Monday, March 24, 2008

Rolling in the Dough.... Again

For the first time since the inception of GDR three years ago, many long term, NT contracts are expiring. In leagues where lots of players were given three year deals right off the bat, this may well change the dynamic of your FAB. Where last year, you were putting out low priced players and desperately trying to get that GM rating up, this year may afford a whole different opportunity. So, with that in mind, here are some recommended do’s and don’ts for legacy leagues where you’ve got some dough and NTs to spend.

  1. DO know the dynamics of your league. Are owners getting more conservative? Is a ton of money suddenly freed up because those long term contracts just went off the books? Know the other owners. I hope you’ve been paying attention, this is your chance to take advantage.

  1. DO understand the value of NT clauses. Unless there is a very good reason for it, NT clauses should be given to your highest price players, and used on three year contracts. Why? Well, let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios here. Let’s say I offer Johan Santana a 10 million, 3 year NT contract. How many ‘dollars’ is it worth? How does 38.3 million sound. What is the NT worth? 9.2 million. Now, what if I offer that same NT contract to Torii Hunter, 7 million 2 year NT. 23.8 million. Without the NT? 19.8. The NT is worth only 4 million. You’ve just taken 5 million of negotiating power out of your hands. It just doesn’t make sense. If you find that you can’t use your NTs that way, use them to steal a player on a one year deal, so you’ll have an opportunity to extend that player at a bargain, and reuse the NT next year.

  1. DON’T wait for the bargains. Spend, and spend big on the top players in your draft. This years two most important targets? ARod and Chase Utley. If they are available in your league, spend what it takes to get them. Let someone else put them OTM, unless it’s apparent that everyone is working on GM ratings. If that happens, drop those huge players on the market. And make sure your first bid is your best one. Many times, you’ll simply eliminate the competition for that player before anyone can bid.

  1. DON’T forget that second level of players. There are a bunch of them this year, who are just a notch below the studs. David Wright, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera. And don’t give up on Albert Pujols just yet. I still think he may play 150 games, and he will certainly be back next year, perhaps better than ever. Just make sure you have a good backup, preferably someone there who is DH caliber, but can step in if Pujols goes down. There are no must haves in the outfield. It’s a bad place to spend your money.

  1. Don’t spend a ton of money on bench players. If you have 30+ players on your roster before the free agent period starts, you might have spent too much on guys that will never score a point for you. Depth is good, but a 2.5 million backup catcher makes zero sense. Spend big and spend small, but keep those 4-8 million dollar contracts, and 2-3 million dollar backup contracts to a minimum.

  1. And of course, most importantly, DON”T spend money on relief pitching. Can you say ‘Joel Zumaya’? How about ‘B.J. Ryan’? Okay, now ask yourself if you had Jose Valverde or Hideki Okajima on your roster last year. Good for you. How much did you spend on them? I rest my case. At least for now.

I’ve completed five FABs already, and the most noticeable trend this year seems to be Fiscal responsibility. What does that mean for you in a league with lots of money to spend? Zig when they zag. Offer Chase Utley that big contract, then sit back and enjoy the view.


Anonymous said...

Good post. Of course these suggestions only work until everyone's abiding by them. At that point, it's good to change strategies. It's all about exploiting market inefficiencies. Instead of "spend big, spend small," it could be perfectly reasonable to spread out your risk with $6-7 position players and a pitching staff full of $3.0 starters. Sometimes diversity is better, and sometimes (as you suggest) putting all your eggs in one basket is better.

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