I Choo-Choo-Choose Choo!

Don’t mess with success.

Some fantasy owners are weary of making trades.  I guess they are happier to regret the deal they didn’t make than the one they did. But I’m not one of those owners. I’m always up for a deal, whether I’m at the top or bottom of the standings. In the Tout Wars Mixed Auction League, I’m currently at the top. But when Scott Pianowski sent me a one-line email on Wednesday night titled “want Choo?”  I didn’t shy away from the conversation.  After four of five more short exchanges, Choo was on my roster, while Angel Pagan and $10 of my remaining FAAB budget were on a flight to Scott’s team. 

When Scott offered me a chance to trade for Choo, I was faced with a big-picture decision. I currently have a lead that has varied from 10-15 points in recent days. So I had two choices:

  1. Play it safe, try to keep my spot in the standings and make another owner come and get me.
  2. Take some risks, and try to widen my lead, to decrease the chances of another owner reaching my point total.

Option #1 sounds really, really boring!  And I didn’t fly all the way to New York in March to manage a team for half a season, before running out the clock the rest of the way.  Win or lose, I’m going to manage my team aggressively the rest of the way.  Last season I had a wide lead at times in the summer before David Gonos reeled me in for a photo finish.  I think it’s far too early for the leader in any league to feel secure in top spot.  I could easily be back with the pack in a month.

I took the chance to buy low on Choo, who I obviously couldn’t get for Pagan and $10 a few weeks ago.  Pagan is a good player, and I own him on almost all my teams this year.  But he doesn’t have the upside of Choo, which is why he went for $26 less in our March auction. Pagan has also dealt with some minor ailments of his own this season, so I’m not sure that he has a better chance than Choo to stay off the DL.  But this trade is more about Choo than Pagan. If Pagan is Pagan and Choo is Choo, then I will do well in the deal.  If Pagan is Pagan and Choo continues to be the player he has been over the past two weeks, then I am in trouble.  I looked at Choo’s splits this season, and he was fine in April in May.  He wasn’t great in those months, but he was good enough to be a valuable contributor. In June, he has been awful.  His ankle injury could be the problem.  Or, he could be in a brief slump that he will work his way out of later this month. Scott knew he was selling low on Choo, but he didn’t want to put up with him anymore.  I knew that I was trading for a risky commodity, and I made the move anyways. 

I made a similar trade a little over a week earlier when I picked up Eric Hosmer from Ray Flowers. If Choo and Hosmer are studs in the second half, I could have a chance to make my team very hard to catch.  If they are duds down the stretch, I will regret trading steady, productive players such as Pagan and Gerardo Parra.  In fantasy sports, anything is better than boring as far as I’m concerned. No matter how this turns out, I will never be the guy who says “thanks, but I’m fine with what I have” when I get an email like the one Scott sent on Wednesday night.

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