Last year, I traded Mookie Betts at the trade deadline in my keeper league.
As everyone knows by now, Betts has had an explosion in 5x5 value this year. He's already hit 14 HR, just 4 short of his 18 HR total from last season, and in 250 less at bats. He has maintained his excellent batting average, at .285, well above the MLB average BA of .252. He has 9 SB, 13th most in baseball. He hits at the top of the best lineup in baseball and has already scored 53 runs through a little over 2 months, a 150 run pace. His current ranking in Yahoo 5x5 is #4 overall, up from #37 overall in 2015. He is just 23 years old, and keeps getting better. There is a real chance he is a consistent top 10 fantasy hitter for the next 5 years or longer.
But even knowing all of this, I have no regrets.
It was a trade off of future production in future years to boost my chances of winning a title last year. I was in first place in my 12 team, H2H keeper league, and I wanted to gear up my starting pitching for the playoffs. Around the time of the trade, Betts had suffered a concussion, and I didn't know what to expect from him the rest of the way. Concussions can be really bad news for a sport that is so timing and vision based, and I thought it might be risky to hang onto him the rest of the season. He could go into a slump, or the last place Red Sox could shut him down if he wasn't feeling 100%.
I ended up moving him for Chris Archer and David Ortiz. My rationale was that Ortiz would hit at least as good, maybe better than Betts the rest of the way, and I would be adding a monster to my pitching rotation. Archer had a 2.54 ERA and 31% K% at the time of the trade, and featured one of the nastiest biting sliders in the game to go along with mid 90s heat.
It ended up working out well for both of us. I traded him to a fantasy owner who was out of it, so he didn't care about the concussion. He just wanted to rebuild with young players.
The concussion ended up having no effect on Betts, and he was great after he returned. But Ortiz actually hit better than Betts the rest of the way, slashing .326/.407/.713 from August on. And Chris Archer helped me clinch the #1 overall seed going into the playoffs with a good August, where he pitched to a 30% K% and 3.6 ERA. This was important because it locked up a first round bye, which is essentially an automatic first round playoff win. It also gave me an easier opponent in the semi finals. Archer ran out of gas in September, but I was deep enough to withstand it.
I ended up winning the title, and took home a pretty good prize. It of course also came with some prestige and bragging rights. My trade deadline moves played a large role in winning last year, and I'm not sure I would have won without them.
So while it does sting a little to see Betts--a player I stashed and invested in from the time he was in the minor leagues--become a top 10 player this year, I have no regrets, and would make the same trade again knowing all of the outcomes. Flags fly forever.