Anatomy of a Keeper League: Off Season Trading

Anatomy of a Keeper League Part 2

My team in 2009 finished 7th of 10. It wasn’t a great year for the team, as Francisco Liriano was not good and Brandon Webb was hurt; Grady Sizemore had an off year, while I promoted Travis Snider too early in the season (shortly before he was sent back to the minors).

My goal for the off season was to rebuild my team. One strategy I had used in the past was to forego saves in place of holds. Last year, I decided to amend that by getting low end closers to get some saves, but to still be at the top of the league in holds. This year I decided to get at least 1 closer.

Another area of concern was stolen bases. I was towards the bottom of the league for 2 consecutive years.

My final concern was wins. With Webb and Liriano not right, I lost a large portion of my wins.

Here is my final roster from 2009:
C – Russell Martin, Jeff Clement
1B – Albert Pujols
2B – Dustin Pedroia, Asdrubal Cabrera
3B – Kevin Youkilis
SS – Stephen Drew
OF – Andre Ethier, Carlos Gonzalez, Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin, Colby Rasmus, Grady Sizemore, Travis Snider, Nick Swisher
SP – Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Niemann, Josh Outman, Aaron Poreda, Chris Young, Jordan Zimmerman
RP – Matt Lindstrom, Dan Meyers, Brandon Morrow, Fernando Rodney, George Sherrill
Minors – Phillippe Aumont, Hank Conger, Scott Elbert, Eric Hosmer, Brian Matusz, Jarrod Parker, Chris Tillman, Brett Wallace

Now, I did have more relievers prior to the last week of the season. I went and picked young guys that I could possibly get something for after the season. Someone like Octavio Dotel, who was a reliever I counted on most of the season, had no value in the off-season. Of all of the young guys I picked up, I was able to deal 2 of them.

The first move I made was trading Andre Ethier to the Bizkits for Mark Reynolds. Ethier was buried in my outfield and Reynolds would be key for another deal. Overall, a fair swap.

The next move was sending a large package to the Hoyas for David Wright, minor leaguer Pedro Alvarez, and the first overall minor league pick. I viewed that pick as trading for Stephen Strasburg. I gave up Kevin Youkilis, Travis Snider, Reynolds, J.A. Happ, minor leaguer Chris Tillman, and my first 2 minor league picks. That was quite a bit to give up for a guy who only had 10 home runs in a down year. I fully expect Wright to be back to his old self and was willing to give up a lot for him.

I then approached the Bone Crushers about Curtis Granderson. Granderson’s speed was something I needed; the move to New York would surely help his offense too. So, I moved Carlos Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin Pedroia, and minor leaguer Phillippe Aumont for Granderson, Dan Haren, Jimmy Rollins, and Howie Kendrick. Kershaw and Pedrioa were tough to deal, but Gonzalez was like Ethier. Rollins was a definite upgrade over Drew, and he’ll also supply some stolen bases.

My next move was the toughest to make, as a Cardinals fan and a fantasy baseball player – I dealt Albert Pujols. Trading the best player in the game is tough, but I was able to land 5 pieces to help my team. I sent Pujols, Alvarez, and my 5th major league pick to (defending champ) 25 Alive for Adam Jones, Scott Kazmir, David Price, Pablo Sandoval, and minor leaguer Mike Moustakas. Jones is a potential 6 category player, while Sandoval supplies the average I lost with Pujols. I got a reliable pitcher and an up and coming ace. Overall, I was happy to get this package.

The next deal wasn’t on my radar, but I like how I ended up. I sent Jones, Price, Wright, Brandon Morrow, Jordan Zimmerman, and Moustakas to Hot Carl for Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, minor leaguer Lou Marson, and minor leaguer Daniel Bard. The offense I lost with Pujols I just picked back up with A-Rod. Rivera gives me a short term solution at closer. Both minor leaguers project to be regulars this year in the Majors. Zimmerman and Morrow were both guys I picked up at the end of the season.

(Hot Carl is the newest owner the the league and is in a bad spot. The previous owner was a deadbeat and didn’t keep up with his team. He had limited Fantasy experience coming into the league, so he was in over his head. The new owners are scrambling for keepers.)

The final deal I made was to solidify my 15 keepers. I sent Stephen Drew, Carlos Quentin, and Brandon Webb to the Off White Sox for Jason Bay, Jose Valverde, minor leaguer Jesus Montero, and minor leaguer Derek Holland.

My new roster looked like this:
C – Russell Martin, Jeff Clement
1B – Pablo Sandoval
2B – Howie Kendrick, Asdrubal Cabrera
3B – Alex Rodriguez
SS – Jimmy Rollins
OF – Jason Bay, Curtis Granderson, Conor Jackson, Colby Rasmus, Grady Sizemore, Nick Swisher
SP – Cole Hamels, Dan Haren, Scott Kazmir, Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Niemann, Josh Outman, Aaron Poreda, Chris Young
RP – Matt Lindstrom, Dan Meyers, Mariano Rivera, Fernando Rodney, George Sherrill, Jose Valverde
Minors – Daniel Bard, Hank Conger, Scott Elbert, Eric Hosmer, Derek Holland, Lou Marson, Brian Matusz, Jesus Montero, Jarrod Parker, Brett Wallace

Now, I’ve added stolen bases, saves, and wins. I’ve also upgraded shortstop and third base while maintaining a strong outfield and decent rotation. I’ve also added value at the minor league level. I did want an upgrade at catcher, but I can live with Russell Martin.

I took a hit at first base and second base; I’ve managed to shift the production of Pujols over a couple of positions, especially with the addition of Rodriguez.

Next time we’ll look at keepers.

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