It’s Good to be JV vs. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived – 6 F.J. 47 (April 13, 2014) – Fantasy Baseball Trade Review (J.Weaver/P.Sandoval)

SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT

It’s Good to be JV vs. The Greatest Man That Ever Lived

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

Decided April 13, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 47 (April 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

It’s Good to be JV traded Pablo Sandoval (3B-SF, $15.00 salary in 2014) and Travis Wood (SP-CHC, $1.00 salary in 2014) to The Greatest Man That Ever Lived in exchange for Jered Weaver (SP-LAA, $13.00 salary in 2014) and Eric Young (OF-NYM, $3.00 salary in 2014).

Issue Presented

(1)   Should the trade between It’s Good to be JV and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived 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 CAFBL 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).

It should be noted that 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).

At first glance, the trade of Pablo Sandoval and Travis Wood in exchange for Jered Weaver and Eric Young looks fair and equitable.  None of the players in this trade are considered elite for purposes of requiring additional scrutiny merely because of how predictably valuable they are.  See Steelers vs. Patriots, 3 F.J. 216, 220 (November 2011).

When a trade such as this is consummated involving the exchange of players at all different positions, it can reasonably be concluded that both GM’s have different interests and priorities with respect to the composition of their rosters.  See In Pursuit of the Grail vs. Reloading Again, 6 F.J. 12, 13 (March 2014).  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).

Because this trade includes two starting pitchers being exchanged for each other, we can start by comparing them.  Jered Weaver is only two years removed from a 20-win, but since then injuries have been a factor and he has gotten off to a rough start in 2014 despite a solid performance against the weak-hitting Mets.  He will be 32-years old later this year and simply does not possess the same fantasy value has he did at this time last year.  Despite that, he is still a viable SP2 or SP3 in a standard 12-team format.

In comparison, Travis Wood seems to be trending upward despite what his statistics indicate.  He pitched an entire season as a starter for the first time in 2013 and was very successful despite having a losing record.  His 9-12 record was more indicative of poor run support and a less than average Cubs’ bullpen.  Neither he nor Weaver strike many batters out, but they both possess the same ability to stay in games late and do not hurt themselves with walks.  The slight edge goes to Weaver because of the better resume and the fact he plays on a better team.  But overall they have comparable value in terms of this trade.

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived has also acquired Pablo Sandoval despite already having Kyle Seager at third base.  A review of his roster shows the likely thought process being to move Allen Craig to the outfield and play either Sandoval or Seager at CI.  This makes sense given his roster is very shallow with respect to outfielders past Hunter Pence and Yoenis Cespedes.

It’s Good to be JV has traded Sandoval away which leaves a hole at third base.  However, given an additional deal that this team has consummated, it makes sense from a roster management perspective because that hole will be filled subsequently pending approval of another deal.  Despite that, the Court must evaluate this trade based on the circumstances that exist at the time the deal is consummated.  Here, It’s Good to be JV would be left with Chris Johnson at third base which is a downgrade considering Johnson’s lack of power.

But in return, JV is obtaining Eric Young who is very valuable in terms of stolen bases.[1]  Since that is a category that JV needs help in, he is certainly within his rights to pursue an upgrade to be more competitive at that particular statistic.  While it remains unclear whether Young will remain a starter in the future, the CAFBL prioritizes the inherent value during the current season over the potential future value of a player.  It appears as though Young will have opportunities to play regularly this year which is the basis for his elevated value.

This deal makes 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).  Based on the foregoing, the Court approves the trade between It’s Good to be JV and The Greatest Man That Ever Lived.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


[1] Eric Young led the National League in stolen bases in 2013.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather