Coming From Behind vs. 2015 is My Year – 6 F.J. 274 (June 21, 2014) – Fantasy Baseball Trade Rejected (R.Braun/G.Polanco/Y.Solarte)

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 21, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 274 (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 fourth version of a trade between these two teams after three previously 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); Coming From Behind vs. 2015 is My Year, 6 F.J. 264 (June 20, 2015) (rejecting the trade of Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha in exchange for Felix Hernandez and Trevor Rosenthal).

The trade being submitted to the Court now is as follows: Coming From Behind traded Gregory Polanco (OF-PIT, $3.00 salary in 2014) and Yangervis Solarte (3B-NYY, $5.00 salary in 2014) to 2015 is My Year (formerly known as Miggy is Back) in exchange for Ryan Braun (OF-MIL, $38.00 salary in 2014) and Andrelton Simmons (SS-ATL, $15.00 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 three trades between these teams, Coming From Behind and 2015 is My Year have agreed to another amended trade which is now subject for approval.  The last version of the trade involved only the pitchers.  However, the current rendition of this deal involves only the hitters.

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).

The Court acknowledges that this deal does epitomize the keeper league trade strategy dichotomy where one team is employing a “win now” mentality and the other team has conceded the current season and is building towards the future.  Gregory Polanco is one of the best prospects in baseball and certainly provides long-term value for 2015 is My Year.  But under the CAFBL’s rules, we must primarily consider the overall impact of this trade on the current season.

Despite Ryan Braun’s past issues with PED’s and his various injuries early in 2014, he is still batting .285 with 10 home runs, 39 RBI, 37 runs scored and seven stolen bases.  Braun is an elite hitter that provides top tier production in all five roto categories.  We must determine whether sufficiently equitable present-day compensation is being exchanged for a player of his caliber.  Looking at the package of Polanco and Yangervis Solarte, the Court cannot conclude that it has.

Statistically speaking, Yangervis Solarte (.267 with six home runs, 29 RBI, and 26 runs scored) and Andrelton Simmons (.255 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 17 runs scored and one stolen base) cancel each other out due to their comparable numbers and positions played.  This leaves the analysis down to whether Gregory Polanco is fair and equitable compensation for Braun in terms of present-day value.  While Polanco has hit well in his first ten games (.367 with one home run, six RBI, and nine runs scored), the Court cannot conclude that a player with 49 career at bats provides sufficient compensation for Braun during the current season.

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 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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