Full Disclosure: Getting down to the nitty gritty

It was Sunday afternoon when I knew I wanted to make a deal. Too late, quite frankly.

One of the league's co-commissioners had sent out a reminder late Thursday, letting us know we had three days until the deadline. I interpreted it as three days to procrastinate.

12-team mixed Rotisserie
Player Pos Tm
Jorge Posada C NYY
Kurt Suzuki C OAK
Kendry Morales 1B LAA
Dustin Pedroia 2B BOS
Kevin Youkilis 3B BOS
Gordon Beckham SS CHW
Dan Uggla MI FLA
Todd Helton CI COL
Shane Victorino OF PHI
Shin-Soo Choo OF CLE
Alex Rios OF CHW
Juan Rivera OF LAA
Ryan Ludwick OF STL
Michael Cuddyer DH MIN
Edwin Jackson P DET
John Lackey P LAA
Gavin Floyd P CHW
Jair Jurrjens P ATL
Ryan Dempster P CHC
Joel Pineiro P STL
Brian Fuentes P LAA
Chad Qualls P ARI
Andrew Bailey P OAK
Jose Reyes (DL) SS NYM
Justin Upton (DL) OF ARI

Perhaps I would've acted with more urgency if I knew I had another loss ahead of me. By Sunday, I did, and I realized if I didn't want to risk missing the playoffs, I had to do something to make my team not just good, but invincible.

Besides, I hadn't made a trade all year, which is more than a little unnatural for the guy who's held the reputation of constant trader since the earliest days of our 10-team mixed Head-to-Head league. Back in 2004, when I still had the luxury of playing out one league at a time, I made a grand total of 13 trades, which I can only assume is a league record. Back then, I operated under the mantra "if you're not trading, you're not trying," believing anyone with enough knowledge and experience could make just about any team into a winner through trading.

So I had two things at stake with this specific trade deadline in this specific league: my reputation as a winner and my reputation as a trader. Both meant something to me, but apparently not enough for me to drag myself over to the computer earlier in the week. Because there I was Sunday afternoon, scrambling.

Some deadlines go quietly, with only one or two exchanges of borderline waiver types. Others change the entire landscape of the league, with every team fortifying for a playoff run or positioning itself for next year. But no matter what shape your deadline takes, it starts earlier than the deadline itself. Every deal takes time.

And on this Sunday afternoon, in my league with the most at stake, I just didn't have enough.

12-team mixed Rotisserie (3rd; 5x5 Score: 78.0)

But before we get into the deadline madness of that league, I first need to touch on my 12-team mixed Rotisserie league, which has fallen back into the purgatory of third place with the injury to Justin Upton.

I had pretty much resigned to crossing my fingers and hoping for a quick return when something miraculous happened.

Somebody, in some kind of epiphany you only get while gassed up in the dentist chair, released Alex Rios for Julio Borbon.

10-team mixed Head-to-Head
Player Pos Tm
Ryan Doumit C PIT
Lance Berkman 1B HOU
Chase Utley 2B PHI
Kevin Youkilis 3B BOS
Hanley Ramirez SS FLA
Shane Victorino OF PHI
Adam Lind OF TOR
Andre Ethier OF LAD
Ben Zobrist DH TB
Denard Span DH MIN
Josh Johnson SP FLA
Jon Lester SP BOS
Wandy Rodriguez SP HOU
J.A. Happ SP PHI
Scott Feldman SP TEX
Ryan Franklin RP STL
David Aardsma RP SEA
Todd Helton 1B COL
B.J. Upton OF TB
Carlos Quentin OF CHW
Matt Garza SP TB
James Shields SP TB
Jorge De La Rosa SP COL
Derek Holland SP TEX
Jonathan Broxton RP LAD

I don't get it. I understand Borbon has the potential to steal bases, but so does Rios. And for as much as Rios has "struggled" this year, he still ranks 33rd among outfielders, in between Brad Hawpe and Nate McLouth. Considering he's batting .297 over the last three seasons, he only stands to improve over the final seven weeks and could end up providing numbers almost identical to Upton's. I'd rather have Upton, but Rios softens the blow.

