Coming fresh off the All-Star break we are recharged and ready to rock! August 1st is usually the date that you should decide to be a seller or buyer for the rest of the year. If you’re in a keeper league (which you should be), this Is where you make your bones as a GM. Since most standard trade deadlines are up around mid-August, this is where you must have a long look in the mirror and make the tough decision to sell your aging veterans for young studs that can help you next year or to go out and acquire a big star to win it all this year. If you’re in striking distance, I always recommend you go for the gold while you can because windows close quickly and flags fly forever. However, it’s also pertinent to be a shrewd business owner and be realistic in making your determination. It could make the difference of you winning next year instead of coming in 4th this year and out of the running next year as well. August is the month of the GM and your future for next year (and years beyond) is likely going to be decided in the coming month of fantasy baseball. Good luck!
Strategy Tip of the Week
The main league that I play in is a keeper league with contracts. That means you basically choose to “lock-up” players in their second year of ownership and decide whether to offer them a contract, or return them to the player pool. Your contract can range anywhere from 1 year to 5 years. I recommend you change your league to this format ASAP since it reflect owning a real-life baseball team the most accurately. It also makes for a zany and fun last few months of the season where players who are out of it might think about trading a youngster with a favorable contract, for a veteran with a contract that runs out after this year or requires a large payment for the next few years – which could hurt you. I recently traded Trea Turner, who wasn’t going to help me this year but had a $1 contract option, for Manny Machado, who also had a decent contract ($18 for 3 years) and who is going to help me win this year. I’m right in the running for a title so it’s a trade that I might regret in 2 years but for now, I’m going for it all.
The best thing for you to do during the next 2 weeks, is to start negotiating with the bottom dwellers to find out what they want for the next year and what is available. They should know their place by now and be willing to deal with you to improve their team for next year. Hopefully, you have a favorable contract rookie player that you can deal for a proven veteran’s services for the rest of this year and maybe next. However, be careful as not to bog your team down for the future too much – because you’re really going to regret it – especially if you don’t capture a title this year!
Pickups of the Week
Sean Doolittle, RP (23% owned in Yahoo! Leagues)
Doolittle was recently acquired by the Nationals and he figures to be their closer for now, if Dusty Baker has any sense of how to manage a bullpen – which he doesn’t. So, yeah, don’t expect this to be etched in stone, but if all goes well, you should have a top tier closer on one of the best teams in the league.
Alex Claudio, RP (17% owned)
Claudio has got the save chance the last 2 times for the Rangers and they don’t figure to be buyers before the trade deadline so he figures to stay the closer until the blows it. Don’t expect mind-blowing numbers from the young reliever, but don’t be surprised if he reels off 15 saves before the end of the year with a low WHIP.
Trevor Cahill (34% owned)
Cahill was once a big prospect and he appears to finally be getting used to pitching at a big-league level. He’s been stellar at home but somewhat of a risk on the road so use him appropriately. This guy has big K numbers and is pitching with a solid defense behind him in a good pitcher’s park.
Melky Cabrera, OF (44% owned)
The Melk Man has a track record of damn good hitting when he’s feeling it. And, right now, he’s looking like he’s about to really get in the groove. Call it a hunch, but I feel like he’s going to have a red-hot August. He should be at least 75% owned in all leagues.
Jose Reyes, SS (16% owned)
Reyes used to be the MLB’s golden child and now he seems to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of baseball fans everywhere. But he is not finished, and is still of value in most fantasy leagues – especially in Roto formats. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball the last month and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. The fact that he’s only 16% owned is criminal but we understand those that are hesitant because of his poor showing the last few years.
Sell Highs (trade these guys off now!)
Cole Hamels, SP
Hamels currently has a 20+ inning scoreless streak and is looking his previous dominant self. I think he’s going to continue being productive – but not at this level. If you can get near ace value for the mustachioed hurler, pull the trigger.
David Price, SP
You held onto him all year when he was injured. You spent draft money knowing it won’t kick in for a few months. And now you’ve had an ace-level performance in the last month or so as your reward. It’s now time to deal him off for some hitting if you need it. Try to talk to the Machado owner about a possible swap.
Michael Fulmer, SP
If you’re not in a keeper league that values younger players – you might want to think about dealing him off while his value is high. He’s not going to do any better than he is now, and it’s far more likely for a young pitcher to lose his sea legs for the second half in the dog days of summer. If you can swap him for a top 20 hitter or a pitcher in the 10-15 range, do it.
Buy Lows (Go get these guys!)
Francisco Lindor, SS
The dynamic Lindor has had a rough go of things lately but he figures to turn it around any day now. He’s just too good of a hitter to stay in a slump like this. If you can get him for 80 cents on the dollar – do it now.
Tanner Roark, SP
Roark is another player who is in the midst of his worst season. One of his greatest strengths so far in his career has been his consistency from start to start. He figures to bounce back for the last 8 weeks or so and give owners some late value.
Brent Honeywell, SP
This is someone you want to target for next year. If you’re out of the running this year and someone offers you a trade that will help you in the years to come, ask them to throw in Honeywell. They won’t say no and you’ll have a cheap player that has the potential to be a stud in the next few seasons.