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The Art of the Dump


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I apologize in advance for the length of this post. B)

I'll start this tale with a little history…I've never been one to sit still when it comes to my fantasy team and I'm pretty much the most prolific trader my league has. I'm either hustling to try and get better for the current season or dealing the studs away for cheap keepers. My 10 team, AL only, $260 auction ($315-in season salary cap), keeper league is in it's 8th season and I have two 1st place and two 2nd place finishes to my credit.

After spending all of May unsuccessfully trying to make trades to fill the holes in my team, I found myself in 5th place, 22 points out of first with little room to move up in at least half of the individual categories. After Roy Halladay and Nate Robertson (0 IP and 3 or 4 earned runs) got crushed on the same night, I decided this season was pretty much over and that it was time to try and orchestrate the biggest collection of dump trades that my league had ever seen to try and totally set myself up for 2008.

I scanned the teams within striking distance of the money, targeted at least one player per team and ended up sending offers to three teams, all of whom had different needs (IF hitters, pitching and OF hitters). After a few days of back and forth counter offers, I was surprised to find myself with three trades ready to go. The following deals were announced this past Monday:

Team #1

I gave - SS Carlos Guillen (A, $15), 1B Ty Wigginton (A, $11), OF Curtis Granderson (A, $19), OF Rondell White (B, $2)

I got - SS Jason Bartlett (A, $5), 1B Ryan Shealy (A, $6), OF Alex Rios (B, $3), SS Ben Zobrist (A, $1).

Team #2

I gave -SP Roy Halladay (B, $40), SP Curt Schilling (A, $27), RP Hideki Okajima (A, $0), 1B Aubry Huff (A, $15)

I got - SP Francisco Liriano (A, $4), RP Zack Greinke (A, $3), SP Jeremy Sowers (A, $12), 1B Shea Hillenbrand (A, $6), 3B Andy Marte (A,$1).

Team #3

I gave - DH Travis Hafner (B, $31), DH Frank Thomas (A, $17), SS Erick Aybar (A, $0), SP Jeremy Guthrie (A, $0)

I got - 1B Ryan Garko (A, $1), SP Jon Lester (A, $1), SP Gil Meche, (A,$14), OF/DH Jonny Gomes (A, $3)

Disclaimer: due to our $315 in-season salary cap, I had to take on players I had no intention of keeping (Bartlett, Sowers and Hillenbrand lead that charge) in order for the other involved teams to stay under the cap. Also keep in mind that $0 salaried players can't be kept next season.

Reactions from around the league ranged from "why are you dumping so early?" to "wow, you're totally set for next season!" to "what the $#@&% is going on?" to "holy crap!".

I'm sure people here will say that I either hosed or got hosed by the deals above, but I came out of the experience happy, having accomplished exactly what I set out to by vastly improving my keeper list while keeping those good keepers away from other teams.

We're allowed to keep up to 7 players so my 2008 keeper list could shape up to look a little something like this: Kevin Youkilis (C, $4), Ryan Garko (B, $1), Alex Rios (LT09, $8), Andy Marte (B, $1), Kelvim Escobar (B, $6), Jon Lester (B, $1), Francisco Liriano (B, $4). That's 7 pretty good, or potentially pretty good, players for $25 which is not a bad way to enter the draft. I know there's no super stud in there, but with $235 left over, I think I could buy a few.

My post-dump trades roster is in my signature and I fully expect to fall in the standings over the remainder of the season. The sad part is that even though my team is now much weaker overall, there are still two or three teams in my league that are worse.

If you've made it this far, I'll say thanks and bring on 2008!!

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Dude, no one wants to read all of that. I cant imagine you'll get any useful responses.


I find that an erroneous and unconstructive comment.

My constructive comments are:

1) Shouldn't this be posted in the "Bench Coach" Forum as it's less about general strategy and more about specific targets? Or is it appropriate here because you aren't soliciting roster help?

2) As per the strategy: Regardless of the rationale or league format I never practice dump trades until late in the year, and rarely then. If I was in a 10 team league where guys started dump trading before the All Star break I'd be livid. But I know that is a wide-spread and often cagey long term strategy. It's just one that ticks me off, like so many others on these boards hate hard core streamers.

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Dunno how players can be a $0 but Guthrie and Okajima look darn good going forward, Hafner at $31 is proabably undervalued as well. Personally I don't think you got nearly enough in the last two deals. The first one was solid with Rios, but c'mon aren't you reaching a bit with some of these other guys, Marte, Lester, Liriano, Garko? Right now if you had paid those prices for this season you would not be pleased, what makes you think next year will be better? The team that made the second trade with you must be laughing because he robbed you blind.

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At first I was like I dont like any of these deals, but then I started really lookin into em. I still think u bailed on ur team too early but everyone has a different breaking point I guess. It kinda does make sense in a way because Liriano if healthy next year can easily outperform Halladay and at such an inexpensive price too. Rios at $3 is a steal really, but Guillen at $15 wasnt bad either. The only thing is with Guillen ur always wondering if he stays healthy so Rios is probably the smarter pick here. I didnt like dumping Hafner so to speak but Garko at $1 could put up Hafner type numbers in a perfect world. Garko has a ton of potential and comes without the health concerns of Hafner. Hafner would be a monster if he could ever get himself an extra 150 at bats in a season but sadly he usually is out with injuries and doesnt get in as many as most would like. Everyone always seems to pay $40 or so for Halladay and I've honestly never seen the logic behind that with him. He gets wins yeah, but hes always hurt with some fluke injury and his ERA n WHIP tend to fluctuate IMO. I love Liriano to say the least so heres to hoping he comes back healthy next year cause not only do I love watching him pitch but I also have him on my Keeper League roster. Lester has great upside as well, and can be a 15 game winner on the Sox. You gave up some injury prone players at high price tags for some good risks with the ability to exceed their prices by far, plus u left urself a ton of money to spare. I cant fault ur strategy and I hope it works for ya.

