More FAAB Talk, by Steve Gardner

USA Today’s fantasy columnist follows up on past stories about the midseason FAAB spree and the perils of trading.

Of special note in Steve’s piece is Ron Shandler’s comment that by opening up FAAB bidding to minor league players, Tout teams have more options than just loading up for the big bear promotions of prospects and midseason league changes. In fact, the early poaching of minor league talent before promotion may be one reason there were few big ticket purchases during the season. Players like Cowgill, Goldschmidt, and Giavotella were picked up by savvy players well before their big league teams promoted them.

Last year, I picked up the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa the week before September callups. I was the only bidder, and was rewarded by a huge game right off the bat. If he had been a free agent at that point, some team would have spent all their FAAB on him. What a difference a week can make.

One other note: As for the problems with trading FAAB dollars, most if not all of them would be eliminated by ending FAAB dollar trading a couple of weeks before the major league nonwaiver trading deadline of July 31. I’m thinking the All Star Break makes sense. Such a change would muddy the waters and make it more difficult to see what the benefits of having the most FAAB would be and remove much of the asymmetricality of FAAB trades that give a team first position at the deadline. I like having as many different tools available to take a team from the start of the season to the end, but when we discover that a rule may lead to wildly different motivations by various teams for arbitrary reasons (that can be exploited to the detriment of third party owners), I think we have a good reason to make changes.

The FAAB Issue: Rotoman Speaks

Brian Walton wrote a story earlier this week about his attempts to trade with a nameless owner who caused him fits. Brian was peeved and let the owner know it, but when he told the story he scrubbed it of any identifying information, to save the owner from embarrassment. It was a gracious gesture but unnecessary. The owner felt his actions were, with one small exception, above board and proper. I should know, the owner was me.
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FAAB Trading, Like It or Not

By Brian Walton, Tout NL champ 2009

[Editors Note: Brian wrote and submitted this story before the recent FAABonanza played out in Tout NL on July 31st. You can view the results of the trading deadline frenzy here.]

The concept of trading FAAB (free agent allocation budget) dollars is a most interesting and topical subject currently. As the major leagues are approaching their non-waiver trade deadline on Sunday, fantasy owners in many FAAB leagues were maneuvering as well.

Though not the case in all formats, in many leagues including Tout Wars, FAAB can be traded right along with players. However, any money acquired in any given week cannot be used until the next – meaning to increase the contents in one’s war chest in time to use this weekend, owners had to complete their deals prior to this past Monday.

The goal of some is to accrue the highest available FAAB balance. That would allow the cash leader to hopefully snag the best player coming into the league at the deadline, when AL-NL and NL-AL trade activity is traditionally at its highest.

Having the third-highest FAAB total in NL Tout Wars this season at $82 is not somewhere I planned to be. I generally subscribe to the theory of acquiring needed parts whenever possible, even if that is in week one.
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A Liss and a Swing

You may have heard him on XM, but here it is in pixels: Chris Liss describes the Tout Wars FAAB reclaim rule in less than flattering terms, and explains why he failed to redeem Buster Posey on time.

The rule reads:

If a player is placed on the major league 60-day disabled list, his Tout Wars team may release him and add his salary back to this year’s FAAB. If this transaction occurs prior to Monday 5 pm EDT of the All Star Break, the team may reclaim 100% of the player’s salary. If the transaction occurs after Monday 5 pm EDT of the All Star break, the team may reclaim 50% of the player’s salary. Odd number reclaim amounts will be rounded down (e.g. a $1 reclaim will be rounded down to $0). The salary reclaim decision must be made within the first 30 days that the players has been DLed. FAAB units acquired in this manner cannot be used for bidding purposes until the following week’s transaction period. If a 60-day DLed player is released in this manner, he will be placed back in the free agent pool and will be available for FAAB acquisition. If a player is deemed out for the year but is not placed on the 60-day DL, his team may not reclaim his salary.

The FAAB Hatchet

Only Baseball Prospectus subscribers can read all of Jason Collette’s excellent look at the Tout Wars FAAB reduction rule that went into effect this year, but enough is available before you hit the paywall to be worth a look, if you’re interested in what JC dubs the “FAAB Hatchet.” Non subscribers will unfortunately find their palates whet, their thirsts unslaked.

Rules Changes for 2011: Brian Walton Likes Carrots

Writing at Mastersball.com, Tout NLer Brian Walton describes changes to the Tout rules to reward better finishes. Brian hits most of the nails on the head, but the motivation for (the now abandoned plan of relegation) and this pair of less dramatic incentives wasn’t to motivate players to stay involved. They do. The issue is rewarding better finishes, in order to put a price on very risky all-or-nothing strategies adopted at midseason in an attempt to salvage things. If you don’t complete the Hail Mary, it will cost you.