Now it’s bad. Now we are in the midst of a global economic recession. I’d been hearing about it for months, but to be honest I didn’t really believe it. I simply didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary until recently. I suppose there were a few subtle warning signs for those who were paying attention. I think the government may have spotted AIG a twenty. My point is there wasn’t anything glaring — until now.
Every year, the month of April brings its own kind of recession. But instead of credit markets being frozen, it’s the fantasy trading market that grinds to a halt. The reason is simple: like any market, the market for baseball players is determined by supply and demand. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the season there’s not nearly enough demand.
Immediately following any draft or auction, most people are convinced they have assembled the best team. Fantasy owners view their players through rose-colored glasses. The season hasn’t started so every preconceived notion is still in tact. Aaron Hill will drive in 100 runs. Elvis Andrus will steal 60 bases. Pablo Sandoval will gain catcher-eligibility within six weeks. While these events might happen, owners do not properly discount for the probability that their lofty projections go unfulfilled. As a result, trade negotiations generally adhere to the following pattern:
Owner 1: “Who do you want for Liriano?”
Owner 2: “I don’t know. What are you offering?”
Owner 1: “How about Hill?”
Owner 2: “C’mon man, be serious.”
Owner 1: “I am serious! Hill is a top five second basemen in the American League.”
Owner 2: “Hill isn’t even a top five second basemen in Canada.”
Owner 1: “[Expletive deleted]”
With so many players being overvalued, it’s difficult to find anyone to target. Still, there are a couple of players who have had their values unfairly depressed, players who were once fantasy stars but are now just a little past their prime. These are the types of guys you may be able to acquire if another owner drafted them because he couldn’t believe they were still on the board.
David Ortiz: Three straight years with an OPS over 1.000 made Ortiz an early-round regular. In 2008, he finally disappointed with a wrist injury that landed him on the DL for 54 days. Now at the age of 33, many people feel that the end is near for the slugger. I think this view is a little premature, especially for a designated hitter. Prior to last season, there were a lot of people who were ready to write off another Red Sox slugger named Manny Ramirez. Similarly, he delivered exceptional production for years before missing time in 2007. He seemed to bounce back nicely in 2008 despite being 35 years old and having to play the field.
If Ortiz’s owner drafted him in the seventh round not because he really wanted him but because he was surprised to see him still available, a buying opportunity may present itself. At 33, Ortiz still has plenty of upside.
Vladimir Guerrero: Guerrero was taken in the sixth round of a standard draft last weekend. The owner who selected him did so in the following manner:
“Guerrero is gone, right?
Ok, I guess I’ll take him.”
Needless to say, he’s not thrilled to be a Guerrero owner. It’s understandable — injuries are starting to creep up on Guerrero, but while he’ll probably miss a couple of games here and there, he has not been on the DL in three years. At 33 years old, Guerrero is still very likely to produce a line of .315 average, 25+ HRs, and 100+ RBI. Not to get all Matthew McConaughey on you, but imagine what you would pay for those numbers if they were attached to a different name. If someone in your league is less than excited to see Guerrero in his opening day lineup, now is the time to make a move.
Drew is a born Yankees fan who, not surprisingly, doesn’t particularly care for the Red Sox or Mets. He does, however, have a soft spot in his heart for most small market franchises. He gets an uneasy feeling every time the Yankees overpay for latest big name, and fears they may someday begin to acquire whole teams. Drew has been playing both fantasy baseball and football for 10 years. You can catch up with Drew in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name Case Ace.
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