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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fantasy baseball: The dreaded desperation trade

Have you ever made a trade offer in fantasy, had the opposing owner accept it almost immediately, then wondered, "What the heck did I just do?"

Yeah, that was me this week.

In a 14-team, head-to-head mixed league in which I compete, my catcher is Alex Avila, who went on the disabled list last week with a hamstring injury. Even when he was playing, Avila wasn't helping much, batting .250 with five homers, 20 RBI and a .766 OPS.

Early in the season, my backup was the Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy, whom, you might remember, was injured when a suitcase fell and broke his right hand.

I gave up on Lucroy long before he went on a tear, and long before he went on the DL.

Thus, this past weekend, as a new week approached and I was faced with the prospects of acquiring the likes of Gerald Laird (Avila's backup) on the waiver wire, I offered Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz for Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario to an owner who had the latter languishing on his bench behind Carlos Santana.

As I wrote Sunday night, I like Rosario. But after my trade offer was accepted without a counter offer, I began to second-guess myself.

Then came Tuesday night, when Buchholz won his third consecutive start to improve to 7-2.

Granted, his record is more deceiving than Albert Pujols' slow start, but Buchholz has been very good of late. On the season, he has a 5.38 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. At one point a few weeks ago, Buchholz was 4-2 -- with a 7.84 ERA.

In his last three starts, however, he is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. He has struck out 22 in 24 innings -- an uncharacteristically high total for a pitcher who averaged 6.2 Ks per nine innings in his breakout 2010 season (17-7, 2.33 ERA). In his first nine starts this season, Buchholz had 24 Ks in 49 1/3 innings.

Has he turned his season around? After a back injury ruined his 2011 season, has he returned to the 17-game winner he was two years ago? Did I just make a terrible desperation trade for an unproven catcher with pop?

That remains to be seen.

If Rosario continues at his current home-run pace and Avila, once healthy, continues to hit .250 with so-so power, I'll feel much better about my rushed decision. (In my defense, my starting pitching in that league is very good, so much so Buchholz isn't the best starting pitcher on my bench.)

As it stands now, I can't get past the fact I made a trade offer because I didn't like the possibility of starting a bad waiver-wire pickup behind the plate for a couple of weeks.

The lesson, as always: Be patient.

And at least make your opponent counter your trade offer.

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