The math finally caught up to my team’s bad luck and awfulness this week. I’m three games out from the next lowest team, also on the fringes of the playoffs, and there are only three weeks left. I felt I could’ve actually made a comeback if I had happened to win this week, but at this point I have no real incentive to make new pickups or serious lineup moves.
My outfield (Hunter Pence, Max Kepler, Aaron Judge) showed no home run power this week and suffered in batting average and were light in the counting stats. Brad Miller, who I really should’ve picked up two weeks ago in place of Marcus Semien, homered three times. His Tampa Bay Rays cohort Logan Forsythe homered twice, which was amazing considering he only played two games in Week 20 due to some back tightness.
Pitching was bad as usual, but what else is new? Just when you thought it was safe to start Joe Musgrove as one of the newest in the breakout class, he gets blown up for eight runs. Same for Dylan Bundy, who gave up five, and Michael Fulmer, who gave up six and only fanned one batter, easily his worst start of the season. Still, he’s sitting on a 2.58 ERA for the season, so he’s allowed to have one bad start, but why did it have to be this week?
At this point though, none of it matters. So the real interesting story of the week had to due with the rest of the league. I’ll start with this question: what do you do in the event of a technical error? A fuck up, if you will?
Two weeks ago I traded Jose Bautista to Team Hog Heat for a 5th round pick and Anthony DeSclafani. At the start of this week, Bautista promptly went back on the DL, but is already expected to be back maybe as early as this week. In a surprise to me, I saw that Hog Heat had then dropped Bautista, who should never be unowned. I had waiver priority and picked him back up, because why not? I thought I was in the playoff hunt after all! Late this week then, I woke up to an email sent to the league from Hog Heat saying there had been a mistake regarding his dropping of Bautista and Michael Wacha, who he acquired in another trade. Bautista (and Wacha from another new team) had then been removed from my lineup and added back to Hog Heat’s team.
A little more context: perhaps the only team in the league who made more add/drops this season than me was Hog Heat. Each week around Wednesday he would drop about half, or maybe all, of his active pitching staff and replace them with new two-start pitchers for the week. This makes a lot of sense in a points league, in which more innings and more strikeouts means more points on the whole. In a Roto or categories league, it’s a mixed bag. More Ks, a statistically better chance at wins (although I don’t know how he always managed to get so lucky; even with 12 starts I can hardly buy a win), but it could easily ruin your ERA or WHIP. And for Hog Heat, who right now is 12-8 but was hovering around .500 for much of the season, this approach seems to work about half the time, which seems about right.
So it wasn’t a total shock to me that this team would drop Bautista so quickly. Even if he did just offer up a 5th round pick for him. When the commissioner transaction was made switching him back to Hog Heat’s team, I didn’t mind so much. My season’s over, I didn’t really have the DL slot for him, and the trade was fair and square in the first place. If he made an honest mistake, I didn’t want it to feel like I was vulturing him away.
But then that wasn’t the end of the story. Another team, Heineken Served, who lost to Hog Heat last year in the league finals, complained that during their matchup last year, he had meant to start Kyle Hendricks in his lineup, but forgot to click “save” and ended up losing the league by a matter of strikeouts. (I should point out that if you’re like me and are checking your lineup and scores as frequently as I do, completely failing to start a player is an error I would never see myself making) That error cost him several hundred bucks in prize money, not to mention some serious bragging rights. So why should Hog Heat be allowed this mistake whereas a mistake cost Heineken Served a victory? And why should I be penalized after a perfectly fair add/drop after the fact?
“Didn’t mean to piss anyone off, but I think everyone needs to live with their screwups,” Heineken’s owner said to me in a private text. It’s hard to disagree with him.
What do you think? Should Hog Heat be allowed Bautista back? What would you have done as the commissioner in this situation?