June 2008

Unreads for 6/30

Hey guys, I have two trade offers on the table right now.  One I think is worthwhile and the other would pretty much secure giving up this year for the future.

It’s a 14 team points keeper with salaries based on drafted rounds The deal I consider decent is giving up Jered Weaver for Troy Percival.  My current closers are Morrow and Rauch.  This deal would help me in case my current guys lose their jobs when regulars come back, but this doesn’t change anything for me keeper wise.

The second deal is getting Bruce & Longoria for Sheets & Beckett.  This would hurt my SP obviously but I would gain two keepers with a minimum salary.

I have Headley and Zimmerman at 3B and Longoria is the main guy I want.  The other owner countered with this deal after rejecting Sheets/Rauch for Longoria.  I assume this is way too much to give up but wanted your thoughts.

Jason in MI

Hey Jason,

Not only is the first deal worthwhile, it’s one that makes perfect sense for you.  Now I understand why your fellow owner is interested in Weaver.  After all, he’s coming off six hitless innings vs the Dodgers.  But his overall stats (7-8, 4.30 ERA) are nothing special and the strikeout rate (77 K in 102 2/3 IP) is less than impressive.  Weaver’s been fairly erratic all season long, and though he’s a useful fantasy option, Jered is at best a #4 SP in mixed leagues and easily replaceable.  

Percival obviously comes with injury risk.  The Rays stopper has already missed 12 games due to a strained hamstring, and readily admits that his legs are still not 100 percent.  But the 38-year-old has something that many other closers don’t …job security.  Percival continues to pitch at a high level, and as long as his health cooperates, the saves will be there.  That said, it’s definitely a good idea to snatch up Dan Wheeler, if available, just in case.  Having another source for saves is vital considering that both Morrow and Rauch, though very solid, could be middle relievers within the next month.

As for the second trade, where are you in the standings?  Although Bruce and Longoria can help you in 2008, I’d sit tight if there’s any chance of you winning the league this year.  It seems like for now you’re really just interested in Longoria to improve a weak 3B situation, so why take on Bruce and in turn lose both pitchers?  If there’s no other fair way to get Longoria in a deal involving either Sheets or Beckett, shop one of these guys for a different third baseman.  I’m sure another team could use an ace pitcher.  In a keeper league with this type of salary format, I understand Longoria’s appeal.  But assuming you’re in it to win it, Sheets or Beckett could net you an even better return.

Zach Steinhorn

Hey guys love the show,

10 team keeper, H2H points 23 man rosters.

Just did a deal. Traded Papelbon, Tulo, and Wainwright and got back Hanley and Saito.
Do you think I overpaid? I am trying to win now and I was getting nothing from Wainwright and Tulo and Ramirez is the best player in the deal. Saito is no Papelbon but he is still a decent replacement in my mind. What do you guys think? (I also have Lidge as a closer).

Tzvi in Israel

Hey Tzvi,

I think you hit the nail on the head when you backed up your claim that you are trying to win by stating “Ramirez is the best player in the deal.” The shortstop is adept at hitting for average (hitting .294), for power (14 doubles and 18 homers), producing runs (35 RBIs) and providing speed (20 steals). He was one home run short of 30/50 status last year, and he could realistically turn in a similar campaign this year, though he might have to rev up the stolen base attempts.

Now, he is certainly a better option at short than Tulowitzki. Despite hitting his second homer on Sunday, Tulo is just 5-for-29 (.172) since returning to the Rockies from a torn quadriceps injury. Of course, Hanley is a better option even if Tulo were hitting at a high level. Hanley’s elite speed/power combo, along with his ability to hit for a high average, makes him nearly irreplaceable on fantasy teams.

I think the tradeoff of giving up Papelbon and Wainwright for Saito is worth it. Papelbon has been utterly dominant for most of the season, converting 24 of 28 save opportunities and posting a 2.00 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and a ridiculous 47/6 K/BB ratio in 36 innings. He has blown two saves in the last two weeks, but he remains a top-three closer, especially with the Red Sox destined to win many more games in the final three months of the regular season.

