Roto Arcade: Veto Power

Roto Arcade: Veto Power
By Andy Behrens
May 21, 2007

Andy Behrens
Yahoo Sports

Earlier in the season, we discussed my philosophy regarding trades. I'm not a fan of vetoes. In fact, any manifestation of democratic process in a fantasy league tends to bother me, but the vetoing of trades is the worst. As long as a trade isn't collusive, I'm OK with it. No one needs to be saved from their own judgment.

Spare me your stock market analogies, please. They don't work. If Lance Berkman is traded for David Weathers in your roto league, there are no global financial implications. Sure, that deal might feel like the harbinger of some massive shift of debt, a realignment of exchange rates, the collapse of housing prices, the toppling of governments, etc. But it isn't. It's just a bad fantasy trade. It only affects your league.

In my ideal league, trades would never be vetoed simply because one owner appears to benefit. We don't all play in ideal leagues, though. If yours allows vetoes or protests, you almost have to use them whenever a rival makes a deal to improve their team, even if the deal is reasonably balanced. Trade protests are like challenge flags in football – sometimes you just throw 'em out there and hope for a favorable result.

Is that how trade-review features are supposed to work? No, not really. But it's how they're often used. This email excerpt provides a fine example:

"I'm in a 5x5 12-team private roto league. A trade was agreed to involving myself and another team. I was giving up Derek Jeter and James Shields for Jose Reyes. The trade was vetoed by seven others. They said it was unfair for the guy getting Jeter and Shields, and that Reyes is worth way more. The reasoning was that they didn't want to ruin the balance of the league!"

Do I think the guy getting Reyes benefits the most from this deal? Yeah, probably. The expected difference in stolen bases between Reyes and Jeter is significant, although the Cap'n stole 34 last year. But do I think this trade is wildly imbalanced? Oh, c'mon. That's crazy talk.


Jeter and Reyes should each score something like 120 runs and hit 15 to 20 HR. Jeter seems likely to finish with more RBI, and he's batting .365. These guys are both elite shortstops. Reyes is currently rated No. 2 in the Yahoo! player rankings, but Jeter is in the top 40. So is James Shields. Without looking, can you guess how many American League starting pitchers have a higher Yahoo! ranking than Shields right now? The answer is two, and one of them is on the disabled list (Josh Beckett). The other is Dan Haren. You can argue, of course, that Shields won't sustain his K-rate (8.2 K/9), his ERA (2.94) or his WHIP (0.92). But you can make a similar argument that Jose Reyes isn't going to score 140 runs, steal 100 bases, or bat .324.

Basically, that three-player trade was vetoed because the guy acquiring Reyes is in first place. That's it. The seven vetoing owners didn't want him to extend his lead. The rules of the league allow them to conspire to nix trades, so fine. But it's not that the deal isn't equitable. I'd guess that if the guy trading for Reyes were in, say, sixth place, the deal would have been allowed.

So it goes with vetoes. And that's why I avoid leagues that rely on mob rule.

Onto the notes …

  • In 2005, Andruw Jones batted .239 in April and .208 in September. He also hit 51 home runs that season. Don't do anything extreme just because he's batting .219 now. Within great years, players can have bad months. Jones is not a player who should be dropped or dealt for scraps.

  • I wouldn't jettison Garrett Atkins just yet, either. He homered off Gil Meche over the weekend, and he hit safely in every game against KC. Which is something.


  • Ryan Dempster is the Rasputin of closers. He's been poisoned, beaten, stabbed, and thrown in the river, but still he returns to blow saves in epic fashion. Well, he might soon be reassigned by manager Lou Piniella. Or maybe he won't. On Sunday morning local reporters were suggesting that some combination of Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman could take over late-inning duties for the Cubs, with Dempster moving to the starting rotation. Piniella told the Cubs' website, "We've talked about that situation. I'm comfortable with him (as the closer). We've talked about him starting. That's all I have to say about it."

    So there. The Cubs bullpen has been atrocious, and no one's been worse than the people who were supposed hold leads, Scott Eyre (8.10 ERA) and Bob Howry (4.57 ERA). A reasonable short-term solution might be to move Guzman back to the bullpen – he was terrific there early in the season – and start Marmol. However, Marmol pitched in relief on both Saturday and Sunday. Both he and Guzman are addable in leagues that count holds, and they're both decent speculative adds for owners in need of saves. Guzman's odds of getting saves seem better, and Dempster clearly won't be closing forever.

    "Lou told me 'You will start again,' so I have that," Dempster told the Associated Press. "If it's sometime this season, if it's next year, if it's the year after that, I don't know."

  • Two largely-unowned starters were pretty impressive over the weekend: Minnesota's Scott Baker and San Diego's Justin Germano. Baker beat the Brewers, going 8.1 innings, striking out five, and allowing only two runs. Germano defeated Seattle, pitching six innings and allowing zero earned runs. He didn't strike anyone out, though, and he has only five Ks in 19 innings this season. Of the two pitchers, Baker seems the most streamable.

  • Nats outfielder Nook Logan stole two bases against the O's on Sunday. He seems like a better candidate for steals this season than Carlos Gomez.

  • Lots of other weekend Nats news. Ryan Church left Sunday's game with a forearm contusion, but it doesn't appear to be all that serious; Chad Cordero has reclaimed the closing gig, and he's allowed only one hit in four innings since returning from the bereavement list; Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles yesterday. The Nats third baseman is hitting an abysmal .205/.257/.348 against right-handed pitchers so far this season – and no, I don't expect that to continue.

    Andy Behrens has written for, the Chicago Sports Review,, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

    Updated on Monday, May 21, 2007 12:04 pm, EDT

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