Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Transactions Analysis: First Trimester Review

Between work, horse racing, soccer, travel, work, personal life and work, we've been way behind in getting to our latest TA's. Actually, that's only half true: Teddy put together his half of a pretty good TA about 3 weeks ago, and then somehow, 70% of his commentary disappeared from the draft post. Too bad--it was a good one.

Given the enormity of the transactions and the fact that they're actually not a particularly interesting set of transactions, we've decided to take a different approach for this TA. We'll take a look at all the teams at the one-third mark of the the season, and highlight some of their more notable transactions in the process. Given that no team is actually out of the running for the money yet, this might actually be more interesting. How's that for a plan, Sir Theodore? (El Angelo)

It will have to do. For the record, the Lost Post was another of our patented comparison TAs. In honor of the then-breaking news of Osama bin Laden's passing due to acute cranial ventilation at the hands of the Navy SEALs, we intially wanted to compare owners and teams to famous Navy SEALs. But, knowing most of the owners, comparisons to Navy SEALs seemed inapt. Thus, we instead ended up comparing owners and teams to various species of actual seals. It was pretty awesomely stupid. Alack. (Teddy)

Le Dupont Torkies

Notable additions: Matt Thornton, RP, Chicago (AL)
Notable releases: Ryan Franklin, RP, St. Louis
Notable trade: Acquired Gio Gonzalez (SP, Oakland) from Rancho Carne Toros for Sean Burnett (RP, Washington), Jason Motte (RP, St. Louis) and Kyle Drabek (SP, Toronto)

In Tucker We Trust. I won't pick on him for starting Miguel Olivo after drafting Geo Soto with the 7th pick, and have every bit of confidence that this team will sneak its way up to 5th or 6th between others tanking and some solid pickups in the 2nd half of the year. But when his most notable transactions are trading for a 4th starter and picking up and dropping deposed closers, you can see why we weren't enthusiastic about writing a TA for a month. (El Angelo)

I like Gio G more than that, and think that Tucker managed to acquire him for the figurative bag of beans--two non-closers and the evolutionary Rick Porcello aren't much to give away. And while I agree that this team usually rises down the stretch, the ominous presence of six middle infielders on the roster gives a pretty good sense of the scope of the holes the team is facing. (Teddy)

Paging Dr. Rumack

Notable additions: Arthur Rhodes, RP, Texas
Notable releases: Chris Ray, SP, Seattle

Transaction-wise, this is not a particularly interesting team. Since the season started, they've added 7 players and dropped 4, none of which are much above replacement level. We only include Ray because of comedic value, and picked Rhodes as the "notable addition" because at least he's recorded a save.

Standings-wise, this team has been riding 5 pitchers (Lester, Cain, Halladay, Kuroda and Cahill) for 60% of their points in starting pitching categories. But I wonder how tenable this is when the team is third-to-last in strikeouts, which is probably the best indicia of pitching long-term. Given that the team's offense is still MIA and is unlikely to improve with the unfortunate shredding of Buster Posey's legs, look for these guys to start trading off for 2012 soon. (El Angelo)

I don't pay much attention to the west coast games, but based on Brian Sabean's comments after the injury, I take it that those same Dodger fans who comatized a Giants fan on in April somehow traveled to SF, jumped the fence, and beat Posey with a length of anchor chain. Which is a tragedy, modern society, kids these days, etc., etc.

As for the pitchers, I think that's a good enough group where it's as likely that the peripherals rebound as it is that the results regress to the level of the current peripherals. The real problem is in the OF, where Ichiro/Adam Jones/Carl Crawford/Carlos Lee have formed a perfect storm of too-good-to-cut, too-bad-to-play guys so far this year. Jones and Crawford might get better, but Ichiro and Lee will just get older. (Teddy)

Jeters Never Prosper

Notable additions: Jeff Francouer, OF, Kansas City
Notable releases: Mitchell Boggs, RP, St. Louis; Evan Meek, RP, Pittsburgh; Scott Rolen, 3B, Cincy

This team has the fewest points on offense (12 out of a possible 60, 5 of which you get for having a pulse). This team also has Jeff Francouer and Derek Jeter. Coincidence? (El Angelo)

...and Aramis Ramirez and Nick Markakis and holy shit. This season's injury collapse of the Joe Mauer/Justin Morneau axis in Minny has just killed these guys. The only ray of sunshine is that the team doesn't have a lot of high-slot guys, so they could bring the core back healthy next year and try again rather than burn the place down. The owner is experiencing the boredom and depression of following the exploits of a bad fantasy offense in a year where offense is already down a lot in MLB (as opposed to me, who is experiencing the anger and frustration of following a bad fantasy pitching staff in the Year of the Pitcher). If I was this owner, I'd set my alarm for March. (Teddy)

