So what exactly does a “secondary target” entail? I equate it to being a hunter out in the wild. You need to do your research, figure out what your team needs, figure out what lengths you’re willing to go to acquire said needs and find the right time to pounce. It’s easy to say that a player’s value will not fluctuate all that much when he’s cold versus when he’s hot, since it’s a dynasty league and everyone should be thinking long-term, but it’s human nature to overreact. We are all guilty of it at different times.
However, the easiest time to pounce on a secondary target is when the player is injured – especially if the team that has him has hopes of contention. In these instances, you’re ideally looking for an injury long enough to keep the player out for a significant period of time, but not something which is going to linger into next season. These types of deals are easier to navigate the closer you are to the end of the season, as contenders get more desperate and players have less time in the season to recover from non-major injuries.
We’re going to break these types of trades into two categories: the rebuilders and the rehabbers. The rebuilders are deals in which you are going to deal your own prospects (ideally guys in positions of strength or guys you’re not very high on) for a player who you feel is undervalued. The rehabbers are deals where you take one of your active players (or minor leaguers in the right instance) and deal them for an injured player, who when healthy, has more value than the one you’re dealing away. In either scenario, when I look for a player to acquire, I always want to make sure that the player will have at least two years of his prime left once my time horizon starts. Since I’ve defined the last season of a player’s prime to be his age-31 season, that means anyone I’m acquiring needs to be no older than 29.
The first of my second stage deals happened to be of the rebuilder variety, though it started through a different player I was targeting. In this league, there was another 2 win team that is clearly rebuilding for next season – and they had Jason Heyward. I had tried to pry Heyward from him as he had shown that he was at least considering dealing him for a package. [He ended up dealing him later on in a package for Mike Stanton] When that ended up not working out, I shifted the conversation to his next best OF, who also happened to be a pre-prime guy with upside that I felt to be undervalued. So we finally struck a deal which I was pretty happy with:
I dealt Yasmani Grandal, Dellin Betances and Zack Cox for Colby Rasmus (6/21).
This was the ideal package that I could have put together based on how my team was situated. First of all, I am not a fan of either Betances or Cox and when I say I’m not a fan, I mean that I don’t think either will ever have fantasy value above replacement level in this league. On the other hand, I am a big fan of Grandal, but he’s third in my catching pecking order behind Wieters and d’Arnaud. Rasmus was probably the best I could have hoped for given that I didn’t give up anything I’m likely to miss in return – 2014 will be his age-27 season, which is fantastic. Plus, he’s made some adjustments this year which cause me to be bullish on his future. With Rasmus in tow, my 2014 OF just got a lot stronger and deeper.
And because I want to give an example of both, we’re going to switch gears to a different dynasty league that I’m in. The important thing to note about this particular league is that it’s also H2H points, but players are on contracts and the number of re-signs are limited. In that league, I was going to make the playoffs this year, but I did not have enough offense to win a title — so I decided to take a chance on an injured player who might come back for the playoffs for two players who, due to their contract situation, were not going to be a part of my team long-term anyway. If you didn’t know I was contending this season, it could easily be seen as a rehabber trade in order to maximize my 2013 roster’s value. In early August, I made the following deal:
I dealt Henderson Alvarez, Yordano Ventura and Jason Bay for David Ortiz.
At the time of the trade, it looked like about a 60-40 shot that Ortiz would be back for the playoffs, and my current UTIL was Will Venable. Yes, THAT Will Venable. Obviously, he didn’t end up coming back and I lost my first round playoff match-up by a margin that not even Papi’s greatest week ever could have salvaged. But the reason I decided to do it anyway was now I have Ortiz under contract for 2013 and 2014 – and I really need the bat. If he was healthy, there’s no way I get him for that price. I will talk more about this team as we get further in the series as it’s about three years ahead of the team which I took over in June (that team’s time horizon was 2012).
Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 1: Setting the Table
Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 2: Establishing Your Time Horizon
Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 3: The Evaluation Stage
Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 4: The Opening Trades
Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 4a: Wait at Your Own Peril
Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 5: The Free Agents
Rebuilding a Dynasty League Roster, Part 6: The Re-Evaluation Stage