by Jimmy Hascup
With the season just starting, it’s important not to get rid of a player just because he started the first few games slowly. By the same token, it’s also important to recognize when you can flip a “hot” player when he’s at his peak, while realizing it’s not likely that he continues the year at the same pace. I’m one of the most active traders in all of my leagues, so I understand what it’s like to want to act on a whim and make some deals to shake up your squad. While I’m not going to advocate that you wait out the first few weeks of the season, I am going to recommend the utmost caution.
With that background on my philosophy early in the season down, a twist was thrown my way when RP reader, Matthew F., sent me over a possible trade scenario he may consider in his dynasty league.
League Logistics: 11 teams, each team drops only six players at the end of the season. His league also starts two infielders at each infield position. He’s in his fourth year in an established league, at the tail end of a rebuilding mode.
C – Chris Ianetta, Mike Napoli
1B – Miguel Cabrera, Kendry Morales, Chris Davis
2B – Placido Polanco, Sean Figgins (when he gains eligibility), Sean Rodriguez, Scott Sizmore
SS – Alexi Ramirez, Ian Desmond
3B – Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, (Polanco/Figgins also eligible)
OF – Ryan Braun, Hunter Pence, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Coghlan, Jason Bay, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold
P – Ubaldo Jimenez, Chad Billingsley, Gavin Floyd, Kevin Slowey, Brian Matusz, Rick Porcello, Scott Kazmir, Jonathan Broxton, Aardsma, Chris Perez, Ryan Madson
Question: From Matt: “I’ve considered trying to trade Ryan Braun for a elite 3b, but should I be, or would I be better off keeping Braun and hoping Headley will eventually begin to show through with some of his potential? Or are there any other options I’d be better off waiting for. Alvarez is not avaliable.”
When Matt originally sent this information over, he just sent the question. And I countered him by asking for his whole lineup, because unless there was some unforeseen circumstance facing his team where he had five stud outfielders, who would ever trade Braun, right?
When you’re in rebuilding mode it almost seems like an oxymoron to ask whether or not you should trade a 26-year-old outstanding young outfielder. While I get where he’s coming from, there is really only one trade scenario that I would consider at third base, if he’s really desperate (is that possible?) to trade Braun — and that is Evan Longoria. If there’s no chance that you can get Longoria, then I sit on Braun for the next decade. In dynasty leagues, Braun is my top rated outfielder, just as the Professor ranks him. For a guy that can hit almost 40 homeruns, bat in 120 runs, and hit over .300, you better be blown away if you ever even think about trading him. Plus, the guy is only scratching his prime! To be safe, don’t even consider any trade offers involving him!
I really think his outfield is deep enough to make a trade or two there, if he really feels uncomfortable with Headley at the hot corner. Sure, he plays in Petco and he hasn’t exactly fulfilled his potential, but I think he has an upcoming third basemen already in Sandoval. Just because a lot of the critics doubt the Venezuelan’s power doesn’t mean you should. We know the guy is among the best in the league at hitting the baseball, he’s only 23-years-old, and still in the learning stages of his career. I think he’s going to continue to rise at the position (just like his weight will!).
If Matt ends up trading from an area of depth, I would look to trade a guy like Pence, Reimold, or Coghlan. In a league like this, I’d tab Jones as one who will be very difficult to pry away and Bay should be up there, too. Look to upgrade at middle infield, if anywhere, it’s often a lot harder to have a star there.
In terms of targeting someone else at third base with some upside, since Alvarez is gone, I’m afraid to say there really aren’t a lot of people out there with super-prospect status, chomping at the bit to make the major leagues. Here are a few guys who may enter the picture next season, but as of now most need good minor-league campaigns to make their presence felt: Josh Bell (Baltimore), Josh Vitters (Chicago), Lonnie Chisenhall (Cleveland), and Mike Moustakas (Kansas City). Even though none of these guys will do much this year, I don’t think Matt needs to worry.
Final verdict: Trade from strength, package an outfielder with a younger pitcher, and test the waters a bit to see who you can acquire at middle infield. I would never consider trading a cornerstone outfielder, though, and I doubt you’ll get any third basemen who’s worth it.
What do you guys think? What are your recommendations for Matt?