Moneymakers vs. Rangers – 6 F.J. 119 (May 1, 2014) – Fantasy Baseball Trade Review (M.Perez/J.Smith)

SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT

Moneymakers vs. Rangers

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE JABRONI LEAGUE

Decided May 1, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 119 (May 2014)

Factual Background

A rotisserie fantasy baseball league called the Jabroni League (hereinafter referred to as “JL” was established in 1999 and is hosted on CBS.  The JL is a 12-team mixed AL/NL keeper league where teams are permitted to maintain a maximum of six (6) players.  GM’s can either retain players under a one-year contract or a three-year contract.  If a player was acquired during the auction draft, his value escalates $5.00 the following season.  If a player was acquired via free agency, his value escalates $8.00 the following season and then $5.00 every subsequent year capped at three years of keeper eligibility.

The JL uses a standard 5×5 format for its scoring categories to determine the standings and prize money.  For offensive players, the five categories are: (1) batting average; (2) homeruns; (3) runs batted in; (4) runs scored; and (5) stolen bases.  For pitchers, the five categories are: (1) wins; (2) earned run average; (3) WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched); (4) strikeouts; and (5) saves.

All trades made between GM’s are subject to review.  Due to the fact that the JL is comprised of several clusters of family members and close relatives, the commissioner has the sole authority to submit all trades to the Court for review to avoid any potential conflicts.

The commissioner has submitted a trade to the Court for review to determine whether it should be approved or rejected.

Procedural History

The Moneymakers traded Martin Perez (SP-TEX) to the Rangers in exchange for Joe Smith (RP-LAA).

Issue Presented

(1)   Should the trade between the Moneymakers and the Rangers be approved?

Decision

The Court has consistently ruled that people who participate in fantasy leagues should be given the freedom to manage their teams according to their own preferences.  Whether success is bred from that individual’s decision-making is purely left to some skill, luck, dedication, and savviness.  See Gangrene Master Yoda vs. Team Dizzle, 4 F.J. 284, 285 (October 2012); 4 Ponies vs. Carson City Cocks, 3 F.J. 13 (May 2011).

When presented with a dispute over the fairness or equitability of a trade, the Court will evaluate the objective merits of a deal and ensure that the integrity of the league is maintained.   Victoria’s Secret vs. C-Train, 2 F.J. 32, 35 (October 2010).  Typically, the approval or rejection of a trade is based on whether the deal was made without collusion, has equitable consideration, and comports with the best interests of the league.  See 4 Ponies vs. Beaver Hunters, 3 F.J. 26, 27 (June 2011).  The virtue of a trade is measured in both quantifiable criteria and subjective needs of the teams involved.  Carson City Cocks vs. Stud Muffins, 3 F.J. 23, 24 (May 2011).

No evidence has been submitted indicating any alleged collusion or malfeasance.  As such, the Court will operate on the presumption that there is no collusive conduct between the parties.

The JL is a keeper league which can lead to a different evaluation of a trade as opposed to a non-keeper or redraft league.  A trade that may look facially uneven or lopsided could easily pass muster in a keeper league.  Trades made between teams in a keeper league need to be analyzed by other factors besides merely comparing statistics.  Grave Diggers vs. Chilidogs, 4 F.J. 5, 8 (January 2012).  These other factors include salary cap flexibility, contractual status of players, and long-term planning at the expense of the current season.  Smittydogs vs. Moneyball, 1 F.J. 32, 33 (June 2010); Winners vs. Seven Shades of Shite, 3 F.J. 97, 102 (July 2011) (holding that team owners in keeper leagues with no hope of contending in the current season must make critical roster management decisions of whether to trade established players to help build for the future).

At first glance, the trade of Martin Perez in exchange for Joe Smith looks fair and equitable.  Neither player in this deal is considered elite for purposes of requiring additional scrutiny merely because of how valuable they are.  Steelers vs. Patriots, 3 F.J. 216, 220 (November 2011).

This trade involves the even exchange of pitchers, but the distinction is that it is a starting pitcher being traded for a relief pitcher that is now closing games.  GM’s in roto leagues are free to prioritize which categories they want to pursue improvement in when making trades and managing their rosters.  Team Sabo vs. 4 Ponies, 5 F.J. 167 (August 2013) (approving a trade where a team higher in the standings traded Mat Latos for Homer Bailey because he needed improvement in the WHIP category despite Bailey having better statistics with wins, ERA and strikeouts); Joba’s Mustache vs. Obtuse Wardens, 5 F.J. 40, 41 (May 2013); Stud Muffins vs. Cajun Crawdads, 4 F.J. 61, 63 (May 2012).

Since replacing Ernesto Frieri as the closer for the Angels, Joe Smith is two for two in save opportunities.  Smith did have three saves with Cleveland in 2013, but other than that he has no prior closing experience.  It appears that the job is Smith’s to lose now as the Angels have lost all confidence in Frieri.  Smith’s funky sidearm delivery is deceptive which has led to a career 2.97 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.  However, he averages well under a strikeout per inning so he will not be  a dominant type of closer.

Martin Perez started off the season as hot as any pitcher going 4-0 with a 26-inning scoreless streak which included back-to-back complete game shutouts.  However, his last start was a reality check in which he got lit up for eight runs in less than five innings.  Overall Perez is 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.  He only has 26 strikeouts in 42.2 innings.

It seems clear that the Moneymakers were looking to improve in the saves category by acquiring Smith.  While the record is devoid of these teams’ current rosters, we can surmise that the Rangers either have other closers or are punting saves in order to improve their starting pitching with the acquisition of Perez.

Even without knowing the teams’ rosters, this deal appears to make sense from both teams’ perspectives.  See Los Pollos Hermanos vs. Little Stumps, 3 F.J. 192, 195 (October 2011) (holding that a trade will be rejected when the Court cannot objectively ascertain any benefit to one of the teams and the net result in no way makes a team better now or in the future).  These are two pitchers with a different skill set and concurrent ascension in value.  Trading them for each other satisfies both GM’s needs and represents fair and equitable value.  Based on the foregoing, the Court approves the trade between the Moneymakers and the Rangers.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

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