Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ask the Hurler: Wuz I robbed?

Reader Daniel-san (Put him in a body bag, Johnny!) sends the following query:

The Trade

I just made my first trade of the season. Any thoughts?

Sent: Jarrod Saltalamacchia/Michael Bourn
Received: Josh Bard/Ty Wigginton

I drafted Bourn with the hopes of trading him for a guy like Wiggy (1B/2B/3B). Salty may open at AAA and this is a 1 Catcher slot league.


At first glance, it looks like Daniel-san has been the victim of a bohica. (Bend over, here it comes again.) But let's delve further. In analyzing any roster move, it's imperative that the league rules be set forth. For this trade, most importantly, how many OF, C, and MI slots are called for? Is it a standard 5x5 league? I also don't know what the relevant roster looked like before the move. However, even though I lack all of this necessary information, I will offer my opinion.

Let's assume that this is a standard Yahoo league (three OF slots, no MI position) with 12 teams. Josh Bard has no value in such a league. Zero. So basically, you traded Saltalamacchia and Bourn for Wigginton. Salty's value is dropping a bit, as the Rangers continue to mismanage their talent and can't decide where to play him (he's being blocked by Gerald Laird ... really). But, if he gets 400+ at-bats, he becomes a likely top-five catcher. Yes, the position really is that thin. He may not get the at-bats, though. Bourn has value in 5x5 leagues for speed alone. You probably wouldn't start him the entire year, but the chance of his thieving 40-50 makes him draftable in rounds 14-17. Wigginton's a good bench player, but he's probably not going to be starting in too many standard leagues. He's got pop for a second baseman, but is he in the top 12 at the position? No. So basically, you traded away an intriguing catcher prospect and a valuable OF for a borderline 2B who's nothing more than a good bench option (multi-position eligibility). That's a horrifically bad trade for you no matter how you spin it.

If it's a deeper Yahoo league (meaning there's an "MI" position), this trade becomes far more palatable (but still not a winner). Wiggy may not be a top 12 two bagger, but he's definitely in the top 36 amongst all middle infielders. Arguably, he's in the top 25 or 30 due to his eligibility. Being able to move him around the board represents a significantly bigger advantage in deeper leagues with larger rosters. In 2007, he was in the top 10 in home runs amongst all middle infielders (number four amongst second baseman), and he's almost certainly going to be a starter. The trade is still one-sided, but if you're playing with five OFs you may be able to find steals from working the waiver wire or from a stolen base-mongering middle infielder whom you wouldn't have been able to play without Wigginton supplying some power. Who's starting at catcher for you now? And if he's better than Salty, why'd you draft two catchers in the first place? Just a strange deal, all around.

To recap:

Standard Yahoo-esque League: Daniel-san was robbed.
Expanded League with an MI: Still unfair, but more acceptable. (And if you need power, Wigginton's a real sneaky option.)

One last thought: If Bourn was drafted after Wigginton, this can't possibly be a standard league, as middle infielders like Wiggy wouldn't have been that valuable.


Bob Taylor said...

Ha! I just sat down to respond to this question, and Mike beat me to it. He was a lot nicer than I was going to be, though, Daniel. If Saltalamacchia opens the season on the big-league roster, I think you got reamed bloodily no matter what the format.

In a one-catcher league, you should be able to find guys on the waiver wire better than Bard. And I'd rather have Bourn's huge potential than Wigginton's predictable-journeyman numbers. If Salty gets 400 ABs this year, you just took step one toward crippling any chance you have of winning your league.

Umm, thanks for reading, though!

Mike Bock said...

If this isn't an expanded roster league, it was borderline vetoable.