After a hard fought inaugural season of the Finders Keepers Rotisserie league, I finally came out on top. This is the first year of keeper league that is based on contracts to define the ability to keep players from year to year.
There are a lot of kinks to iron out in order to prevent tanking. At about the halfway point of the season the teams were essentially split into 3 factions: 2 teams that were emerging as contenders, 4 teams that were figuring out whether to make a run for the last 2 money spots and 2 teams that had tanked and sold off their 1 year contract studs. Already at this stage, the ability for the bottomfeeders to battle for the basement was impacting the dynamics of the competition.
By July 31st, the day of the MLB trade deadline, it was clear who the top 4 were going to be. This led to seriously skewed trades for players picked up off of the waiver by the non-contenders and then sold to the desperate contenders for outrageous prices. Literal windfalls for the contenders at the price of top level draft picks and prospects. This had a serious domino effect on contenders that had strategically built there team without costing their future. A.K.A me. For every move that a contender with an inferior team made, I was forced to sacrifice my future to keep ahead, solely because the rules allowed this inferior team such an unbalanced ability to better their team. The solution of course is going to be to penalize or make it far less lucrative for non-contenders to dump and/or better yet, define rules to encourage teams to remain competitive for as long as possible. My solution is to move to an H2H league that includes the top 6 teams (out of 10) in the playoffs. That way, even down to 6th – as long as you make it into the playoffs you never know what could happen. This will reduce the number of tankers, and the early dates in which owners determine they can tank.
Anyway, back to this season. The 3rd and overwhelmingly unbalanced event occurred on Aug 31st, our leagues trade deadline. It is at this point where the 3rd and 4th players are ensured 3rd or 4th and they deem it is safe to dump their stud 1 year players onto the market….in which there are only 2 buyers, one of which (me) has no desire to forgo his future since he is winning….but may need to do so to prevent the 2nd place from buying up all the talent and making a run.
Of course this is exactly what happened. The 3rd place player was virtually guaranteed 3rd no matter how much talent he dumped. And since he was desperate to recoup some of the high draft picks he gave up earlier, he windfalled 5 stud players to the 2nd place team in exchange for his 1st rd pick. This is so extreme as to be embarrassing to the spirit of the league. And this must be deterred from happening moving forward. What a crushing blow to myself who spent so much time building my team and planning for the future. Of course, I was forced to make a counter move of the extreme nature to fend off. I traded off my 5th rd for similar package of players from the 4th place team and what fortune considering I had to convince her that she couldn’t get 3rd and was guaranteed 4th basically allowing her to buy some future with players she won’t be able to take along to the next year.
The compounding problem here was the following: my team was already loaded with talent in each position. Talent that I had earned through fair negotiation and proper scouting. The talent I bought with my 5th round was only marginal compared to the windfall the other owner received since I was replacing quality with slightly better quality while he was filling glaring holes in his lineup.
The final straw that ALMOST broke the camel’s back (more to come on this) was that due to the dynamics of the teams that tanked early and those that are now starting to coast – the 2nd place team was able to chew up points in the standings by overtaking the tankers. Meanwhile, I was a frontrunner all along and did not have many points to gain since I was already ahead of most players in most categories to begin with. Basically I could now only defend against the onslaught that was coming my way.
And, with a lot of luck, I was able to fend off the challenge. It came down to the last weekend. And it amounted to the fact that I got a cheap win from a closer, a couple of wins on a highly risky 2 start pitcher I bought of waivers that got me 2 wins, and then a final win on the last day to defend 3 precious points. But that wasn’t enough. I was alarmingly overtaken in RBIs by the overwhelming windfall on the 2nd last day. It is only by sheer fortune that my injured players finally came back on the last weekend and outscored my competitor in order for me to take back that 2 point swing.
But that still wasn’t enough! I also needed help from tankers that just couldn’t tank bad enough. There was another team that had a player active that had 6 stolen bases on one day….which passed my competitor and cost him the final devastating point that was needed to insure victory.
Fortunately I was on a golf vacation over the weekend that I didn’t have to torture myself. Apparently, after talking with other owners, it was literally a coin flip down to the last set of games on Sunday.
Over the past month, I was quite disheartened to watch my well earned lead dwindle on a daily basis as my competitor reaped the rewards of his windfalls. It became overtly evident to the commissioners that we simply cannot repeat this type of scenario again so that the skilled owners more often than not will rise to the top. Unfortunately, it became clear to me that any rules we put into place will require some sort of punishment or limitations in the bottom feeders ability to be overly rewarded for tanking and trading off studs for the future. And after being forced to give up so much future in order to stay on top, well, I’m one of those bottom-feeders next year and will be hit hardest in my abilities to rebuild. I saw a 2 year rebuild now instead of 1.
The moves are necessary for the betterment of the league. But what a cost to me and the others who threw everything at this season to win it. It was so disheartening to be involved in this that I’ve often wished, and still do even after winning it, that I wasn’t contending this year so that I could be competitive over the next few years since rebuilding just got harder to do.
Several times I’ve indicated to the commissioners that I will be resigning my team over the offseason. And I’m still leaning towards that. However, there is a little light: I’ve already received some very intriguing offers on some of my studs that I will be offloading in order to rebuild. Lucrative offers that give me hope that with my skills I can rebuild a lot sooner than I had initially thought….regardless of what new rules are put in place.
Stay tuned! I may still be in this league come next year.
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