Friends, Family and Falzone: Dear A-Rod

Craig Falzone
Yahoo! Sports

Dear A-Rod,

I'm writing to you today to explain why I traded you.

No, I don't work for Hank Steinbrenner. I'm not talking about the New York Yankees here. I'm talking about my fantasy baseball team in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League.

(By the way, can I call you "A-Rod"? Or would you prefer Alex? Or something else entirely? A-Rod's a pretty good nickname. I always wanted a nickname, something cool like "Ace" or "Spike." But people just always call me "Falzone." Anyway, I'll just assume A-Rod is ok. Let's move on.)

As I was saying, I traded you. You're the best player in baseball. You hit for average and you hit for power. You even steal a few bases now and again. You were not only my No. 1 pick, you were the top overall pick in our Friends and Family draft.

I traded you anyway.

Now I'm an Average Joe, I admit, but I'm no rookie. And I'm a Yankees fan, for crying out loud. So why did I do it? Let me explain.

The first few weeks of the season, Team Falzone was bouncing around between second, third, and fourth place. I had a solid, well-balanced squad buoyed by an awesome bullpen (Brad Lidge, Joakim Soria and Takashi Saito) and two hitters having the best years of their lives (Lance Berkman and Josh Hamilton).

First week of May, I took a long look at the standings. We play with the five standard offensive categories – batting average, runs, RBIs, home runs,and stolen bases – and my boys were leading the league in four of the five.

And I hate to say this, A-Rod … but I was doing it all pretty much without you. See, you were on the shelf with a strained quad, and before that, you'd hit all of four homers for me, and stolen one measly base.

And that one category I wasn't leading the league in? Yep, stolen bases.

To make matters worse, stolen bases is probably my favorite category. When I was a kid playing in Little League, I couldn't hit a lick … but man, could I run. I grew up in the heyday of the stolen base, too, watching guys like Rickey Henderson, Vince Coleman and Tim Raines run wild on the basepaths. So looking at those standings and seeing Team Falzone running like a roster full of Steve Balbonis? In the words of Maverick and Goose, I felt the need … the need for speed.

I scanned the experts' rosters and a shiny object caught my eye – Carlos Gomez. This is the kid who, when he was with the Mets, was described as faster than Jose Reyes.

Yeah, he'd do.

It also looked like Liss, his owner, could afford to part with his steals, and it seemed like he could really use a solid SP. I decided I was willing to part with Brad Penny to get him and I made an offer. Liss rejected it – and I really don't blame him – but he made a counteroffer. He was willing to deal Gomez, he said, but instead of Penny, he wanted Ervin Santana.

No way. It was actually a very fair offer, but my team's second biggest weakness is starting pitching and there's no sense just trading one problem for another.

I rejected the counteroffer. And that's when Liss moved in for the kill. He sent me a new offer involving Carlos Gomez. And you, A-Rod. The number one overall pick in our draft. The best player in the game.

Naturally, it was an attractive offer – Gomez, Matt Kemp and Alex Gordon for you, Brad Penny and Melky Cabrera.

See, you were rumored to be close to coming off the DL. And Liss knew I wanted Gomez. He also knew I coveted Kemp, who I traded to Liss earlier this season in a terrible deal for Nick Johnson. Hey, this Liss guy won the Yahoo! Friends and Family League two years ago. He's no dummy.

I rejected his offer pretty quickly, though, writing a little note to him along with it: "Yeesh. I don't think I'd ever live down trading the No. 1 pick."

That's when he pounced, not making me a new offer but sending me an email instead: "You do realize that if you traded the number-one pick, got what you needed, and won the league, it would be one of the boldest, most ingenious moves ever. Not saying it wouldn't be a disaster, but it would be a badass thing to do."

That last part? I'm pretty sure it's what the serpent said to Eve. Like word for word.

Anyway, I didn't budge and a week went by. Then the snake – er, I mean, Liss – struck again. He offered me the same three players for A-Rod and whatever two scrubs I wanted to throw in, he said. Didn't matter to him.

By then I was falling further and further behind in SBs. I was holding steady in HR and RBI, though. Meanwhile, A-Rod, you still hadn't returned to the field.

Suddenly, a certain word started echoing in my head.

Badass … badass … badass …

I mean, c'mon, who doesn't want to be a badass? I sure do. In fact, I've wanted to be a badass ever since I was a kid and Mr. T starred as B.A. Baracus on "The A-Team." (Don't tell me you believed it when they said B.A. stood for "Bad Attitude." Please.)

So, yeah, I was seriously considering the offer.

And seriously considering becoming a badass.

One last thing, though, would really clinch the deal for me. I needed to solve my corner infield problem already. Nick the Stick was a miserable failure for me there, just as Mark Reynolds and Todd Helton had been before him. I was currently going with Eric Hinske, but I had little faith in him as a long-term answer.

So I left Liss's offer on the table. But I sent him an offer of my own. Which he accepted. And that's how I traded you, A-Rod. Here was the deal:

Falzone traded Alex Rodriguez, Joe Crede, Eric Hinske, Tadahito Iguchi, and Guillermo Mota to RotoWire_Liss

RotoWire_Liss traded Matt Kemp, Carlos Gomez, Alex Gordon, and Casey Kotchman to Falzone

Yeah, I gave up five players. But Liss soon dropped Hinske, Iguchi, Mota and Crede, so this was pretty much a 4-for-1 deal. I think there's no way Gomez doesn't swipe 50 bags this year. I think Kemp's got a real shot at a 20 HR/30 SB season. After being waaay overrated last year, I think Gordon's actually underrated right now. And Kotchman should put up solid .300 AVG/18-20 HR stats in my CI slot. Problems solved.

So there you have it. A-Rod, I hardly knew you. Sorry to see you go. Really. Nothing personal. Just business. Well, fantasy business, but you know what I mean.

And in the weeks since, my team's moved into first place. What do you know, next year this column might very well have to change its name to "Friends, Family, and Badass."

Badass. Now that's a great nickname. Even better than A-Rod, don't you think?

Yours truly,


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