April 2008

POD for Monday April 14th Games

Click here for the probables.

Cory says:

Yes on McGowan, Erv Santana, Greinke, Kuroda and Unit.

Gamble on hot hands Westbrook, Washburn and J.Sanchez, if you are bold.

No on everyone else.


Siano says: GO BIG ERV!!!!! ON THE ROAD BABY!!!!!    

More fun with pop culture: April 11

We are getting into the groove of the new three-headed
monster that is the 411 presented by Viagra, and the cultural references were
flying today! I don’t know if I was taking notes fast enough to get them all,
but we had nods to plenty of movies, music and other good stuff…


Casey couldn’t give enough love to red-hot Mets outfielder
Angel Pagan,
gushing over him in pagan worship. So of course he had to make a “Dragnet” joke, and Siano said “people against goodness and decency,” and as he predicted I
would, I started writing. I’ve love to see Siano in the leather jacket and Mohawk!


Not sure how or why, but Casey mentioned something about
butter, and that reminded me of a great line by Floyd Gondolli in “Boogie
” that I can’t repeat here. But
let’s just say it has to do with simple pleasures… look it up!

Later we had some fun with the Al Reyes birthday story, and
when we got to the part in the story about him spitting blood at fellow bar
patrons, was there


anything else to do but give a shoutout to to the God of Thunder
himself, Gene Simmons (that’s him on the right, not Al Reyes)? FYI, my first-ever live rock concert of any kind was Kiss at
Madison Square Garden on July 25, 1979. I was 10 years old and my dad and
my best friend Mark Levy and his mom all went to see Kiss for his birthday.
Rock and roll all nite and party every day (with Viagra)!


(Coincidentally, I spent July of 1980 with my grandparents
who lived at the time in
Northridge, California. My grandfather took me to two
Dodgers games during the month I was out there, including a wild win over the
Cubs on… July 25. Great
date in Cory Schwartz history.)

Once we got into Pitch or Ditch, Casey called it “P.O.D.”
and then referred to the rock band of that name. Of course, the
original band to use initials in that format is the legendary crossover
pioneers S.O.D. (below), followed
immediately by the spin-off project from their front man, ex-roadie and all-around lunatic Billy
Milano, M.O.D.


My brother saw S.O.D. at one of the first shows of their original tour, the S.O.D. surf party at
the Rising Sun in
Yonkers, New York on October
18, 1985
Somewhere in my Dad’s house, we still have the Styrofoam surfboard with the
S.O.D. logo spray painted on it that my brother stole from the stage.


In baseball news, someone named Luis Mendoza is expected to make his MLB debut for
the Rangers this weekend. That led Casey to shoutout Luis Mendoza 


of “D2: The Mighty
and I countered with
the original slap-hitter Mario Mendoza as well as Mark “the Animal” Mendoza of Twisted Sister

(right). The Sisters were of course the pride of Seaford, NY until one Mr. Casey Stern came along!

After a while of taking too much grief from Siano and me,
Casey said he felt he was stuck in the middle of us, and that was worth a
shoutout for the awful 70’s song “Stuck in the Middle With You”, by Stealer’s
, the song that was featured
in the famous scene in “Reservoir Dogs
as Michael Madsen’s evil character
Mr. Blonde tortures the unfortunate cop, Marvin Nash. Awful song, awesome

Finally, what edition of the 411 would be complete without a nod to Wallace Shawn, whose character Vizzini (below) in “The Princess
so astutely proclaimed, “never
go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”



Enjoy the games this weekend, and have fun storming the


Your friend in 411,

Unread Questions for 4/11/08

Hey Guys,

Any of these guys dropable?  Thinking of picking up Johnny Damon with my #1 WW priority, or Adam Laroche, Evan Longoria, Jack Cust or Jacobs. I’m weak on IF as you can see but the rest of my team is good but could use a good UTIL guy.
Mark Ellis
(Oak – 2B)
Hank Blalock
(Tex – 3B)
Stephen Drew
(Ari – SS)

