Millions of people play Fantasy Baseball and the spectrum is very wide. A large percentage just play in on-line leagues (ESPN, Yahoo, etc.) where the challenge is minimal and they’re only in it for the current season. The real players, however, know that a keeper league is more like owning a baseball team because this year’s decisions can impact next year’s success.
As the calendar gets close to Memorial Day, Fantasy players begin to think about their realistic chance to contend and if a trade will help their cause. For old school leagues, many factors come into play like the salary and position eligibility of available players. If you play in a format that is AL or NL only, an even more important consideration could be the real-world contract status of a player. Over the 30+ years the Old Duck has played in these leagues, it’s been very surprising to see deals made that don’t seem to include this analysis. If a player you’re trading for is going to be a free agent in 2018, there’s a reasonable chance he might not be on your roster next year. More importantly, if he gets traded to the “other” league in July, you’ve lost half o the value you traded for in late-May. This even impacts mixed leagues (AL & NL) because the player’s role may change. Jeremy Jeffress had 27 Saves in four months for the Brewers last season and had Zero Saves for the Rangers in August & September.
As you scan your league’s rosters for possible acquisitions, make sure these players (all free agents after 2017) are really what you need to win…
> C Jonathan Lucroy – after hitting 24 HR’s in 2016, he has only 3 so far in 2017…maybe he’s feeling the pressure of free agency?
> 1B Yonder Alonso – can he sustain this season’s incredible start and where will he be next year?
> 1B Eric Hosmer – one of four Royal regulars in their walk year…which ones stay and which ones leave?
> 1B Logan Morrison – will the Rays try to turn his hot start into a prospect in July?
> 3B / OF Eduardo Nunez – if the Giants aren’t in the race, look for him to head for a contender in the next 60 days
> SS Zack Cozart – another 30-something veteran playing over his baseline
> 3B Todd Frazier – right now, he’s below the Mendoza line but if he heats up, he’s gone
> OF J.D. Martinez – back from the DL and hitting…watch where the Tigers are in the standings
> OF Lorenzo Cain – good all-around player could help numerous contenders
> OF Jay Bruce – if the Mets continue to struggle, he’s a trade chip
> SP Yu Darvish – the Rangers could trade him and sign him back for 2018…remember Aroldis Chapman?
> SP Marco Estrada – the Blue Jays might be out of the race by July
> RP Brandon Kintzler – closing now, but he could be a set-up guy elsewhere
> RP Tony Watson – you’ve heard this somewhere before but he could be a set-up guy elsewhere
Numerous other everyday players fall into this category including Alex Avila, Lucas Duda, Mike Napoli, Mark Reynolds, Carlos Santana, Brandon Phillips, Neil Walker, Erick Aybar, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Trevor Plouffe, Danny Valencia, Melky Cabrera, Rajah Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Carlos Gonzalez, Alex Cobb, Jaime Garcia, Jeremy Hellickson and more.
Of course, there are all also dozens of others who have opt-out clauses, so just make sure real-world contract status is part of your toolbox.