Fantasy 411 Q&A: Feb. 13, 2009


So here we are.  The official start of spring training is upon us, and what a surprise, Manny is the only notable free agent left still looking for a job.  With the Giants’ interest diminishing with each passing day, it looks like the Dodgers have all the leverage.  That’s not to say Manny won’t get a good deal, but don’t expect any “mystery team” games from Boras this time.                                                                                                                      
By the way, nice story with Ken Griffey Jr. on the verge of heading back to Seattle, even though as a Yankee fan, I can’t bear to watch that ’95 ALDS Game 5 again.  Once was enough.

Our mock draft is at a standstill in the 17th round, so at the moment no fresh news to report there.

Programming Alert from the Fantasy Kingdom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RotoWire (Jeff Erickson) is re-launching Fantasy Focus, on Blog Talk Radio, starting at noon ET every day:

Let’s hear your questions…




I have Matt Capps in this NL keeper league @ $9 and need to make a long-term contract decision. He’ll stay at $9 in 2009 but will increase by $5 each year after and I can sign him up to 3 additional years (through 2012, when he would be $24) but my fear is he won’t be a closer that long. He’s signed by the Pirates through 2010, arbitration-eligible in 2011 and FA-eligible in 2012, so what is the optimal contract to sign him to the way the Pirates churn through relievers?

Thanks for the knowledge,
Scotty Mac

Capps had an excellent year when healthy, so you have him at a nice discount this year regardless of contract. If I’m reading service time correctly, he is already arbitration-eligible but won’t be a free agent until after the 2011 season, so that would be the max extension I would give him. However, what are the odds of any closer holding the job reliably for five straight seasons, or that he’ll lose it via ineffectiveness or injury or a trade away from the Pirates as he becomes more expensive? His track record suggests performance won’t be an issue, but the other two are never a given, so I’d go for this year at $9 and next year at $14, and let him go after that. To guarantee him at $19 means he’d have to be the closer and have to have an excellent year to give you a profit; lock him in for two years at a clear discount and then cash in your profits.



Apologies for the delay in making my pick on the mock draft… we are moving again now.


Its my turn in an email draft – in the fourth round both Ichiro and Kemp have fallen to me (5×5 roto, 12 teams). Most everywhere I look has Ichiro ranked ahead of Kemp. On the other hand, Kemp doesnt look far behind in speed and average, and has the advantage on age and power.

Show me the light! Which way should I go? Thanks guys.

Bugy, this is a risk vs. reward scenario. Ichiro is more likely to give you a good-to-very good season, because he does every year. Plus, moving back to RF should help him avoid some of the fatigue that slowed him down in the 2nd half last season. But, Kemp is more likely to give you a monster season: 25 HR, 35 SB’s, good run and RBI totals, etc. Both of them are good values here so it depends on what you got with your first three picks, but I’d lean towards the upside. If last season is Kemp’s baseline, he’s about 20 walks a year away from being a 1st round pick.


This is torture! I keep going back and forth here, and now you’ve got be back toward kemp… I like your reasoning, I’m just bothered by the ADP – it favors Ichiro by a full round or so. FYI, my other three picks thus far are miggy cabrera, johan, and CC.

Thanks. Ive been following you guys for years, first question answed! Appreciate it.

With the potential of Teahan acquiring second base eligibility, does that help his value at all? I know he seems to be a flop offensively speaking, but eligibility at a very thin position and an age 27 season, didn’t know if there was something there or not.

Nate, Teahen was pretty poor defensively at 3B so there’s little reason to think he can hack it at 2B. If he did somehow manage to play enough to qualify there he might make a nice late-round MI option, but let’s face it, the last two years would seem to suggest that his hot finish in 2006 was the exception, not the rule. Consider him a potential late-round flyer, but not a target.

Bugy, I can see why you’d lean towards Ichiro, but Kemp improved as last season went along and has massive upside. Ichiro is the safer pick, but Kemp has the higher ceiling. How much risk are you willing to take?



Your torture is self inflicted. if you didn’t take CC in the 3rd round you could enjoy the splendors of taking Ichiro in the 3rd and Kemp in the 4th no? If one of them was gone there would still would or will be very good bats out there to make you feel better. taking a SP though took at least one attractive bat off the board. I would rather it was Santana.


Scotty Mac and everyone else out there. I have learned the hard way that it is usually not a good idea to sign pitchers to 3 year deals or more in fantasy regardless of price and that closers are even more volatile. I have zero issue with capps at an extension of 2 years especially b/c of the price, but as a rule I will never give a pitcher a 3 year contract in a keeper league. For me to do it with a bat it needs to be a special player at a special price.


I am in 12 team, mixed, 5×5, keeper league. I get to keep 5 players. I plan on keeping: Morneau, Kinsler, Phillips, Quentin and Holliday. Would you make any changes to the 5 on my list? Below are my list of 12.
Francisco Rodriguez,
Chris Young (P),
A.J. Burnett,
Ervin Santana,
Justin Morneau,
Ian Kinsler,
Brandon Phillips,
Alex Rios,
Ryan Ludwick,
Jayson Werth,
Carlos Quentin,
Matt Holliday

Nope, you’ve got the five right there. Rios and K-Rod are more than likely top five round picks, but those other guys are obvious ones. Great core!


Hey guys, here’s my keeper question of the day. I can’t keep both Teixeira and Rollins in my league because they have both obtained “1st round” value and we can only keep two players with 1st round value (Sizemore is my other). Thus, I’ve been shopping them each around for the best deal. Here is the best I’ve come up with so far, and I’m wondering if I should hold out for more. I would lose the draft pick for the round in parentheses. I keep Teixeira and Sizemore, and I give up Rollins (1) and Uggla (7) for Brian Roberts (6) and Stephen Drew (10). Should I pull the trigger?

Scott, by all means continue shopping, but if this is the best you can do, I like it. On paper, the deal slightly favors the other guy, but when we factor in the round values, I’d rather have Roberts and Drew. Rollins in the 1st and Uggla in the 7th is pretty much in line with where they’re going in scratch drafts. On the other side, you’re getting a bargain with both Roberts and Drew. Roberts gives you the speed you need with the loss of Rollins while Drew, though not as dominant in the HR department, has considerable upside and is virtually a lock to beat out Uggla in AVG. You have my blessing!


Happy Valentine’s Day to all your fans here — we’re sending love to all the haters in baseball on the homepage right now. Everyone be sure to leave your comments there on my story. So far Orioles fans seem to think they are the new future! Comment at


Ciano – don’t forget I did in fact take Johan too. I am working on a theory that starting pitchers have been devalued too much in fantasy. It is no longer at all a unique strategy to take pitching late, everyone does it. But at the same time, the number of top closers that are reliable year in and year out is very small. I secured two of them and am happy about that. In fact, I am targeting Haren at the end of round 5 too (needless to say I’ll be listening in for your suggestions on sleeper bats). In ten years, I have never tried this, so we will see how it pans out. But as Money Ball teaches us, you have to look for an angle to gain an edge on the competition, and you can’t do that by following the same strategy as everyone else. Just in my opinion.

Zach/Ciano – would you take Kemp over Ichiro?

typo alert – i meant top SPs that are reliable…

i am catching up on the podcasts, sheehan was great the other day.

Cory made a great argument for Kemp and his across the board production, and it’s awfully tempting to take him. But when push comes to shove, I’m fairly conservative by nature, so I’ll go Ichiro.


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