Unreads for 6/4

Great show guys, I used to listen to the ESPN crew, but you all put them to shame in humor, and blow them out of the water with the insights.

My question: 10 team, 5×5 mixed league. What do you think of this trade:
I give up: Berkman and Lidge
I get: Teixeira, Jason Bay, Fuentes and Rich Harden
I drop Ankiel and Scherzer to make room.
I’m doing great in offense, but needed another starter – my rotation is J. Santana, AJ Burnett, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, and Clayton Kershaw. I like adding Harden, who seems to be healthy.
Do you think Berkman drops off? Teixeira is heating up, and Bay replaces Corey Hart or Hunter Pence in my outfield.
JT in Washington, DC

Hey JT,

I don’t do this trade, and here’s why.  Though I think it’s safe to predict that Berkman won’t maintain his .382 average, at least matching his 2006 career year when he went .315-45-136 is a very reasonable expectation.  After all, Berkman is a career .304 hitter and has actually been a better second half player over the last few seasons.  From 2005 through 2007, Berkman clubbed 58 homers to go along with a .299 average after the all-star break compared to a .291 average with 45 homers before the midsummer classic, in 49 more at-bats.  Now I love Teixeira, and he too has a history of getting hot in the second half.  But in light of Berkman’s torrid start, you’ve gotta give the edge to him when it comes to final season numbers.

Brad Lidge has been outstanding thus far, converting on 15 of 15 save opportunities and boasting a 0.72 ERA.  It wasn’t too long ago that Lidge was recognized as one of the elite stoppers in the league, going 71 for 79 in saves to go along with a 2.07 ERA during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.  The Phils should generate plenty of save chances, and Lidge will likely finish the year among the top 5 or 6 closers in fantasy.

While you’d clearly be giving up two of the three  best players in this deal, the three other players you’d be getting back besides Tex have significant risks attached, varying in degree.  Can Rich Harden reach the 100 innings pitched mark for the first time since 2005?  Will Brian Fuentes hold onto the closer job in Colorado, or more likely, will he be traded to a contender at some point this season and return to a setup role?  Jason Bay has gotten off to a great start, and should provide solid production this year.  But we can’t entirely dismiss last season’s struggles.

If you need another starter (and I don’t really think you do), why would you target Harden, a guy who’s shown he can’t stay healthy over an extended period of time?  If anything, Harden is a sell high guy right now.  And I don’t see Bay as that much of an upgrade over Pence or Hart, certainly not enough of an upgrade to warrant losing Lidge.

By agreeing to this trade, you’re basically taking a hit at both the first base and closer positions in order to acquire Harden.  If you can get a more reliable starting pitcher than Harden (and I’m not just talking abount talent!), I’d consider it.  Otherwise, I’ll pass.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

What’s up fellas!  You guys are the most informative fantasy show around, in any sport, without a doubt.  Trade question here.  10 team mix h2h standard points league.  I was offered Conor Jackson, John Maine, and Cueto.  I would give up Shields and Billingsley.  My staff is anchored with Dice-K, and Zambrano. I also have Myers, Snell, Kershaw, and Homer Bailey.  C. Jackson would take the place of Mike Jacobs at first base.  What do you think?

Jeff from Toledo

Hey Jeff,

I would stay pat. I like Shields and Billingsley as a pair more than Maine and Cueto. Shields has a 1.15 WHIP and a 58/17 K/BB ratio in 80 2/3 innings while Billingsley has displayed his strikeout potential with 71 Ks in 65 2/3 innings. Additionally, Billingsley has been putting it all together lately, giving up three earned runs on 15 hits in his last 27 innings over four starts. His ERA has decreased to 3.29 in the process.

Maine’s ERA has climbed from 2.81 to 3.66 in his last three starts and his second half numbers from last season (5.53 ERA and 1.45 WHIP) scare me a bit. Johnny Cueto isn’t striking out batters at a high rate (nine in his last 17 innings) and I don’t like that his home park – Great American Ballpark – is one of the best hitter’s parks in the Majors. Aaron Harang might be able to thrive there, but Cueto, like fellow rookie Edinson Volquez, could be in for trouble as the weather warms and the innings pile up.

Another reason I think you should nullify this trade is that Jacobs’ home runs and RBIs are good enough to keep him in front of Jackson. Mike Jacobs and his 13 home runs and 33 RBIs are legit. He averaged 19 homers the last two seasons, so the home run power has been there. Now that he is playing every day, he could realistically put up close to 30 jacks.

Conor Jackson was outstanding in April, hitting .348 with 25 RBIs, but he may have peaked then. He hit .291 and .284 the last two seasons while averaging 15 home runs. He does play in an outstanding hitter’s park, but I don’t think he is a huge upgrade over Jacobs, unless you highly value batting average.

Overall, I think Shields/Billingsley has a higher value over Maine/Cueto than does Jackson over Jacobs. If you could deal just one of your starters for Jackson (possibly Brett Myers if he posts a couple strong outings), then that might be the best way for you to replace Jacobs, if that is truly your motivation.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com



cory, I have had this trade put to me. I would give up Johan and get D-Lee. I think it is not a good trade offer. Just want you to give your blessing in turning it down.

Jan in Glasgow.


What about Johan straight-up for David Wright?


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