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Charging the Mound: All-Star Charging

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He's also in the FSWA Hall of Fame. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Erickson
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 5:01pm
To: Chris Liss
Subject: Charging


I have a handful of topics that I want to address this week. Pick and choose as you see fit.

- What would make you care about the All-Star game? Is it a case that once the genie is out of the bottle, the magic is gone? What if we made a fantasy game out of it? Either a one-day draft, or something where we use the combined efforts of the All-Stars from the break through the rest of the season?

For that matter, when talking about the composition of the rosters, do you believe it should be a snapshot of the season, or should a player's overall and/or recent career numbers drive the process. I've seen arguments for both sides and can't really get too worked up about it, though part of me buys the latter argument a little bit more. Who would you prefer to take for the second half - the combined results of the All-Stars, or the combined results of the top 70 (or whatever number of actual All-Stars there are) non-All-Stars, as determined after the fact? If it's the All-Stars, what if instead I gave you a lesser number, like the combined output of just the AL players versus the top 35 non-All-Stars?

- I love trade deadline talk, to an excess. I get upset, irrationally, when teams that in my opinion should be active, aren't. To that end, what's taking so long for the Phillies to admit that they are sellers? Or am I took quick to dismiss their chances?

- I've got the Mariners/Red Sox game on, and the Mariners' announcers were discussing the Hall of Fame merits of Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz, the two players that have accomplished the most as the DH in the game. Is Edgar a HOF'er to you? How much of a discount does he get due to his lack of a position? Those two are unique to me because they vacated a defensive position early in their respective careers (which also explains some of how they top the all-time DH stats).

- We had Nando Di Fino from CBS on the show today, and he talked about being fed up with B.J. Upton, and you suggested now is actually the best time to buy him. Is there any healthy player (that's good enough for you to own to begin with) that you're cutting bait with, buy lowest considerations notwithstanding?

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Liss
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 7:16pm
To: Jeff Erickson
Subject: Re: Charging

Let's put it this way - we'll be in Vegas, and I will almost certainly bet on the All-Star game, and even then, I probably won't watch it. What would it take for me to watch it? One idea would be to have fantasy stats accumulated in it count toward our season-long totals. Drafting an All Star would thereby confer an extra bonus (or not, if your pitcher gave up four runs). Even then players usually only play a few innings anyway.

Another thing that would make it better is if the All-Star game had real consequences. Not one game of home-field advantage in the World Series - that's minimal. But say the winning league got the entire playoff and World Series shares and the losing league got none. You'd see some serious effort in that game - at least among the players from contending teams.

Because I don't really care about the All-Star game, I'm not attached to any set of criteria. I'd just pick the guys I want to see - Yasiel Puig over Freddie Freeman. No middle relievers, no requirement to have every team represented. But it's just an exhibition, so it's likely a compromise between marketing and siphoning some extra money to players of their choice.

As for your question, do you mean the top-70 non-All Stars vs. the 70 All Stars? I'd go with the All Stars. But I'd take the top-35 mixed league non All-Stars over the AL All-Stars.

Ortiz and Martinez are pretty close - similar OPS, though Martinez's was more on-base heavy and probably slightly more valuable. Not sure whether 1987-2004 is more hitter-friendly than 1997-2013 - Ortiz's last few years were more pitcher friendly, while Martinez's first few were. I'd say both are probably outer-circle Hall of Famers. I'm not sure whether DH'ing isn't that much worse than playing a position poorly like Manny Ramirez or Miguel Cabrera anyway.

I don't think you cut bait on a healthy player with a track record who's still getting playing time. I recently cut Juan Pierre, but he was losing at-bats, so that doesn't count. And I'm worried about Paul Konerko in AL LABR, but he's hurt and he's old. But once he comes back, I probably won't look to dump him - assuming he comes back. A player with a job and a track record who's doing terribly is almost always better to hold than to sell at a massive loss.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Erickson
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 9:34pm
To: Chris Liss
Subject: Re: Charging

Yeah, proof that it doesn't really matter to the players/managers is how the players are used in the game. We still see the Little League-like plan of "everybody plays," with some especially shaky bullpen decisions.

Also, it's not just proof of your lack of interest in the game that you'll bet on it and not watch it, but proof that there's absolutely no other live sports to bet on during the All-Star break. I'd complain about that, but I'd so much rather have much less work than have sporting events to gamble on. To that end, that extra day off on Thursday that MLB recently instituted is a gift.

The other point you made with Nando today is that you need a specific price when suggesting what "buy low" really means on guys you're sick of, as he would have rejected Mitch Moreland for B.J. Upton. To that end, what would you offer to buy the following players?

- Matt Kemp
- Melky Cabrera
- Starlin Castro
- Michael Saunders

And how about for the following four pitchers, given that you're more reticent to buy low on pitchers?

- R.A. Dickey
- Andrew Cashner
- Zack Greinke
- Phil Hughes

I purposefully avoided injured pitchers, though I think that's an exploitable market, too. There's no way I would have gotten David Price for the value (Robert Stephenson and a first-round pick) I did in the Staff League but for concerns about the injury. If I proposed that deal this week, I'm sure it would have been rejected.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Liss
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 11:13pm
To: Jeff Erickson
Subject: Re: Charging

Would rank them: Castro, Dickey, Kemp, Greinke, Cashner, Hughes and not interested. I'd offer Mat Latos or Joe Nathan for Castro if the categories and positions made sense, and it gets lower from there. Does that get it done? If not, then you can't really buy him low.