Evaluating Every Ottoneu Trade I Made – Part III

Part I covered 35-22 and Part II covered 21-11, so now we are onto the top ten trades I made in Ottoneu this year.

10. In League 1372 on 6/16/23: $41 Manny Machado, $22 Blake Snell, $12 Jordan Montgomery for $19 Nolan Arenado, $15 Logan Gilbert, $2 Kerry Carpenter.

I might be overrating what I got back here, but I still like this deal. I think a lot of it comes down to how you view Arenado (and maybe Snell). If I didn’t make this deal, Machado would be an easy cut for me, and I think I would be moving on from Montgomery. I would keep Snell, but his great 2023 doesn’t erase a spotty track record in both health and performance. I would rather have a $22 Snell than a $15 Gilbert, but I don’t think the gap is huge. I love Carpenter and having him slotted into my dirt cheap is great. So is Nolan Arenado washed or at least the mediocre fantasy hitter he appeared in 2021 and 2023? Or is 2022 (or his overall three years in St. Louis) still what we expect? I haven’t answered that question yet. If Arenado looks like a 110 wRC+ bat he is not worth $19 and needs to go, and this deal drops quite a bit. If he looks like a 125 wRC+ bat, he is an excellent value and this deal belongs in the top ten. When I made this list, I felt good about it. Today, less so.

9. In League 32 on 6/21/23: $27 Brandon Woodruff for $28 Kyle Schwarber.

Schwarber was struggling and Woodruff was hurt and I decided to bail on an injured pitcher in favor of a bat I really like and it paid off beautifully. I got a terrific half-season plus from Schwarber and he looks like a keeper. Woodruff, meanwhile, threw just 67 innings and is going to miss 2024.

8. In League 1372 on 7/29/23: $2 Colton Cowser for $3 Jordan Lawlar, $1 Jacob Misiorowski.

This is a simple one – I like Lawlar more than Cowser. My trade partner prefers Cowser (or at least did in July). Cowser is good enough that I would have ranked this lower (but still highly) without Misiorowski, but getting a bat prospect I like more and adding a pitching prospect more than makes up for the $1 price difference.

7. In League 1 on 8/30/23: $26 Christian Yelich for $7 Wyatt Langford, $17 Joe Musgrove.

Just in before the trade deadline and I really like this. I actually think that Musgrove is the best value of these three when you purely consider projected production vs. cost. Without a big power surge, Yelich will have a hard time being a $30 player in 2024, in my opinion and Langford is still a prospect, yet to debut. But I think the ceiling on Langford is crazy high. He could outproduce Yelich from the moment he debuts, and I think the long-term value is huge.

6. In League 1199 on 7/23/23: $51 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for $6 Nolan Gorman and $5 Triston Casas.

I got this Vlad in a deal for Judge that showed up in Part I of this series, and when the season went sideways, I spun him off in this deal. Guerrero played his way out of $50-player-status this year (at least for me). Gorman has been uneven, but as long as he is 2B-eligible, that is a valuable bat, worth a double-digit salary. If he brings down the strikeouts, he could be even better. Casas, meanwhile, was an absolute star down the stretch and should lock up 1B for me for a good long time.

5. In League 13 on 8/29/23: $3 Mackenzie Gore for $5 Alec Bohm.

This was almost a throw-away deal, as we were down to the wire and needed help at 3B for the playoffs. Bohm was not our first choice, but the deals we wanted weren’t there and giving up Gore was perfectly fine, even for a guy who we didn’t think would play a ton for us, but offered some insurance. When this deal went down, we were starting Ty France at 3B, or sometimes moving a MI (Isaac Paredes or Spencer Steer) to 3B and effectively starting an extra MI. We got 4.22 P/G from our 3B in 2023, our worst position other than C. In 16 starts for us in our playoff run, Bohm put up 5.94 P/G. In a 13-point win in the semi-finals, Bohm put up 41.5 points in our lineup. Had we not had him, even given perfect knowledge to always start our best alternative at that spot, we would have gotten 22.2. This trade literally won the semi-final for us, on the way to a title.

4. In League 1372 on 6/2/23: $16 Brandon Nimmo, $12 Anthony Rizzo, $3 Bryson Stott for $9 Spencer Steer, $6 Andrés Giménez, $3 Logan O’Hoppe, $2 Colton Cowser.

This was pretty early in the year for a sale trade, but I still feel good about it. I wanted to move Rizzo before he had literally no value and I thought Stott was headed the wrong direction, as well (I was probably wrong about Stott). Nimmo is solid but he’s the only one I really regret giving up. And in return, I got two guys who can make up half a four-player group at MI next year in Steer and Giménez, a starting-caliber C, and a highly-touted OF prospect who should be ready if the O’s have space for him.

3. In League 1 on 8/25/23: $28 Paul Goldschmidt for $3 Gavin Williams.

Gavin Williams wasn’t an ace last year. He wasn’t even the best rookie SP on his own team. But he pitched well and he showed some really good signs. From his 4th start on July 8 through his 12th on August 24, he threw 45 innings with a 3.10 FIP and 11.2 K/9. The BABIP and BB were too high, but the overall performance was great. then he left the second inning of a start due to a fall off the mound and struggled the rest of the way. Maybe the injury was worse than it seemed and maybe he just ran out of steam, nearing 150 innings in his second pro season. But that run of more than half his starts and innings shows you what he can do – with the potential for more if he can find more control. He looks, at times, like a star in the making, and I think he is ready to make a leap in 2024.

2. In League 1372 on 6/12/23: $33 Aaron Nola for $8 Riley Greene, $3 Bryan Woo.

This is more about Greene than Woo. I like Woo, I think he is interesting, I am not sure he is destined for greatness, but I like having the option to keep him or trade him this off-season. But Greene is a bit of a post-hype guy despite having produced a solid line in 2023. He lacked the volume, but his stats were worth this price and then some, if he could just get to 135+ games. And remember he was a highly regarded prospect with big-time potential not long ago. He looks like a $12-$15 bat to me already, with upside for more.

1. In League 1372 on 5/3/23: $9 Jeff McNeil for $3 Royce Lewis, $1 Evan Carter, $1 Jonathan Aranda.

Selling early can be very beneficial when it works. At this point, barely a month into the season, Lewis was still hurt, Carter seemed a ways away, Aranda was an interesting upside guy and nothing more, while McNeil was an OBP stud mired in a power slump that was sure to end. Fast forward until closer to the deadline and I don’t think I can get Lewis OR Carter for McNeil, let alone both of them plus another piece. I think you can also argue this manager just should not have made this trade, even at the time, but when this deal went down, it didn’t garner much attention. When a lopsided deal happens, I usually hear back (“wow, you really won that one” or “I would have given him so much more for those prospects” or something). I didn’t with this one – it was definitely a bit lopsided in my favor even at the time, but not nearly as extreme as it looks in hindsight. It’s a good reminder that if you trust your ability to pick talent (both to buy and to sell), acting early can help. It’s riskier – McNeil could have turned on the power, Lewis could have failed to return from injury, Carter could have slumped and fallen down prospect lists – but risks often come with rewards.


A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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3 months ago

Here to defend my trade (#8), lol. Format had a lot to do with this move on my end, as the league is 4×4, thereby negating Lawlar’s SB value. I do wish that Cowser had been able to experience SOME success during his MLB time. In hindsight, it’s less of a slam dunk than I felt at the time, but I probably still make that trade today…