As everyone is aware by now, it is commonplace for any and all trades to be IMMEDIATELY scrutinized by the entirety of the league in order to declare an instant “winner” and “loser”. While this is a silly exercise (particularly in the preseason) that violates the MANAGE YOUR OWN DAMN TEAM code, it is also kinda fun and THE BACKYARD WAY. SO with that in mind I am introducing a new trade review format to the blog that addresses EVERY DAMN TRADE, no matter how big or small, and looks at risk/reward for all of the involved components. When possible (and/or when best for trolling purposes) I shall also declare a winner and loser, just to further harm the interpersonal relationships that clutter my life. Since this is the first installment I wanted to give a bit of an intro but NEVER AGAIN, so lets get onto the trade already…..
The Main Street MooniniteZ trade OF Dexter Fowler, SP Danny Duffy, RP Andrew Miller, and SP Jose De Leon to the OceanGate Trout Fishing Club for OF Andrew McCutchen and OF Ian Desmond.
RISK/REWARD FOR THE MOONINITEZ RETURN:
Andrew McCutchen: Probably the big question mark in this trade, what kind of player will Cutch be going forward? The 2015 version of Andrew McCutchen had a 114 wRC (be prepared for a lot of ANNOYING FANCY NEW AGE STATS in these things in the future), good for 10th best in baseball. the 2016 version had a wRC of 85, 69th best in baseball and 1 behind Curtis Granderson A GUY VERY AVAILABLE IN THIS SUNDAY’S DRAFT. If you think McCutchen is on a steady decline and closer to last year’s version than previous versions, you are wrong and I disagree with you but also that makes him not a very attractive trade target. If on the other hand you think he was rather banged up last year and due for a large rebound, he’s not a bad guy to have on your roster. One other tidbit is that he is set to move to RF this year and may maintain only that eligibility going forward but that is not of the MooniniteZ concern so forget it even came up. The bottom line is as recently as 2 or 3 years ago this was a top 10 fantasy player, and the question now is how much has he aged since then. TIME SHALL TELL.
Ian Desmond: For Desmond, both the risks and the rewards are potentially great. Let’s look at the possible rewards first: This guy has gone 20/20 in 4 of his last 5 seasons and is now moving to Coors Field. INTRIGUING. Now the risks: his second half last year was butt. Have a look for yourself
Ian Desmond 1st Half: .375 OBP, 22 doubles, 2 triples, 15HRs, 55RBIs, 65Rs, 15SBs
Ian Desmond 2nd Half: .283 OBP, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 7HRs, 31RBIs, 42Rs, 6SBs (91 fewer PAs)
This terrible second half is why the MooniniteZ refused to trade for Ian Desmond prior to learning his new home ball park, and remains a cause for concern despite the cozier confines (GREAT SENTENCE SEAN). There is also plenty of uncertainty about positional eligibility going forward, as the Rockies are idiots and claiming they will play him at first (really idiots for even signing him but why digress) and that is not necessarily where he would have the most value in both the real and fantasy world. In 2017 the MooniniteZ will utilize him as a LF, in 2018 WHOM KNOWS.
RISK/REWARD FOR THE FISHING CLUB RETURN:
Dexter Fowler: THE SAFEST BET IN THIS WHOLE DEAL, Dexter Fowler is just a consistently solid but not spectacular fantasy player who contributes across the board without taking away in any category whatsoever. I have nary a bad thing to say about him, and only traded him because I don’t want a bunch of Cardinals spreading their “Cardinal Way” and poisoning my roster. Fowler will bat leadoff for a less potent but still strong offense over in St. Louis and will contribute solidly in LITERALLY EVERY CATEGORY, with a high OBP to boot. Just a great guy to have, no risks you get what you expect (SBs and HRs in the teens, a handful or two of triples, an infectious smile).
Danny Duffy: Danny Duffy has the potential to be a top 20 starting pitcher in fantasy baseball. You know it I know it everyone should know it. His 16Ks across 8IP game against the Rays last year was a fucking thing of beauty. IF there is a risk with Danny Duffy it is that he just hasn’t been doing this whole “really good starter” thing for too long, so there will be skeptics that would like to see him do it again. After spending some time in the bullpen and learning he prefers working solely from the stretch, Duffy put it all together and upped his fastball velocity from an average of 93.6 mph in ’15 to an average of 94.9 mph in ’16. That increase in velocity is probably as important to his success as anything else, and when he lost a few ticks towards the end of the year performance suffered a bit (5.50 ERA across 36 innings in September). This is mentioned only to highlight there is stamina concerns here, but there’s risk with most pitchers and most of them also don’t come with Duffy’s fantasy ace potential.
Andrew Miller: Andrew Miller is one of the 5 best relievers in baseball, and either the best or second best current non-closer depending upon your feelings on Dellin Betances and depending upon whatever the fuck Francona does with his bullpen this season. And that is the only risk here, usage. Will he become closer will he stick as a holds guy will he just randomly come in and throw 3 innings and then be unavailable for 3 days? All legitimate questions for some damned reason. I suppose worst case scenario is some combination of the 3 where he always seems to get the one category the Fishing Club doesn’t need at that moment. BUT bottom line is when Andrew Miller pitches Andrew Miller will be dominant and rack up Ks and stuff. Nobody denying that.
Jose De Leon: Jose De Leon is the piece here with the widest range of possible outcomes, for he is a 24 year old SP that dominated the minor leagues for several years and then struggled mightily across 17 major league innings in 2016. If he blossoms into a true major league strikeout artist, for the Rays no less, the MooniniteZ will be sad to have parted with him (particularly with the recent Alex Reyes NATIONAL TRAGEDY). If he never PUTS IT ALL TOGETHER (like the rest of Heroy’s rotation, see Troll Series Vol. 2 for details) well then he was kinda just a throw-in anyways. I still think he can be a really solid fantasy starter, he can also end up some version of like a poor man’s Francisco Liriano (<3) or worse. The point is I don’t think the Fishing Club will lose sleep over it if Jose never amounts to nothing, but as a loose supporter of Rays baseball I hope that is not at all the case.
FAR TOO CLOSE TO CALL. A lot of moving parts here, some unproven some seeking bounce back years some changing teams. Preseason trades have a tendency to look like a bit of a toss up and this fits that bill. If McCutchen fails to return to form and Desmond continues to hit like 2nd half Desmond, the MooniniteZ probably gave up too much to get those two. On the other hand if McCutchen still has some mojo left in the ollld mojo tank and Coors treats Desmond kindly to very kindly, OR if Duffy and/or De Leon scuffle, perhaps the return for the Fishing Club ends up looking a little weak. The bottom line is the Fishing Club had offense to spare and the MooniniteZ had a weak OF and a deal was struck and MANAGE YOUR OWN DAMN TEAMS (*cue next trade that doesn’t involve me where I declare a clear winner and loser and insult everyone involved*)
(Lobman’s View: In my opinion, its a very fair trade in terms of Sean’s risk assessment, but I PREFER the idea that Cutch will bounce back and Desmond will hit for more power in Colorado to Fowlers steady consistency and whatever Miller is gonna give you over the course of the season. I pick the Mooninitez)