Saito isn’t a bad alternative, though, especially when you’re turning Tulo into Hanley at shortstop. Saito has probably been overlooked since he has only 12 saves, but the Dodgers’ low-scoring offense and struggling starting rotation haven’t given Saito many save opportunities in the first place; he has blown three save opps, although two of those came in April. The 38-year-old has still been impressive, posting a 47/11 K/BB ratio in 33 2/3 innings, and he has given up only five fly balls in his last 11 innings. He’s primarily striking out hitters or inducing ground balls, so he should be a great option for saves if and when the Dodgers put together an extended winning streak.

It wasn’t a bad idea to give up Wainwright if that’s what it took to close the deal. He is in a fairly tenuous injury situation, since his sprained right middle finger is actually a rupture of the pulley that holds the tendon to the bone in the finger. The slow pace with which the injury heals, coupled with the fact that the injury might negatively affect his grip on the ball, means that he may have limited success for the remainder of the season. He’s expected to return in late-July at the earliest, but his timetable is mostly up in the air.

All in all, your shortstop situation improved more than your closer situation worsened. Saito can play an instrumental role in your team’s success and acquiring a player like Hanley Ramirez could provide the boost your team needs to finish atop your league.

Kyle Stack

POD for Sunday-Monday

Here are Mike’s picks:


Pitch: Laffey, Burnett, Sheets, Blanton, Sanchez, Haren, Sonnanstine, Beckett, Peavy, Lackey, Lowe


Pitch: Greinke, Chamberlain, Masterson, Shields, Floyd, Maine, Harang, Stults, Oswalt, Bush, Davis, Lilly

Midseason Roundtable

                                                                                                                                      Just a heads up that Monday’s 411 show (6/30) will be a roundtable featuring Mike, Cory, and the Baseball Prospectus tandem of Joe Sheehan and Will Carroll.  The guys will review the first half of the 2008 season and look ahead at what’s to come!


Unread for 6/25 and Upcoming 411 Chat

NOTE: The next 411 chat will take place on TUESDAY, JULY 1 at 3 PM with everyone’s favorite, Cory “Stats” Schwartz!

Now on to today’s question:

I was not a fan of a trade that happened in my league last week and wanted the 411 take on it.  I don’t think any sort of collusion took place, but I was surprised when I saw it.

I play in an 18-team mixed league, 5×5, keeper ($5 added on to your keeper player’s salary each year).  Both teams are still in contention. Team A got: A. Pujols ($38)  / J. Vazquez ($21). Team B got: C. Jackson ($14) / M. Kemp ($9) / A. Laffey ($1). Now, granted Pujols is hurt, but I believe the trade was WAY in Team A’s favor. Kemp may be a keeper, but Pujols at $38 is a keeper in my book too.  Let’s just say that Vazquez and Laffey are equal (which I don’t believe), that means that team A got Pujols for C. Jackson and M. Kemp!!! Am I just ignorant or could team B not have gotten a lot more for Albert?
J in Chicago

What’s up J,

I don’t think you’re ignorant. Maybe Team B is your league’s equivalent to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies: the team’s owner wants to shed payroll, even if it means trading an elite player (Pujols for Team B, Pau Gasol for the Griz) for 50 cents on the dollar. As a devoted Lakers fan, I nearly passed out when I first heard about that trade, by the way.
Back to your issue, at least credit should be given to Team B for acquiring a sure-fire keeper in Kemp. Players with good speed/power combinations like Kemp (17 doubles, seven home runs, 13 steals this season) are even more valuable in larger leagues such as yours. Team A sort of kills two birds with one stone by having a player who can contribute in home runs and steals. Kemp is hitting .289, and he should be able to maintain a solid batting average throughout the season. He’s a certified bargain at $9, as well.

