Monday, March 14, 2011

Transactions Analysis: Stretching Out Edition

As a litigator, one of the banes of my existence is emails. Emails are a mess when you're in the middle of discovery. There are millions of them, most of them say completely irrelevant inane things, and it never ceases to amaze the stupid things people write in an email. Almost always, you do not want your emails saved or stored.

An exception to the rule: I wish I had the email I sent to Teddy in 2004 when I first suggested that we begin writing a semi-regular Transactions Analysis column, as a spoof on the great column for Baseball Prospectus. As I recall, Teddy's response was something like "genius!" and we took it from there.

Eight years later, here we are with our first TA of the 2011 fantasy baseball season. It seems highly appropriate that this is the 8th anniversary of beginning this column, because the traditional wedding gift for an 8th anniversary is bronze, which is exactly what my co-author got last year. And the "modern" wedding gift for an 8th anniversary is lace, which is about all my team deserved after last year's failure to compete. Let's not revisit this them next year, when the anniversary present becomes leather.
A programming note: this column includes the trades that were made before keepers were announced, and is not going to cover who was kept, which would be really boring. If time allows, we may do a mock draft column before Saturday's big event. And then of course, we'll do our usual post-draft analysis of the first two rounds before getting on to team previews.

Teddy, ready to take a look at everyone's pre-keeper deals? (El Angelo)

We don't usually allow the possibility of boring subject matter to stop us, though perhaps we ought

In any event, I'm ready to start stretching out for the regular season. On the advice of my pitching coach, I will slowly increase my word count as we go in this column, and won't work in any polysyllabic words or subordinate clauses at first. Gotta trust the process. (Teddy)

The Little Green One
  • Traded Stephen Strasburg (Inpatient, Mayo Clinic) and the 35th pick in the draft to Wu Tang Financial for Zack Greinke (Inpatient, Froedtert Memorial Hospital) and Pick #49.
The deal looked better for the Marvins when Zack Greinke wasn't hurt, but even with him missing 3-5 starts, it's still a good deal. Trading down 14 slots in what looks to be a pretty shallow draft isn't remotely penal, and Greinke, at worst, will fetch a good prospect or pick when this team is in 11th place come June or July. When your other keeper options were the like of Ted Lilly and Trevor Cahill, you're better off getting the stud and crossing your fingers, because consistent ace pitchers are possibly the scarcest commodity in FBB. (El Angelo)

There are lots more good SPs now that there are drug tests. You can pick lots in the draft. That is why I was dumb to cut Mark R’nolds. And hurt guys can't pitch. Stupid trade for both. (Teddy, 38 words)

Paging Dr. Rumack
  • Traded Hanley Ramirez (SS, Florida) and Pick #102 to Rancho Carne Toros for Picks #28 and #76.
Boiled down to its essence, they flipped a guy they weren't keeping for a mid-3rd round pick and a mid-7th round pick. It's not a Carmelo Anthony-sized haul, but it's a haul, and the definition of turning nothing into something. I approve, and think it's tough not to unless you think someone else was going to pony up more for one player who would have taken up 33% of your keeper list. (El Angelo)

Hanley is the best player! Unless Albert is the best player. How can one team have Hanley and Albert? This trade is bad because it makes Angelo feel good. Farts. Also, Pick #76 will end up as a dummy like Jason Kubel. Stupid trade. (Teddy, 44 words).

chad has pretty feet
  • Traded Pick #29 to The Bi-Winners for Roy Oswalt (SP, Philly).
On its face it's really hard to quibble with this deal--Oswalt is a mile better than this team would get at the 29th selection of the draft. The question is whether he is better than the pick and the two players that would have otherwise been kept. Looking at CHPF's pre-keeper roster, I'll go with they would have had Matt Garza and Ichiro on their squad instead of Oswalt, who's taking up two slots this year. That's a bit more of a toss-up, but I still lean towards Oswalt. Ichiro! is fairly replaceable at this point in his career, and while Garza may appreciate the switch to the NL, he's still a 3rd starter. Oswalt is the 3rd starter on the best staff since the mid-90s Braves. There's a huge difference. (El Angelo)

Roy Oswalt will be good in the future because he has been good in the past. Sahil's other pitchers have not been good in the past, or are young and have no past. Also, I think from the TV that Ichiro might be stuck in a nuclear underwater earthquake in Japan. And I think from movies that nuclear underwater earthquakes in Japan mean Godzilla vs. Mothra is coming. Good cut. (Teddy, 67 words)

Le Dupont Torkies
  • Traded Tommy Hanson (SP, Atlanta) and Pick #19 to Wu Tang Financial for Jayson Werth (OF, Washington) and Picks #37 and 73.
  • Traded Pick #43 to Rancho Carne Toros for Craig Kimbrel (RP, Atlanta), JJ Putz (RP, Arizona) and Chris Sale (?P, Chisox) and Pick #102
My gut reaction was to hate both of these trades, as they dealt away picks and the best player (Hanson) for 3 lottery ticket pitchers, lower picks and a guy going to the Nationals. But let's take a deeper look at this deal, shall we? Because while these deals may not make sense for most owners, for our Most Successful Owner, they're an acknowlegement of a few things:

