Cajun Crawdads vs. Moneyball – 6 F.J. 466 (August 2, 2014) – Fantasy Baseball Trade Review (P.Goldschmidt/J.Soler/T.Ross)

SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT

Cajun Crawdads vs. Moneyball

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE INCONTINENT LEAGUE

Decided August 2, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 466 (August 2014)

Factual Background

A rotisserie fantasy baseball league called The Incontinent League (hereinafter referred to as “roto league” or “IL” is a 12-team NL-only keeper league utilizing an auction-style draft and transaction platform.  Teams are permitted to maintain up to ten (10) players during each off-season with individual players allowed to be kept for a maximum of three (3) consecutive years under contract.  Each team is also permitted to keep two minor league players which are in addition to the ten players kept.  This roto league also has a $26.00 draft salary cap, as well as a $36.00 in-season salary cap that is applicable for all teams.

As with many rotisserie leagues, the Incontinent League 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.  Statistics are cumulative throughout the course of the season and there are no head to head games contained within the Roto league.

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

Procedural History

The Cajun Crawdads traded Paul Goldschmidt (1B-ARZ, $4.20 in the first year of his existing contract with two years remaining) and Jean Segura (SS-MIL, in the final year of his existing contract) to Moneyball in exchange for Jorge Soler (OF-CHC, $0.50 in the minor leagues) and Tyson Ross (SP-SD, $1.00 in the second year of his existing contract with one year remaining).

Issue Presented

(1)   Should the trade between the Cajun Crawdads and Moneyball 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 IL 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 Paul Goldschmidt and Jean Segura in exchange for Jorge Soler and Tyson Ross looks completely inequitable in terms of present day value.  Goldschmidt is considered elite for purposes of requiring additional scrutiny merely because of how valuable he is.  See Steelers vs. Patriots, 3 F.J. 216, 220 (November 2011).

The Cajun Crawdads have apparently conceded the current season. When a GM in a keeper league no longer has any hope for contending in the current season, he/she must make a critical roster management decision of whether to trade off established players in exchange for unknown entities in building for the future.  See Winners vs. Seven Shades of Shite, 3 F.J. 97, 102 (July 2011).  That is precisely what they have done here.  Goldschmidt has followed up his exceptional 2013 season with another solid campaign compiling a .300 batting average along with 19 home runs, 69 RBI, 75 runs scored and nine stolen bases.  Despite this elite production, the Cajun Crawdads are trading him away to save some salary cap space and also bring in a less expensive package including a minor leaguer.  He clearly presents a significant upgrade for Moneyball as one of the premier hitters in this NL-only league.

In terms of Jean Segura, he has followed up his solid 2013 season with a miserable year for fantasy GM’s.  Segura is only batting .233 with four home runs, 25 RBI, 47 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.  However, his contract will expire at the end of the season so it makes perfect sense why the Cajun Crawdads would want to obtain some form of compensation for him rather than lose him at the end of year for nothing.

The package being sent to the Cajun Crawdads consists of Jorge Soler and Tyson Ross.   Ross provides both present day and future value as he is under contract for 2015.  He has been outstanding this season despite only a 10-10 record.  He has a sparkling 2.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 150 strikeouts pitching for a terrible team that provides no run support at all.  In addition to Ross, the Cajun Crawdads also receive Jorge Soler who is one of the top outfield prospects in baseball who was recently promoted to Triple-A.  He has hit well in the minor leagues and there is a chance he could be promoted to the Cubs before the end of the season.

Despite the disparity in salaries and present day value, this trade presents fair and equitable compensation being exchanged.  It also furthers the goals of keeper league trade strategy and satisfies the needs of both parties.  Based on the foregoing, the Court approves the trade between Cajun Crawdads and Moneyball.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather