We already know that Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard is an avid baseball fan (with above-average arm strength), but we were surprised to learn that he's also a rather shrewd fantasy tactician, manning "a pretty good" squad that's positively brimming with talent.
For those not lucky enough to be in his fantasy baseball league, here's his quick rundown of his 2010 team:
"I got [Joe] Mauer at catcher, I got Carlos Pena at first, Robinson Cano at second, Jason Bartlett at short. I'm kind of platooning at third — I got Brandon Inge there right now," he said. "In my outfield, I have Jayson Heyward, Ichiro and Andrew McCutchen. And then I have the White Sox pitching staff. I'm pretty happy."
We would be too (though we think leagues where you draft an entire team's rotation are kind of B.S.), especially since our team currently features the banged-up Jacoby Ellsbury and the transparent duo of Carlos Lee and Jose Reyes. But while all appears well on Gibbard's squad, there is one position that currently vexes him: Third base. It seems he's none too happy with Inge, and has been desperately trying to make a trade. But so far he's come up empty.
"I've been trying to make a trade for Ryan Zimmerman, but I haven't been able to pull it off yet," he sighed. "This guy I'm trying to trade with, he's like 'Yeah, why don't you give me Andrew McCutchen and Ichiro for Ryan Zimmerman' and I'm like 'What are you, high?' I mean, he has Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Zimmerman, and he's got Zimmerman on the bench. I'm like 'Dude, you don't need both of those guys."
We feel your pain, Ben. But while he's frustrated by his early season struggles at the hot corner, Gibbard knows that it's a long season. And he's drafted in a way where he knows he can make a move at some point. It's just about patience.
"I have Joe Mauer, but I've got Benji Molina as a back-up catcher, so I have that chip. I was hell-bent on getting a real catcher, or an offensively-producing catcher. Last year I had Chris Iannetta, him and [Kenji] Johjima, and it was bad, man," he laughed. "I feel like it's important in the early rounds to make sure you focus on getting solid position players that can produce offensively. It is hard to find a good second baseman or a good catcher if you don't get one in the early rounds. I kind of missed out on third base, because, obviously, you're going to miss one [position]."
At the very least, he gets to enjoy all the perks that come along with owning Heyward, the Braves rookie for which no superlative seems to fit. Just chalk it up to more shrewd GM-ing.
"I kind of got hip to Jason Heyward in the offseason, when people started talking about what a monster that guy was going to be, and then I decided to do something kind of risky, and I think I took him in the fourth or fifth round," Gibbard said. "Because I don’t think anybody in my league was going to try and grab him that early, but if it went to the ninth or tenth round, people would take him. So I took him, and then I remember seeing footage of him in spring training hitting that monster home run, that, like, cleared everything, and I was like 'Alright, that's my guy.'"
Who kind of trade would you offer to third baseman-seeking Ben Gibbard? Let us know in the comments!