For many years, I've taken part in the ritualistic nature of fantasy sports. One of the best times of year (aside from the initial draft) is the time around the (real) trade deadline. This is when most fantasy teams take advantage of their player's moves to a more advantageous situation (better hitters park, winning team, etc.) and sell high or buy low if someone ends up in the purgatory of Pittsburgh.
This season is no different. My team, Black Hammer (reference to "Major League 2"), is in second place and ready to attack! Since trading at this time of season is the most fun for me, I try to imagine myself as a Theo Epstein-type, making that one major move that puts my team over the top. I've done this routine twice before (with mixed results, as you'll see) and this year is no different.
My target? Tim Lincecum. On a team that already has Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay & 27-year old rookie Ricky Romero, Lincecum will give me another top-end starter that'll help in obtaining four of the five pitching categories that our league tracks. The deal, which might be the LEAST complicated of the three deals I've concocted over the years, is set up like this:
Black Hammer receives
SP Tim Lincecum
OF Matt Kemp
Team Giles receives
OF Matt Holliday
SP Randy Wells
SP Derek Lowe
I've dealt with this team in the other deals and, as he's in 2nd to last place, he's not looking to mess with my core. In fact, we both have the same goal: No matter who wins, as long as Team A-Roid loses. A-Roid (managed by the soon-to-be Doctor Sherman) is the perennial powerhouse of any sport we've played. Because of this, it's everyone's goal to make sure he goes down.
I've attempted this overthrowing of A-Roid twice before. Here are the deals that were made:
Black Hammer Receives
SP Johan Santana (from Moran)
Team Giles Receives
SP Tom Gorzelanny (from Black Hammer)
Random Player (from Moran)
Team Moran Receives
3B David Wright (from Black Hammer)
1 Batch of Cookies (from Black Hammer)
This was a great year for Black Hammer. My steals of the draft were Alex Rios and my last overall pick, Tim Lincecum (who I stashed while he was at Triple-A). My biggest waiver move? Picking up a 3rd baseman by the name of Ryan Braun.
We were flying high on the wings of that trifecta when I felt the need to add some extra pitching depth in the form of Mr. Second Half Stud, Johan Santana. This deal (done during the Home Run Derby) took hours to piece together, with protest from other teams (mainly Moran's roomates who wanted cookies as well).
Ultimately the deal was made and Santana had his (statistically) worst second half to date, Rios stopped hitting post-All Star break and my team fell apart. The cookies to be named later? Chocolate Chunk.
Black Hammer Receives:
SP Josh Beckett (From Team Giles)
Team Giles Receives:
3B/1B/Fat Pig Miguel Cabrera (From Black Hammer)
SP Chad Billingsley (From Black Hammer)
C Russell Martin (From Team Nelson)
Team Nelson Receives:
SP Dan Haren (From Team Giles)
This was a down year for Black Hammer. My first round pick (Cabrera) was hitting like garbage, my starting pitching wasn't producing (Verlander/Oswalt/Peavy) and the whole draft room laughed at me after I took Curtis Granderson in the 3rd round, not knowing about his broken hand.
In a last effort to salvage my season, I got desperate and dealt that fat pig Cabrera (keep in mind I was a fan of his when he was a Marlin) and a promising pitcher in Billingsley to get K-artist Beckett.
The deal also originally included Dan Haren coming my way, but Team Nelson (also my best friend/roomate at the time) snooped around my laptop during the proposal, ran to his room, and made an offer for Haren that Giles couldn't refuse. I cursed his name the rest of the night, as he also made a deal to receive a (then) hot John Danks for J.D. Drew & receiving the leagues unofficial "Salesman Of The Year" award (no trophy was given, just a lot of grief).
In the end, both the other teams in this deal ended up on the winning side, as Beckett did nothing to improve my team and the other two teams made the playoffs. I can find solace, however, in my second year of finding a rookie third baseman on the waiver wire: Evan Longoria. Sadly, unlike in "Meet The Fockers," they don't give out ninth place ribbons in fantasy sports.
Even with this mixed bag of results, I still find myself drawn to pulling the trigger on the deal in front of me. Like an old man with Alzheimers, I come back to this, forgetting the heartache of the past two season. I'll pretend to be Theo Epstein one more time, hoping I don't end up looking like Brian Cashman.
UPDATE (7/17): The deal has fallen through. Apparently the other team involved thinks there actually ARE ninth place ribbons and is standing pat. The streak is dead! Considering the past deals, this is probably for the best. A-Roid is going down quicker than a TV show adding Ted McGinley to the cast!