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Rounding Third: Week 8 Primer

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).

Week 8 Primer

This is a good time of the year to assess exactly where you are and in keeper leagues to decide if you're a contender or a rebuilder. Not that you didn't already have an idea coming into the season, but things change. Sometimes that great start you had is a mirage, while other times the circumstances have changed such that your expectations have adjusted with them. But now is the time to act - if you're going to grab after the brass ring, don't wait until the trade deadline to improve your squad - go get that game-changer now, when he can make more of an impact! Maybe you can afford to wait if you're a selling team, but maybe you'll also fetch more for that expiring asset. Go contact the Jose Fernandez owner now, if he's held at a great keeper price. I both traded for Fernandez this past week as well as saw him get traded by an opponent in a different league where I'm contending.

I made four trades this week covering three different leagues, and added a key waiver claim in a fourth league. Here are the trades and my mindset with them.

XFL (15-team keeper/dynasty league):

I didn't have the best set of keepers going into the season, but I was a contender last year and a few key players have sparked a great start. There's a pretty good chance I can contend, but I needed reinforcements. I made two big deals:

- Dealt a $1 Gregory Polanco (salary escalates by $3 each year once a player hits the majors) for a $51 Troy Tulowitzki. Once you make a trade like this, there's no going back - Tulo is a one-year rental, and Steve Moyer will own Polanco for at least the next 7-to-8 years, barring subsequent trades.
- Dealt my first-round pick in our March supplemental draft and Miguel Gonzalez for a $16 Brett Gardner and a 15th round pick from Gene McCaffrey. Simply put, I need stolen bases and OBP - commodities that Gardner specializes in. In this year's March supplemental draft, I was able to get Clint Frazier, so this has a good amount of value. But we also have 40-man rosters, so there will be other prospects I can land later in the supplemental draft, such as when I got Polanco two years ago in the 10th round of that draft.

LABR (15-team Mixed, redraft league):

Fred Zinkie has a reputation as an active and successful trader in this league and in Tout Wars, but this was his first trade of the season. I had a gaping hole at catcher, recently using Brayan Pena in that spot. Pena's value has collapsed with Devin Mesoraco returning, though with Joey Votto out he's been playing some first base. Still, that wasn't anyone's idea of a long-term solution, so this trade is a good referendum on the concept of replacement value. I traded away Christian Yelich and Gregory Polanco, receiving Wilin Rosario and Nick Castellanos.

RotoWire Staff League (18-team keeper league):

I've won the league the last two years, but I lost tons of value in expiring contracts ($3 Adam Wainwright, $9 Edwin Encarnacion) and had to pay up on option years for other cheap stars (Mike Trout, Jason Kipnis and Homer Bailey). Factor in a couple of key early injuries, and it was time to sell. When Chris Liss lost Jose Fernandez ($3A this year, he'll be $3 next year and then his option to extend him at $5 per year added will be due), it was time to act - and he thought so too, as he initiated trade talks for my $30 Max Scherzer. After opening up discussion to the rest of the league, I still found my best value with Liss, trading Scherzer and an 8th round pick for Fernandez and a 5th round pick. Now it's time to sell off other veterans - no half-measures here. I'll gladly pay the bottom place penalties if I get the right deals done.

Ottoneu (Fangraphs) Experts League (12-team industry league, keepers, $400 budget, 40-man rosters but games and innings limits that effectively make active rosters smaller):

Someone decided to get some cap flexibility and cut a $21 Joe Mauer. Given that batting average was the weakest category for Peter Schoenke and I's first-place team, it seemed like a no-brainer to claim him, right? Not so fast! There are two huge considerations that made it difficult for us to fit him. First, while you can start two catchers at any given time, you are only allowed 162 games for the position for the season. And we've already banked 64 games at catcher so far this season, so we won't quite use Mauer every day.

The other constraint is that $400 salary cap. When you cut a player in Ottoneu, you don't get his full salary back. Instead, you get just half of that salary, less so if that player had an odd-dollar salary. Then you have to have enough left under the cap so that theoretically you can stock a 40-man roster (though you're not required to have a full 40-man roster).