Pedro Feliz
(Phi – 3B)
Khalil Greene
(SD – SS)
Kelly Johnson
(Atl – 2B)


Hey Calvin,

All of these players on your team have some value and don’t quite fit the criteria of droppable in a 12 team league.  However, Damon, LaRoche, Jacobs, and even Longoria should more than likely NOT be on the waiver wire in a standard 12 teamer, especially one that uses a corner infield spot.  If I had to choose someone to drop, it would be Ellis, as last year (19 HR  76 RBI) was the first time he’s ever hit more than 13 homers and driven in more than 52.  Ellis has also hit for an inconsistent average throughout his career and doesn’t steal any bases.  Unlike Kelly Johnson or Stephen Drew, Ellis has very little upside and plays for a team that struggles to put up runs.  Depending on your needs, LaRoche (HR, RBI) or Damon (R, SB) are solid pickups.  Although Ellis is certainly a serviceable option, I’d definitely make one of these moves and possibly both if there’s someone else on your roster who’s expendable.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

I’m a west coaster and watched Jonathon Sanchez’s completely dominant performance against the Padres on Wed night.  He definitely looks like a high risk guy, but his K’s are hard to ignore.  Control has been a problem in his past, but he’s looking better this year (18K/4BB).  He was hit badly in his first outing vs. the Brewcrew, what do you see as his potential?  Obviously, he’s not going to get many wins in SF, but are his Ks worth the risk as a PoDer?
Fat Dad in Seattle

Hey Fat Dad-

I like Sanchez a lot, and I would’ve said that even before his masterful performance against the Padres April 9. The guy struck out 62 batters in just 52 innings last season, which translates into just under 11 K’s per nine innings (to put that into perspective, reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Peavy’s K/9 ratio was roughly 9.7 in 2007). Certainly, he still gives up too many hits, which means he isn’t keeping the ball down in the zone consistently enough and could end up looking a lot like Baltimore’s Daniel Cabrera at times.  That said, location can be taught (or at the very least improved), while velocity is much more of a “either ya got it or ya don’t” asset in a pitcher. I’d roll the dice on Sanchez, and decide on a weekly basis whether or not he’s a smart start. There’s too much talent there to pass on him in good conscience.

Corey Gottlieb, MLB.com

Hey guys-

I’m the commish in a points league that has no moves limit and no innings pitched limit. There have been a couple of people that are complaining that I am “Pitch-or-ditching” too much. I work late, so I am up when the rosters change days and jump on the probable pitchers for the next day, not giving the other mangers to get those pitchers. Now there have been a couple managers complaining that it “isn’t fair”. What do you guys think about it? Do I change anything? If so what are some suggestions to change it?  Thanks, Phil in Utah

Hey Phil,

Yes, this is a classic case of “pitching-or-ditching” a.k.a. “streaming.” Although your league mates might question your “fantasy ethics,” they can’t accuse you of violating any rules, since none were set regarding this topic.

I don’t like streaming because it diminishes the importance of your draft, not to mention the fact that it is ethically infuriating. Of course, you still don’t wield a major competitive advantage against your opponents. I don’t know what your waiver wire looks like, but you’re probably adding No. 3, 4 and even 5 pitchers, many of whom do more damage than good in fantasy. Accumulating more pitchers helps you rack up more points for strikeouts and wins, but it can also burst your ERA and WHIP bubbles, dramatically decreasing the likelihood of acquiring points in those categories.

As much as I dislike streaming, it shouldn’t be banned in your league unless it is a unanimous decision. As I’ve already said, the strategy was assumed to be acceptable before the season considering there were no pitching limits. Even if you were to get the majority of owners to set rules to mitigate streaming, it would be a disservice to those still supporting it. Those owners shouldn’t be punished for continuing a legal practice just because other owners discovered that they didn’t like it after the season began. Think of the precedent that would be set with changing rules mid-season without unanimous support. It would open the floodgates for other rules changes and those owners hurt by the streaming rule could justify making other, non-unanimous changes.

