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Q&A: Trade Lester and Shields for Braun?

The following article was written by’s team of expert analysts, in response to a question asked by one of our RotoBaller readers.  You can click here for more info if you’re interested in having RotoBaller’s experts answer a custom question.


Question Submitted to RotoBaller >>

I've been offered a trade in my 12 team head 2 head league that I am currently in 1st place in. The guy that offered me the trade is in last place so he is hurting and looking to shake things up quite a bit on his team. He offered me Ryan Braun and Kyle Lohse for Jon Lester and James Shields. I hesitate to pull the trigger but I am very tempted because of Braun, I could care less about Lohse. I worry I am giving up too much though. Should I pull the trigger or counter offer with some different starting pitchers? I need help at relief pitcher right now. This league values RPs way too much because of the K/9 pitching scoring category so they are in short supply. This guy offering me the trade has Tom Wilhelmson, Jim Henderson & Santiago Casilla for his relief pitchers.

  • Player Pool: Mixed;  # of Teams: 12
  • League Info and Categories: Daily H2H.  Batter categories: Runs (R), Home Runs (HR), Runs Batted In (RBI), Stolen Bases (SB), Batting Average (AVG), On-base + Slugging Percentage (OPS). Pitching categories: Wins (W), Saves (SV), Strikeouts (K), Earned Run Average (ERA), (Walks + Hits)/ Innings Pitched (WHIP), Strikeouts per Nine Innings (K/9). No max on trades or acquisitions.
  • Roster Positions: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, Util, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL.
  • Any Other League Details: My team: Salvador Perez (C) Carlos Santana (C, 1B) Daniel Murphy (1B, 2B) Chase Headley (3B) Jean Segura (SS) Shin-Soo Choo (OF) Desmond Jennings (OF) Jose Bautista (OF) Michael Morse (OF) Dan Uggla (2B) Ian Kinsler (2B, DL right now) Michael Cuddyer (1B, OF, DL right now) Hanley Ramirez (3B, SS, DL right now) Starting Pitchers: Justin Verlander Andrew Cashner Kyle Kendrick Jake Peavy Tim Lincecum Jon Lester Mike Minor James Shields Alexi Ogando (DL right now) Coly Lewis (DL right now) Relief Pitcher: Glen Perkins
RotoBaller Detailed Analysis >>

 Hi Rick,

Thanks for your question.

You have a solid team, and when someone asks me a question like this my first instinct is always to look deeper and see if they can afford a trade like this.  Lester and Shields for Braun and Lohse is a good deal in a vacuum, but if your pitching would be hurting without these guys, I might shy away.

That said, your pitching IS solid.  Verlander, Peavy, Minor are a nice 1-3 punch, and Kendrick and Cashner can both provide some nice value (though you may have squeezed all you can out of Kendrick at this point).  You are definitely thinning out your rotation by losing Lester and Shields, and you will have an abundance of hitters...that will happen in any trade where you're giving up 2 stud pitchers. However who said you couldn't make additional deals?  Something like Jennings for 3/4 Starting Pitcher or a Closer.  Getting back to your rotation, Lincecum is a big wild card but is still providing the K/9 your league values.  And I wouldn't looks past Lohse's value. Yes his 1-5 record stinks, but ALL his peripherals are directly in line with last year's numbers. He's still exhibiting great control and he should put up solid ratios (think mid-3 ERA and 1.15 WHIP).  He's definitely a valuable piece, albeit less so in a K/9 league.   So net net I think your pitching is solid enough even after this deal.

One glaring hole is your lack of relief pitchers which as you mentioned is not good in a K/9 league.  To that end, you have one DL spot, and 4 DL players which is not sustainable even with 6 bench slots.  In H2H leagues with no moves limit, you want flexibility to add two-start streamers (another reason I am ok with you trading Lester and Shields by the way), and with your bench hitters and DL players, you can't really stream effectively right now.  I would consider dropping Ogando, who doesn't put up a lot of K's and hasn't looked good this year, for a high-end relief pitcher even if he's not a closer.  You can also drop Uggla who is just not a starting 2B in a 12 team league - he's been so bad he's not worth rostering when you have D Murph starting there.  With your extra 1-2 high K/9 RP's, you'll pick up some of the slack that Lester and Shields are leaving.

I've written two paragraphs and I haven't even mentioned Braun, the centerpiece of the deal.  Honestly, it's because there's not much to say about the guy.  He's a top 5 hitter in fantasy, hands down. If I could trade two #2 SP's for Braun, I would every single day of every week of the year.  Getting Lohse also is a decent cherry on top, but Braun will be amazing for you, and he will allow you to trade Bautista / Choo / Jennings later in the year, if you need to, for a high-K pitcher.  You can't pass up a deal to get Braun when you're not even trading your best pitcher!!!


Net net >>

Yes, I would do the deal in a heartbeat.  If you think the same trade will be there for you after some renegotiation, it certainly can't hurt to ask for a RP instead of Lohse. If you get that, great. If not, I would still make the deal as is.


Hope this was helpful and please continue to hit us up when you need fantasy baseball advice.

All the best,

Alex Roberts -