June 2008

Unreads for 6/11

I’m looking to ditch Brad Penny as I have Brett Myers.  This is an ESPN league w/ the 10 major pitching categories.  I’m already have a staff of Oswalt, Halladay, C. Zambrano, E. Santana, Marcum, Jer. Weaver, Pedro, C. Lee, Big Unit and Cordero and Hoffman as closers.

Here’s the replacement options I am considering: Padilla, Contreras, S. Olson, Rasner, Mussina, Floyd, Cook, Cain, Litsch, Laffey, Danks and G. Smith for starters and Gregg, Rauch or Putz as closers.  There are some other decent pitchers out there, but these seem like the best available.

Based on consistency (this season), experience and strikeouts, I was leaning towards Contreras or Padilla.  I like Olson and Mussina.  I’d look at Cain, but I don’t think he’ll get the wins.

Who would you pick up?


Hey Chris,

I see Cain followed by Mussina as the most appealing options from this list.  Cain’s been extremely inconsistent over the season’s first couple of months, posting a 4.43 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and putting together quality starts in just 7 of his 14 outings.  But he’s got ace type stuff and has plenty of upside pitching in a big ballpark and providing a steady dose of strikeouts.  It’s true that he may struggle to pick up the victories, but wins should never be the main focus when evaluating a player’s fantasy value.  After an injury plagued 2007, many questioned whether or not Mussina was done.  I guess the answer is “No!”  The Moose has allowed three runs or less in 11 of his 14 starts and is looking more like the pitcher he was in 2006 (15-7, 3.51 ERA).  And as the 411 saying goes, “Don’t chase wins, but don’t be afraid of them either!”  Having the Yankee lineup behind you certainly doesn’t hurt.  All the other starters here are either too unproven or proven to be mediocre, as is the case with Padilla and Contreras, the latter of which got smacked around by the Tigers on Tuesday for 13 hits and 6 runs over 6 innings (We knew that sub 3 ERA wouldn’t last!)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Rather than going for a starting pitcher, I think adding a closer would be the better option for you.  Having just two stoppers might not be enough to rank near the top of your league in saves.  J.J. Putz left Wednesday’s game with elbow soreness and another DL stint could be in his immediate future.  Rauch and Gregg are pitching really well this year but for now, at least until Chad Cordero returns to action, I’ll give the edge to Rauch, who’s allowed just one run on nine hits over his last 18 innings of work.  If you’ve got the roster space to add both of these guys, go for it!  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     You already have a ton of depth at SP and from the starters you say are on the waiver wire, I wouldn’t be too concerned about who to pick up as your #10 starting pitcher!  I’d actually look to package some of these pitchers for an upgrade at another position.  While trading one of your top guys could be an option, see what you can get for Cliff Lee or Ervin Santana, both of whom have gotten off to ridiculous starts and are due for somewhat of a stat correction.  I’m not saying they won’t go on to have very good years, but it’s likely that we have already seen the best part of their seasons.  Should you have trouble finding a deal to your liking, feel free to shop Halladay, Zambrano, or Oswalt for either a big time bat or a stud closer.  Work from strength to make your squad as well rounded as possible.

Zach Steinhorn

Hey guys!  Long time Podcast listener and big fan.  Need help with a trade I was offered.  It’s a 12-team, 7×7 deep keeper roto league. We have a 40-man roster (25 major league, 15 minors) and play positions.  Start 9 hitters and 8 pitchers. Extra hitting cats are BB and K’s with TB rather than HR while pitching cats are holds and IP. We were in first place before we were beset with injuries (our DL is A. Hill, Byrnes, Furcal, Carmona and Chris Young).

The following trade was offered:

We give up Lincecum, Masterson and Uggla
We get Penny, Cano, Saunders and A-Rod

He said we could also switch Arroyo or Suppan for Penny or Saunders.  I want to win now but my co-owner thinks we’re sacrificing too much future with Lincecum.  If I was Cory, I would say that Uggla for Cano is about even if Cano reverts to his averages by the end of the year. Lincecum to Saunders is a definite downgrade but we get A-Rod.  Our 3B is not real strong right now as we have only Wigginton, Tracy and DeRosa that qualify there.

Is this trade a slam dunk?  I don’t like Penny so would Arroyo or Saunders
be better for the remainder of the year?  Thanks guys.  Look forward to
hearing your answer (maybe on the Podcast?)

Tim from Baltimore

Hey Tim,

It’s a fascinating dilemma, but I would pull the trigger on this trade. At the end of the day, you’re getting the best fantasy player in baseball – Alex Rodriguez – who fills a need position. I actually like DeRosa (.309 AVG, 8 HR, 35 RBI), but there is no doubt he is more valuable as a roami
ng player on your roster due to his multi-positional eligibility. And, face it, you play to win the game, just like Herm Edwards would say. If you feel like the added offense would help you win a championship this season, then bite the bullet and go for it. Keep reminding yourself that you would be getting Alex Rodriguez in this trade. That should calm your co-owner’s nerves.