Despite those constraints, we decided to go for it anyhow, just because Mauer was a significant upgrade over A.J. Pierzynski and Miguel Montero (who we still have), particularly in the areas we need it. To make it happen, though, we had to make a few cuts, some painful:

- A.J. Pierzynski ($3 returned)
- Nate Jones ($10 returned) - we auctioned in February when it looked as if he would close
- Mike Moustakas ($6)
- Alejandro de Aza ($3)
- Nick Swisher ($7)

Right now we have $6 of cap room, and we're four slots short of our 40-man roster. We won't win many bidding wars for free agents (though we won one of the more important ones of the season in K-Rod), but got a player that fits our needs.

Week 8 Noteworthy Schedules

There's only one team with a five-game slate this week - the Twins. They hit the West Coast to play a couple of interleague series, two games at San Diego on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by three games in San Francisco over the weekend.

You might wish to avoid A's starters this week, as they travel to Tampa Bay and Toronto, including Drew Pomeranz getting road starts against both. A similarly troubling two-start week is for Jake Odorizzi, who has had two good outings in a row, and is at home for both starts, but against those A's and then the Red Sox.

Though there is only one five-game team, there's not many seven-game teams, thanks to only five games going off Monday night. The following teams have a full seven-game slate: Braves, White Sox, Indians, Tigers, Astros, Brewers and Nationals.

Here are the other interleague matchups, with the home team listed first.

- Pirates-Orioles (Tue-Wed) - This might not be a huge difference for the O's, except that Nelson Cruz will have to play both games in the field.
- Cubs-Yankees (Tue-Wed) - Here's a set-up that might make a big difference, though with Carlos Beltran out, maybe it won't tie the Yankees' hands too severely.

For more on the pitching matchups, please check out our indispensable Projected Starters Grid. I use that frequently to aid my free agent bidding and my lineups, both for two-start starters and for matchups. And then refer to Paul Sporer's excellent Pitcher Value Meter to settle any ties in your starting pitching matchups.


In this section I'll try to list as many of the free agent results as I can from my Sunday deadline leagues. Due to time constraints, the commentary will frequently be short.

NFBC - RotoWire Online Championship

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
ChrisLiss4President Drew Pomeranz (MR) 167 79
ChrisLiss4President Sean Doolittle (MR) 63 25
Glenneration X Eric Young (LF) 56 14
Big Stick Ballerinas Josh Beckett (SP) 41 23
ChrisLiss4President Gavin Floyd (SP) 35
High Hopes Zach Britton (MR) 25
High Hopes Derek Norris (C) 22
Tiger Slappy OC2 Darren O'Day (MR) 16
Release the Kraken David Murphy (RF) 15
Big Stick Ballerinas Jorge De La Rosa (SP) 12
Tiger Slappy OC2 DJ LeMahieu (2B) 11
High Hopes Jason Motte (MR) 10
Glenneration X Michael Saunders (CF) 5
PANAMA RED Brandon Crawford (SS) 3
PANAMA RED James Paxton (SP) 1
Glenneration X Junior Lake (LF) 1

NFBC Main Event

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
VF's FusterCluck Jenrry Mejia (SP) 289 252
Dead Moneyball Zach Britton (MR) 99 98
Dead Moneyball Rafael Montero (SP) 98 57
Spartacus Jaime Garcia (SP) 87
VF's FusterCluck Jacob deGrom (SP) 49
Valar Morghulis Jason Motte (MR) 42 3
Dead Moneyball Bronson Arroyo (SP) 38 13
VF's FusterCluck Nick Franklin (2B) 37 24
Valar Morghulis Rickie Weeks (2B) 33
Metsmerizers-2 Grant Green (2B) 32
Spartacus Tyler Colvin (RF) 25 4
Spartacus Cody Asche (3B) 23 3
Cocktails and Dreams Chris Parmelee (RF) 22 11
Cocktails and Dreams Scott Feldman (SP) 22
El Scorchos Tyler Moore (LF) 21 7
Dead Moneyball Nick Tepesch (SP) 18
VF's FusterCluck Adam Ottavino (MR) 15
Dead Moneyball A.J. Ellis (C) 14
Team Simonian Grady Sizemore (CF) 12
Team Taylor Chris Denorfia (RF) 12
Oakland Eh's Darren O'Day (MR) 11 7
El Scorchos Edwin Jackson (SP) 11 1
Spartacus Bud Norris (SP) 10
Cocktails and Dreams Charlie Morton (SP) 6
Team Taylor Jason Kubel (LF) 6
MORONS Zoilo Almonte (LF) 5
Team Simonian Anthony Gose (CF) 4
Team Simonian Miguel Gonzalez (SP) 3
Team Simonian Anthony DeSclafani (SP) 3
Diamondking Edinson Volquez (SP) 1
TeamSS Gaby Sanchez (1B) 1
TeamSS Jean Machi (MR) 1

