The fantasy baseball trade market is a tough nut to crack. So many things can impact a player's value in the eyes of a potential trade partner that you really need to be careful when constructing a deal so as to maximize your trade value. Right now there are thousands of Volquez owners out there trying to figure this kid out. Is he for real? It's hard to say. The guy has electric stuff, but his home park is the size of a shoe box and historically he has had a fondness for issuing the free pass. That said, Volquez has been nothing short of lights out this season boasting a scrawny 1.32 ERA and a very respectable 1.16 WHIP. I mean are you kidding me? Oh and did I mention that he has 8 wins and 91 K's through a mere 75 IP. Filthy!
I remember when I first heard of the deal that sent Josh Hamilton to the Reds. With Jay Bruce on the way up it wasnt surprising that Cinncy would make room in the crowded outfield for him, but when I saw who Hamilton was traded for my jaw dropped in shock and utter disgust. I'm no Reds fan, but any time you think a solid player has just been given away for a bag of oatmeal and a TV Guide it gets you riled up. I get especially pissed for two reasons when this happens. First, the fact that teams actually pay people to make these types of gigantic blunders, when I would make better decisions, and for free. And second, I want to know what the Great Theo was doing when this charitable donation was made. (Probably jamming with his rock band or explaining to John Henry that JD Drew is worth 15 million a season but Manny isnt worth 20). To me, Volquez was some hack that threw real hard and missed real bad, and if he couldnt cut it in Arlington, Great American would be no different. It appears however, that I was wrong. As good as Hamilton has been, and he's been really good, Fast Eddyhas been every part his equal. I mean have you ever seen a deal work out so well for both sides before? I owe Wayne Krivsky an apology, and so do the Reds. When he got canned only a handful of games into the season I actually applauded the move. Now I realize that maybe I am not the infallible wealth of baseball knowledge that I previously thought. If it hadnt been for good ol' Wayne, who knows what would have happened to Volquez, or my pitching staff for that matter. And where would Texas and Cinncy be? Well... a quick check of the standings reveals that they probably would be in the same place, but at least the two teams have gotten some added fantasy fan fare.
But here we are a third of the way through the season and the time has come to begin assessing the future of Fast Eddyand my team. Yes, I am in first place and yes, it is in large part to his efforts, but do I want to risk holding on to the young phenom when the music stops? No, definitely not. When Cueto first came up on to waivers there was instant buzz, everyone wanted him. His electric 10 K outing to start his MLB career only fueled the flames further. Team RyanBraun+20Gentiles, managed by my man J Sherr wisely used his waiver priority to snatch up young Cueto. Unfortunately, his asking price was way too high and he turned down a host of deals that he is since regretting. Two starts after his fantasy introduction, young Cueto came crashing back down to Earth with such a force that only Homer Bailey could relate. Now, despite his significantly lowered asking price, J Sherr couldnt move Cueto for a bag of farts. Like many Volquez owners, I do not want to share in a Cueto like fate. Now that this season has some wear on its tires, and Volquez' numbers appear to be a little more credible the time is right to deal. But what is appropriate value?
Aim high, aim very high. By this point in time anyone worth his fantasy salt knows about Volquez' domination and they've known about it for some time. Chances are that many people in your league envision him as a possible bargain, they anticipate our fear of implosion and as a matter of friendship will offer to take him off our hands for a guy of roughly 8th to 10th round draft value. Dont bite! For every guy that is trying to make a cheap and quick score there is another just begging to over pay. These guys are less vocal concerning their interest, and it is you who must find them. So quietly start inquiring with all the teams in your league, target teams with lopsided offensive stats. These guys usually draft pretty well, but due to injury and the fleeting nature of pitching talent in general they are suffering and are likely desperate.
A fair trade for Volquez right now would probably be in the neighborhood of a Brian Roberts/Garret Atkins type. A solid player but no one that is going to single handedly make or break a season. If you are involved in an offer that involves this type of player, do not reject it, but do not accept it. Low ball offers at this point in time are anything less than top flight closers, tier 2 pitchers, or guys like Bobby Abreu/Tori Hunter/Derek Jeter. Anything falling into this category simply reject out of hand, even if Fast Eddyslows down or ends up crapping out altogether his potential benefit to your team if he doesnt outweighs the help that these types of guys can give you.
Look for a deal that gets you top-flight, proven talent. Again, look to the lopsided offensive teams. Usually they will have one offensive stud that they can convince themselves to part with. You're not gonna be able to get top flight talent like David Wright or Han Ram, unless you are dealing with my brother or Theo Epstein, but you can get level 2 bopper like an under-performing Carlos Beltran, Vlad Guerrero, or Carlos Lee. Ichiro would also be a nice score right now. He is ripping apart the base paths right now, and will continue to do so as long as he is batting in front of 8 automatic outs. Also, you may be able to get a Matt Capps type thrown in as well, seeing as Ichiro has yet to start hitting for average.
I know it is going to be hard, especially for those of you who do not have a strong staff outside of '08's version of '06's Liriano (and we all remember how that fairytale ended), but you gotta do it if you want to give your squad the best chance at sustained success. If you hit big on the Volquez deal and he maintains his dominance the length of the season, you will not have lost out that badly provided you picked up the right players on the receiving end. I'm telling you, you will be thanking me in September if you made the move. The summer months are coming and with it the hot weather that is all so conducive to monstrous jacks and horrific shellings. As much as I love Volquez and what he has done for me, I want to be nowhere near Volquez and the Great American ballpark come July. Check back with me in a couple weeks and I will let you know what i was able to get for him in my keeper league. Until then good luck and Godspeed.