Cosmic Douchery

Notable additions: Jordan Schaefer, OF Atlanta
Notable releases: Luke Scott, Flat Earther, Baltimore

Well, they've officially said they're giving up. Too soon? They're part of a 5-team scrum that's fighting for 8th place, and next year's draft probably includes Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Braun. I get the desire to start sinking. Which is why the Schaefer pickup strikes me as a good move. (El Angelo)

I still like their roster a fair bit, but at a certain point you have to acknowledge the facts on the ground. There are a lot of bodies to step over between where they are and the money (Teddy)

Wu Tang Financial

Notable additions: Aaron Crow, RP, Kansas City; Scott Rolen, 3B, Cincy
Notable releases: Daric Barton, 1B Oakland; Toriiii Hunter, OF, Anaheim; Rolen

Currently in DAFL--as predicted by the league as a whole--this is arguably the best worst team the league's had in a while, as they're over the 50 point marker. Now true, time last year, this squad was also in last with 45 points, so it's not a huge difference, but there are actually some signs of sentient life here, as the squad's strengths and weaknesses are apparent. 20/24 points in the "power" categories (HR & RBI) versus 7.5/36 points in the other offensive categories shows that the team needs a couple of non-Dave Kimgmans. The pitching's a bit more of a motley mess, thanks to having one active closer and making Phil Humber a starter--apparently the owner can't let go of his Rice fandom--but there's the makings of a real team here.

Also as a side note, Scott Rolen is an unexpected contender for the Pewter Parachute Award. (El Angelo)

WTF! Shitty pitcher roll call! Paul Maholm! Jesse Litsch! Aaron Crooooooooooooooow!

I've been waiting for Crow to make the bigs and get picked up so that I could make that joke. I should really just relax. [la la-la] (Teddy)

More Fish For Kunta

Notable addition: Bartolo Colon, SP, New York (AL)
Notable release: Kila Ka'hilue, 1B, Kansas City

I had a difficult time picking out the most notable addition on Teddy's roster, because the vast majority of the guys he picked up (Tom Gorzellany, Chase Headley, Hank Conger) were soon released thereafter. But you know who wasn't? A large-breasted DNA-therapy laden starter for the first place team in the American League East. I knew your Yankee ban was going to end at some point, Teddy, but I didn't think it'd be with Bartolo F'ing Colon. (El Angelo)

I came into the year worried that my offense would be dragged down by black holes at C, 1B, and 2B. Instead, Lance Berkman and OBP-league All Star Chris Ianetta have turned two of those potential holes into strengths (and I have hope that newly 2B-eligible OF Allen Craig and injury returnee Tsuyoshi Nishioka will plug the third). I also came into the season confident that I had two aces in Cole Hamels and Ubaldo, and two solid second-tier guys in Jon Sanchez and Chad Billinsgley. Instead, Ubaldo has been terrible, Sanchez and Billingsley have been more 4th-tier than 2d-, and every non-Frankenstein SP I've tried to plug in has failed hilariously. Thus the pickup of Frankenstein. I'm not happy about it at any level. (Teddy)

Chicago Residents

Notable additions: Jonathan Herrera, IF, Colorado
Notable releases: Hong-Chi Kuo, RP, Los Angeles

Herrera is notable because (a) Corey picked him up after dropping him 3 weeks earlier, and (b) he's the only pickup this team made that was for someone other than a reliever or an outfielder. You'd think that would indicate that the team's starters and infielders were kicking ass and taking names. The former is true. The latter should be, what with Justin Smoak, Starlin Castro and Brian McCann having good seasons, but somehow this team's offense stinks. Chalk it up to a below average outfield, in part, but this strikes me as a team that's potentially dangerous down the stretch. The talent's here. (El Angelo)

Another 3 weeks of Martin Prado in place of David Wright at 3B is unlikely to help, though. The Wright injury and the injury to Josh Johnson are really going to determine the shape of this team's future--if they get back right on time, there should still be enough season left for a push. Any more setbacks, and it's button-pushing time. (Teddy)

anthony weiner has pretty feet

Notable additions: Todd Helton, 1B, Colorado; Yuniel Escobar, SS, Atlanta (twice)
Notable releases: Sam Fuld, OF, Tampa; Yuniel Escobar (twice)

