Hard trade decisionApril 10th, 2012 by Bill Phipps in Trade Analysis
One of the things I love about FBB is the social element to the game. Over the years I have formed many good friendships and met some pretty interesting people playing this game. And one of the great things about the DD league this year is that I have been introduced to Chris Hill. I freaking love this dude ( and not just because he gave me a free Parmalee for third in line to be closer, Aaron Crow). So far I have found Chris to be friendly, good natured, opinionated and willing to back those opinions up with sidebets and trades. The season is just 1 week old, but by my count we have made 2 trades, 3 sidebets and I have received 14 other trade offers from Chris. One of those sidebets actually involved him getting long the A’s to win the World Series. How can I not love him?
Which is why, when I woke up this morning to find another trade offer from Chris in my inbox, I got excited with anticipation as I opened it to see what he had in mind.
Hill gives Alex Gordon, Jeremy Hellickson and Chris Getz in exchange for Jeff Francoeur, Matt Capps, Matt Harrison and 50 claim dollars.
Whoa, what’s going on here. Less than a week into the season I am being offered a deal that is good for me by 9 auction dollars ( Gordon 20, Hellickson 12, Getz 3 vs Francoeur 15, Capps 8 and Harrison 3).
I quickly check my own pre-auction pricing model and it has this trade 3 dollars good for me. Less exciting than my first impression but still a solid win . Could the claim dollars possibly be worth 3 bucks? Let’s see- If 16.6 claim bucks = 1 auction dollar that suggests that every team extracts more than 15 auction dollars in value from the claim pool each year. That certainly seems like a stretch. I know from my modeling that carrying a hole at a position for the entire season would cost between 12 and 24 dollars, depending on the position. But it is far from certain that I will even have holes during the year. Plus, there is no way that the value of claim dollars is linear. Your first 50 have to be worth less than your last 50. With just 20 or so a savvy team would be able to plug a lot of holes with something approaching baseline value. No, I don’t think the claim dollars can possibly make up the 3 bucks in value. I think a better estimate might have 50 claim worth a dollar, at most. Besides, Hill has been spending his claim money like a drunken sailor on shoreleave. 58 for Rodney, 8 for kila, 28 for Bruce Chen. Clearly this is not a man who values claim dollars. Given that this is his initial offer, there is a good chance I can at least get him to drop that part of the trade. Hell, if I am really on my game I might even get him to ship me some claim.
Gleefully, I log into the onroto site with every intention of sending a counter offer.. But just as I am about to click the send button, I run head on into my old familiar friend, the little voice. This is the same little voice that told me in high school that it was a bad idea to throw my baseball glove in Randy Couture’s face. This is the little voice that told me Eric Kesselman had a queen high straight the time I gave him 30k dollars with a set of 10’s on a 10 high flop. This is the same little voice that told me last year not to make the deadline deal in the league I was winning, the one where I gave up Jered Weaver in a package involving Kevin Youkilis. Yes, the little voice knows things. And I have learned over the years that I ignore the little voice at my own peril.So I decide to take a closer look at this gift horse of a trade I have been offered.
I had projected Alex Gordon to hit 21 hr, 73 rbi, 90 runs, 13 sb with a .273 average. Yielding a value of 22.5 dollars. But that was before Alex Gordon started 2012 going 0-14 with 7 strikeouts. How should that poor first week effect my projection for Gordon? Should it effect it at all? I honestly have no idea. It would take a huge database, a good programmer and a lot of time to get to the bottom of it I do know as a professional trader that it would be foolish to ignore the information and not lower his value at all. But I also remember 2009 when David Ortiz hit just 1 hr in his first 180 at bats. I thought I had found a real sucker that day as I traded him for 7 dollars in value, only to watch Papi hit 27 more dingers over the next 4 months. Experience has shown me that overreacting to a bad start is a classic error and over the years I have made a nice profit buying slumping players from fed up owners. Looking for balance, I decide to dock him 1 hr, 2 rbi and 2 run due to the bad start. This amounts to close to 1 dollar in value. I also lower him another dollar for practical considerations. Maybe my initial projection was high. After all, I did watch him auction for a couple dollars under my fair value in 3 different leagues. Plus, he has already been traded once in the DD league and is being offered to me in a second trade. Clearly, there isn’t much love for Alex Gordon out there. I have to respect the market place. Maybe they know something I don’t. And, at the least, it is clear that I am going to have trouble using him as a trade chip in the future. So, I settle on 20.5 as my new Alex Gordon value. I am certain that many will still find that too high, but it is a number I am comfortable with
Next, I take a look at Capps. Surely his value hasn’t change, given that he has pitched just 1 perfect inning in 2012. But wait. Since the auction, both Soria and Bailey have been removed from the closer pool and replaced with pitchers who are far from certain to hold the job. I had their combined value at 33.5 pre-auction. My new projections have their replacements picking up about 22 dollars of that. What has become of the other 11.5 dollars in lost dollars?. Since most of the value for Soria and Bailey comes from saves, I think it is correct to redistribute those dollars amongst the remaining closers. Capps, though he has not pitched an inning, goes up in my opinion. Though his job is far from secure, his security relative to the rest of the pool is looking a bit better. After all, in addition to Bailey and Soria, a couple other closers have struggled as well. I don’t think that I am wrong to give him another half a dollar in value.
So now my 3 dollars of trade edge is down to half a dollar. I check the remaining players in the deal. Francoeur looks to be in line. Hellickson and Harrison both had excellent starts. I will leave their relative value unchanged. Getz is a player I had marked as 1 dollar prior to auction. He seems to be sharing playing time with Betancourt. And Johnny Giavoltella looms. It is not a 1 dollar that I am excited to pay. In fact, he wouldn’t even make my lineup at the moment.
So, in the end, I reject this deal. Although the value is close and it fits fine with my lineup, I saw no reason to trade without edge. Besides, there may be chances to pick up a cheaper Gordon later in the year. After all, I get the distinct impression that Chris Hill and I will be trading again.