Conor Jackson is batting .308 with 40 RBIs, but he obviously doesn’t measure up to Pujols. Not too many players can match Albert’s .347 batting average and still hit 16 homers and drive in 42 runners. There’s no doubt Pujols is the stud of the trade and a cornerstone for any fantasy owner, regardless of league format. However, if player salaries weren’t an issue, perhaps your league size made an impact on this trade. I don’t know Team B’s roster, but perhaps the owner feels that squeezing production from every position is more valuable than just owning a superstar at one slot. I play in a 20-team league, and team depth can become very dicey at that level. It’s really a constant struggle to ensure that production is maximized from every position, so Team B might feel more comfortable with two productive players rather than one extraordinary one.
As for Vazquez/Laffey, perhaps Team B isn’t enamored with Vazquez’s last four outings, in which he has a 6.94 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP in 23 1/3 innings. Laffey, on the contrary, has thrown four consecutive quality starts, lowering his ERA to 2.83 and his WHIP to 1.20 in the process.
I don’t think the trade is an example of collusion, and I don’t think it should be vetoed. Team B is trading a badly slumping Vazquez and an injured Albert Pujols for a hot starting pitcher and two offensive players who probably qualify as keepers, considering your league’s size. Sure, hypothetically, Team B could have received more talent for Pujols. Maybe he made some trade offers, received some trade offers and felt that this trade made the most sense. Whatever Team B’s thought process was, as long the move was made with the intention of improving the roster, then the league needs to move forward.

Kyle Stack

Fave Five Baseball Memories

Yep, that’s our topic for next week, thanks to you, our faithful 411 fans. Like movies and music, this one will be hard for me to cut down to five; I can think of 8 or 10 just sitting here without even trying. But #1 will be easy… without giving it away completely, the picture below should be a pretty strong clue…

Anyway, you are all also reminded to come to the Baseball Prospectus pizza feed next Monday, June 30, at Foley’s here in lovely NYC. Our good friend Will Carroll will be celebrating his birthday, Joe Sheehan will be there, Will Leitch (ex-Deadspin) will be there, Siano and I will be there, and the list goes on… it will truly be a star-studded collection of brilliant baseball minds. Plus we will eat some food and drink some beers and have a great ol’ time, so make sure to be there!

See ya soon,


Fav 5 Chick Flicks

Click here to watch the segment.


#5 Legends of the Fall

#4 Beaches

#3 Pretty Woman

#2 Terms of Endearment

#1 Sex and the City movie



5. The American President

4. An Officer and a Gentleman

3. Jerry Maguire

2. Ghost

1. The Princess Bride



5. Ghost

4. Say Anything

3. The Princess Bride

2. Pretty Woman

1. As Good As it Gets




Updated Feud Standings + Roundtable

Click the link below to download the updated fantasy feud standings through Week 12:


And here’s the latest fantasy roundtable on solid power options who might be available on your league’s waiver wire.

Unreads for 6/23

Hi Guys!

Love the show (as always).  I wanted to get your opinion on a trade that I have pending.  I’m in first place by a margin of 21 points in a 12 team 5 X 5 mixed league.  Here’s the trade:  I trade away Jason Giambi and Brian Fuentes, and I get back David Ortiz.   I have 5 closers including Capps, Soria, Percival, Mike Gonzalez, and Fuentes, and I am looking for a second half hedge against Derrek Lee at 1B.  I should also mention I got Giambi and Fuentes both from the waiver wire.  Does this seem like a fair trade to you?  Am I taking too much of a risk on Papi?  I’m in Boston, so I’ve been hearing a lot of positive stuff about the wrist, but I don’t know if it’s just positive spin.

Ben in Boston

Hey Ben,

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!  This situation, however, may be an exception to the rule.  Although I can’t quite understand why you’re looking to make a trade while leading the league by 21 points, this deal is too good to pass up, giving you plenty of upside with relatively little risk.  Now I’m assuming this league either uses a CI spot or there’s an open utility slot, allowing you to play both Ortiz and Lee, who’s quietly having a very solid year (.294-15-48).  Under no circumstances do you want to lose Lee’s production!

