by David Velardo
I realize I am supposed to make this article more generic. However I am sure all of you are going through huge angst in preparing for your auction. I figure the best thing I can do is take you through some stuff I have been living with in going through preparing for the auction.
Let’s rewind the week back to this past Saturday, March 12: CUT DOWN DAY. This might seem early for most of you. However the 20+ year league I have been in has always done it this way. We have a busy league with many busy owners. It’s almost damn near impossible to settle on an auction date any closer to opening day. That means we have to cut down to our league mandated number of 25 keepers (This number is split over both AL and NL players as we operate two separate leagues which join together to declare a champion). Some of us, mainly ME, spend the winter collecting via trade as many players as possible. Why not? I try to gain as much of an advantage as possible in finding that next bargain or that next everyday bat or that next closer.
Some of you may recall I have the Morneau decision to make. It seems like the poor guy has played in two games to date. (Remember, we are talking at bats pre 3-12-11) Still not sure what to do here…
Then I have three AL cheap starting pitchers to decide on: Hochevar-$1, Francis-$4 and Blackburn-$5. Even though they are all guaranteed rotation spots, looking at their history and their price tags, I ask myself, if I hate AL starting pitching anyhow, do I really want to commit $10 to those three? Wouldn’t I much rather spend that $10 at the auction on the upcoming Yankee killer B’s? (For those of you in a fog till now, by that I mean Messrs Betances, Banuelos and Brackman.) Or perhaps I spend that $10 on Britton and Coke? I have decided one thing, I will commit $36 to two overpriced bats (Kubel-$16 and Jhonny Peralta-$20) due to the fact that the available bats at those positions, compared to them, are even worse.
I find myself, at best, having 167 dollars available and probably most accurately will be stuck with only 147 dollars going into the draft where I will need to purchase 13 AL players and 11 NL players. Rather Houdini like of me, huh?
My AL keepers are: Kendall-$5, Torealba-$1, Youklis-$34, Peralta-$20, Barton-$12, Figgins-$18, Gutierrez-$9, Kubel-$16, Crawford-$30, Soria-$25 and Penny-$2. I believe I have some good depth, some drama (Gutierrez’s poor tummy troubles) and lots of work to do. I am not bragging, but I always have great auctions. Even my league peers agree, I usually leave the auction room in great shape and then spend the rest of the season trading it away. I just love to trade way too much (I will save that for once the season actually begins). I will need to purchase 8 pitchers and 5 hitters. Now with only $147 available to spend on both my AL and NL squads, it would be a near impossible task for a mere mortal auctioner, but I believe very strongly I can pull this off.
My 10 team league usually spends the first 3-4 rounds of the auction wearing themselves out on the best players available. I will need to employ the very best Muhammad Ali “rope-a-dope” ever seen by mankind to outlast this crew. I will be throwing every rookie stud muffin that every pre-season magazine pimped all winter (Yes, our league is rookie crazed). I will be throwing every name out there that has been dented or dinged during the spring. By the way, just how many frickin oblique injuries can every major leaguer suffer this spring? Don’t these guys know they are PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES? I don’t know about you, but I am sick of them all. Mickey Mantle never missed time due to strained tummy muscles…
Fast forward a few hours to 6 pm, 3hours before I need to post my keeper team.
I did it. I posted it. I listed my keeper team above so by now you obviously realize I didn’t spend $34 on the foggy Mr. Morneau. I did however cut Brian Fuentes at $8. Andrew Bailey according to all reports has been FEELING GREAT! Fast Forward to March 14… ESPN-via text update: Andrew Bailey leaves the game clutching his recently recovered, surgically repaired arm… 30 minutes later via Twitter—Bailey reports words no one wants to hear: He will be seeing noted surgeon James Andrews in the morning…Picture me at the mountain top, bemoaning, Damn you Andrew Bailey, you couldn’t feel this on March 12 prior to 9pm?
Now recent reports state he has a strain, no surgery needed, but no known timetable for his return. We do realize the Athletics signed a truck load of relievers in the offseason (Balfour, Fuentes, to name two), but how good would I be looking right now if I kept Fuentes at $8? Now that there is Bailey’s blood in the water, come Saturday, my prediction is, our league will skyrocket Fuentes’ price tag to somewhere around $13…
So in closing I leave you this: For those of you in auction leagues, if you can withstand the early onslaught of Clubber Lang’s initial fury, not in the first fight vs. Rocky silly, cause Rock couldn’t handle Mickey dying, in the rematch, (Teams spending a crazy amount of dollars on the CC Sabbathia’s of the world) you will eventually come out with some rock solid bargains. If your auctions last longer than 3-4 hours I can guarantee you players get forgotten about. By now, if you are in veteran leagues, you know your competitor’s “tells”, don’t you? They all have them. There is plenty of talent after lunch or dinner; depending upon what time of day you have your auction. Just stay strong. Do not over pay. Even when your most favorite man crush is available, don’t push it. Stay the course. You will be (I will be) just fine. Good luck. My auction is 3-19-11; 2:00pm start time. If auction day isn’t as good as Christmas morning, it is “this” close isn’t it?