However, if you are strident in wanting to alleviate this situation, contact every owner in your league and get his or her opinion regarding the situation. Then, if you are set on making a change, set rules monitoring the maximum number of games started during a week/season, maximum number of innings pitched during a week/season or both. Those are rules by which everybody can play.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com


Unread Question for 4/10/08

Hey guys, love the show.  My league is a 10-team Daily Head to Head, 6×6 with OPS and K/9 being the additional categories.  In my draft, starting pitchers were extremely overvalued so I was forced to stock up on Outfield.  We only have starting spots for 3 OF and a Util.  Right now I have Grady Sizemore, Carlos Lee, Nick Markakis, Hideki Matsui, Matt Kemp, and Michael Bourn.  I posted a message saying I was looking for an upgrade at SP and got this offer.  I get Erik Bedard for Grady Sizemore.  What do you think?  Thank you in advance.  I’ll list my whole roster below, don’t feel the need to rattle it off.

Zach Kirchenwitz
Racine, WI

My Team:
Brian McCann – C
Lance Berkman – 1B
Robinson Cano – 2B
Alex Gordon – 3B
Hanley Ramirez – SS
Grady Sizemore – OF
Carlos Lee – OF
Nick Markakis – OF
Hideki Matsui – UTIL
Matt Kemp – OF
Michael Bourn – OF
Kevin Kouzmanoff – 3B
Fausto Carmona – SP
AJ Burnett – SP
Oliver Perez – SP
Javier Vazquez – SP
Shaun Marcum – SP
Takashi Saito – RP
Trevor Hoffman – RP
Joba Chamberlain – RP
Jeremy Accardo – RP
BJ Ryan – DL

Hey Zach,

I like this trade for you, giving up Sizemore for Bedard. Bedard has struggled a bit in his first two starts, but remember that he posted a 6.09 ERA and 1.53 WHIP last April before turning it around and having a Cy Young-worthy season. Your pitching staff could use some more depth, anyway. Carmona is fine at the top, but having Burnett as your No. 2 is risky considering his lack of durability (he has made 30-plus starts once in his nine-year career). Bedard still has a good 8.18 K/9 ratio and will make half his starts at Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

Sizemore is a stud, but you have the outfield depth to compensate for his loss. Kemp has the ability to adequately replace Grady, but his playing time right now is too uncertain to assume he will get 500 plate appearances. If he does land the permanent right field job in L.A., though, his power-speed combination is a great asset to have on your squad. But until his playing time is more consistent, play Bourn when you need runs and steals or Kouz when you want a higher OPS and more home runs. Just remember that Kouz was a much more effective power hitter on the road last season (13 home runs vs. 5 at home, .823 OPS vs. .743 at home) due to Petco Park’s cavernous dimensions.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

Pop culture references for April 9

For those of you who have been missing the cultural
references on the show lately, we got ’em back with a vengeance today! If I
counted correctly and didn’t let any sail over my own head, we had…


* When I started interrupting Casey at the start of the show
and he said “c’mon, this is my job!”, I pointed out that he sounded just like Donald Sutherland’s Professor Jennings (right) in Animal House.

* The conversation about the Mariners bullpen had Mike
talking about Sean Green, who I confused with the actor Seth Green, and Siano
didn’t miss a beat in saying the classic “tell Sloan I said ‘what up'” line from Entourage (below).

* Siano also made a Rocky IV joke about Adrian
telling Rocky “you can’t win!” before he leaves for Russia
to train against Drago.Green.gif

* Awesome rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” courtesy
of our multimedia department, for the Baby Ruth promotion. The beginning shot
of producer Tom Spota taking the first bite of the BR immediately brought to
mind Bill Murray cleaning out the pool (below) in Caddyshack, which will of course
appear on my all-time top five movies list next week.


* We had a Goonies reference during the BR segment, too. I still haven’t seen it.

* The top five movies talk of course gave me the chance to
mention once again that Repo Man is my all-time favorite, although I didn’t really say it because I wanted Casey to guess… of course, veteran listeners of the
show already know this so there was little reason for me to mention it!

