Coming From Behind vs. 2015 is My Year – 6 F.J. 264 (June 20, 2014) – Fantasy Baseball Trade Rejected (F.Hernandez/M.Wacha/T.Rosenthal)

SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT

Coming From Behind vs. 2015 is My Year

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE COLLEGE AMIGOS FANTASY BASEBALL LEAGUE

Decided June 20, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 264 (June 2014)

Factual Background

A rotisserie fantasy baseball league called the College Amigos Fantasy Baseball League (hereinafter referred to as “CAFBL” was established in 1999 and is hosted on CBS.  The CAFBL is a 14-team mixed AL/NL keeper league utilizing an auction-style draft with a budget of $260.00 for 27 players.  Teams are permitted to maintain up to five (5) players during each off-season with players’ salaries increased by $2.00 multiplied by the number of years they have been kept.  The salary of a player acquired in the draft is his auction price.

As with many rotisserie leagues, the CAFBL uses the standard 5×5 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.  The CAFBL applies a head-to-head format where each category is considered a win.

The CAFBL has a written constitution with rules and guidelines in place regarding trades.  The relevant rules pertaining to trades are as follows:

8.     TRADES

8.3   Trades do not affect the salary or contracts of players.
8.4   Trades may only involve players in the instant trade and may not involve cash, players to be named later, or future considerations.

9.      TRADE REVIEWS

9.1.   Trades shall be referred to a 3rd party reviewer and that decision is final.
9.2   The 3rd party reviewer may consider the contract and salary of players for keeper purposes, but the primary considerations of review shall be preservation of the integrity and overall competitiveness of the current season.

The CAFBL’s commissioner submitted a proposed trade between two league members and seeks an opinion on whether the trade should be approved.

Procedural History

This is now the third version of this trade between these two teams after two previous proposed deals were rejected by the Court.  Coming From Behind vs. Miggy is Back, 6 F.J. 250 (June 12, 2014) (rejecting the trade of Gregory Polanco, Yangervis Solarte, Yovani Gallardo, and Rick Porcello in exchange for Ryan Braun, Jhonny Peralta, Felix Hernandez and Trevor Rosenthal); Coming From Behind vs. Miggy is Back, 6 F.J. 258 (June 15, 2014) (rejecting the trade of Gregory Polanco, Yangervis Solarte, John Lackey and Rick Porcello in exchange for Ryan Braun, Andrelton Simmons, Felix Hernandez and Trevor Rosenthal).

The trade being submitted to the Court now is as follows: Coming From Behind traded Rick Porcello (SP-DET, $3.00 salary in 2014) and Michael Wacha (SP-STL, $7.00 salary in 2014) to 2015 is My Year (formerly known as Miggy is Back) in exchange for Felix Hernandez (SP-SEA, $29.00 salary in 2014) and Trevor Rosenthal (RP-STL, $3.00 salary in 2014),

Issue Presented

(1)   Should the amended deal between Coming From Behind and 2015 is My Year be approved?

Decision

After the Court previously rejected the prior two trades between these teams, Coming From Behind and 2015 is My Year have agreed to another amended trade which is now subject for approval.  In this version of the trade, all offensive players have been removed and it now comes down to an exchange of two pitchers for each other.  The only difference in players compared to the last proposed deal is that Michael Wacha has replaced John Lackey

As we have discussed before, the CAFBL’s rules specifically state that the validity and equitability of trades shall primarily consider the overall integrity and competitiveness of the current season.  As such, the Court defers to the league’s guidelines for the standard of review.  This means that we will deviate somewhat slightly from the norm and focus on the immediate effect and impact of this trade rather than broaden the scope and break down the long-term benefits typically afforded in keeper league trades.  In Pursuit of the Grail vs. Screaming Psychopaths, 6 F.J. 5 (February 2014).

As we have stated in the previous line of cases stemming from this trade, Felix Hernandez is unquestionably an elite fantasy player which necessitates increased scrutiny to ensure that a fair and equitable package is provided in return for him.  Hernandez is currently 8-2 with a 2.22 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and an incredible K/BB ratio of 122/19 in 113.1 innings.  The fact he only has eight wins completely mischaracterizes how good Hernandez has been all season, and it also provides a reminder about how wins do not measure the quality of a pitcher (as indicated by Hernandez’s statistics during the year in which he won the American League Cy Young award).  To further illustrate this point, compare Hernandez to Rick Porcello, one of the pitchers being traded for him here.  Porcello also has eight wins, but along with that he has a 4.02 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and only 53 strikeouts in 82.2 innings.  Despite their similar win/loss records, Porcello is nothing more than a fractional equivalent to Hernandez.

To fill the gap in value, Coming From Behind is now offering Michael Wacha.  Wacha is 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 83 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.  While he does have some better statistics in particular categories than his predecessors in this trade (Yovani Gallardo and John Lackey), the fact remains that he does not present sufficient value on top of Porcello to deem this trade equitable.

Given the CAFBL’s rules regarding the evaluation of trades and how they affect the integrity of the league during the current season, we cannot come away with any conclusion other than that this trade should be rejected.  The combination of Wacha and Porcello does not provide sufficient and equitable compensation for Hernandez with respect to the 2014 season.  The inequity of the trade is exacerbated by the fact that Trevor Rosenthal is also being dealt with Hernandez.  Rosenthal, despite some early season troubles, has 20 saves and hasn’t allowed an earned run in almost two weeks.  His inclusion in the deal makes it completely over the top and lopsided.

The Court concedes that there is no collusion being alleged and the motivations of both teams fall in line with the typical dichotomy of keeper league teams heading in opposite directions in the standings.  However, the CAFBL rules specifically emphasize the fairness and integrity of trades during the current season.  Despite these teams’ attempts to modify the trade, the fact remains that the compensation being exchanged is far too disparate to conclude it is equitable for 2014.  Coming From Behind would be receiving far greater value for the rest of this season and the difference in value does not comply with the CAFBL’s rules regarding maintaining competitiveness during the current season.  Based on the foregoing, the Court rejects this amended trade between Coming From Behind and 2015 is My Year.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

 

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