Ever wonder what goes on inside malamoney’s head when he’s contemplating a trade? Well if you’re anything like me, you’re at least a bit curious. What is the method to his madness? Well lucky for me I had to opportunity to sit down with the mathematical genius and get a glimpse inside his web of wisdom. By the way, these phrases are his words. If this approach is confusing you, you’re not alone. Try writing this nonsense.
This past week I put out the following trade offer in my twenty year head-to-head points league. I give Logan Gilbert and Anthony Volpe and I receive Edwin Diaz. Let me give you some details on the league. We can keep ten players for as long as we want, and four minor leaguers. The minor leaguers have to end the 2022 season or start the 2023 season in the minors in order to be eligible to keep as a minor leaguer.
The scoring system in this league for pitchers is as follows:
WIN (+10), LOSS (-5), IP (+3), K (+1), BB (-1), SAVE (+10), BLOWN SAVE (-5), ER (-1), HIT (-1), HBP (-1), WP (-1)
I am currently in first place and have already locked down a playoff spot, potentially even the top seed. My weak spot, if you couldn’t guess, is RP. I often punt on RP on draft day as I feel that, unless you have one of the top three closers, RP is such a fickle position that I’d rather use my earlier draft picks on known hitters or SP. Those top 3 closers are always kept, and I refuse to keep a closer. How often can you find serviceable closers on the wire as incumbents lose their job or trades happen? In fact, it couldn’t have played out any better for me this season as Craig Kimbrel was traded to the Dodgers the day after our draft, and I had the number one waiver claim. Good thing considering I drafted Giovanny Gallegos and Lou Trivino as my closers! I did manage to grab Ryan Helsley and Jorge Lopez off the waiver wire very early in the season. So fast forward to yesterday and my stable of closers consisted of Kimbrel, Helsley and Lopez. See what I mean about my weak spot.
While looking at my potential keepers for next season it became apparent that the final (tenth) spot came down to Logan Gilbert (372 points) or Robbie Ray (377 points). Before you yell at me saying Gilbert is the choice given his age, let’s look at a few facts. Over 23 starts Ray is averaging 16.39 points per start, while Gilbert is at 16.17. As far as I’m concerned that’s pretty much even. Both pitch for the Seattle Mariners. Again even. Over 136 IP, Ray has 156 strikeouts, while Gilbert has 122 over 132.3 IP.
Last year Gilbert threw 119.3 IP. He is currently at 132.3 IP. My preseason estimations pegged him at about 150 IP. Is there a risk of him being shut down? I find that hard to believe given Seattle’s playoff chances. More likely they will just cut his outings short, but who knows. Either way, it sounds like his rest of season value could take a bit of a hit.
Let’s get back to my Gilbert and Volpe for Diaz offer. Unfortunately, the Diaz owner, who is in last place, said they needed more to give up Diaz. Here’s why I refused to budge.
Diaz is averaging 9.7 points per appearance. On my team, he’d be replacing one of my closers. Here are my closer numbers:
Helsley – 8.8 points per appearance
Jorge Lopez – 6.6 points per appearance
Kimbrel – 6.6 points per appearance
So by getting Diaz I’d be gaining about 3 points per appearance. There have been about 18.5 weeks so far in the MLB season with Opening Day on Thursday 4/7. That means with 47 appearances, Diaz is averaging 2.5 appearances per week. So by getting Diaz on my team I’d be gaining 7.5 points per week by slotting him into my RP spot over either Lopez or Kimbrel.
And if I want to throw another wrench into the mix, let’s consider the fact that I play Martin Perez in the RP on weeks where he has two starts. This year he is averaging 32 points per week when he has two starts. That means Diaz would be replacing Helsley and I’d only be gaining 3 points.
I have only had one game this season where I either won or lost by less than ten points. And I won that game. This was just to show you how I calculate the impact Diaz will have on my team and how much I could/should afford to part with to get him. Based on these numbers, I wasn’t willing to offer more than Gilbert and Volpe. He did ask for Cease. I respectfully declined, but not before I pointed out how Gilbert would be a weekly starter on his team based on the points.
Before making this offer for Diaz, I offered another team Jesus Luzardo and Marco Luciano for Devin Williams. He had Hader and the way I saw it, had lucked out when Hader was moved to San Diego. Williams wasn’t a keeper, but I thought he was worth a shot. The offer was rejected as he countered by asking for Gilbert. I laughed and moved on, eventually making the play for Diaz. When those negotiations failed I circled back to the Williams/Hader owner and offered Gilbert and Volpe for Hader. I knew he wanted Gilbert and Hader was a closer I thought could give me a boost. He accepted the deal and now my RP issue is less of an issue. Now let’s hope that Hader can be the Hader everyone expects him to be.
The point here is that there are a lot of variables surrounding a potential trade in points leagues. Figuring out your team’s expected net gain in points will help give you an idea of whether the deal is right for you. In redraft leagues, this should be your primary consideration. In keeper leagues, the math gets a bit more complicated.
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