I also don't get how I managed to scoop up Rios on Sunday night when the guy released him Sunday afternoon. Did nobody else visit the computer all those hours? Did anyone who did just not see the value in adding Rios? I can tell you my debate between Rios and Aubrey Huff didn't last long. As far as I'm concerned, the only team that got Rios easier than mine did was the White Sox.

Now it's just a matter of seeing if he delivers ... and waiting for Upton to return. I don't plan to make any dramatic changes in the future, though I might eventually replace one of my team's closers -- most likely Andrew Bailey -- for a high-strikeout starting pitcher like Jorge De La Rosa. I have a chance to gain two points in strikeouts while I'm pretty much set in fourth place in saves, eight behind third place and 14 ahead of fifth. If not for the effect Bailey has on my ERA and WHIP, I might have made the move already.

Maybe if I dumped Chad Qualls instead ...

10-team mixed Head-to-Head (6th; Record: 10-9)

Yup, no deals for me.

I even had the perfect bargaining chip: Jonathan Broxton. I didn't need him since I also had Ryan Franklin and David Aardsma, had lost faith in him because of his 6.41 ERA since June 20, and believed others would covet him in a league that awards 10 points per save.

I knew I didn't have time to waste trying the squeeze the maximum possible return out of one of my opponents. To get a deal done that afternoon, I had to put my best possible offer on the table right away. I had to make it eye-catching -- something that would make the other guy say "wow" without sacrificing more of my roster than I could adequately replace. This wasn't about gauging anyone's interest; I had to make a deal someone would want and want now.

So I readied my big guns, not limiting myself to just my own excess. I looked for the team with the biggest need at closer -- someone starting Jim R. Johnson, perfect -- and offered him Broxton and Kevin Youkilis for Alex Rodriguez.

12-team AL-only Rotisserie
Player Pos Tm
Gregg Zaun C TB
Chris Gimenez C CLE
Aubrey Huff 1B DET
Brian Roberts 2B BAL
Alex Rodriguez 3B NYY
Jhonny Peralta SS CLE
Placido Polanco MI DET
Billy Butler CI KC
Shin-Soo Choo OF CLE
Pat Burrell OF TB
Andruw Jones OF TEX
Clete Thomas OF DET
Ty Wigginton OF BAL
Edwin Encarnacion DH TOR
Jon Lester P BOS
Jeff Niemann P TB
Michael Wuertz P OAK
Matt Guerrier P MIN
Neftali Feliz P TEX
Mark Lowe P SEA
Fu-Te Ni P DET
David Robertson P NYY
Lance Cormier P TB
Carlos Santana C CLE
Mike Carp 1B SEA
Alexi Casilla 2B MIN
Trevor Crowe OF CLE
Gabe Kapler OF TB
Aaron Cunningham OF OAK
Kila Ka'aihue DH KC
Lou Montanez (DL) OF BAL
Tim Wakefield (DL) P BOS
Daisuke Matsuzaka (DL) P BOS
Kevin Slowey (DL) P MIN
Koji Uehara (DL) P BAL

Without skipping a beat, I moved on to the next team needing a closer -- one starting Andrew Bailey, a pitcher who hadn't put together a 20-point week since April. In him, I saw my opportunity to land Carlos N. Lee, a personal favorite of mine in leagues that deduct points for strikeouts. In addition to Bailey, this owner had another weakness, a starting rotation that included Carl Pavano and Jeff Niemann, so I included one of my own starting pitchers in an effort to seal the deal. I offered Broxton, Denard Span and James Shields for Lee.

Finally -- and this deal seemed like a complete Hail Mary, but I didn't want to limit my possibilities -- I targeted the owner of Trevor Hoffman, whose numbers look good enough, but who hasn't scored as many as 25 points since the first week of June. I offered him Broxton, Shields and Todd Helton for Mark Teixeira.

Needless to say, the deals led to nothing -- two of them literally, as in no rejection notices, counterproposals or raucous laughter, which tells me even if the two owners saw the proposals, they didn't have enough time to take them seriously. And who can blame them? No one wants to rush into a big move. It takes thought, and thought takes time.