As for Rico's response.................I seriously wish that if people had nothing nice to say that they just would not say anything at all. That post wast was a complete waste of his time and ours.

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My thoughts

Trade 1: Rios was a solid grab at that price and helps a lot. I think that was an ok trade overall at best. You gave up a lot of talent to cut costs. I feel like giving up Granderson/Guillen will come back to bite you, but Rios is equal talent to Granderson and much cheaper (though it appears you keep him for one less year). Guillen doesnt show signs of declining yet though and is very cheap for an elite AL SS. Wiggington even isnt a bad AL-only part given his eligibility and numbers. Its a ok trade for you as far as cutting costs goes. Gave up way too much talent though. Rating: C+ (Rios is a good piece, but only getting one more year out of him and none of the other parts are useful. Gave up too much)

Trade 2: Accomplishes your goal of cutting cost and gets you a little upside, but has A LOT of risk. It makes sense if you werent going to keep Halladay or Schilling anyway. Remember that Liriano probably wont be Liriano again till 09. Typically the year after TJ, pitches slowly work themselves back as far as stuff and control go. He may not be worth much more than his price next year, though in 2009 you have a gem (also he'll be in the last year of his deal if I understand this all correctly). Grienke has upside as a closer or as a starter, but is a big risk for either. I no longer think highly of Marte. He still has some opportunity, but I feel there may be better ways to use that roster spot. Sowers is terrible, Marte is the hitting version of Sowers (not really as Marte has tools but lacks skills, Sowers has skills but no tools). Basically I feel this is Liriano + Grienke for Halladay and Schilling. It works for your goals again. I feel you might be valuing Marte too much and could have gotten better value out of Halladay/Schilling. Maybe not though so I cant really dock you for that. Grade: B (Could easily get two bullpen arms and a waste of space at 3B for 2 aces. Liriano and Grienke have chance at being young aces though. Schilling and Halladay are older and expensive so not in your plans. I waffled at giving you a B- as Halladay can be the guy that you build a staff around and that you are selling low, but at the same time, I feel he is declining and that he wont be an ace much longer. I really like Liriano, I just think the risk is too much.)

Trade 3: Hafner is a stud. Hes the type of guy you should have built your offense around. That said, Garko is much cheaper, and you keep him an extra year. He may be able to hit like Hafner, but hopefully you can use that money to buy a stud. Gomes can hit a but may not get a chance again. Probably will be somewhat useful but might be best just to let go. Lester is a good gamble. I like that pickup. I feel this trade probably netted you the best return, but you paid a big price to get it. You need Garko and Lester to pan out to make this worth it. If either doesnt, this is a pretty bad deal. Also, you need to buy at least 2 top hitters and 1 ace pitcher next year or you will be sunk again. Grade: B+ (Hafner was really the guy to build around, but you got enough talent to make this a good deal.)

Just as a side note:

At first glance, I thought you did the best with trade 1 and worst with trade 2, but every time I look at it I want to lower it another third of a grade. I keep waffling on the 3rd trade too. You got a very good haul, but Hafner was the stud you are going to want in auction in the spring. I get the feeling that you will turn out like my friend Adam in my auction league. Lots of good value player, but nogreat players

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Dunno how players can be a $0 but Guthrie and Okajima look darn good going forward

Also keep in mind that $0 salaried players can't be kept next season.
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Thanks for all the replies, guys. Here are some follow-up thoughts to respond to your comments:

1. $0 players are picked up after the draft as bench players and can't be kept. Dealing them for $1 or $2 players is routinely done in my league.

2. Knowing the owners I dealt with, I doubt any of the players I sent away will be kept next year. Maybe Hafner at $31 and Guillen at $15, but most likely not the others.

3. I know it's really early and I was on the fence for a while over whether to dump or not. I was so frustrated at the bottom feeding teams for not wanting to make any trades yet that I figured why not just do it and get it over with.

4. I'll admit that I'm taking a risk with a bunch of the players I got in return, but I was really only targeting about 5 or 6 of them with the rest of the guys in there as positional fillers and salary cap eaters (we have a $315 in-season cap that the other teams needed to stay under).

5. Hafner is a stud, who I kept from last year at $31, and was the hardest to deal. The thing that kills me about him is even though he's due for big numbers, all the interleague crap takes away a bunch of his AB's every year. Using him to get Garko and Lester was worth it (at least right now).

6. I plan to go in to next season's draft with 7 good players and lots of money to spend. Johan will be out there (his long term contract ends this season) and there will be plenty of big bats to choose from. I look forward to going on a nice spending spree.

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  • 1 year later...

Well, we're less than three weeks away from season's end and I'm in first place carrying a 16 point lead as of this morning. Looks like my giant dump from 2007 is going to work out just how I hoped it would...now if only my keepers for 2009 were as cheap. B)

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