Your league stats play an important role in analyzing Uggla vs. Cano. Uggla’s greatest asset as a fantasy second baseman is his home runs and OPS, of which he has 18 and 1.014, respectively. Of course, neither is a stat in your league. Uggla’s batting average was as high as .323 on May 21, but it has descended to .299 and it may stay below .300 the rest of the season. He hit just .245 last season after batting .282 in 2006, and he never hit higher than .297 in the Minors. You must also consider the rate at which he strikes out. He fanned an average of 145 times the last two seasons and has already struck out 71 times in 234 at-bats this season. I’m not saying he’s not a productive player, but his greatest fantasy contributions don’t align with your league’s statistical categories.

Cano is becoming one of the more noteworthy late-bloomers in fantasy baseball. His pre- and post-All Star break splits last season were alarming. He hit .274 with 52 strikeouts before the break, .343 with 33 strikeouts after. He’s batting just .227, but his .236 BABIP is far below his .321 career rate. This shows that he’s had an inordinate amount of bad luck and should be in line for a correction. Remember, too, that Cano has averaged 39 doubles in his career, his RBIs have increased each season and he was a .314 hitter coming into the year. He will get hot and it appears you would be buying him at an opportune time – and getting A-Rod!

Of course, giving up Lincecum (8-1, 2.15 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 83/32 K/BB ratio in 83 2/3 innings) is tough, but Penny might be a good buy-low option. As much as Penny has struggled (5.38 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 47/34 K/BB in 82 innings), things presumably should get better, right? He has made two quality starts in a row, dropping his ERA 28 points in the process, and he has been inducing more ground balls in his last five starts. His 59-to-21 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio in those five starts shows that he is reducing his risk for doubles and home runs, thus possibly setting the stage for a hot streak which will further lower his ERA.

Saunders has been fine, posting a 9-3 record with a 3.32 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, but he isn’t to be valued for his strikeout rate. He has fanned just 43 batters in 86 2/3 innings, so if you are desperate for strikeouts, then take a look at Arroyo (71 Ks in 73 2/3 innings). Of course, Arroyo’s 5.74 ERA and 1.69 WHIP are troubling, so choosing between the two is simply a question of which stats you value more: strikeouts or ERA and WHIP.

Masterson has been very good in four starts for the Red Sox, going 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. However, his turn in the rotation may be temporary as Dice-K, Clay Buchholz and, possibly, Curt Schilling return in the next 4-6 weeks.

If you go through with this trade, you are making a monstrous upgrade at third base by acquiring fantasy’s top player. You break even at second base, and possibly upgrade, with a player better suited to your league’s statistical categories. You take a hit on pitching, now and maybe for the future, but you acquire two solid starters. I would go with Penny and then decide between Saunders or Arroyo. Again, that decision boils down to whether you need more strikeouts, in which case you choose Arroyo, or a lower ERA and WHIP, which is Saunders’ strength.

Kyle Stack


Fav 5 SNL Cast Members


5. Norm MacDonald (1993-1998)

4. Dan Aykroyd (1975-1980)

3. Adam Sandler (1990-1995)

2. Will Ferrell (1995-2002)

1. John Belushi (1975-1979)


5. Eddie Murphy

4. Mike Myers

3. Dana Carvey

2. Chris Farley

1. Phil Hartman


#5 Chris Farley: he was just nuts and over the top and you have to tip your cap to the guy who lives in a van down by the river or dances off with swayze.

#4 Amy Poehler: Right there with any of em. She’s great on weekend update and her characters in any skit shine like the girl who asks all the questions, Walken’s niece and any other skit she’s in.

#3 Phil Hartman: a good mix of Hammond and Ferrel just a slight notch below. Caveman lawyer and the best Sinatra impression ever.

#2 Darrell Hammond: the best impressionist ever on SNL. 12 years of Clinton, Trump, Dr. Phil Jesse Jackson but of course Sean Connery tormenting Ferrell’s tremendous Trebek.

#1 Will Ferrel: the best because I love impressions and he is remembered for original characters. That said Harry Carry is the ultimate.


Unread for 6/10

12 team mixed league 25 man roster

Can I get your blessing on this trade? I was offered Vlad and C.Gomez for Wainwright and Nathan. I know that you say trade pitching for bats. If I pull the trigger I will have B.J. Upton, Braun, Granderson, Vlad and Holliday in the outfield with Gomez and Ludwick on the bench. I will lose my best closer. Your thoughts?.

Reese Baez

Hey Reese,

I wouldn’t do this trade. Yes, normally trading pitching for hitting is a wise decision, since hitters tend to be easier to predict and less likely to have their performances affected by injuries. In this case, though, you need to realize the strength, and possible weakness, of your team.

It appears that your outfield – with two certifiable first-rounders in Braun and Holliday – is already a strength. Throw in Upton and Granderson, and I don’t think mortgaging your best closer (Nathan) and a very good starter (Wainwright) – depleting your pitching staff in the process – is worth improving an already strong component of your team.

