I’m typically someone that bids aggressively early in the season in my free agent acquisitions. I’d rather get a bunch of players that can potentially help me for the extent of the season rather than hold out and hope that one huge name can become available when I’m holding the most FAAB money. Obviously your approach in a mixed league has to be different than in a mono-league, but the principle for me remains the same – go get your guy when you can. That’s why I was so aggressive in pursuing Chris Paddack in the FSTA League (14-team mixed), where I got him, and in Mixed LABR (15-team mixed), where I was the second-highest bidder.
But on the other hand, there’s a natural tendency to overbid early on with all this great inventory available and the need to “do something” – especially if our team is off to a slow start, or you have a slow-starting player (Ian Desmond, call for you on the purple courtesy phone). In that light, I’m not upset that I got outbid on most of my targets in my leagues, though I did have one decent-sized bid win in the NFBC Main Event. Sometimes you can make a big mistake in dropping a player that has a lot of value later in the season, too – and in a couple of my leagues I had a fear of that, having gotten rid of the obvious drops in the last two weeks.
NFBC Main Event
I had the second place bid on Ryan Brasier, who was dropped a week ago when it looked like he wasn’t going to close for the Red Sox, but then he picked up two saves last week. Honestly, it was just a “keep them honest” bid, as I still have Jordan Hicks and Felipe Vazquez. I figured that there are plenty of other owners with only one stable closer, and would bid more aggressively. But even if I didn’t have two closers, I don’t think I would have bid up to the $384 that it took to get Brasier, because I’m not entirely sure he’s the full-time closer. It worked out Sunday that Matt Barnes pitched two innings and Brasier got the ninth, but it might not always be that way. The Red Sox had a “bullpen game” on Sunday with Hector Velasquez pitching three innings to begin the game. They needed one of the two pitchers to pitch two innings, and they may have very well determined that Barnes was better suited to doing that. Moreover, Barnes has been great so far, so it’s not as if he has *lost* the job.
But enough about the player I didn’t get. I did land Clint Frazier for a price that I found reasonable, at $115 with a second place bid of $90 behind me. I wasn’t the low winning bid, but I was in the bottom third among those that picked him up in the various Main Event leagues this week. For now he replaces Franmil Reyes in the starting lineup – Reyes draws the Giants in San Francisco, and he’s been benched a couple of times in favor Hunter Renfroe recently. It’s important to keep trying to improve the bottom spots in your lineup, and I’m hoping I do that with Frazier. He’ll have a 3-4 window to do so before Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks return, and if he remains somewhat hot, he could just displace Brett Gardner. Talent usually wills out over seniority in these situations. Of course, if he hits .220 it’s all moot and I’ll have wasted some FAAB, but I think it’s a worthy gamble.
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It’s not these teams were perfect – far from it – but I also didn’t want to drop who I had. I know that conflicts with the “churning the bottom roster spots” philosophy elucidated above, but hey, I’m a walking paradox.
AL Tout Wars
Liss had to “boot-and-rally” with Clint Frazier. He had the foresight to draft him in the reserves in the first place, but made the mistake of cutting him last week before Giancarlo Stanton went on the DL and Frazier was recalled from Triple-A. Remember that it’s an AL-only league when you see the bid prices – it’s really hard to find a full-time player, let alone a difference-maker, especially in the hitting pool.
Here are the full bid amounts on Frazier:
Liss – 443
Bender – 348
Di Fino – 347
Gianella – 137
Collette – 122
Erickson – 111
Wolf/Colton – 53
Schechter – 36
Dennis – 4
So 75% of the league bid on him (and the other three teams, Leibowitz, Podhorzer and Davitt were all active this week).
I ended up with Jose Rondon from the White Sox. For one week at least I’ll have to use him at UT, as he played 11 games at DH last year while playing only 10 at shortstop. But he was batting second for them over the weekend and appears to be taking playing time away from Yolmer Sanchez. For $15 of my $1,000 FAAB, it’s worth seeing if it sticks, and if he can gain MI eligibility so that I can replace Joey Wendle while the latter is on the DL.
Both here and in LABR you’ll see hefty bids for Anthony Swarzak, who was ineligible to be picked up last week, as he was still on the IL. In the NFBC you aren’t prohibited from picking those players up. You’ll also see a lot of common names between these lists – Christian Walker, Hector Neris, Jason Heyward. I like Walker’s upside, but I think Neris and Heyward could be Fool’s Gold, for different reasons. Neris because of his manager, and Heyward because of his recent history.
I didn’t make any pickups, but after losing David Dahl for an indeterminate amount of time, I wanted to upgrade my outfield, and made a trade with The Athletic’s Jake Ciely, who badly needed a third baseman after losing Jake Lamb. He originally tried to get Justin Turner from me, but we couldn’t agree on his value. We eventually got a deal done Monday morning, however:
I traded: Yandy Diaz, Leonys Martin
He traded: Odubel Herrera, Jorge Soler
While it hurt to trade away Yandy, I have him in a handful of leagues still. Martin still has stolen base upside, but he also has “release” downside. I think Herrera could benefit all year from being in a loaded Phillies lineup, and chasing his counting stats has a certain appeal to me after I was down on him earlier this spring.