We all enter our own drafts and auctions with personal philosophies and biases. If you’re weren’t a believer that Yu Darvish was going to be successful enough to off-set his pre-season price tag, then you would have just dropped out of the bidding. If you had no confidence that Jake Peavy or Erik Bedard would stay healthy, then you can let them be someone else’s problem. But when you take over an abandoned dynasty league team, you’re going to be saddled with players that you are not high on – players that you would have certainly not taken if you had built this team from scratch.
And that’s not to say that these are bad players or ones without value. It could be a young player whose upside you don’t see being as high as other people in your league might. It could be a player in their prime who you think is close to falling off the proverbial cliff. It could just be someone who you think sucks, in its simplest form. Or in the worst case scenario, it could be a player who you just don’t trust to stay healthy and help out your team. I call that one the worst case scenario because it’s a lot easier to trade healthy players than injured players (no duh). For better or worse, I’ve got guys on my experiment team under all four of these categories.
Now, what I generally like to do is create a 2014 (or whatever your team’s time horizon from Part 2 is) best-case scenario roster. This helps determine how balanced the roster is and where you will need to add to your roster from a talent perspective once you start making trades. We’re going to look at a full active roster and bench, plus any potential top-50 prospects (read: future trade chips). Here’s my best case scenario roster, coupled with a descriptor based on expected performance in that season versus the average 16-team league starter (weak, average, strong, elite):
C – Matt Wieters (strong)
1B – Albert Pujols (elite)
2B – Chase Utley (average)
SS – Yunel Escobar (weak)
3B – Chris Davis (weak)
OF – Alex Rios (average), Jayson Werth (average), Brett Jackson (average)
Util – Kevin Youkilis (average), Yonder Alonso (average)
P – Brandon Morrow (strong), Lance Lynn (strong), Jeremy Hellickson (strong), Derek Holland (average), Danny Duffy (average), Zach Britton (average), Kyle Drabek (weak)
BN – Jemile Weeks (average), Jeff Francoeur (weak), Chris Johnson (weak), Yasmani Grandal (average), Matt Davidson (weak), Ryan Kalish (average), John Lamb (weak), Kyle Gibson (weak)
Potential Top 50 Prospects – George Springer
That whole list is pretty sad. It’s pretty clear that there are very few potential strengths on offense, especially on the left side of the infield and the outfield – where there are none. My starting pitching is a little better, but thins out pretty quickly. And the part which bothers me the most is the fact that there is only one player in my entire minor league system who projects as Top 50 prospects in two years.
(You’ll also probably notice that I did not list any of my closers on there (I have Broxton and Putz). That’s because when you’re rebuilding a dynasty league team, always trade away your closers. There is so much more turnover at that position than any other and you just cannot predict with any sort of certainty who will be closing when you hit your time horizon.)
Now we’re at the decision point. Who do I put out there for trades? When you’re figuring this out, you can go in one of two directions – you can put your best performing “weak” and “average” guys, along with your least favorite “strong” guys out there and see what you get, or you can put your “strong” and “elite” guys out there and try to get larger bounties. Regardless of which direction you go in, remember to put your closers out there. Again, always attempt to trade your closers when you’re rebuilding a dynasty league team. Always.
Since my time horizon is not THAT far off and my strong/elite guys aren’t going to cause other owners to knock down my door, I’m going to with option number 2. This means that the only four guys who could bring me a return that I’m going to almost definitely hold onto are Wieters, Pujols, Morrow and Lynn (since he won’t fetch me nearly as much as I think he’s worth in the long run). On top of that, I will hold off on putting Werth, Utley and Youkilis out there until they are either healthy and performing well or the off-season. That means my first “on-the-block” list is going to look like this:
Chris Davis, Yunel Escobar, Alex Rios, Chris Johnson, Jeff Franceour, Jonathan Broxton, Jeremy Hellickson, Derek Holland and J.J. Putz.
Obviously some of those guys have more value than others, but there’s no harm in including Johnson and Frenchy, even though I doubt other owners will be interested (since they’re basically replacement level, at best, in a league this size). The big fish is going to be Hellickson, who I’m going to really need to get a haul for in order to get things going. The hope is that I can get someone who is really high on him both short-term and long-term on the other end of the line.
We shall find out how this went in Part 4 of the series..