Dynasty And Keepers: When The Dominoes Finally Fall

A couple weeks ago, I lamented the state of trading in my dynasty league, The Devil’s Rejects. I run a team with Chad Young in this 20-owner, 45-player roster, keep-28 league. At the time of my last piece, Chad and I had run into a snag. When we tried to trade good veterans for prospects we were told to take a hike. When we tried to trade prospects for good veterans, we were told to take a hike. Frustrating…

Happily, I can report that some dominoes finally fell into place. What changed? I believe three things happened. Winter Meetings mania has seemingly infected the league. More owners are actively engaged in discussions on a daily basis. This could be for any number of reasons. Many corporate jobs have a lull between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Maybe my rivals are refreshed from their heaping helping of Turkey Day turkey. Maybe they don’t have anything else to do while sitting next to their old timey hot stove.

More likely, we’ve all talked to enough owners to form accurate market expectations for our players. We know people don’t want any part of Kendrys Morales because he’s old. So we don’t even bother shopping him. He’ll help our team in the near future and then we’ll cut him when it’s appropriate. Others, like James Paxton, are polarizing players. Seven owners have an interest in him as a solid asset. A few win-now oriented rivals won’t consider adding him.

It also helps that our new owners have had a chance to adjust to the league. Dynasty leagues always have turnover, it’s an unavoidable negative externality of the size, depth, and time commitment associated with the format. The three newbies we brought in this year seem like they’ll stick. They’ve also all opted to rebuild. Two of them didn’t really have a choice and the third would have been playing for fifth place (money back).

Let’s talk about the actual trades Chad and I made. All three offer instructional points for dynasty and keeper league owners. We first pulled the trigger on a prospect swap.

We Received
Dalton Pompey
3rd Round Pick

We Gave
Dominic Smith
10th Round Pick

This was a rare instance where Chad and I disagreed. I like Smith a lot more than Chad – I think he’ll be an elite prospect in another year or two. I’m also down on Pompey, although Chad isn’t as concerned about his inconsistent 2015. Ultimately, there were a couple reasons I agreed to the swap.

We had a couple trade talks progressing – both now on hold – where our counterpart wanted a speedy outfielder. Rather than put Odubel Herrera on the table, we can now use Pompey as that speed piece. In general, the trade market highly values stolen bases, and our team is punting the category. There’s also something to be said for Pompey’s proximity to the majors. He’s an injury (not to him) away from starting for the best offense in baseball.

Last year, we traded Pompey for Ben Zobrist and Tyler Clippard sometime around July 20. At the time, we knew Clippard would soon lose his closing gig. We had hoped he might be considered for closing gigs this offseason. His name hasn’t come up in any related rumors, but the Phillies have a newly vacated gig they’ll want to fill on the cheap. Zobrist the Cub is now a key core contributor to our roster.

We dealt Pompey when his value was at its lowest. So we feel comfortable about converting him back into mid-season reinforcements if and when they’re needed.

Our next trade was a blockbuster.

We Received
Chris Archer
Lance McCullers

We Gave
Charlie Blackmon
Derek Dietrich
Jed Lowrie

This swap transformed our good-not-great pitching staff into top contenders for four of the five pitching categories. Archer and McCullers join Francisco Liriano, Danny Salazar, Jose Quintana, and Jake Odorizzi. We also have Paxton and Alex Wood, although we’re shopping both players. It’s a weekly lineup league with nine pitching slots, and we usually use six starters and three relievers.

More importantly, we felt the trade improved our long term outlook. Chad and I aim to contend in 2016, but we aren’t emulating the 2015 Padres or the 2016 Diamondbacks – at least not yet. We’re still trying to maximize the value of our roster even as we settle for old veterans like Morales and Jayson Werth in key roles.

The painful component was trading Blackmon. His stolen base production will be sorely missed as our team has no replacement. However, we worried about nagging rumors that the Rockies might trade him. It’s unclear what kind of player he’d be away from Coors Field, but the signs say he’d be a lot less valuable to us.

Dealing Dietrich and Lowrie stole away our second base and outfield depth. We addressed that in our most recent trade.

We Receive
Devon Travis
8th Round Pick

We Gave
Nick Gordon
3rd Round Pick

Travis’ job with the Blue Jays is in question. Ryan Goins broke out in the second half of 2015 and deserves to start somewhere. Travis has also suffered from repeated shoulder injuries. An offseason surgery will probably force him to miss Opening Day. Hopefully, it corrected the problem. It’s a small risk we’re accepting.

Once he’s healthy and finds a way past Goins, Travis could be an offensive force at the position. His role in the Blue Jays offense likely depends upon Troy Tulowitzki. If Tulo continues to decline, Travis is a candidate to bat ahead of Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. However, we’re expecting him to bat eighth or ninth next season.

We can afford to be patient with Travis because we have Zobrist at second base and the Reds shortstop duo – Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez – filling shortstop and middle infield. Once Travis returns to action, Zobrist and Suarez can switch to utility roles. We’re banking on Suarez starting in left field. We’re taking some risk with our middle infield, but players like Freddy Galvis cost practically nothing to acquire if we run into a problem.

In Gordon, we’re giving up a high quality prospect who is still a breakout away from having a major league future. Gordon is one of the top shortstop prospects remaining in the minors, and he’s entering his age 20 season. He hasn’t hit for any power yet, but he’s expected to eventually post 10 home runs annually with more than 20 steals and a positive batting average. We opted for instant gratification over a lengthy development process. Our trade partner was better situated for the wait.

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Manny Ramirez
8 years ago

That return for Archer/McCullers was an absolute heist IMO.

wily momember
8 years ago
Reply to  Brad Johnson

i think he probably means getting archer and mccullers for that package was a heist