April 2008

Unreads for 4/24/08

Hi guys,
16 team 5×5.  My outfielders are Upton, Rios, Markakis, Burrell, and the fifth spot I just rotate in whoever is hot.  My only closer is Gagne (but I do have Broxton).  I’ve been offered K-Rod for Markakis.  Would you guys do that deal?
Here’s my team if you need to know more:

SP:  Hamels, Dice-K, Gallardo, Myers
RP:  Gagne, Broxton
C:  Kendall, Torrealba
1B:  Pujols
2B:  Kendrick
SS:  Furcal
3B:  Glaus
CI:  Butler
MI:  Felipe Lopez
OF:  Upton, Rios, Markakis, Burrell, Catalanotto
DH:  Overbay
Bench:  Bailey, Lind, other guys I pick up and drop
Thanks for the help,
Nelson in Vancouver

Hey Nelson,

Although this trade is far from a no-brainer, I’d still do it.  Considering the size of the league, this outfield is stacked.  I’m a big fan of Markakis, and losing him probably reduces your outfield from dominant to above average.  But in a 16 teamer, there’s a huge difference between having one so-so closer and having two closers with one being dominant.  Sure, solid closers can be had off the waiver wire over the course of a season, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get them, especially in a large and competitive league.  And you’ll need at least one more!  Gagne has been extremely shaky of late, and I’d be really be hesitant to rely on him as my only stopper.  Burrell appears headed towards a monster season in his contract year, and as long as Upton doesn’t completely collapse (and he won’t), he’ll be a more than suitable third outfielder.  I still like this group a lot, even without Markakis.  I’m a little concerned about your power, as Glaus could never be relied upon to play a full season.  I’d try to couple this deal with one that offers a slight upgrade at either 3B, CI, or DH.  Either way, feel comfortable making the trade.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Hi guys,

An interesting trade has been proposed to me, and I can’t seem to make up my mind about it. I was wondering if you could share some of your sage-like advice. The league: 12 team mixed keeper, vanilla scoring, NFBC style roster.

The trade: I get Ryan Howard and Johnny Cueto for
Markakis and Harangotang. I need home runs, so getting Howard is huge. However, I’m not sure what to expect from Cueto and was wondering your opinion.

Thanks for your help!

Bryce in Minneapolis (the great state of)

Hey Bryce,

Not sure how “sage-like” I am, but I do know that rookie pitchers struggle. We’re already seeing this with Cueto, who today gave up five earned runs for the second time in his last three starts. His K/BB ratio was 24/1 in 19 1/3 innings in his first three starts, but is just 7/4 in 14 innings in his two starts since then. You get the point. I would rather have Harang’s consistently solid production (2.86 ERA and 17/2 K/BB ratio in 22 innings in his last three starts). Harang is a proven workhorse as well, docking 200-plus innings the last three seasons. Who knows what you will get from Cueto as the season drags on? Young pitchers who start in the Majors in April typically wear down toward late-summer, as the innings catch up with their tired arms.

I can understand your desire to get Howard, but why not package a couple of position players for Howard or Prince Fielder? Markakis is a great option for your outfield, but if you’re hell-bent on acquiring a major home run hitter, you can combine Markakis with a second- or third-tier first baseman.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com



Top 5 TV Shows


1. The Shield
2. X-Files
3. West Wing
4. Oz
5. Star Trek (the original)

A few HM’s: Mission Impossible, Cheers, ER, Get Smart, Hill Street Blues, Frasier, Married With Children, I Dream of Jeannie, WKRP in Cincinnati, Friends, the Larry Sanders Show, the Gong Show, SpongeBob SquarePants. This doesn’t count cartoons or one-off specials (A Charlie Brown Christmas, etc.), but if miniseries count, Band of Brothers would be up there too.


