Thursday, April 16, 2009

Transactions Analysis: Tax Day Edition

Yes, it's piper-paying time in America, as people of all political persuasions hunch over tax forms, the collective monotony broken only by the gentle popping sound of Grover Norquist's head exploding. The end of the tax year is usually greeted by the loss-taking dumping of underperforming assets, which dovetails nicely with the traditional post-draft orgy of buyer's remorse in the league. Many were called during the draft, but considerably fewer remain chosen. Next year, PECOTA projections should probably wait until mid-April.

Also, a procedural note; because it's tough to tell from the transactions sheet which moves were draft pickups and which were FA moves, we're including only moves from April 1 on. (Teddy)

I really can't improve much on that introduction, because over the past three years, it's become pretty apparent to me that (a) I haven't a clue how to do my own taxes, (b) sadly, neither does my accountant, and (c) I can't build and run a fantasy team either. We'll leave the tax-baseball analogues for rubes like George Will, and move on to more pressing issues: the league's transactions to date. (El Angelo)

Elbow Your Funicular?

Signed: Fred Lewis (OF, SF), Edwin Jackson (SP, DET), Orlando Cabrera (SS, OAK), Jesse Litsch (DL, TOR), Emilio Bonifacio (2B/3B, FL), Nick Swisher (OF, NYY), Kyle Lohse (SP, ATL), Scot Shields (RP, LAA), Randy Wolf (SP, Apparently Still In the MLB), Orlando Hudson (2B, LAD)

Waived: Aaron Cook (SP, COL), Xavier Nady (OF, NYY), Jesse Litsch (DL, TOR), Dan Wheeler (RP, TB), Jeff Francoeur (K, ATL)

This is the work of someone who, perhaps motivated by PECOTA, came to truly disliked his team after the draft. New starters were installed at 2B, 3B, and OF, and another change could be on the horizon now that Yunel Escobar no longer has nightly access to Nats pitching. The changes on offense have worked like a charm, with Nick Swisher in particular bashing the Elbows in to the top spot in the league. The owner has done a great job of identifying and riding hot hands early on.

The pitching faces more question marks following the recent DL'ing of Chris Carpenter and Jesse Litsch, and the report that Kelvim Escobar has had a setback in his recovery. The transactions suggest that the team sees Edwin Jackson and Randy Wolf as valid replacements. While we here at the GRBG never say never, that will never work. Never.

Also, given his early season yo-yo'ing and injury, keep an eye on Litsch for the Pewter Parachute. (Teddy)

That doesn't even touch on the worst parts of this staff: Mike Pelfrey already looks cooked before Mother's Day, and Ricky Nolasco's last start was bad enough to make the team's ace...Kyle Lohse? Good God. And yet, once A-Rod returns next month, this offense may just be massive, given that Miggy Cabrera is on pace to hit a home run for every pound he weighs. Let's also tip the cap to the Bonafacio pickup, who has a shot to become this year's Scott Podsednik. (El Angelo)

It's Enrico Pallazzo

Squadoosh. In contrast to the Elbows, IEP appears to like his PECOTA-darling team. Given that he's, you know, 12 points behind, the optimism might be misplaced, though we here at the GRBG find his faith in science refreshing. (Teddy)

I met Darrin once and I've never met Andrew, but to steal one of Bill Simmons' memes for a minute, I'm starting to get the impression that Darrin was the Sonny Corleone of the team, by making quick, impestuous moves with less of a long-term plan, while Andrew is the Michael Corleone of the team--patient, calculating, and waiting for the right moment to wield his power. This would probably make our Commish Fredo, my co-author Connie, and Sahil as the guy who blew up Apollonia, but let's move on to more pressing matters. (El Angelo)

Le Dupont Torkies

Signed: Coco Crisp (Mascot, Kellogg's), Ian Stewart (2B/3B, COL), Zach Duke (SP, PIT), Glen Perkins (SP, MIN)

: Ramon Hernandez (C, CIN), Crisp, Stewart

So the net here is a replacement-level catcher out, and two lottery ticket starters in. With Dioner Navarro's presence on the roster, the team won't much miss Hernandez, so it's really down to how you feel about the starters. Glen Perkins has come out like a house on fire, and Minnesota seems to mint fun youing arms by the gross, so that pickup looks solid. Zach Duke has burned just about everyone in the league at this point. His track record, plus the slightly fluky nature of his last good outing (which featured few K's and a favorable scoring decision that led to a couple of runs being categorized as unearned), make us more skeptical on that front. (Teddy)

I think I might have kept Zach Duke at one point in my tenure as a bottom dweller in this league. My advice to everyone is to just ignore all Pirate pitchers until they start showing some accumen in the draft or can coax John Smiley out of retirement. They're all disasters waiting to happen. (El Angelo)

Wu Tang Financial

Signed: Andy Pettttitttte (SP, NYY)

Waived: Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B, SD)

While this technically clears the squadoosh threshhold, it doesn't exactly set the heart aflutter. From an excitement-generation perspective, it comes in just between watching Kevin Kouzmanoff actually play a baseball game and correctly filling out your Schedule C (making sure, of course, to carry over your calculations from the Small Business or Farm Income worksheet from line 81 of the instructions manual, available only online at Ang, you got anything here? (Teddy)

