I've come to a crossroads.
I've written over the last week about a handful of undrafted pitchers I've made a point to sign in my mixed leagues -- Edwin Jackson, Jonathan O. Sanchez, Dana Eveland and Ryan Dempster, to name a few. I've even released members of my starting lineup -- second catchers, fifth outfielders -- just to make sure I got my hands on them before anyone else did. I figured, hey, I'll secure them now and worry about filling the holes later.
Well, it's later. My lineup is still illegal, and I don't have anybody I want to release.
I usually reach this point during the season, but I always hope it comes a little later than the end of Week 2, when I have only a limited glimpse of what my free-agent pitchers might become. I want to know I can trust them -- and make no mistake, I will be trusting them.
But I don't have a say in the matter. Ready or not, the time has come for me to go all-in on my first trade of the season. No more hesitation. No more time to debate or dilly-dally. I need to clear roster space by the stroke of midnight or risk losing something for nothing.
So I need to offer something good, a deal so overwhelming that the other guy can't possibly refuse it. That said, I also want to improve my team -- that's the whole point, after all -- and the only way to justify giving up several good players is to get a great player in return.
Yes, I plan to strike the 'ole four-for-one deal, the bane of every seasoned Fantasy owner's existence -- except I plan to pull it off with another seasoned Fantasy owner.
Which means I can't do the obvious. I can't offer the guys I just pulled off waivers because my trading partner will know better. I can argue they're on the verge of a breakout until I'm blue in the face, but it won't matter. He won't want to take that leap of faith.
So I have to. I have to take that leap of faith, put my money where my mouth is and prove I have the cajones needed to win this thing. I have to deal off my proven starting pitchers, like John Maine and A.J. Burnett, and trust my free agents to take their spots in the starting lineup.
And why shouldn't I? I targeted the Edwin Jacksons over the Todd Wellemeyers because I thought they had the potential to produce over the long haul, as opposed to just beginning the season on a hot streak, and counting on them now could mean the difference between running away with the league title and just kind of hanging around near the top.
Of course, it could also mean the total destruction of my pitching staff, but because I have four potential breakouts and I plan to trade two pitchers, I need only half to emerge as reliable Fantasy contributors.
But first, I needed to find a trading partner with a couple of gaping needs, and low and behold, I spotted one who has Reed Johnson starting in his outfield and a couple of setup men starting on his staff. Yeah, he'll do.
Here's what I came up with:
SP John Maine
SP A.J. Burnett
SS Stephen Drew
OF Michael Bourn
SS Hanley Ramirez
I could certainly understand him rejecting this deal. I'm clearly getting the best player involved, and most seasoned Fantasy owners want the side with the best player. But I've also offered him quite a haul -- the kind that could instantly transform a bad team into a decent one, depending on need, and he might leap at the opportunity to take a step forward at three positions while taking a step back at one.
Let's just hope he doesn't read my blog.
That's all for now.