1. Six Feet Under
2. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
3. Seinfeld
4. Law and Order
5. Simpsons


1. Seinfeld
2. Entourage
3. Saved By The Bell
4. 24
5. The Shield

Cory’s fave five TV shows

I’m not a big TV aficionado like Siano or Sterno, but the top five are pretty easy for me:

1. The Shield — Best show on TV today, bar none. The character depictions are amazing, you forget these are actors and view them as real people, with flaws, vices, secrets and quirks. Every two or three episodes, there will be five-minute scene that will be so beyond anything any other show could possibly attempt on any other network, that it makes you even wonder what all these shows are even thinking. Just a few: thetheshield.jpg incredible finale of the pilot where Mackey shoots the infiltrator Terry, setting up the entire series, and then stares into his eyes as Terry dies… Mackey putting the gun in his hooker CI’s mouth and forces her to help them infiltrate the drug dealer’s crib … Mackey slams Armadillo’s face into the gas stove, burning a huge spiral scar into his cheek… the entire money train heist show, one of the most tense 60 minutes you could ever imagine any TV show attempting… Dutch choking the cat to death as he tries to understand a killer’s motivation… the list goes on and on. Best. Show. Ever.

2. The X-Files — Provactive, darkly funny, well-acted and imaginative. What really made this show work is the little thought in the back of your mind that yeah, stuff like this could really happen.

3. West Wing — Wouldn’t it be great if all conversations were like this? Fast, smart, funny, insightful, intelligent? Wouldn’t it be great if this was really how politics worked?

4. Oz — A little “out there” in terms of believability, but I loved the tension and dread that permeated the show. It’s prison, it’s not supposed to be fun. Chris Meloni is an amazing actor and he made Keller a truly frightening character.

5. Star Trek — if you grew up in the 70’s like I did, you never missed St200px-Janice_Rand_TOS.jpgar Trek. Looking back of course it’s hokey and cheesy, but there’s never been an unintentionally funnier show; to not love Shatner is to not love overacting. And since Siano is so fond of those who do yeoman’s work for the show, let’s not forget to give a major shoutout to the original, Yeoman Janice Rand (right)!

* * *

Honorable mentions (with great thanks to many of the posts above): Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Entourage, Mission Impossible, Cheers, ER, Get Smart, Hill Street Blues, Frasier, Married With Children, I Dream of Jeannie, WKRP in Cincinnati, Friends and the Larry Sanders Show.

If we’re including game shows I have to have the Gong Show, and if we include cartoons, add in the Ren and Stimpy Show, SpongeBob SquarePants and Tom and Jerry.

Finally, if miniseries are included, Band of Brothers was amazing and worth watching as many times as HBO cares to air it.




Today’s Chat Transcript

Here’s a link to the transcript of today’s 411 chat conducted solo by Cory.


Unread for 4/22/08

Hey Guys, I love the show.

I am the league commissioner of a 10 team, 5×5 vanilla league.  A trade has been accepted and I am not sure if it is fair.

 Team A trades Jeff Francoeur, Howie Kendrick (who’s on the DL), and Ian Snell to Team B for Jake Peavy.

Is Team A giving up enough for Peavy?

Mercer Island, WA

Hey Galen,

Peavy is great, but my first thought was “Is Team A giving up too much?” So, yes, I think Team A is definitely giving up enough.

Peavy might be the best pitcher in the game (yes, even better than Johan), and should be great for years considering his age (26), his lifetime K/9 rate (9) and his pitcher-friendly home ballpark (San Diego’s PETCO Park). However, the trio of Francoeur, Kendrick and Snell is young and primed for big-time production. Snell improved his ERA (4.74 to 3.76) and WHIP (1.46 to 1.33) from 2006 to 2007, is a solid strikeout pitcher (7.8 K/9 rate lifetime) and won’t turn 27 until October. Francoeur is just 24 and looks like he can be an annual 30 home run and 100 RBI guy. He hit just 19 jacks last season, but his 40 doubles suggested that the power was there. Additionally, he has averaged 104 RBIs the last two seasons. Kendrick, 24, is most valuable in batting average leagues, such as yours. He has a career .317 average in 641 at-bats spread over three seasons.

This deal isn’t a heist for either side. Remember, what you perceive as “fair” may not be the same as what someone else perceives. As a league commissioner, you should be most interested in finding out if both teams genuinely feel that this trade will make them better. If that’s the case, then you need to step back and let the trade go through.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

Fave five TV shows!

