The Trade Counsel: Taking Advantage of Injuries

by Simon Jones

If you played any fantasy sports for more than five minutes then you’ll have sympathy (or indeed empathy) for any Buster Posey owners this week. There isn’t anything worse than watching a play unfold in which you see one of your stud guys get hurt, especially when it’s as nasty as the Posey injury. We’ve all been there to some extent as you see your fantasy season unravelling in front of you. In the last year I’ve seen it happen with the Josh Hamilton headfirst slide and the Justin Morneau concussion.

In the last few days we’ve seen potentially season ending injuries for Posey and Jorge De La Rosa, who was putting together a nice 2011. We’ve also seen DL trips for Jason Heyward, Josh Johnson and Matt Garza among others.

If you’re an owner who has encountered this, then you’ll already have seen articles on who to try to pluck from waivers. Depending on your league you might have a large enough free agent pool to grab someone useful, but in many leagues you’d do well to get anything more than a stop gap.

Of course it’s not all bad news. If you are another owner, then you suddenly have another guy with a gap in his roster, and a gap in a roster represents an opportunity. If your mindset is anything like mine, then you’ll be on the lookout for anything that makes other owners more willing to trade, and there’s nothing more likely to get another owner trading than a season-ending injury (except if you drafted Manny)!

So, let’s look at our latest opportunities: 

Buster Posey
Catcher is a notoriously difficult position to replace at the best of times, and this season more than most. Joe Mauer’s injury riddled season coupled with a sophomore slump from Carlos Santana has made many owners regret burning an early pick on a catcher. Getting an adequate replacement will be tough. It might be worth dangling an underperforming “name” and hoping that they will overpay through desperation. If I was a Napoli owner, I’d be offering him to the Posey owner right now. 

David Wright
Third base has been a minefield this year. Ryan Zimmerman and Pablo Sandoval have missed most of the year so far, and Evan Longoria has missed a chunk of time. Third base wasn’t going to be deep even before the season began, and it’s looking much worse now. If you were on the case and grabbed Ryan Roberts before he became 3B eligible then you might now have spare capacity at the hot corner now. Otherwise, offer up someone like Wilson Betemit for help elsewhere. 

Jorge De La Rosa
As mentioned above, De La Rosa had a pretty good 2011 season going when he blew out his elbow. He was outperforming his ADP quite nicely, so a De La Rosa owner might well be a contender. Time to dangle a high K/9 guy like Bud Norris or Anibal Sanchez, or an overperforming lower guy like Rick Porcello or Bartolo Colon. 

Brian Roberts
It’s not like Roberts was tearing it up anyway, but the concussion casts a shadow over any production at all in the next few weeks and potentially months. This won’t impact anyone in a shallow league, but Roberts may have been usable in deeper leagues. If I am a Chone Figgins owner then I’d have put an offer out there already.

These aren’t the only injuries out there, and there are bound to be many more over the coming months. Just remember that an injury isn’t only relevant to their owner. If you are on the ball, then you can take advantage of any weakness in an opposing roster.

The Trade Counsel is a weekly trade column – please leave feedback or any trade questions below.

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