The Trade Counsel: Multi Position Eligibility

by Simon Jones

A couple of weeks ago, I was involved in a discussion where we touched on the attraction of players who are eligible at more than one position. Now seemed like a good time to go into the subject in more depth.

Anyone who regularly reads this column will know my mantra of perceived value. The interesting part is that sometimes multi-position eligibility brings only perceived value and in other cases it brings hidden real value.

As always, your league setup makes the world of difference in how valuable particular players are. Seeing multiple positions against a player’s name will always look attractive, however the value really increases when you have transaction limits or when you have small benches on your roster. Squeezing a few more ABs in a H2H league can make all the difference. Similarly, being able to place a SP into a RP slot (or occasionally a RP into a SP slot) can allow a small but significant edge.

In deep leagues, multi-position eligibility can also allow you to cover for injuries and lack of form, when the free-agent pool offers very few viable alternatives

For some players, pretty much their entire value is tied up in their eligibility. For instance, Omar Infante doesn’t offer a great option at any one position, but he’s a guy that can be slotted in at 3 positions including a couple of shallow ones. If he just offered 2B eligibility, his value would be severely restricted. In previous years a similar guy would be Mark DeRosa, who always seemed to be rostered because of various infield eligibility.

In other cases, there is little or no value in multi-position eligibility. In the case of 1B/OF for example, if you don’t play in a deepish league that uses CI or with really restrictive transactions, the additional flexibility of someone like Aubrey Huff won’t be a big bonus compared to a pure outfielder. In this case the perception could be more than reality. Use it as selling point, but be mindful of its real worth.

One area to monitor closely is players acquiring new eligibility, especially if that eligibility is at a really shallow position. It’s imperative to understand your league’s rules on how many appearances are required to gain eligibility. I’ve played in leagues where anywhere between 5 and 20 appearances are necessary. Sometimes owners can be unaware of players about to gain that eligibility, so always be prepared to pounce.

Three guys who are of interest who have just gained or who may be about to gain additional eligibility:

Ryan Roberts – 3B
There was nothing in Roberts’ history to suggest a 2011 breakout, and OF only eligibility led him to go undrafted in pretty much every league. However a hot start coupled with an underwhelming performance by Melvin Mora has led him to gain regular starts at the hot corner. Third base is one of the shallowest positions and Roberts presents a good starting option there for the moment. He was actually available on the waiver wire in most leagues as recently as two weeks ago, but now he is almost 100% owned and presents significant trade value.

Michael Cuddyer – 2B
Since Nishioka went down, the Twins 2B situation has been a mess. I’m not sure Cuddyer makes a great real life 2B, but he has amassed 6 appearances there in the past couple of weeks. As a 1B/OF, he represents a so-so mid/low range option, but as a 2B his value would soar and he becomes a viable starting option in most formats.

Ryan Raburn – 2B
When Raburn acquired 2B eligibility last year, he suddenly made an appearance on many fantasy rosters. Unfortunately, in many setups, he didn’t retain that eligibility into 2011 and was a pure outfielder again. However, with the instability at 2B for the Tigers again this year, Raburn is inching closer to reacquiring that status. As with Cuddyer, if that happens his value increases significantly.

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


  1. Eddy says:

    Michael Young recently acquired 2B-eligibility in Yahoo. That’s a big boost in that spot.

    • SimonJ says:

      I totally agree. I’m not playing Yahoo this year so my leagues have 10 or 20 game eligibility which makes it easier to plan ahead. A 5 start league makes it imperative that you keep your eye on the ball.

    • Tom says:

      I’m really hoping he gets 1B too (2 starts away). Right now I have 2 3B already and I need a 1B with Carlos Lee nearly producing as much as an old lady.

    • SimonJ says:

      See, unless you are a particular Michael Young fan, I would be trying to trade him or your other 2B right now. Young has way more value as a 2B or 3B. Dangle him out there to some guy starting Uggla or Beckham (or dealing with an injured Zimmerman or Longoria at 3B). Grabbing someone like Konerko in a 1-1 (or package Lee too) gives a much better stats output than Young at 1B.

      • Tom says:

        Oh, I’ve tried. But no one wants him haha

      • SimonJ says:

        I hate it when that happens. You must either be in a very shallow league, or with a bunch of trade averse guys. There’s nothing more frustrating than a response like I got today –
        “Would like to be patient with my team and not be too hasty…..
        I think I’m going to stand pat for a bit…..

        I’m ready to trade 5 minutes after the draft, let alone 5 weeks.

  2. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Martin Prado – 2B, 3B and OF….. awesomeness

  3. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Trade question….

    Guy in my league wants to upgrade at SP and is willing to offer up Uggla. My 2Bs are Prado and Espinosa. I will offer him Gallardo and Espinosa for Uggla and Latos.

    My questions are:
    1. Is Uggla for Gallardo a better deal for me? Or will Gallardo turn things around?
    2. Will Latos keep struggling or can he finally put it together?

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      PS – its a 16-team keeper league (15 Keepers)

      So far my keepers are probably (14 players, with 1 spot floating):
      V-Mart, Brett Wallace, Espinosa*, Prado, David Wright, Hanley, CarGo, Kemp, Logan Morrison, Gallardo*, Josh Johnson, Kershaw, King Felix, Nolasco

    • SimonJ says:

      What’s the format? Is it H2H or Roto and what roster settings do you have? Is there a MI spot too?

    • SimonJ says:

      P.S. Not sure why you should worry about trades – if you don’t win your league every year with that roster then I’ll be amazed.

      • Nick Tenaglia says:

        First off, its a very top-heavy league
        Secondly, its a H2H Points-Based format, and practically anything is counted for points. We get points for Total Bases, bonus points for XBH, points for Runs/RBI/SB, points for Walks, we lose points for caught stealing, we even get points for FIELDING (Double-Play Turned and Outfield Assist) among many other stats…

        I mean, I did just make the Hanley/Felix trade, which I thought would put me over the top. But being that this is a keeper league, if I can get Latos and Uggla while they are cheap, then I might as well go for it, right??? Especially since Espinosa is still only a rookie and could still fall apart

      • SimonJ says:

        To me it’s a no brainer for this year and beyond. I know Latos is struggling at the moment, but Gallardo isn’t setting the world alight either. I like Latos as much as Gallardo for 2011 and probably more for 2012 and beyond. Uggla I like way more than Espinosa. There is way too much uncertainty over a guy like that in a long term keeper.

        If you can pull that deal then I’d suggest that you’ve pulled a real steal, but my guess is you’ll probably need to offer a little more to get the deal done.

  4. A Hill O' Beans says:

    With Freese out now how much playing time do you think Allan Craig will see at 3B?

    • SimonJ says:

      As I understand it, none at all. Craig was recalled to fill Freese’s roster spot, but that’s as far is it goes. You’ll probably see Punto and Descalso split time there, and it might mean Tyler Greene gets more at-bats too.

    • I agree with Simon, though it wouldn’t shock me to see him get a look at some point. If they feel his glove can get the job done, he certainly has an intriguing bat. I would monitor the situation, but not count on it.

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