Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gambling on Health

We are one month into the fantasy baseball season. My team has climbed slowly from second-last place to seventh (I know that is no glory but it’s a start). However, I am beginning to suspect that I am cursed. My boys are dropping like flies! Injuries in baseball are inevitable, I know, but why must the luck dragons shit on me so hard!? Going into the draft, my scope on injuries was as follows: don’t pick Derrek Lee. He is injury prone (ironically he remains in good health). I have discovered that the art of gambling on the health of players requires a lot of learned knowledge, achieved through experience and a good dose of luck.

From week one, I was already at a disadvantage. I had drafted Johnny Cueto and Brian Matusz. I put Cueto on the DL (we only get one DL spot — THANKS A LOT JAY!!) and resigned myself to having Matusz waste space on my roster. I still am unsure about what I need to do about this situation. I have already waited a month for at least one of them to get back into the game. When should I set the drop-dead date? I want to believe that Cueto will be back after a few more AAA starts. Matusz is so far away from returning. How do I calculate the cost of him sitting on my bench vs. his projected value?

Then there was my gamble on little Tsuyoshi Nikioshia (I suffer from the Japanese baseball player bias). I knew Tsuyoshi was a risk as it was his first year in the MLB but I was willing to give him a chance. I had delusions of grandeur of owning this stealth little RBI-earning, stealing machine. I watched him play against the Jays for opening weekend and was amused — but definitely not impressed — with his performance. As much as I enjoyed his antics, I knew I needed to let him go. On the day that I dropped him, Nick Swisher broke his motherfucking leg!! Although I preemptively dumped him, I still feel that this is relevant to my Curse.

My next big hit was Josh Hamilton. Why didn’t anyone warn me about his substance abuse issues?!? Why did he have to dive for third!? He was one of my few power hitters. He was my stud. Now he rots on my bench with Matusz. I have been told that Hamilton was out for six weeks last season but still managed to amass 95 runs, 186 hits and 100 RBIs. I have considered trying to leverage his solid track record in a trade for something that will help me in the now, but at the end of the day, I think I will keep him.

In the last week, I have had a series of mediocre player injuries. The first to go was Aaron Hill. I like Aaron Hill a lot but he has definitely not been having a great season. Next was Josh Willingham (my replacement Tsuyoshi) followed by Chris Coghlan. The latter two are only on day-to-day but when I have no players to put in the game, and three under-performers sitting on my bench, I really begin to question what I am doing with my team. Are they really worth waiting for?

In total, I have six players out of 24 injured. I know it is time for me step it up as GM and make some decisions. Do I have faith in the law of averages? Will my super team ever come into fruition? This is what keeps me up late at night.

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