The Matt Harvey Conundrum

My keeper league has a keeper format that I absolutely adore:

Each team has to keep 6 players.  The draft is broken down into tiers; A-tier is rounds 1-4, B-tier is 5-8, C-tier is 9-12, D-tier is 13-16, E-tier is 17-20, F-tier is 21-25.  Players retain their value in trades, and any free agents you pick up replace the value of the person you dropped; any DL replacements are automatically given an F-25 value.  The catch is this – each team has to keep a player from each tier.  This is brilliant; not only does it spread keeper value out, it also results in constant maintenance – you have you be careful of who you drop, lest you get stuck with your mediocre closer from E-tier being your only guy left because you were too aggressive with free agents.  Not only that, but your keepers get “contracts” with varying length; each year, 3 keepers are signed to 1-year contracts, 2 guys to 2-year contracts, and 1 guy to a 3-year contract.  After contracts expire, keepers are released to the draft pool; contracts cannot be re-upped or extended.  Keepers cannot be dropped, even if they’re demoted.  Sign contracts carefully.

I drafted Matt Harvey in round 11.  This is wonderful value, and I pegged him as a keeper right away.  A few weeks into the season, I realized he has massive trade value, but immediately deemed him untouchable.  But there’s this guy I drafted in the 9th round named Chris Davis, and per my most recent post about the value of pitching in fantasy baseball, I have to start to seriously consider if I might end up keeping Davis over Harvey.  If I do decide to do that, I need to do it sooner than later, and capitalize on Harvey’s value, trading him to upgrade my team overall, but also to upgrade my keeper options in other tiers.

But do I really want to trade away a guy who might be a stud pitcher, a safe guy to put a 3-year contract on, because bats are more highly valued?  I doubt I’d commit more than 2 years on Davis, since he’s older and hasn’t demonstrated this kind of production in the past, so I’d be getting a short-term boost to a more critical position over a long-term boost to a somewhat more flexible position.  But at the same time, if I can flip that into additional value in another rank, I might do it.  As one friend warned me, if I’m going to trade Harvey, make sure the return is well worth it.

Probably best to give this time, but as we head into June, the likelihood of serious regression on Davis’s part starts to taper off.  If Miguel Cabrera didn’t exist, Davis would be getting Triple Crown talk, amazingly.  So take the Triple Crown or the potential Cy candidate?  Sometimes, I suppose, it’s good to appreciate a problem like this.

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