Last year, thanks mainly to Ryan Howard and a late surge by Ben Sheets, I won the CBS Sportsline 5x5 NL-only Experts draft league. This year, however, thanks to Charlie Manuel's decision to closerize Brett Myers and (outside of Ryan Theriot) the complete lack of any surprise producers from my late round picks, I sit in dead last. Only two teams have worse offenses, and my pitching staff sits 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 12th in the five usual categories. Calling the season so far a "disaster" is being charitable, in fact.
With the season a quarter over, there's no chance of me retaining the pennant. What I do have, however, is a chance to try different strategies and see how far out of this hole I can climb. I'm used to occasionally being in this position in keeper leagues. It's no big deal to punt a season, trade your productive assets for a cheap future, and re-load for next season. In a one year league, however, that option isn't available, and a different approach is called for.
The first step is to try and get the pitching staff in order, as that's where I can catch up the most ground. Right now the rotation stands at: Sheets; Freddy Garcia; Angel Guzman; Jorge Sosa; and a cast of mediocrities (Zach Duke, Brett Tomko, Ricky Nolasco, Josh Fogg, Kyle Davies) who get slotted in and out based on matchups, etc. I need more talent at the bottom end, and that means taking chances on guys who have underperformed so far.
One quick trade proposal, and I have my first deal of the season: Sosa dealt to a team in semi-contention for John Patterson. It's a risky deal, but even with his hot start I doubt I could have gotten much more for Sosa, and if Patterson gets healthy he could still have a big second half. These are the kinds of moves I need to make. Pick up free agents while their value is rising, then flip them for upside.
I have one more trade proposal still on the table: Mike Jacobs (who's been decent but beat up so far) and Willie Harris (another lightning-in-a-bottle FA) for Adam LaRoche (huge underperformer so far) and Orlando Hernandez (another hurt starter who's better, when healthy, than my rotation bottom-feeders). The other guy needs some steals, so including Harris might get this one done.
Next time I'll break down the broken-down offense, and try to figure out the best way to maximize the value of what assets I have.