Stud Muffins vs. Smittydogs – 5 F.J. 83 (June 22, 2013) – Fantasy Baseball Trade Review (D.Span/K.Wong/S.Robinson)

SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT

Stud Muffins vs. Smittydogs

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE INCONTINENT LEAGUE

Decided June 22, 2013
Cite as 5 F.J. 83 (June 2013)

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 Stud Muffins traded Shane Robinson (OF-STL, $1.00 in the first year of his existing contract with two years remaining) and Kolten Wong (2B-STL, $0.50 in the minor leagues and can be kept at this salary indefinitely until he is promoted to the major leagues) to the Polcats in exchange for Denard Span (OF-WAS, $1.90 in the first year of his existing contract with two years remaining

Issue Presented

(1)   Should the trade between the Stud Muffins and the Smittydogs 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.

At first glance, the trade of Shane Robinson and Kolten Wong for Denard Span looks fair and equitable.  None of the players involved in this trade are considered elite for purposes of requiring additional scrutiny.  See Steelers vs. Patriots, 3 F.J. 216, 220 (November 2011).

Span is the best player involved in this trade and is understandably desired by the Stud Muffins who are in the hunt for one of the four prize-winning slots at the end of the season.  Span has clearly underperformed for the Nationals who acquired him during this past offseason.  He lost his spot batting leadoff on a full-time basis thanks to a pedestrian .255 batting average with only 28 runs scored and eight stolen bases.  However, he does play every day and can contribute batting average, runs, and stolen bases when he is at his best.  The Stud Muffins can improve their chances in the standings with production from Span in those categories.

The Stud Muffins did not have to pay a hefty price for taking a flyer on Span.  Shane Robinson is nothing more than a reserve outfielder who does not get much playing time.  Wong is still in the minor leagues and now finds his path to St. Louis stalled by the emergence of Matt Carpenter at second base.  Nonetheless, he still remains a top prospect in arguably the strongest and deepest organization in baseball.

While none of the players are likely to make a huge impact, this trade still represents the dichotomy of keeper leagues where one team trades assets for less expensive and unknown commodities.  It satisfies the needs of both teams and represents fair and equal compensation.  The Court approves the trade between the Stud Muffins and the Smittydogs.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

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