Prior to August 1, many MLB teams had to make the tough decision: are we buyers or are we sellers?
The Pittsburgh Pirates, second in the National League Central were in the unusual position of actually not being sellers in late July. Same with the Baltimore Orioles who are competing for a coveted wild card post season position. Certainly, the addition of the extra wild card team this year has made more teams buyers than in previous seasons.
The Philadelphia Phillies, with 5 consecutive NL East championships, were also in an unusual position of being sellers. In years past, the Phillies used the trading deadline to pick up stars such as Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, and Joe Blanton. This year, Blanton was traded to the Dodgers and Philadelphia also had to pare down salary and did so by sending Shane Victorino and Pence to the Dodgers and Giants respectively (a move that will surely open up playing time for John Mayberry Jr. in 2013).
Fantasy baseball is no different. If you play in a keepers league, you’ll want to pick up players that will be more valuable to you next year than this year. In many leagues, the fantasy baseball trading deadline is in mid-August as opposed to August 1 in MLB.
Auction leagues are especially notorious for those dumping the season in anticipation of gettin’ em’ next year. That’s because you can trade current stars for low priced upstarts who will not be a large expense to you for next season’s roster. Some guys that are likely under-priced this year based on their solid 2012 seasons include knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, catcher Carlos Ruiz, and players that were injured at the beginning of the year such as Ryan Howard, Stephen Drew, and Chase Utley. Infielders Ian Desmond and Ruben Tejada are likely under-priced based on their 2013 season projections. And, then there are this season’s rookie sensations Steve Trout and Bryce Harper.
Those guys at the top of the league are going to need the extra edge down the stretch and when you play in a competitive league, you have to grab the gusto in the years when the gusto is clearly available to be grabbed. My Little League coach used to say that “you don’t get a lot of opportunities to play for championships in your life” and that omen is true for fantasy baseball as well.