  1. Starting pitchers are high risk and taking a good ROI on a young pitcher is right more often than not. (See: too many examples to name.) In exchange for a guy who hasn't finished his time in the injury nexus, they got an underrated outfielder that contributes in all 5 categories.
  2. The draft is top heavy and plateaus quickly, meaning that having few picks in rounds 2-5 isn't remotely penal. The biggest risk they're running here is getting too drunk in the interim and kicking the commish in the crotch.
  3. If you're going to take a shot with mediocrities at the back of the keeper list, you're better off going with guys who are young and improving or contribute significantly to one category, usually steals or saves. Kimbrel and Sale hit both of these markers.
The result is a traditional Tucker keeper list: a good, solid offensive core, a very good starter (Brett Anderson) and a bunch of lottery ticket closers. We've seen him do more with less. (El Angelo)

I was surprised by the second trade, because grabbing young players without positions is not a usual Torkie move. Jason Werth also makes me nervous away from the small field in Philly. However, this franchise has made more hay in rounds 2-6 than any other, so I don't think he loses much trading down from 19 to 37. Plus he got another pick in the same range, which is big for him. Finally, I am stoked to see a team try to shoot for the innings minimum instead of the maximum. (Teddy, 89 words)

Rancho Carne Toros
  • Traded Picks #28 and #76 to Paging Dr. Rumack for Hanley Ramirez (SS, Florida) and Pick #102.
  • Traded David Price (SP, Tampa Bay) to The Spam Avengers for Roy Oswalt (SP, Philly) and Victor Martinez (C, Detroit)
  • Traded Oswalt to chad has pretty feet for Pick #29.
  • Traded Craig Kimbrel (RP, Atlanta), JJ Putz (RP, Arizona) and Chris Sale (P, Chisox) and Pick #102 to Le Dupont Torkies for Pick #43.
Let's cut through all the players and picks that cancel each other out on both sides of the ledger, and combine those four trades into one "real" transaction:

David Price and Pick #76 for Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez and Pick #43.

That's a trade I'm very, very happy I made. (El Angelo)

That analysis discounts the effects of the Young Closer Pogrom of 2011, which will leave the franchise shy on saves exiting the draft for the 238th consecutve season. Still and all, what's left is a sick offensive keeper list. The Toros can use the #1 overall pick on one more offensive guy, and then just take SP flyers for the next 10 rounds in the hopes that pitcher variance works in thei favor this year. For the first time in a long time, this is one of the teams to watch going into the draft. (Teddy, 95 words)

The Spam Avengers
  • Traded Victor Martinez (C, Detroit) and Roy Oswalt (SP, Philly) to Rancho Carne Toros for David Price (SP, Tampa Bay)
I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody, but the Defending Champ has one of the best keeper lists I can remember. Trading surplus for a top-shelf pitcher is never a bad idea when you don't have room for 18 keepers. (El Angelo)

French novelist and essayist Gustave Flaubert took the position that the reductionist nature of language creates such a distance between perceived reality and described reality that almost infinite care must be taken to choose the proper word--"le mot juste"--to describe a given event or feeling, lest the gap between perception and description make the act of description entirely futile. We here at the GRBG heartily endorse M. Flaubert's position on the need for accuity in writing. As a result, we have spent considerable time debating the proper descriptive term for TSA's keeper list. We have settled on "shitstacked". De rien, M. Flaubert--you're welcome. (Teddy, 106 words)

Wu Tang Financial

  • Traded Jayson Werth (OF, Washington) and Picks #37 and #73 to Le Dupont Torkies for Tommy Hanson (SP, Atlanta) and Pick #19.
  • Traded Zack Greinke (SP, Milwaukee) and Pick #49 to The Little Green One for Stephen Strasburg (SP, Washington) and the 35th pick in the draft.
We end with what is one of the more interesting pre-draft transaction lines in recent memory, as the last-place finishers move arguably their best two players in exchange for some nice returns. Tommy Hanson is someone I'm actually high on and think he's a more than ample replacement for Prozach. Stephen Strasburg is a neat little keeper even though he's being put on the DL for the year, given that there weren't a lot of better options for the 12th keeper slot. And a team that's been near the cellar in all recent years added a second round pick for its efforts. I applaud the efforts. With a mildly intriguing keeper list--albeit one that has one infielder--this squad may be closer to being competitive than originally thought. (El Angelo)

While I agree with you that Hanson is here as a Greinke replacement (and also like that move very much), I don't have a single fucking intelligent thing to say about the rest of the combined transaction, which involves trading Jayson Werth for Stephen Strasburg (less one year of keepability) and a pick. I don't know whether to be impressed at the foresight or depressed at the preseason punt. I am certainly confused, though.

See? Midseason form. Trust the process. (Teddy)


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