I can't figure out whether it's good or bad to be in 4th place with 69 points, and fewer than 20 points out of the lead with a couple of obvious places for improvement (closer, rotation depth). That strikes me as a cocktease between contention and insignificance, and potentially quite dangerous if handled poorly. Thankfully, this team is in the competent stewardship of a member of the Federal Reserve. (El Angelo)

At the risk of disclosing confidential information, I will reveal that this owner and I have been trying in good faith to consummate a trade for about 6 weeks, and have been unable to do so because we can't figure out who should be going all in and who should be selling off. I think we've each changed our minds two or three times. We might decide to just swap fifth round picks in 2013 and call it a day. (Teddy)

The Little Green One

Notable additions: Raul Ibanez, OF, Philly. No really, that's the best player he added.
Notable releases: Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego; Carlos Pena, 1B, Chicago (NL)
Notable trade: Traded John Buck, C, Florida and Austin Jackson, OF, Detroit and their 3rd round pick in 2012 to Kicked in the Nuts for Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis and Brian Fuentes, RP, Anaheim and their 8th round pick in 2012.

I'll let Teddy address the trade below. Instead, I'll note that we need to come up with a category for guys like Chase Headley, who are young and tantalizing that almost everyone takes a shot at them, only to realize they're at best replacement level or are in the majors for attributes that don't translate into the fantasy world. Usually they just end up sucking and washing out of the league. Anyone remember Connor Jackson? Carlos Gomez? I'm sure we can come up with a few more in the comments. (El Angelo)

Howie Kendrick leaps to mind, though he's actually killing it so far this year.

The trade? Well, that was pretty fucking weird. The team currently in third traded off a high-slot guy and a closer for a mid-tier catcher, a lottery ticket, and a future pick. The team currently in fifth place (and at the time I believe even lower than that) took on the slots and gave up the lottery ticket. And it worked! Everybody involved is somehow better! Given that, I guess it's hard to find fault. (Teddy)

Kicked in the Nuts

Notable additions: Torii Hunter, OF, Anaheim; Kenley Janssen, RP, Los Angeles
Notable releases: Ryan Raburn, 2B, Detroit
Notable trade: Traded Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis and Brian Fuentes, RP, Anaheim and their 8th round pick in 2010 to The Little Green One for Austin Jackson, John Buck, and their 3rd round pick in 2010.

And with that Will replenishes the 3rd rounder that he traded away pre-draft to Corey, leaving him only down a #1 for next year. It's so odd to see Gaynor trade for draft picks that I'm perplexed and will just note that it's good to see Torii back where he belongs. Some guys just belong with certain fantasy owners, like Jeter/Jake, Paps/Teddy, and Shane Reynolds/Dave. (El Angelo)

I know that I said above the the trade seems to be working, and I meant it--there's no arguing with a spot on the board as of June 1. That said, I like the trade better for the Greenies than for these guys. Jackson has been poor this year, and Buck's one skill (power) is minimized by his new home ballpark. Put it this way: I could have offered Da Nutz with Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Lucroy in place of Jackson and Buck, and thus far KitN would have come out better if they had made that trade instead. (Teddy)

Rancho Carne Toros

Notable additions: Wilson Betemit, 2B, Kansas City
Notable releases: Derek Holland, SP, Texas
Notable trade: Traded Gio Gonzalez, SP, Oakland and Jake McGee, RP, Durham to Le Dupont Torkies for Kyle Drabek, SP, Toronto, Jason Motte, RP, St. Louis and Sean Burnett, RP, Washington

The paucity of available talent on the waiver wire is exhibited by the fact that despite having a couple of clear needs on my team (a closer, a starter who doesn't walk the park, and a guy who gets on base and plays in the infield) and clearly being a contender this year, I picked up absolutely nothing of note over the last two months. My newest strategy is to wait for you guys to start dumping players or for Hanley Ramirez to get healthy and start hitting. No rush, Han-Ram. (El Angelo)

I actually really like the Wilson Betemit snag--he's been lighting it up for about a year now. Of course, he's also only a spot starter, and might lose his job to Moose Tacos soon. But given what there is to work with at 2B, it's not a bad solution. (Teddy)

The Spam Avengers

Notable additions: Jack Hannahan, Pederast, Cleveland, twice
Notable releases: Jack Hannahan, Pederast, Cleveland, twice

We've never had a wire-to-wire winner in the league. Given the weaknesses of the prior 11 teams we've seen, this guy's currently 2-5 to pull it off. (El Angelo)

This is really dull to admit, but...yep. (Teddy)

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