No points for defense

In the Fantasy Baseball UK competition, you can make as many trades as you like.  You don’t have a single pool of players to draft from; everyone is open for selection regardless of who the other owners have on their rosters.  The only limitations are that you have to select players who are eligible for the designated positions and you cannot exceed your $12m budget.  Any changes you make take effect from 18.00 on Sunday.

This provides considerable scope for flexibility to replace players who are injured or run into bad form.  Which, of course, is a nightmare for people who are liable to panic or get a bit impatient.

I’m now in my fourth year of competing in the FBUK competition and so far I’ve resisted the urge to replace every single member of my roster in one fell swoop, but I’ve come close on a few occasions.  Every Sunday, the voice at the back of your head says: “if you get rid of him, you know he’ll hit like gangbusters for the next seven days”.  So what do you do?  Keep hold of the player and they are guaranteed to continue their slump.  Cast him aside and the prophecy will inevitably come true.  It’s designed to send you mad.

Rafael Furcal was busy racking up points until his back started playing up recently.  It was one of those tricky situations where nobody is willing to commit themselves to predicting how long the player will be out of action.  Joe Torre was making noises about Furcal possibly being back in the line-up on Tuesday and that only made the decision more difficult as I surveyed my gang of mediocrity on Sunday afternoon.  Do I trade him away and get a replacement with the money, or do I keep him on the roster and just stick him on the bench for a few days, hoping that he will playing again later in the week?

Trying not to make a reckless decision, I calmly thought through the options and focused on the crucial factor: if I’m putting Furcal on the bench, who will take his place and is he going to get me any points in the meantime?  A quick look at Asdrubal Cabrera’s stats so far this season had my mouse pointer twitching over Furcal’s name.

Cabrera seemed like a sensible pick-up as a bench player when I selected him.  He’s listed as a shortstop (so you can slot him in to most positions on the team), he was relatively cheap and he had a better chance of seeing regular playing time than the other options I considered.  Trouble is, Cabrera’s been ice cold at the plate.  Logic dictated that I would be better off looking elsewhere so, naturally, I out-thought myself and decided to stick with him (on the basis that he’s been poor lately, so he’s bound to start hitting soon).

When I logged on to MLB.com while eating my breakfast this morning, who should be on the main page but my great new shortstop (who I never doubted for one second).   His home run, hit, run and 2 RBIs amounted to 14 FBUK points, which wasn’t a bad return at all for a stop-gap player. 

The big news was that Cabrera had turned an unassisted triple play.  You get no points for defense (“not in this game”), which seemed to me an incredible injustice as I walked to work.  Three outs in one play and he doesn’t get a single point?  It’s worth twenty-five at least!  My hopes rested on the FBUK authorities citing an exceptional circumstances clause and introducing a ’25 points for an unassisted triple play’ bonus, with all points backdated to the start of the season.

I logged on to their site a few minutes ago and found no such news.  Then I visited MLB.com and read that the Dodgers have just placed Furcal on the 15 day DL.

Never mind fancy defensive plays, Asdrubal. Start hitting, and fast!

Sunday seems a long way away right now.

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