Siano, Sterno and I will reveal our top five fave TV shows on tomorrow’s episode of the 411. Gotta admit I’m having a harder time with this than I did with the movies list, but Siano and Sterno have already submitted their lists. Help me out here folks, let’s hear your favorites!





Updated Feud Standings

        FANTASY FEUD BREAKDOWN THROUGH WEEK 3                                                      

Mike’s Team

Hitters: Alex Rodriguez, Matt Holliday, Chone Figgins
AVG: 28/73 = .383
HR: 3
RBI: 16
SB: 1
R: 17

Pitchers: Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, Zack Greinke
W/L: 1-2
ERA: 4.22 (17ER in 36 2/3 IP)
K: 30
SV: 0
WHIP: 51/36.66 = 1.39

Casey’s Team

Hitters: Miguel Cabrera, Jimmy Rollins, David Wright
AVG: 18/55 = .328
HR: 3
RBI: 12
SB: 1
R: 10

Pitchers: Johan Santana, Fausto Carmona, Micah Owings
W/L: 3-2
ERA: 2.30 (9ER in 35 2/3 IP)
K: 25
SV: 0
WHIP: 42/35.66 = 1.19

Cory’s Team

Hitters: Ryan Howard, Brandon Phillips, Lance Berkman
AVG: 16/70 = .229
HR: 2
RBI: 7
SB: 3
R: 11

Pitchers: Adam Wainwright, Danny Haren, Aaron Harang
W/L: 3-1
ERA: 2.57 (10ER in 35 IP)
K: 30
SV: 0
WHIP: 36/35 = 1.03


Cory:  1    1    1     3    3    2.5    2.5    2    3    2             Total = 21

Casey:  2    2.5    2    1.5   1.5    2.5    1    3    2    2       Total = 20

Mike:  3    2.5    3    1.5    1.5    1    2.5    1    1    2        Total = 19


Remembering Johnny Marz

From today’s Philadelphia Daily News:

“Donations in Marzano’s memory can be made to the Jayden Brady and Ariana Marzano College Fund, c/o PNC Bank, 1544 Packer Ave., Philadelphia, Pa., 19145”

Monday’s Show + POD (Monday and Tuesday)

On Monday Sterno and I will use the entire hour to pay tribute to John Marzano who suddenly and tragically passed away over the weekend. When we have more details about where to send condolences to the Marzano Family it will be posted on this Blog. There will be no fantasy talk tomorrow but the show will return to it’s usual form on Tuesday. We are anticipating some missed shows later in the week to attend services for Marz in Philly so please respect that if you see the show go dark later this week.

POD will be posted no matter what as will the unreads all week.


POD for Monday = yes on bucholz/ marcum / hudson / maine / Z / penny / oswalt / wainwright and owings.


POD for Tuesday = yes on parra if he pitches / smoltz / jr weaver / beckett / verlander (tick tock) / kuo / volquez / shields / peavy / cc (tick tock part 2) / wang / myers (yes we know its coors) / webb (cory says watch zito beat him) and king felix.


thanks for your nice thoughts about Marz, keep them coming at leadingoff.mlblogs.com



John Marzano 1963-2008

Terrible news today as MLB.com’s own John Marzano passed away this morning in his home in Philadelphia. The cause has not yet been determined. Here’s a link to the most informative story I can find so far.

(Update: here’s the official MLB.com release.)

If you ever heard John and Vinny on their “Leading Off” show you would recognize right away what a warm, funny guy he was. He had a passion for baseball and loved to talk about his experiences in the game and had plenty of great insights. More than anything he was just a fun guy to be around and will be terribly missed. I’ve spoken with Vinny, Mike and Casey today and we’re all in shock. We don’t know what to say or do.

(Johnny Marz in action, with Vinny and Harold, at the 2007 Winter Meetings in Nashville.)

We hope everyone out there will please join us in sending
your condolences and deepest sympathies to John’s wife, two daughters
and two grandchildren.


UPDATE (8:00 p.m. ET) — Please post any further comments on the Leading Off blog… hopefully when the time comes, John’s family will see this and gain some solace from the great sentiments that have already been shared about him, which I’m sure will continue to pour in. Thanks everyone. — CS