RotoWire Staff Keeper League

High-A West Madison: Pick up Zach Britton ($9), drop Abraham Almonte
(The Bros McKeown: $12)
(High-A West Madison: $9)
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $8)
(Browns: $6)
(Browns: $6)
(Frozen Ropes: $3)
(Erickson: $1)
Uggla's Decaying Remains: Pick up Eric Chavez ($1), drop Andrew Romine
Frozen Ropes: Pick up Jacob deGrom ($5), drop Martin Perez
(Next Stop Dumpster Fire: $3)
(Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Next Stop Dumpster Fire: Pick up Anthony DeSclafani ($3), drop Tyler Chatwood
(Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $1)
The Bros McKeown: Pick up Gavin Floyd ($8), drop David Lough
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $8)
(Wheeler in the Sky: $5)
(Anderson: $5)
(Jakarta Raiders: $4)
(Next Stop Dumpster Fire: $1)
Uggla's Decaying Remains: Pick up Jaime Garcia ($7), drop Tyler Lyons
(Frozen Ropes: $5)
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $2)
Erickson: Pick up Johnny Giavotella ($1), drop Jose Tabata
Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: Pick up Brock Holt ($2), drop Robinson Chirinos
(Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: Pick up Bud Norris ($1), drop Nyjer Morgan
(Frozen Ropes: $5)
(Next Stop Dumpster Fire: $1)
High-A West Madison: Pick up Chris Parmelee ($17), drop Chris Young
(Jakarta Raiders: $2)
(Frozen Ropes: $1)
(Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: Pick up Joel Peralta ($1), drop Cesar Ramos
McLovin's Spoonful: Pick up Anthony Recker ($2), drop Sergio Santos
Next Stop Dumpster Fire: Pick up Danny Santana ($1), drop Ruben Tejada
(High-A West Madison: $3)
(High-A West Madison: $3)
Browns: Pick up Jose Veras ($6), drop Aaron Loup
(Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $1)
Wheeler in the Sky: Pick up Brad Ziegler ($6), drop Anthony Bass

Mixed LABR

Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Zach Britton awarded to FNTSY for $33.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Zach Britton: $3, $3, $3, $1, $4, $11, $11.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Rafael Montero awarded to Baseball Prospectus for $7.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Rafael Montero: $3, $2, $1, $1, $3, $1, $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Sean Doolittle awarded to for $6.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Sean Doolittle: $4.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Jacob deGrom awarded to RotoExperts for $3.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Jacob deGrom: $1, $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Wade Davis awarded to Towers of Power Baseball Hour for $3.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: James Jones awarded to for $3.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for James Jones: $1, $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Drew Stubbs awarded to for $3.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Jason Motte awarded to RotoExperts for $2.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Anthony DeSclafani awarded to for $2.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Miguel Gonzalez awarded to Baseball Prospectus for $2.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Brandon Crawford awarded to for $2.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Brandon Crawford: $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Gregor Blanco awarded to Mastersball for $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Eduardo Escobar awarded to Mastersball for $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Eduardo Escobar: $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Hector Sanchez awarded to Rotowire-Colton for $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Derek Dietrich awarded to for $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Grant Green awarded to for $1.
Mon May 19 12:01 AM ET: Nick Tepesch awarded to Baseball HQ for $1.

AL Tout

Lawr Michaels: pur KBlanks Oak 16
Chris Liss: pur BHolt Bos 4
Chris Liss: pur JPeralta TB 1
Rob Leibowitz: pur JAguilar Cle 5
Mike Podhorzer: pur MGonzalez Hou 0
Mike Podhorzer: pur RChirinos Tex 0
Rob Leibowitz: pur JHapp Tor 1
Rob Leibowitz: pur BBoxberger TB 0
Jason Collette: pur CFigueroa TB 1
Jason Collette: pur SBaker Tex 1
Jeff Erickson: pur KGibson Min 3
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton: pur AWarren NYY 0