* Finally, Casey mentioned at one point that “something’s
gotta give”… I don’t know what he was talking about, but I pointed out that’s the
name of a 1995 record by Agnostic Front, one of the great punk/metal crossover bands
to come out of New York in the mid to late 80’s after the punk scene completely
splintered. It’s also the name of a very lame movie with Jack Nicholson and Diante Keaton among others, but let’s not go there.

* And of course Casey and Mike got to talk a little about American Idol, but I don’t watch it so I don’t know who or what they were talking about.

* Here’s a little pop culture haiku for ya…

Roto talk is fun
Almost as good as talking
Music and movies

Well that’s all for tonight folks, gotta go watch the rest of the epic battle between the Padres and Giants… keep knockin’ back those Viagras!

Happy 411,

P.S. — Mike and I will be doing our next online chat on Wednesday, April 23, so get your questions ready now!!




Unread Questions for 4/9/08

Hey guys, wanted to get your thoughts on my team this year.  League is 5×5, head-to-head, 12 teams, five keepers.  

Here’s what I ended up with…
C  Varitek   
1B  Loney
2B  Kendrick
3B  Blalock
SS  Peralta
OF  Matsui, Ibanez, Dye
Util/DH  Burrell
SP – Santana, Peavy, Webb, Lackey (DL – brought in Glavine), Halladay, Sheets, Jered Weaver  RP – Nathan, K-Rod, Cordero, Izzy, Gregg
I won 9-1 in Week 1 and am set for a similar result in Week 2.  I feel pretty good but wondered what ya’ll would be thinking if these were your cards.  Thanks, Stan

Hey Stan,

The first thing that stands out here is the insane amount of top shelf pitching.  Santana, Peavy, and Webb are probably the three most valuable starting pitchers in fantasy while Halladay and Sheets are both borderline aces. 

As for your closers, I don’t even know how you were able to get all these guys.  And 5 of them in a 12 teamer!  The only way possible is you took Santana, Peavy, Webb, Nathan and K-Rod with your first five picks.  It’s nice to have a clear strength, but not at the expense of the rest of the roster.  The hitting can use significant improvement.  Average-wise you’re fine, as Loney and Kendrick are .300 plus hitters while Matsui and Ibanez will post averages at or above .280.  Power-wise, you’re lacking, with Burrell and maybe Dye being the only ones with a legitimate shot at 30 homers.  And now we get to the real problem.  Steals IS a stat…and it counts!  Kendrick is the only player with a chance of approaching 20 stolen bases.  Outside of him, there’s nobody.  30 steals for the season would be a generous projection for the entire team.  And that’s nowhere near enough to compete on a weekly basis.  A trade is in order.  Can you deal Webb or even Peavy for Crawford?  Or how about Peavy and Peralta for Sizemore and a speedy shortstop (like a Furcal?)  Whatever the end result, let’s figure you need about 70 more stolen bases to be in solid shape.  The good news is that there’s plenty of excess pitching on this roster, so working out a trade shouldn’t be hard.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com     

I’m in a 12-team, mixed, 5×5, H2H league.  It’s a non-keeper with 25-man rosters.  11 hitters, 9 pitchers and 5 bench spots.  My starting 3B is Yunel Escobar.  I have no backups at 3B.  The guys who are available in my league are Mark Reynolds, Joe Crede, Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff, Brandon Inge, Pedro Feliz, and Mark DeRosa.  Are any of those guys better than Escobar?  If so, which one of the following guys should I cut?  Asdrubal Cabrera, Yuniesky Betancourt, Rickie Weeks or Escobar.


This one’s a no-brainer for me: grab Mark Reynolds while you still have the chance. The guy’s been flat-out phenomenal so far this season, and at this point it’s safe to say he’s the hottest hitter in baseball  (10-22, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 7 R in his last five games). Sure, it might be a fluke, but I’ve heard multiple experts predict that he’ll hit 30-35 homers this year, so sign him ASAP.