The only thing worse than having Kouzmanoff is having any other the other available 3B's in the league. Take a look at the available players eligible at 3B. (Twiddles thumbs.) That's right. Taking aside Melvin Mora's corpse, the only players ranked higher than Kouzmanoff are the aforementioned Ian Stewart, who Clint Hurdle keeps jerking around, and Chase Headley, who bats right in front of Kouzmanoff and is currently hitting .177. This position is so shallow that another injury to a 3B may mean that Greg Dobbs sees regular action, which is disgusting. (El Angelo)

Recalcitrant Cobbler

Signed: David Freese (3B, STL), Rafael Soriano (RP, ATL), Hank Blalock (CI, TEX); also called up Jordan Schaefer (OF, ATL) from prospect list.

Waived: Billy Wagner (TJ, NYM), Freese.

I guess this is a sign of aging or maturity or whatever on my part, but it seems like the first transaction involving a player I've never heard of comes earlier and earlier each season. I wish David Freese nothing but the best in his future endeavors as the J.V. baseball coach of the Rockford (IL) H.S. Fightin' Hog Callers, but I frankly admit that his presence on this transactions list confuses the sh-t out of me. (Teddy)

After ten minutes of research, I learned that Freese is a 26-year old rookie that couldn't hit his way out of A-ball when he was 25. I think it's safe to say he's not particularly talented. Of course, this could have been evidenced by the fact he was the entire haul the Cardinals got for shipping off Jim Edmonds' decaying carcass two years ago. Does Bartolacci run the Padres? (El Angelo)

Mission Accomplished

Signed: Jon Rauch (RP, ARI), Octavio Dotel (RP, CHW), Veal Saltimbocca (C, TEX), Jeremy Hermida (OF, FLA), Billy Wagner (RP, NYM), Kosuke Fukudome (OF, CHC)

Waived: Dave Bush (SP, MIL), Carlos Gomez (OF, MIN), Ryan Theriot (SS, CHC), Rauch, Hermida.

Acquired Justin Upton (OF, ARI) and Stephen Drew (SS, ARI); traded away Joey Votto (1B, CIN) and Lastings Milledge (OF, AAA).

Yeah, yeah, cool trade (discussed in the TSA blurb below), Salty's a nice flyer, arglebargle fooferall. Explain the Billy Wagner pickup right this very instant. (Teddy)

The Wagner move is easy to defend: it's the ol' DL-stash move for a team that has no DL spots occupied. Recent reports have him returning in late-July, and if he shows any flashes of competence, some owner is going to overpay for him to be their closer next year. Considering I had to cut Jon Rauch to get him, it was a cinch. I'm more pissed about the fact that my team somehow has 2 steals so far this season, and I specifically drafted guys who could run. Sigh. (El Angelo)

Unenviable Position

Signed: Chistian Guzman (SS, WAS), Dan Wheeler (RP, TB)

Waived: Jed Lowrie (SS, The Death Ship That Is The 2009 Red Sox)

Hmm. In light of my Christian Guzman pickup, perhaps I shouldn't have been quite so aggressive on the Wagner issue. The best defense I can muster is that with JJ Hardy off to a slow start and Jed Lowrie first crappy, then hurt, I needed another option at SS. Guzman is off to a scorching start, and while that won't continue forever, I just need it to continue until Hardy pulls his head out of Ryan Braun's ass. Given that I own the shaky corpse of Troy Percival, Wheeler has value to me as a spare tire if Percival blows out. (Teddy)

You're losing your fastball, dude. You passed on the chance to either pick up Mike Aviles or Edgar Rent-a-suck, both of which are not only better players than Guzman, but also provide more materials for these TAs. Go drink some tawny as penance. (El Angelo)

Aroids Anonymous

: JP Howell (RP, TB), Mark Teahen (CI/OF, KC), Miguel Tejada (SS, HOU), Andruw Jones (OF, TEX), Jason Hammel (SP, COL), Adam Lind (OF, TOR), Koji Uehara (SP, BAL), Aaron Hill (2B, TOR)

Waived: Dustin McGowan (P, TOR), Howell, Jones, Hammel.

I admit to frank envy at the Adam Lind pickup, as Toronto looks like it's about to embark on a season full of 9-7 losses. Lind's numbers might suffer a bit once the Jays move Travis Snider out of the 9-hole and into a prime spot in the lineup, but all of a sudden they have a fun offensive ballclub. That said, Aaron Hill might be pushing the Toronto-as-offensive-juggernaut meme a step too far. Also, as cooked former All-Start shortstops go, Miguel Tejada looks like an upgrade over Mike Young. Although I haven't re-run the numbers, I'd have to imagine that PECOTA would like this new offense a lot better than the original. (Teddy)

PECOTA's only going to like this offense better if you ignore the Mark Teabag pickup, which defies logic, reason, and common sense. More importantly, under our nose, Corey has gone ahead and tried an utterly goofy roster construction, where he has a pitching slot empty because he has two guys with bad arms (Smoltz and the Wrong Buchholz) on the DL, and yet is stockpiling shitty hitters that don't belong on a fantasy team like Dan Duquette reincarnated. I'd like to say I get it, but a team that has a bench with 2 Royals and 3 second baseman is, ahem, oddly arranged. (El Angelo)

wormcheese mousebird

: AJ Pierzynski (C/Douchebag, CHW), Brandon Inge (C/3B, DET), Aaron Rowand (OF, SF), Dennys Reyes (RP, STL); also called up Cameron Maybin (OF, FLA) from prospect list and tried to gank Travis Snider (OF, TOR) from another prospect list.

