Unread for 7/14

10 team mixed non-keeper.

I’ve got Marcus Thames and Aubrey Huff in my 2 Util spots.  I was offered J.D. Drew and Scott Baker for Matt Cain.  If Huff and Thames continue, I don’t need Drew.  What do you think of what these guys do in the 2nd half?

Greg from Columbus

Hey Greg,

I’d have no problem if you went ahead with this trade.  Now I like Cain a lot, and do see him bouncing back from what has been an incredibly inconsistent first half.  The main issue for Cain this year has been the home run, as he’s already allowed 12 of them after giving up just 14 all of last season.  This pretty much explains the bump up in ERA from 3.65 to 4.06.  But there are other signs that paint a more positive picture going forward.  His 1.31 WHIP is still solid, and though the BB/9 ratio is a bit higher than it was last year, Cain’s K/9 rate of 8.6 is significantly better than the 7.3 mark he posted in 2007.  But despite all this, let’s not underrate Scott Baker, who’s very quietly enjoying a breakout season.  In eight starts since returning from injury on June 5th, Baker is 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, and 39 K in 50 IP.  Aside from the strikeouts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Baker having a better second half than Cain.
In return for this pitcher swap, you’re getting a clear upgrade at the utility slot, as Drew is a much more reliable option than Thames, someone who barely deserves a roster spot in a 10 team mixed.  Huff has traditionally been a very good second half player, so I would keep him around.  It’s true that Thames (.265 AVG 17 HR 39 RBI) is easily on his way to a career best season, but considering his track record, I’m just not sold on the idea that he’s anything more than a fourth outfielder in standard 12 team mixed leagues, let alone a 10 teamer.  After a year of adjusting to the AL, Drew seems to have finally found his niche in the Red Sox lineup, hitting for both average and power while driving in his fair share of runs.  Batting in front of Manny Ramirez has given Drew plenty of good pitches to hit, and when Big Papi comes back, Drew will likely drop down to the fifth spot in the order, meaning he’ll have the protection of both sluggers.

I can understand why you might be hesitant to give up Cain, but considering Baker’s upside (his 2007 second half ERA was 3.44) and the improvement at utility, this is definitely a deal worth making.

Zach Steinhorn


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