In terms of who to drop, I’d hold onto Escobar, as he’s a very legitimate big league hitter in a much improved Braves lineup and gives you great versatility as a three-position infielder. Given his ability to score runs and steal bases, Weeks is probably worth holding onto as well, so it comes down to Betancourt and Cabrera. To me, this is a toss-up, as I don’t think either is poised to do much fantasy damage this season, but I’d keep Cabrera if I were you…just more upside there.

So there you go–a Reynolds for Betancourt add-drop is a major upgrade in my mind.

Corey Gottlieb, MLB.com


Crackberry Nation


looking for a better name for this post which I’ll try to do as much as possible. Basically on a blackberry there is a messenger or IM feature that Cory and I talk over throughout a baseball night and were gonna let you guys in on the cleaned up convo😉


Cory Schwartz: Pierre over Kemp again tonight… I tried to warn people but they didn’t listen!

Siano: This is a phase. It will end.

Siano: U said same about loney guy gets a hit every day

Siano: Wish I was more optimistic about edwin

Siano: Gomes homer? Huh? Righty?

Siano: Ensberg, betemit and molina starting tonight.

Cory Schwartz: No, Jeter left w/ injury

Cory Schwartz: Dude our pitching in scoresheet has been unreal

Siano: What kind of injury?

Cory Schwartz: Check out Maddux today and Wandy tonight

Cory Schwartz: Don’t know yet

Siano: What was our record?

Siano: Yeah maddux was sick. Cain not so much.

Cory Schwartz: Didn’t see yet, prolly so-so, our offense was quiet

Cory Schwartz: We don’t have a catcher

Cory Schwartz: Jeter quad strain

Siano: Yep heard.

Siano: Moose looks very sharp.

Cory Schwartz: I picked up Floyd in listener lg and he got scratched, there’s a lesson here🙂

Siano: Ha. I wanted melvin mora and went belliard instead what was I thinking.

Cory Schwartz: I looked at Mora but took Floyd vs righty Cory Schwartz: I had Reynodls on Sunday in Coors tho🙂

Cory Schwartz: I have Wandy in nfbc too, oh baby!

Siano: Tremendous.

Siano: Tout I had gavin floys, livian, cliff lee but also d-cab and cc.

Cory Schwartz: Keep DCab away from me

Siano: Yeah its getting ugly. At least k’s.

Cory Schwartz: Awful

Cory Schwartz: We went 4-2 in kings this week with a 1.70 team era!

Siano: Nice

Siano: Dude bourn is unstoppable stealing 2nd. Him and gomez are gonna win the cat.

Siano: He has 6 already. Gomez has at least 5

Cory Schwartz: We’re gonna platoon them and bench Rowand

Siano: Do it

Cory Schwartz: We need a catcher, none of ours play

Siano: Trade gomez or bourn for russ martin.

Cory Schwartz: Your boy Ben has Martin, it would cost us Reyes, Harang, Broxton and god knows what else

Siano: Pass

Cory Schwartz: Valverde #$%^#

Siano: He blew the 3 run lead?

Cory Schwartz: Yep

Siano: Wow

Siano: Albert?

Cory Schwartz: Glaus and Ludwick with the rbi’s

Siano: I’m with you on saunders.

Siano: 92 mph inside fastball not too shabby

Cory Schwartz: Great sleeper

Siano: Who does he remind you of? Fatter pettitte?

Siano: Skinny wells?

Cory Schwartz: Hmmmm

Cory Schwartz: Stuff wise, maybe John Smiley but not as much

Siano: I can’t put a finger on it.

Cory Schwartz: Glavine with better heat but less polish

Siano: Smiley’s ancient history.

Cory Schwartz: Less deception

Siano: Yeah maybe.

Siano: He doesn’t scream anyone.

Siano: There’s goes fausto’s no no

Siano: Wellemeyer pitched some game.

Cory Schwartz: Cards SP’s are off the hizzo right now

Siano: Wandy was great too but u knew that.

Siano: U watching college hoops?

Cory Schwartz: No, baseball

Siano: This kid on memphis is insane.

Siano: Christian guzman 2 triples!!!!!

