Thursday, April 21, 2011

The First Trade

Early this morning, Eno Sarris and Andy Behrens completed the first ever trade in the ottoneu FanGraphs Experts League. It wasn't exactly a blockbuster, but still worth taking a look at, particularly because it nearly included yours truly.

Eno's Slaughter (bet you can guess which guy owns that team) sent Aaron Harang (priced at $1) to Andy Behrens (nothing like eponymous fantasy owners) in exchange for Placido Polanco (also $1).

At first glance, this deal seems to pretty clearly favor Andy - Harang, particularly pitching in Petco, is an awfully valuable piece. He won't anchor your staff (and he may not provide many wins) but he will perform well, help your rates and, if the first three weeks of the year are a signal, help out in K's as well. Even if you can't use him every time out, 15 starts in Petco, a couple in Dodger stadium, a couple at AT&T park and a few more non-division road games in pitcher's parks is a solid contribution.

Polanco, on the other hand, is hardly a world-beater at 2B. He has 2 HR so far this year, but had only 6 last year and has seen double digits just once since 2004. He hasn't broken 7 steals since 2003, although he should provide good average.

So you've got a high-upside SP swapped for a middling MI.

But there is some context to consider. First, looking at Eno's team, he has a number of starters ahead of Harang (Josh Johnson, Mat Latos, Ricky Romero, Jaime Garcia, John Danks, Wandy Rodriguez) and a couple guys (Erik Bedard, Derek Holland) who could provide value as well. Suddenly, losing Harang doesn't seem like a big deal. On the other side, Eno has been abysmal when it comes to batting average and his MI to date has been okay at best (Prado has been fine at 2B, but Andrus is hitting under .240 and Ryan Raburn has been just brutal). And he has no other MI on his roster.

Andy has Cano and Uggla at 2B and MI, meaning Polanco has no shot to crack his lineup. So he gave up a pure bench piece and added a nice part to a rotation that has struggled a bit (Liriano, Gallardo, Ervin Santana, Max Scherzer and Chad Billingsley make up his top five).

All in all, this seems like a perfect win-win trade - both teams gave up a relatively unimportant piece and got one with the potential to help out.

But, as I mentioned at the beginning, I ALMOST played a role in this deal. Prior to finalizing the deal with Andy, Eno and I were discussing a deal that would send Matt Laporta ($2) to my team for Alcides Escobar ($5). From my perspective, this would have been a big help - Escobar is one of five decent-to-solid MI on my team (Asdrubal Cabrera, Orlando Cabrera, Orlando Hudson and Freddy Sanchez are the others) not counting Chase Utley. But my 1B and Util situations are ugly (Carlos Pena and Jim Thome) and I could use OF reinforcements as well.

But, from Eno's perspective, Alcides is $4 more than Polanco and Laporta is probably of more use to him than Harang. I could argue that Alcides has more upside and will provide much more speed, but I am not sure I would disagree with Eno's decision, regardless.

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