By Andy Behrens
May 22, 2007
Roto Arcade This Week : May 21
At some point on Monday, I clicked on the "Rumors" tab of the Yahoo! Sports main page and read this headline:
"Super shuffle? McNabb, Briggs swap makes sense."
It would not be an exaggeration to say that this story – which isn't even a story so much as a columnist's theoretical construct – has affected every aspect of my life. I've thought about nothing else for maybe 24 hours. It's possible I haven't slept. I'm trying to free up the next 72 hours for more of the same. My obligations here are really just interfering with hardcore contemplation on the subject of Donovan McNabb, Chicago Bears quarterback.
The rumor is only speculation by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Don McKee. Nothing more. There are no inside sources referenced, no confirmation from unnamed front office persons. It's nothing. A whisper about a figment. Totally baseless. Yet I don't think I'm alone in obsessing over it. Over 3,700 of you have posted comments to the Yahoo! story. McKee's column first appeared on the Inquirer's website on Sunday; as of Tuesday at 7:00 am ET, it remained the paper's most viewed and most emailed story.
This is why offseasons are so spectacular. I really don't want to be annoyed by collections of arena dudes playing 62-49 games, not now. No, this is the appropriate time for idle NFL gossip and wild hearsay. It's like December in the baseball season, when thinking through the ramifications of a free agent signing can be more satisfying than actually learning one has occurred.
Until this exceedingly unlikely – but not wholly unbelievable – McNabb rumor is stamped out by some chinless Eagles bureaucrat, I'll be thinking happily about Donovan rifling deep passes to Bernard Berrian. Or plunging into the end zone at Lambeau. Or appearing in print ads for Chicago-area car dealerships. Please don't ruin this for me by emailing to say McNabb isn't going anywhere right now, and certainly not to an NFC rival. Shut up. I understand there are certain obstacles. Shhh. Just give me a little time alone with this thing, that's all.
I received one of those "The waiver request you made has been processed" emails Tuesday morning, which is always nice to see. It definitely beats getting one of the "The waiver request you made has been denied" emails. The curious thing about this waiver add is that it involved a player I'd attempted to trade for earlier in the year. Was the guy droppable? Sure, at least for the team that cut him. For me he's an interesting piece. I'd discuss specifics here, but the player involved isn't really important. Here's the larger point: Don't make a habit of dropping players who have trade value. Perform a little due diligence. Offer the player in trade packages. You'll find that you can often acquire a more useful piece than whatever you're eyeing in the free agent pool.
How do you know if a player has trade value? Well, one clue would be that someone in your league has attempted to trade for them. Yeah, I understand that occasionally – like when there's breaking news about a closer situation – you'll need to make a quick add/drop, and sometimes this will cost you a tradable player. But that's really an exception. In most cases, you'll have time to make trade offers.
(Quick aside: Craig Falzone is very good about doing this in the Friends and Family League. A trade offer from Falzone often precedes a drop, which is totally fine. He's not tipping his hand about anything important. If he succeeds once in dealing someone he'd otherwise cut, it's worth the effort).
Too often I field questions like this:
"I have Jim Thome returning from the DL. I need to drop a starter. My choices are John Maine, James Shields, Tim Lincecum, John Smoltz, Bartolo Colon, Ted Lilly, and Roger Clemens. Who do I drop?"
The only reasonable answer to that one is "Nobody. Look for a trade." I'm not crazy about the outlook for Ted Lilly – he's basically in uncharted territory with that 5:1 ratio of Ks to walks. But Lilly's certainly not droppable. He's 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. You don't drop that. If you've got someone like Thome or Ryan Howard returning from the DL, look to make a two-for-one deal that can both improve your team and allow you to activate the player.
Speaking of useful players getting fired by fantasy owners, Monday Chone Figgins was dropped in 3,738 Yahoo! leagues. Jermaine Dye was dropped 345 times. So far on Tuesday, Andruw Jones has been cut in 189 leagues. You seem to be adding players who've been unsustainably hot, like Carlos Pena and Randy Winn. So, um … good luck with that, champ.
Carlos Quentin began the week 3.6 percent owned, but he probably won't finish it that way. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of homers and five RBI against the Rockies Monday night. Quentin seems to be shaking off the effects of that left shoulder labrum tear he'd suffered in March. The other half of the Diamondback outfield prospect tandem, Chris B. Young, is 31.1 percent owned. He should return to the lineup by Wednesday after missing time with a groin injury.
Be cordial in your notes when rejecting trades, people. This seems like a small thing, I realize. But no one's going to deal with you if you feel compelled to demonstrate the full magnitude of your fantasy baseball awesomeness – and the depths of your punk weaselness – every time you turn down a trade. Being offered a deal you don't want is not a sign of disrespect. It's not like the other owner's avatar keyed your avatar's virtual car. Just chill. Reject the trade and move on.
By the way, can you tell that I tend to offer lots of trades and have strongly-held opinions on trade protocol? I do. It's true.
The New York Post – which isn't exactly a holy beacon of truth in an otherwise corrupt world, but whatever – is suggesting that the Angels might be interested in Jason Giambi. The Post's George King speculates that the Yankees may have an interest in the struggling Chone Figgins. They should maybe target pitching, no? The Yankees are third in all of baseball in runs scored. Any trade within the American League would reduce Giambi's value marginally.
Wednesday's more streamable pitchers are Cliff Lee (48.8 percent owned) at Kansas City, Chad Gaudin (32.9) at Chicago, and-for Ks only, my man Boof Bonser (13.0) at suddenly hot-hitting Texas.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, 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 Tuesday, May 22, 2007 2:15 pm, EDT
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