Siano: Glavine and cook were ridiculous

Cory Schwartz: Lots of scrub P’s coming out hot

Siano: Wild

Siano: Proves pod but we are making bad picks becuase they are all hot. Waddya gonna do.

Siano: I know

Siano: Don’t confuse outcome with decision

Cory Schwartz: Right

Siano: I’m out. Fausto and john adams. Two great americans.

Unread Questions for 4/8/08

Would you deal Delmon for Chris Young (the pitcher)?  I have Lastings to replace Delmon.  Chris would join Hughes, McGowan, Maine, Greinke, Parra, Volquez, Garza in a league where we can start a max of 5 starters per week.  12 team 5×6 mixed doubles plus triples is other.

Jeff in Cleveland

Hey Jeff,

I’d hold off on trading Delmon.  You have good pitching depth.  Frankly, Hughes, McGowan, Maine and Greinke could arguably start every week, which would leave you to choose from Parra, Volquez and Garza based on which team(s) they’re facing, how well they are throwing, etc. Adding CY would almost complicate the matter by rendering Parra, Volquez and Garza useless.

I like Lastings to have a breakout season, but Delmon could be even better.  He may have hit only 13 home runs last season, but his 38 doubles show that he can get you extra-base hits.  His 93 RBI from last season could be matched or exceeded this season hitting behind Carlos Gomez (assuming he can maintain his on-base percentage), Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer (when he returns from the disabled list).

Delmon is a mainstay in left field for the Twins.  I’m not sure I can say the same about Lastings in center field for the Nationals if he starts slumping after the rest of their outfield returns to full health.

You should keep Delmon in your lineup and let him play.  At least you would have the benefit of subbing in Lastings if Delmon gets hurt or goes into a prolonged slump.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

Hey Guys,

Neighbor Steve here…In my 12 team mixed 5×5–I have an open slot and plan to pick up a Starter.  Who do you prefer (if any) from these available starters: M. Owings, K. Gabbard, Cliff Lee, or F. Morales?

Neighbor Steve

Hey Neighbor Steve,

I’d go with either Owings or Morales. Lee was great in his ’08 debut, but it’s unlikely that he’ll do much this year to deviate from a 4.49 career ERA. As for Gabbard, he’s a young gun with solid potential, but he’s very erratic (consider last four starts in July a year ago, when he allowed 26 earned runs on 32 hits in just 16 innings of work). Owings and Morales is a toss-up, as both are very talented youngsters with huge upside. If I had to choose, I’d go with Owings–he’s got more big league experience under his belt, and he won’t pitch half his games at hitter-friendly Coors Field like Morales will.

Corey Gottlieb, MLB.com



Newest Roundtable

Draft Day Regrets

Unread Question for 4/7/08

I’m in the first year of a 10 team mixed keeper league.  6×6 extra categories are OPS and holds.  I just made a trade where I gave up Mark Teixeira, Hideki Okajima and Heath Bell and received David Ortiz, Joba Chamberlain and Peter Moylan.  I have Pujols as my 1B and I’m starting to second guess myself since I won’t be able to move Ortiz to 1B if Pujols goes down.  What do you guys think?  Thanks for your thoughts.

Finley Edwards
Savoy, IL

Hey Finley,

I just don’t see what you’re gaining by doing this deal.  It looks like a challenge trade to me.  Is Ortiz slightly more valuable than Teixeira as we open 2008?  Probably.  But the difference isn’t enough.  First, there’s the position flexibility issue.  Even though it seems less and less likely that Pujols will miss a significant portion of the season, having an open utility spot is always a plus.  But more importantly, how are you improving in holds?  Bell and Okajima are about as good as it gets when it comes to setup guys.  And as much as we all love Joba, there’s a legitimate chance he gets moved to the starting rotation at some point during the year.  I’d be surprised if Bell and Okajima don’t have more combined holds than Joba and Moylan.  I understand that the keeper factor enhances Chamberlain’s appeal, but it has the same effect on Teixeira, who’s just entering the prime of his career while Papi’s best years are almost certainly behind him.  By no means should you lose sleep over making this trade.  That being said, it seems like a trade made without a clear purpose.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com