Ortiz is said to be making progress in his recovery, but he’s still a week away from even picking up a bat, so let’s figure it’ll take three weeks or so for Papi to return to action.  Right now, three weeks seems like an awfully long time to wait, but if Ortiz comes back fully healthy, the wait will be worth it.  Few players can carry fantasy teams the way Ortiz can when he’s in the midst of one of those hot streaks.  And it’s not like he has an extensive injury history, having played in at least 149 games in each season from 2004 through 2007.  Giambi, on the other hand, is coming off a bust of a season in which he played only 83 games and batted a laughable .236.  While Jason’s gotten off to a great start (.271-17-42), I’m not convinced that he’ll put it all together from start to finish.  Even with the health concerns surrounding Big Papi, the upgrade from Giambi to Ortiz is a significant one.

What are you giving up in exchange for this upgrade?  Not much.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Brian Fuentes, but there’s a strong possibility he’ll be dealt to a contender before the July 31st deadline.  In that case, Fuentes would likely be relegated to setup duties, thereby eliminating almost all of his fantasy value.  Combine this with the fact that you already have 5 closers, go ahead and do the deal.

Zach Steinhorn

Hey guys,

I was wondering what you thought of this trade offer I received. I would get Mike Jacobs and Mike Bourne for CJ Wilson. I’m in an 11 team mixed 6 x 6 league (R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP SLG% X W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP, K/9). I have Soria, Mike Gonzalez, Brian Fuentes, Masa Kobayashi, and Hong-Chih Kuo as my other relievers (and Rafael Soriano on the DL). My other outfielders are Vlad, Pence, Swisher, Votto, Francoeur, and Milton Bradley (I also usually rotate one of these guys through my Util spot as well). My starting first baseman is Prince Fielder. So, do you guys like this trade for me? Wilson has been pitching poorly lately and I do need stolen bases and power, which Bourne and Jacobs could provide. Thanks guys, I love listening to you guys.

Jake Stern


Hey Jake,

I like this move for you. You’re right about Wilson’s recent struggles, as he has been touched up for one or two earned runs in three of his past five appearances. In fact, he’s been a risk for most of the season as he has given up one earned run in two other appearances and two or more earned runs in four other outings. He has a 4.88 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and just a 24/16 K/BB rate in 31 2/3 innings, so the talk that “Everyday” Eddie Guardado (184 career saves) could take over Wilson’s closer role has to be taken seriously.

Frankly, we typically see many relievers take over closer roles every year as the season gets closer and closer to the “dog days” of summer. Some closers succumb to injury while others lose their jobs to poor performance. There are only a handful of closers in the bigs with a high amount of job security, so in a shallower league such as yours, you  should be able to find potential saves on the waiver wire. You have a good candidate on your roster in Kobayashi, if incumbent closer Joe Borowski continues to get shelled in his relief appearances (he has given up two earned runs in two of his last four outings). If you stay apprised to closer situations around the league, Jake, you should be able to pick up a reliever here or there who can make up whatever saves you might lose with trading away Wilson. I recommend perusing the official team pages on MLB.com as a fantastic way to keep up with team news, including the states of teams’ bullpens.
Swisher and Votto have gone through pronounced slumps recently, so I could see the value in having Jacobs (17 HRs, .529 SLG%) or Bourn (28 steals in 34 chances) at your utility spot, depending on whether you need power or speed. I wouldn’t get too rotation-happy, though, as your better players will tend to level out their stats if you let them play enough. But there is no doubt that the power/speed combo Jacobs and Bourn provide is more than valuable enough to part with Wilson, who is walking the plank in his closer role with the Rangers.

Kyle Stack



POD for Sunday and Monday (6/22-6/23)



Pitch: Pettitte, Kazmir, Webb, Lincecum, Davies, Andrew Miller, Duchscherer, Vazquez, Dempster, Lester, Hudson, Hamels, Padilla, McGowan, Parra, Wolf, Billingsley


Pitch: Sheets, Haren, Beckett, Lackey, King Felix, Johan


Same as Cory except a little uneasy about pitching Padilla on Sunday.

Tout Wars and BP update

click here for Cushing’s article just posted on Cbssports.com. Notice how he stole my catchy title, but he’s young and hasn’t had the time for his brain to develop it’s own clever quips.


Also a reminder that we are just 10 days from the BP Pizza Feed at Foley’s so be there to buy me Guiness.