The one owner who did respond was the one I considered most likely to accept my proposal -- the one with Lee. He told me while he didn't see Span as a huge downgrade from Lee and did need starting pitching, he felt confident enough with Bailey (hmm ...) that the loss of Lee exceeded the gain of Broxton, Span and Shields. I didn't agree with his reasoning, but I appreciated his response and immediately wondered if I should have offered Matt Garza instead of Shields -- again, something I could have tried if I had more time.

So forward I march with my same group of losers who've now gone 1-4 over the last five weeks. I'm still first in points, but who cares? I have to go 2-0 over the next two weeks to reclaim a playoff spot.

Fortunately, the return of Lance Berkman allowed me to bench the slumping Todd Helton, but I didn't stop there. Carlos Quentin also took a seat in favor of the trusty Denard Span, who I can never bring myself to start even though he almost always tops 15 points.

I took a chance with my pitching staff too, benching both Garza and Shields in the same week for the first time all season. The surprise starting nod went to Scott Feldman, who I've never given much credit but who makes two starts this week. None of my other pitchers do.

Feldman took the roster spot of Brett Cecil. I also added Derek Holland, who has made significant strides, for Chris Volstad, who hasn't, and cut Leo Nunez when I activated Berkman.

12-team NL-only Rotisserie
Player Pos Tm
Koyie Hill C CHC
Yorvit Torrealba C COL
Mark DeRosa 1B STL
Emilio Bonifacio 2B FLA
Aramis Ramirez 3B CHC
Hanley Ramirez SS FLA
Stephen Drew MI ARI
Chad Tracy CI ARI
Carlos Lee OF HOU
Jayson Werth OF PHI
Brad Hawpe OF COL
Elijah Dukes OF WAS
Angel Pagan OF NYM
Will Venable DH SD
J.A. Happ P PHI
Ryan Dempster P CHC
Jorge De La Rosa P COL
Jose Valverde P HOU
Mike MacDougal P WAS
Mike Adams P SD
Nick Masset P CIN
Todd Coffey P MIL
Mark DiFelice P MIL
Travis Ishikawa 1B SF
Josh Whitesell 1B ARI
Pedro Alvarez 3B PIT
Greg Dobbs 1B/3B/OF PHI
Nate Schierholtz OF SF
Sam Fuld OF CHC
Braden Looper P MIL
Alfredo Amezaga (DL) SS/OF FLA
Brett Myers (DL) P PHI
Micah Owings (DL) P CIN

12-team AL-only Rotisserie (5th; 5x5 Score: 63.0)

In retrospect, I probably should have traded Jon Lester for Jacoby Ellsbury. It would have given me a better chance to move up in the standings than I have now.

I'm 17 1/2 points out of fourth place and slowly coming to realize I might not have a chance to finish higher than fifth. It's a painful realization given as far as I've come, but it doesn't mean I'll stop trying to disprove it.

Apparently we all stopped trying earlier this week, though. Somebody won Randy Ruiz -- the Blue Jays' new primary DH -- with a bid of $0. That shouldn't happen, not in a league where somebody owns Fu-Te Ni.

Side note: Ni is actually pitching pretty well. He should be owned in more leagues than he is.

For all you prospect hounds out there, Eric Mack, who keeps up with prospects more than most people keep up with their checking accounts, dropped Justin Smoak and added Austin Jackson.

It has to mean something. I personally prefer Smoak to Jackson, but Emack must have made that switch for a reason.

12-team NL-only Rotisserie (5th; 5x5 Score: 82.0)

Oh look, I've topped 80 points.

One week after gaining nine points, I gained 4 1/2. This team has apparently found its stride, and it's only getting better and better. If the first-place team didn't have 103 points, I'd like my chances.

I noticed someone added Jason Heyward this week. As a Braves fan, I don't see them rushing their future centerpiece to the majors at age 20, but minor-league pitching can't seem to contain him. It's an interesting add -- potentially an ingenious add -- but one I think will ultimately prove fruitless.