You can afford to play Ludwick, even if he might not be able to sustain his .305 batting average. He’s hitting just .219 since May 20 and his .336 BABIP is still higher than his career average of .309. A further correction to his once-lofty average might still be in order. But, you can afford to put him in the everyday lineup when you have Braun, Holliday, Upton and Granderson there to make up for his cold streak.

Carlos Gomez looked like a 100-steal threat in April when he swiped 11 bags in 12 opportunities, but he has stolen just six bags in 13 chances since then. You probably don’t need his speed, even if he were more successful in the steals department. Upton already has 20 steals, and Braun (4 steals), Granderson (3) and Holliday (8) should each post double-digit stolen bags.

Wainwright was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, retroactive to June 8, with a sprained right middle finger. He might miss three starts, but he should be set to go for July, August and September. He has been a dependable starter this season with a 3.14 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 62/20 K/BB rate in 91 2/3 innings. Wouldn’t you like to be a beneficiary of his production in the second half of the year?

Nathan has been as steady as ever, converting 16 of 17 save opportunities with a 1.40 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and striking out 26 batters in 25 2/3 innings. If you say he is your best closer, then I say keep him, along with Wainwright, and search for an upgrade for Ludwick on the waiver wire.

Hitting is usually more valuable than pitching, but in this case, you might need your pitching to balance out your roster. Good luck!

Kyle Stack

Joba Mania!

Buy, sell, or stay put?  What’s the best move when it comes to Joba Chamberlain?  Our fantasy experts answer this question in the latest roundtable.  Check it out

Unread for 6/9

I’m in a 13 team mixed 5×5 league…looking for some help.  I’m weak in MI right now.  I’ve got Bossman, Young and Crosby filling up my middle.  Looking to acquire Brian Roberts.  He’s asking for Aramis Ramirez.  I think it’s too much to give up.  I’ve countered with Granderson since I’m stacked in the outfield.  Am I overvaluing Ramirez?  There’s not much on our waiver wire to choose from since our rosters are 33 deep.

Ken in the Nati

Hey Ken,

A-Ram and Roberts are very comparable in terms of fantasy value, as both were taken somewhere around the late-third early-fourth round on draft day.  If you’re in dire need for speed, you might want to consider accepting this deal.  Roberts is easily a 35-40 SB guy over the course of a full season.  The downside here is that the Orioles aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut.  Baltimore’s averaging a mere 4.2 runs per game, and Roberts will have a hard time matching last year’s run total of 103.  He’s a sure top five second baseman, but I think you can make do without him.

Aramis Ramirez will likely top Roberts in every roto category besides steals, and although third base is a fairly deep position this year, there are few players more consistent than Ramirez, who’s batted at least .291, launched at least 26 homers, and driven in at least 92 in each of his four seasons with the Cubs.  This is despite missing 39 games in 2005 and 30 games in 2007.  While the injury issue is a bit of a concern, Aramis has played in almost every game this season and is putting up his usual top notch numbers.

Now let’s move on to the main reason why I think you should pass on this trade.  Your middle infield situation for a 13 team league with 33 man rosters is far from weak!  Upton’s a stud 2B, Young’s an upper tier SS who’s having a very good start to the season (.309-6-32), and Crosby’s a fine contributor.  Young and Crosby don’t run much, so I can see why you’re targeting Roberts, but assuming you’ve got some other SB sources, your MI trio is quite solid.  

Although Roberts undoubtedly improves your team, I think Ramirez will provide better across the board production.  If you can snag Roberts at a slightly lower price (Granderson is a good example), by all means look into it.  But giving up A-Ram in order to address primarily one category is a dangerous move.

Zach Steinhorn  



Updated Feud Standings Through Week 10


The MLB on CBS (Sports.com that is)

If you haven’t noticed I wrote an article on cbssports.com about Tout and now this week will be Cory followed by Alex “The Kid” Cushing.


Click here for my article and I’ll update when Cory’s is posted.


As an update my AL Tout team is struggling some. I had a very nice April and then a very slow May. A-Rod is back and I need some more pop in the corner. After that I will let the chips fall where they may and be aggresive with my remaining FAAB. I am by no means out of it so looking forward to riding A-Rod back to the promised land.



Upcoming Fave Fives

Hey gang, just a reminder that this week’s Fave Five topic will be Saturday Night Live cast members. I’m sure Siano and Sterno will have a lot of Sandler, Farley and Spade in there, but for me personally, I’m partial to the classic original lineup…


We have a long list of Five Five topics going forward but we’d like to hear from you: what do you think would be some good ones? We want the F5 to be fun but we also want to get back to doing more baseball and sports-related themes, or at least those where we can mix in some sports with the “other stuff” so let us know your suggestions. Just remember it’s a family show, so keep ’em clean!


POD for Monday June 9th

I say yes on these guys for tomorrow,






cain (at Nats so not a bad pick but man he is testing pateince)




POD for Sunday

Mike says pitch:

Greinke (risky though)
Bedard and Masterson
Gavin floyd
Erv and Harden
Pedro and Ledezma
Galarraga (who is taking Bonderman's slot)