Unread for 7/17

Now that Harden was dealt to the Cubs, would you deal Harden and Cano for Phillips?  Might be giving up a little much, but getting the best player in the deal by far.  

Greg from Chicago

Hey Greg,

When you look strictly at the stats, Rich Harden is easily a top five fantasy starter.  If instead of Harden, we were talking about other members of the elite class, like a Johan, Webb, or even Sabathia, I might be hesitant to pull the trigger.  But considering the clear injury risk attached to Harden, I’d take this deal and run!  In his four full seasons in the bigs prior to this one, Harden reached the 20 start mark just once.  This season has so far been a pleasant surprise, and a huge lift to those owners who snatched him up very late in drafts.
I selected Harden in the 16th round in one of my main leagues, partly because our draft took place after that opening series in Japan.  And when he promptly made yet another trip to the DL in the first week, I honestly thought he’d never return.  Now I can credit Harden for pretty much single handedly (with a little help from Mr. Sabathia) propelling my squad from ninth place all the way to second.  I’ve looked into potential trades, but haven’t found anything that gives me back close to fair value.  You, however, are fortunate! 

Robinson Cano is not a .246 hitter.  Despite his first half struggles, The Yankees’ second baseman is actually striking out less than he did last year and posting a better fly out to ground out ratio.  A final average in the .280 range is still a reasonable expectation, meaning Cano could very well bat over .300 from here on out with solid HR and RBI numbers.  That said, I do think he’s a bit overrated in that most of his fantasy value lies in that high average, thanks to his lack of speed at a position that more often than not requires it.  Cano’s in the upper echelon of fantasy second basemen, but the difference between him and Brandon Phillips is a significant one.  Phillips gives you everything, more power than Cano, even more RBI, and by far more speed.  The only category in which Cano might top Phillips is average, but that almost surely won’t happen in 2008. 

On paper, paying Harden for the upgrade from Cano to Phillips might seem too steep, but when we factor in the benefits of unloading a risk while it’s value is at a high, this is too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Zach Steinhorn         


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