No crazy lineup changes for me this week, though I did drop Micah Hoffpauir for Sam Fuld. If the Cubs like one more than the other, I guess I should too, not that I foresee Fuld playing much for them ... or me. Knock on wood.

I also substituted Mark DiFelice for Braden Looper, which I'll do whenever Looper has a one-start week. I figure DiFelice will help more in ERA, WHIP and maybe even strikeouts during those weeks. Whenever Looper makes two starts, I'll take my chances with the poor ratios for the increased possibility of a win.

20-team mixed Head-to-Head (3rd NL-only side; Record: 10-9)
(10 teams NL-only, 10 teams AL-only)

This is not the time to get flaky.

20-team mixed Head-to-Head
Player Pos Tm
Chris Iannetta C COL
Lance Berkman 1B HOU
Brandon Phillips 2B CIN
Martin Prado 3B ATL
Everth Cabrera SS SD
Carlos Lee OF HOU
Shane Victorino OF PHI
Elijah Dukes OF WAS
Pedro Feliz DH PHI
J.A. Happ SP PHI
Joel Pineiro SP STL
Ryan Dempster SP CHC
John Lannan SP WAS
Pedro Martinez SP PHI
Heath Bell RP SD
Chad Qualls RP ARI
Nick Johnson 1B FLA
Seth Smith OF COL
Gary Sheffield OF NYM
Tim Stauffer SP SD
Bobby Parnell SP NYM
Jose Reyes (DL) SS NYM
Chris Young (DL) SP SD
Randy Johnson (DL) SP SF

You never like to be in a situation where you have to decide between a stud with a day-to-day injury or a marginal backup who you know will at least get to play a full week. It's never good, but in a must-win scenario, it's the pits.

It's the situation I faced, though, when setting my lineup for this week. Brandon Phillips, Martin Prado and Nick Johnson, while not studs, have become mainstays in my lineup, and all entered the week with red crosses next to their names at a time when one wrong lineup decision could literally make or break my season. Perfect.

With Lance Berkman returning -- one small bit of good news, thank God -- I couldn't justify starting Johnson. He has a hamstring injury, and those rarely sideline a player for just a day or two. I could see him putting up a big, fat zero this week.

As for Phillips (bruised hand) and Prado (dizziness), I kept both active. I couldn't find anyone nearly as good as Phillips off the waiver wire, and Prado's injury didn't strike me as serious. If it did, I could have moved Pedro Feliz to third base and started someone like Seth Smith at DH.

Perhaps I should have. Perhaps Prado's dizziness -- still a mystery of sorts -- will linger all week and prove the direct cause of my demise. It'd be a kind of poetic justice for me hyping Prado as the second coming of Jason Bartlett.

I exaggerate, of course. Or did I back then?

Just to be clear, I don't have to win in this final week to make the playoffs. But if I lose, I'll need the two teams behind me to lose also. A win guarantees I'm in.

So naturally, I turn to a completely unproven commodity in Pedro Martinez -- and for two starts, no less. He'll either give my starting rotation its biggest boost since I traded for Joel Pineiro or destroy me by scoring minus-45 points.

He replaces Braden Looper, who I ended up cutting so I could instead bank on the upside of Bobby Parnell. I couldn't see myself substituting Looper for any of my top five pitchers now that I count Martinez among them, but if Parnell follows up his first start with more like it, he could potentially replace John Lannan.

To make room for Berkman, I cut Randy Winn. He doesn't look like an everyday player now with Eugenio Velez and Nate Schierholtz both in the picture for the Giants.

If I make the playoffs with a team that lost its first-round pick (Jose B. Reyes) and three of its top four pitchers (Brett Myers, Chris R. Young and Randy Johnson) to what have amounted to (or at least look like) season-ending injuries, I'll feel pretty good. Then again, if this team makes the playoffs and that juggernaut from my 10-team mixed Head-to-Head league doesn't, something will have gone seriously wrong in the world of Fantasy.

Nothing poetic about that injustice.

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Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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