The Joy of FAABing

By John Coleman, statistical expert at the Shrink

Monday, May 8, 2000

I just love FAABing. Way back in the 80ís, if you remember, free agents werefirst-come, first-serve. This caused an unbelievable panic at the tradingdeadline. (June 15th in those days) Of course, free roster substitution was notallowed, causing owners to sit on demoted or injured players, preserving the"open spot" as they waited for a hot prospect to be promoted.

If your team was too healthy, you could salivate over an Alvin Davis foralmost a month, (as I did in 1984) before watching someone elseís first basemango down before yours did.

FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget, as Iím sure you know) changed all that,and makes the in-season game much more active and rewarding. Controlling thedamage caused by poor pitching is the best part, and the overall value ofpitchers is raised by the option to remove at will. The deeper your league, themore fun FAAB can be.

Iím a "feel" bidder; I never use any formulas or projections toarrive at a figure. I believe in making as many claims over the course of a seasonas I can. The earlier you FAAB, the less you pay, I always say. The $0 minimumbid used in Toutwars fits my style perfectly.

The best thing about Toutwars is watching the pros make stupid moves. Iímgoing to review my moves so far this season, and offer an occasional defense ofthem. I like to think that I make the best stupid moves, so see if you agree:

April 8th

I spent this week on the learning curve. I couldnít figure out the internetroster-move system, although I managed to make a rather panicked bid of $3 onJohn Frascatore. I have since come to my senses and waived him. A waste.

April 15th

I really made up for lost time this week, spending money on 8 free agents.After a bit of study, I became adept enough at the system to bid $11 on ScottSchoeneweis. This young man has had his share of misfortunes, including cancer,but heís pitching like an old pro right now. After that shutout, I felt likemaking a good-sized bid, but I did not actually expect to get him for $11. Heísearned that and more so far, and itís safe to say that he hasnít been a freeagent anywhere for a while.

I made another aggressive bid on Wiki Gonzales ($8). Itís high, but since Iowned Carlos Hernandez, I needed this man more than anyone else could have.Carlos may yet be moved, and Wiki has hit.

Jason Bere cost me $6, but heís pretty questionable. I was right up againstthe deadline again, and was throwing caution to the winds. Itís funny how agreat start makes you bid like crazy for an old retread. Iíd feel a lot betterabout this fellow if Iíd paid $1!

Now here was a mistake: Andrew Lorraine for $6. I wrote down $0, and wasworking right up to the deadline. I misread my chicken-scratch, and hastilywasted some FAAB. Most folks wouldnít even have taken him for $0, I know, but Ithought Iíd give him a chance after he struck out 10 that day. Donít try thisat home. Oh, I waived him last week.

Danny Klassen seems like a funny pick for $2, but he played a few games forMatt Williams, and I have a strange dislike for Tony Womack. I just like thiskid, and I want him around on reserve.

Chris Stynes is a nice spare part to have around, and heís fast. Heís been aneffective pinch-hitter so far, though I would appreciate a start now and then.$2 again. I have a lot of holes to fill.

Geoffrey Blum ($1) has a little bit of pop. If he played, he could help ateam. I later waived him, because heís not going to play. Oh, well.

Finally, I took Danny Bautista for $0. He had been getting a couple of oddstarts in Florida, and I wanted to see if I could snatch a couple of RBIs for aweek or two. That didnít happen, and I waived him two weeks later.

April 22nd

I calmed down a bit this week, adding Jason Dickson for $6. Heís got adefense behind him and an offense in front of him, and goodness knows heís hadenough rest lately. Hopefully, heíll earn some money when he gets off of theDL.

April 29th

Made a nice pickup with Midre Cummings for $3. He might finally find someplaying time in Minnesota. Heís a perfect choice to retard the development of ayoungster. Remember that Tom Kelly likes the scrubs to get plenty of time, justto keep everyone humble. Minnesota always has the best scrubs.

Mark Lewis was an easy $0. He was all that was left after Cummings! Trulyslim pickings this week in the American league.

Placido Polanco had been pounding the ball, so I picked him up for $4. Hepromptly stopped pounding, but his power might actually be for real. When Tatistore his groin, I thought I might really have lucked into something, but Iguess Iíll have to wait for Paquette to tear a groin, too.

Heathcliff Slocumb is almost old enough to really appeal to Tony LaRussa.The pressure is completely off Heath now, and heís pitching rather well. I bid$3 on him, but please donít tell him. Heíll get nervous.

In desperation, I tabbed James Mouton for $0. (To replace Bautista) I hadtried for two other outfielders, but was outbid. The NL bidding system allowsfor alternates, and I make extensive use of this feature.

May 6th

The missing outfielder continues to taunt me. I take Rob Ducey for $0. Now Ireally like making $0 bids, but Iíd like it even better if the Phillies wouldtrade Ron Gant so I could activate Pat Burrell and forget about thepinch-hitters.

Jolbert Cabrera is a nice ballplayer. I got him for $3. He built himself upover the winter and could impress while substituting for Lofton. Heísoutstandingly versatile, but is only a backup.

Shane Halter is another true $0 pickup. If Garner takes a liking to him, hecould collect a hundred at bats or so. I surely hope that I donít have him longenough to find out.

Matt Mieske is my secret pick $0 for next week. Donít anybody bid on him.

Happy bidding, folks.




Subscription Info | About Sandlot Shrink | Testimonials