug Davis & Shane Victorino (2x) for a bunch of inherent injuries and mediocrities. I can't say that the last two will rise much above the fray, but Oliver! is at least talented, and will drive you to antacids more frequently than any other fantasy pitcher out there. Commish, you're lucky you don't have to root for him in real life, it's twice as hard that way. (El Angelo)

I'm psyched by the John Buck/Sammy Sosa/Shawn Hill triple pickup. That move would have been brilliant had it occurred at times and leagues when all three were good, i.e. the 1998 National League (Sosa), the 2003 International League (Buck), and the 1992 Greater Ontario Pony League (Hill). (Teddy)

The Spam Avengers

Released Aaron Heilman, RP, New York (NL) [4/23]

Released Mark Prior, SP, Chicago (NL) [4/25]

Signed John Buck, C, Kansas City [5/5]

We end the madness known as the never-ending TA with a trio of sensible moves; dumping a pair of pitchers everyone liked 4 years ago and NOBODY likes now, and finding a perfectly servicable catcher while Uncle Mike recovers from his strained ovaries. It's also worth noting the relative calmness that's exhibited in the 3-week period by Alex, Tucker & Scot, who also happen to be the 3 guys who have won the league the last 4 years and are the prohibitive favorites to win it this year. Then again, these bastards never offer anything productive or funny to comment about in these TAs, so to hell with 'em. Now where's that Glenlivet? (El Angelo)

The decision to cut Aaron Heilman also makes TSA the winners in the Aaron Derby for the transactions period. I'm sure TSA an his family are very proud of that particular accomplishment. (Teddy)

1 comment:

Sahil said...

every time i see a "john buck" reference, i can't help but think of midnight cowboy. "yee haw, i'm a'gonna go to the big city and be u huss-ler."

well done as usual, boys.