Waived: Jason Giambi (DH, HGH), Rick Ankiel (OF, STL), Pierzynski, Rowand.

Before we get into the minutae of these transactions, a word or two is on order about the team renaming. If, in the grand history of fantasy team names, there has been a jump in VORTN (value over replacement team name) greater than the move from "AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS" to "wormcheese mousebird", our extensive archives here at the GRBG don't show it. Bravo and huzzah and whatnot.

As for the moves themselves, kudos to the team for recognizing a weakness at OF and moving aggressively to fix it. Unfortunately, the rules prevent fixing a hole by poaching another team's player, and harsh reality prevents Aaron Rowand from being useful in any fantasy league in which facial stitches are not a scoring category. (Teddy)

Once again Sir Teddy, memory is failing you. When Corey re-entered the league in '07, he named his team Windy City Windfalls, instead of M*ike, the worst eff'ing team name ever. This name change pales in comparison. Finish your damn beer.

Also, Dennys Reyes blows. (El Angelo)

The Loose Bowels

Signed: James Loney (1B, LAD), Shaun Marcum (DL, TOR), David Purcey (P, TOR), Joel Zumaya (RP, DET), Marco Scutaro (IF, TOR), Ryan Theriot (SS, CHC)

Waived: JD Drew (OF, BOS), Mike Aviles (SS, KC), Marcum.

Let's begin by pouring some out for my homie Mike Aviles, a man who inspired more jokes in a shorter period of time than just about any player in the league since the halcyon days of Mo Vaughn. Never surrender, never forget.

Anyway, what we have here are the first stirrings of what promises to be a season-long struggle with The Loose Bowels' thematically appropriate down-the-middle issues. A Ryco Thetaro platoon at SS is really only marginally more palatable than Aviles was, though it does help address the team's biggest weakness, its lack of OBP. The JD Drew waiver might prove costly on that front, as he is usually good for an OBP in the .380s, though his back issues this season might weigh him down. (Teddy)

I was going to make an excuse for the commish that the Drew cut made sense given the roster composition, then looked at his starting lineup and realized he's not only given into moronic homerism by starting Ryan Vincent Ludwick and a newbie in Colby Rasmus, but is also trotting out Vernon Wells, presumably to show that Andy has a sense of humor or is hoping for a miracle on his birthday. So I take it back and concur with Teddy: cutting JD Drew so you could have room to keep James Loney (wtf?) was a bad move. (El Angelo)

The Spam Avengers

Signed: Todd Helton (1B, Old), Santiago Cassilla (RP, OAK), Kyle Davies (SP, KC), Aaron Rowand (OF, SF)

Waived: Helton, Cassilla.

Acquired Joey Votto (1B, CIN) and Lastings Milledge (OF, AAA); traded away Justin Upton (OF, ARI) and Stephen Drew (SS, ARI)

Holy sh-t, for a scond there I though I was actually going to have to come up with some sort of analysis of a Santiago Cassilla pickup. Luckily, our tardiness in getting this first TA out saved me. I then decided I'd talk about why this team is off to such a lousy start, but I can't really figure that out either.

So instead I'll talk about the trade. Milledge's really weird demotion by the Nats obviously takes the shine off of the trade, though in reality it just means TSA has traded one certain bench player (Stephen Drew wasn't getting any burn with Jimmy Rollins around) for another. It does, however, make the OF very thin, especially given Ichiro's weird ulcer problem. Other than that I like the trade, as I think Joey Votto is poised to destroy the universe this season as the centerpiece of the Reds' offense. TSA is losing the trade on points at the moment with Milledge in the minors, but has a chance to battle back as the season progresses. (Teddy)

Alex and I sort of got the same middle finger thrown back at us, with Justin Upton being repeatedly benched for Eric Byrnes' fro and threatened to be sent to the minors until he got a hit. Not to pat myself on the back, but this trade on paper is a win-win for both; I'm a little more bearish on Votto than my co-author and love Upton, while Drew fits a hole for my team perfectly. But you have to like the deal for the Spammers long term, presuming that the Nats figure out that Austin Kearns is not the answer. (El Angelo)

Evil League of Evil

at left: They do the weird stuff!

We close with our second squadoosh (squadeuce?). They do know they're in last, right? (Teddy)

This photo is so utterly bizarre, frightening and disturbing that I'm afraid to render a comment on it. What the hell is this from? The Wizard, Part II? (El Angelo)

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