“Part I with a question mark?” you ask.
“Yes,” I answer. Today, I am going through every trade I made in one ottoneu league. I have no idea how this will play out, if it will lead to interesting conversation, or if you will all hate it. If you enjoy it, I will do the same for other leagues and there will be subsequent parts. If not, I won’t, and there won’t.
I love trades – it is a big part of the fun of fantasy baseball for me. And I love knee-jerk reaction from people around my leagues when my deals get announced. You get everything from, “where do you find such good deals?!” to “yeah, I can see where you are coming from” (which roughly translates to, “you idiot”).
This year, I decided to review all my deals. While I did this for all my leagues, today I am writing up the original ottoneu league. Why this league? I think these trades are interesting and I finished 5th in this league, one spot out of the money, and so it deserves some scrutiny.
I gave all my trades three scores – on a scale of 1-5, how much did I like it at the time (5 being highest) and how much do I like it in retrospect, and then a simple yes/no: would I do this trade in reverse if I could today.
January 18 – My $24 David Ortiz and $23 Alex Gordon for his $9 Jhonny Peralta, $6 Marcus Semien, and $4 Josh Bell. I gave myself a 4 at the time, and I think it basically worked out close to even, so I give it a three now. Peralta struggled, but I believed in Bell and Semien put up a solid season. I was down on Gordon, and seems I was right to be. Ortiz though – what a year. As it happened, I had great 1B/Util options, so I didn’t really miss Papi, otherwise this would have been a 1 or a 2. I would definitely not reverse this trade today. Ortiz is retired while Semien and Bell are solid keepers.
January 19 – My $33 Corey Kluber and $37 Jason Heyward for his $7 Domingo Santana, $4 Raisel Iglesias, $3 Justin Turner and $3 DJ LeMahieu. This is a weird one. I was targeting Santana and Iglesias hard, wanted Turner and was highly “meh” on DJLM. I was actually high on Heyward but thought this price was exorbitant pre-auction. Still, this worked out well for me. I scored it only a 2 at the time, but it worked out like a 4, since LeMahieu was a stud, Turner was a stud, and both are still solid keepers. And no chance I would undo this one either.
January 25 – My $18 Jason Kipnis for his $18 Freddie Freeman – Called this a 3 at the time but a 5 in retrospect. Could maybe be a 4, since Kipnis was solid, but Freeman was excellent. And this worked out even better than expected since Freeman replaced Ortiz, who I had just traded away, and Kipnis made room for LeMahieu. This would look even better if not for a July 7 deal that we will get to shortly.
January 28 – My $18 Hunter Pence for his $14 Jeff Samardzija and $2 Dan Vogelbach. Vogelbach didn’t even make my roster – he was offered in the deal so I took him, so he has no impact here. I made this deal because I thought the Shark would cease having homer issues at AT&T, and while I liked Pence, I had OF depth, I thought. I called this a 2 at the time because I thought I was giving up too much talent to add depth at SP (there was basically no SP in our auction) but I called it a 4 in retrospect. Pence was solid if unspectacular and played just 106 games. Shark was similar, BUT he played a full season and, as expected, his H/R splits proved useful. No need to discuss undoing this deal – neither player is a keeper – but I’ll be targeting Shark again as a start-at-home-only, back-of-the-rotation type in 2017.
May 13 – My $24 Jacob DeGrom, $16 Matt Holliday and $9 Jhonny Peralta for his $7 Michael Conforto, $6 Eugenio Suarez, $2 Nick Williams. I called this a 4 at the time, as I was convinced DeGrom would not last the season and the other two just weren’t that great. I loved the guys I got, as well. It was only not a 5 cause DeGrom could still DeGrom. As it happened, DeGrom was great when he pitched, Conforto could not get things going, Suarez never played enough SS to hold eligibility into the future, and Williams never did anything. I am downgrading this to a 3 and I have no idea right now if I would rather have a $26 DeGrom or a $9 Conforto. It’s possible neither are keepers.
May 17 – My $65 Mike Trout and $36 Robinson Cano for his $14 Xander Bogaerts, $8 Lucas Giolito, $4 Clint Frazier and $1 Jorge Mateo. I both love and hate this trade. I was thrilled at the time, calling it a 5. I like Bogaerts a lot and loved all three prospects. But I made a big mistake with Giolito – he was never worth $8, and I knew it. I spent all off-season warning people off the idea that he, Glasnow, Berrios, or any other pitching prospect was a sure thing, and then got burned not taking my own advice. In retrospect, this was a 2. Cano was a stud, Trout was Trout, Giolito struggled, and Mateo is forever away. I love Frazier and Bogaerts, but damn. That said, Bogaerts has the most surplus of the group, so I would not undo this today.
June 10 – My $5 Melky Cabrera and $3 Justin Turner for his $4 Chris Carter and $2 Leonys Martin. I loved this at the time – called it a 5 cause a) I hate Melky, b) Turner was strugging, and c) the two guys I got looked really good. Martin cooled off and is really not a great 4×4 asset, but Carter was fantastic for me. That said, Melky was solid all year and Turner is much better than he seemed at that time. Probably a 2 in retrospect. I would probably undo this if I could.
July 6 – My $2 Josh Hader for his $19 Masahiro Tanaka. After two “sell” trades and a tread-water trade, I made an opportunistic buy, grabbing a guy I thought might be undervalued for a guy I thought might be overvalued. 4 at the time, 5 in retrospect. Tanaka was excellent for me.
July 7 – My $18 Freddie Freeman and $4 Raisel Iglesias for his $12 Rougned Odor, $6 Maikel Franco and $1 Willy Adames. At the time, thought I was selling high on Freeman and buying low on Odor and Franco. Yeah, not so much. What felt like a 4 was probably a 1. Odor’s low OBP is a big, big problem and Franco is now a wildcard. I would love to get Freeman back, if I could.
July 15 – My $4 Clint Frazier, $1 Jameson Taillon and $1 Willy Adames for his $25 Chris Davis and $22 Michael Brantley. I thought this was fair at the time. Brantley was supposed to be back soon, Davis had at least a shot to re-gain OF eligibility and…neither thing happened. 1 in retrospect. I’d happily undo this if I could.
August 3 – My $8 Giolito for his $53 Giancarlo Stanton. For some reason, I had in my head at the time that a $55 Stanton would be a keeper. Now? No way. Called it a 4 at the time, but probably a 2 in retrospect. Not sure I would undo it, only cause I don’t know that I really want a $10 Giolito anyway.
August 31 – My $2 Nick Williams for his $7 Adam Eaton. Called it a 4 at the deadline and still call it a 4. I like Eaton, though he is a borderline keeper. Williams struggled enough that I am ready to move on.
That’s 12 deals, with an average score of 3.7 at the time and 2.9 in retrospect. That has a lot do with the disappointing finish. When 7 of 12 deals end up worse than you thought, some dramatically so, you won’t do well.
I also probably jumped the gun to sell. I basically turned Trout and Cano into Bogaerts, Stanton, Brantley, and Davis (there were some other moving parts in there) and that just doesn’t make sense. I got cheaper, but not more-keepable, and not more productive. Bogaerts is a win and the best keeper of the bunch, but still. I need to be more thoughtful about my approach than I was here, and I need to stick to my guns – I believed in Cano and Freeman more than most pre-season, and Giolito less than most, so why did I let myself change my mind?
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.