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Dynasty Rebuild Strategy Part 2 - Using Veterans to Your Advantage


Now that we've decided to rebuild your dynasty or keeper team starting with the waiver wire, let's continue in the process of making it happen. A dynasty rebuild can be an enjoyable endeavor, building a team's identity from the ground up. It should not be a long drawn-out process. It definitely is not as endlessly torturous as some major league teams make it appear. We should have your team competing for the top spot within three years.

Improving your team can be done in a variety of ways. You could collect assets to flip for profit, trade for players that have fallen from grace or just compile players with tremendous upside. All these topics will be covered in this series. In this article, we will discuss veteran players with immediate impact that can be sold for a profit to playoff contenders. Also, look to our waiver wire articles to find players on hot streaks, whose performance is easy to sell in a trade.

Veterans are perfect trade pieces to use to rebuild your roster, particularly when negotiating with teams that need a specific category for the stretch run. These aging players have more value now than they will have in a year or two. Most of these players will see a significant drop-off in value even at the start of 2019, leaving you with less enticing options in return. Keep this in mind for other aging players on your roster. Whatever these veterans garner will help mold the future of your team. Don't just trade for the sake of trading. Make sure you get back pieces that will help you in the future, not just purely speculative assets. I will cover examples of specific assets you should target in an upcoming article.

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This is a continuation of our Dynasty Rebuild Series - check out Part 1: Rebuilding Off The Waiver Wire

 

Veterans Have A Shelf-Life (Sell For Profit)

You will not find these players on the waiver wire. Obviously, some will bring back more than others based on performance, future retainability, and of course, individual league considerations.
Now get out there and SELL, SELL, SELL!

Buster Posey (C, SF)

Posey is not an elite catcher anymore; he should not be treated as such. If you are concerned about trading away a top catcher, don't. Posey's stats are nothing spectacular and can be replicated by streaming and taking a chance on young talent called up from the minors. He has 44 runs, five HR, and 37 RBI this season. Posey is not a power bat; his HR total has gradually declined every year since 2014. The highlighting quality for Posey is his very good plate discipline. He hardly ever strikes out (11.9%) and also gets plenty of walks (9.8%).

The primary league where he is most successful is in OBP leagues, where his .291 batting average and .364 on-base percentage helps most. When a fantasy manager wants to fill a spot with someone that will not hurt the team is the only other situation Posey would be a decent option. Additionally, there are people that are blinded by name value; admittedly, Buster Posey is still a great name. If there are some of those name-value based managers or contenders that want steady, uninspiring performance from the catcher position, send an offer. Proactive fantasy managers cannot afford to have him drift off into the sunset on their rebuilding team.

Matt Carpenter (1B/2B/3B, STL)

There was a time before and even during the season that many had concerns about whether Carpenter still had the ability to be a productive bat. Not surprisingly, he found his way to the waiver wire in quite a few leagues. A few lucky fantasy owners took a chance on him and it has paid off in spades. With 27 HR, Carpenter already has the second most HR of his career, with time left in the season to surpass his career best of 28 in 2015. He is hitting at the top of the lineup resulting in plenty of run-scoring chances; Carpenter has 70 runs already. After a successful career already, the 32-year-old Carpenter is having career bests in OPS (.955), ISO (.291), hard hit rate (51.1%), and line-drive percentage (28.5). Conversely, he has more swinging strikes (8.2%) than he has ever had.

With a tremendous resurgence, Carpenter has provided an opportunity for managers to sell for profit. Another bonus is that he has played enough games to retain eligibility at three positions for 2019. Even at his age, Carpenter still has a couple more years left in him, which is another valuable marketing piece. If you own him, now might be the time to put the word out to the competitive teams. A multi-positional player who is smoking the ball right now can bring back quite a haul.

Edwin Encarnacion (1B, CLE)

Encarnacion is a power bat that any team would be interested in. This one sells itself. The question then becomes what is a fair value to request from the other team. In Encarnacion, you have a young 35-year-old that still has the ability to hit the ball hard (44.2%). In the last six years, the lowest number of homers he hit in a single season was 34. Encarnacion currently sits at 24 and is on pace to surpass 34 homers yet again. This should be an easy sell. Big guaranteed power sells itself. Also, he is hitting .297 with men in scoring position. The Indians' high-powered offense will usually have players in scoring position, hence Encarnacion’s 76 RBI already this season.

The negotiating opponent will talk about Encarnacion’s age and that he isn’t a very good dynasty player. The retort is simple, nothing is guaranteed and age-related drop-offs cannot be accurately predicted (ref. the next player on the list). More specifically though, this current year is part of a dynasty league competition and Encarnacion can unquestionably help a team to the championship. That is why we play, to fly the flag and to score endless bragging rights. Again, be fair in negotiations but he should be able to return something of value.

Nelson Cruz (OF, SEA)

As the grandfather of this list, Cruz exists in the same category as Encarnacion, an aging bat that some will say is on the decline.  But how long can he escape the clutches of baseball’s father of time? That is not the point of this discussion. At issue is Cruz’s ability to help a team compete. Consider that Cruz had a “letdown” season in power last year. By letdown, I mean he failed to reach at least 40 HR for the fourth consecutive season. He only hit 39 in 2017. Altogether, everyone is shaking their head and scoffing at the idea that Cruz had a letdown season in 2017 with 39 homers. So, if we all agree that he is a very good power bat, it should be easy to trade him. He is already at 28 homers and there are still plenty of games to be played. Cruz is hitting .268 this year. If he had a choice of where to play the rest of his games, it would likely be on the road where he is hitting .331.

For a player to continue to hit his age in homers is impressive; to do it when you’re 38 years old is a distinct achievement on its own. Whether or not Cruz accomplishes that for the fifth straight season isn’t why someone would negotiate for him. The suitors for Cruz’s services will be pleased to have a power bat that has a decent average and hits very well in high leverage situations (.308). Sell him now, instead of gambling on a repeat of the age-homer feat in 2019.

Zack Greinke (SP, ARI)

A top pitcher is available on the market. This will make managers trying to win salivate at the opportunity to bolster their staff before the stretch run. Some will consider it downright rude to trade him to a contender. But, you have to do what is best for your team. If you are in rebuild-mode, Greinke's production in the next year or two is not beneficial to you. But, it can be for someone else.

Greinke is having a great season with a 12-6 record and 148 strikeouts in 142 innings. He has also benefitted from the humidor in Chase Field this year. Albeit minute, the results are positive; he has a 2.44 ERA at home versus a 2.87 ERA in 2017. Greinke’s velocity has decreased a little since last season but he is still having success with his four-pitch mix. He is still getting quite a few swings outside the zone (35.4%). Greinke also has an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.92.

If there were a concern, it would be that he is allowing a 41.1% hard-hit rate, which is the worst of his career. Greinke has been able to avoid significant damage this year but there’s no reason to wait for any correction. Greinke is performing as an upper-tier caliber pitcher. He is sure to draw a few interested parties to the trade table. One consideration in a trade is timing. Acquiring a significant arm before the playoff push will make some teams relinquish more than they normally would.

 

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