Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tony Womack

Tony Womack goes from being designated for assigment by the Reds to batting lead-off for the Cubs.

One need not any further information to make an educated guess which team is doing well and which is not.

The Cubs couldn't score runs last season and are struggling again this season to do so.

GM Jim Hendry attempted to address the OBP at the top of the line-up by pursuing Raphael Furcal, acquiring Juan Pierre and ending Corey Patterson's time as a Cub.

Pierre has struggled to get on-base, but only one other Cub can perform as well as he possibly can and still do worse - Tony Womack.

The fact that Dusty Baker has not learned anything from last season's OBP-deficient line-up is solid proof that he is no longer capable of managing this team and should be fired.

(The Roto reason being his love affair with Neifi Perez.)

Jorge Julio

Valverde out, Julio in - for now

How things change. Julio had been a player I used to ridicule Omar Minaya, and now he is closing in Arizona.

While the headline makes the change appear more permanent than the article, Bob Melvin is defintely non-committal when it comes to stating Valverde is the closer and is supportive of the moves Seattle and Houston made in removing their struggling closers.

Enjoy Julio while you can and hope pitching meaningful innings doesn't blow-up in Jorge's face.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Melky Cabrera

Melky's 4X4 numbers so far - 0/8/1/.291 in 17 games.

His OBP is .371 and SLG is .327.

I see Milledge coming close to Melky's 4X4. Lastings' OBP will be lower and his SLG higher. But those don't count.

Victor Diaz

The Mets recalled Lastings Milledge to replace Dl-ed Xavier Nady.

I see little chance Milledge doesn't play every day for two weeks, and he may offer a couple SBs in that time.

He's not Melky Cabrera, but similar statisitics wouldn't surprise me.

More interesting, though, is what this means for Victor Diaz. Clearly, he has been disregarded by the organization.

The question becomes whose uniform he wears.

Monday, May 29, 2006

NL C $$$ Range Examned

Rotisserie Baseball Musings: NL C $$$ Range

At the 1/3 pole of the season, I went back to look at my predicted dollar ranges fpr NL catchers.

In general, I see no glaring mistakes. Josh Willingham has been the best catcher-eligible. By far.

Brian McCann is has done better than anyone suspected, but I did have him as high as $12. He's certainly earned more than that though.

Looking back, I would have lifted Miguel Olivo into the $7+ range. With my perfect hindsight, I see that Josh Willingham would not share catching duties at all and would have Olivo in the 450 AB range. This would have pumped his HRs in double digits and the possibility of double digit steals would have loomed heavily.

I missed, slightly, on Dioner Navarro - not because he did not hit but because Russ Martin has caused man-crushes throughout the scouting community. However, I was aware of Martin.

With 2/3 of the season left, any of the other catchers who have under-performed could easily smack a few HRs and meet expectations.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Joel Guzman

The Dodgers called-up AA OF Matt Kemp to bring its number of healthy major league OFers to four.

The issue is why, following seven disabled Dodgers, didn't Joel Guzman get the call?

After all, he was amongst the final cuts this Spring.

He hasn't torn the cover off AAA pitching but he is batting .300 and his walk and strikeouts are very similar to Kemp's.

Why not recall the player more accomplished at higher levels?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Jason Lane

With Lance Berkman nursing a sore hamstring, One would have thought Jason lane would have been forced into the line-up.

That ass, Phil Ganrer, cannot be moved. He started Chris Burke in the OF and the Hobbsian Mike Lamb at 1B.

I've been down this road before with Jason Lane and will look to move him for value - if that is possible.

Eric Gagne

Eric Gagne struck out two AAA batters in one inning.

That is certainly a good sign. However, watch for news that he is a little sore and how he does in his next appearance.

If everything looks good, then dropping Takashi Saito becomes easier as he'd line-up third behind Gagne and Baez.

Assuming Broxton has earned his spot on the roster, Gagne's activation pushes him way down the ladder of importance.

In non-keeper leagues, he could be dropped too. In keeper ones, he must be retained as Gagne and Baez are free agents at season's end.

In leagues that count strikeouts, Broxton should be retained as he is a 1+ strikouts per innings pitched reliever.

Ken Ray

From today's AJC:

Cox turned to Ray "because he decided beforehand to rest Reitsma for consecutive days."

Th mad rush o pick-up Ray may prove to be premature, but with closers, Roto teams are wise to shoot first and ask questions later.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Ken Ray saved the Braves win this afternoon.

Logan Kensing pitched the 8th inning for the Marlins, and Joe Borowski the 9th in a non-save situation.

The Yankees went to a rain delay after the top of the ninth down 7-5. Will it be Elmer Dessens? Will Joel Peralta come back after pitching the last two thirds in the 8th? Mike Wood? Ambiorix Burgos?

Ken Ray is the situation with the most possibility as he came in to start the 9th with the Braves up 6-5.

Cody Ross

The Marlins have acquired Cody Ross.

If true, he is one to grab if available. He'll produce given the opportunity unlike Chris Aguila, Eric Reed and Reggie Abercrombie. Joe Borchard still awaits the return of the jury.

After what Ross did with the Dodgers at the begining of the season, it does not surprise that the Marlins decided to trade for him.

(Disclaimer: I took Cody Ross in a minor league draft four or so seasons ago.)

Freddy Sanchez

Pirates confronting the question: Why not Freddy?

The link above is to a nice article on Freddy Sanchez.

There is little doubt he is going to be an everyday player once the specter of Joe Randa no long looms over him.

Last off-season, Pirates management was not completely sold on Sanchez as an everyday thirdbaseman and decided to sign Joe Randa to a one-year contract.

Freddy has proven thier caution to have been unnecessary.

Joe Randa has been told he will regain his starting job when he finally exits the disabled list. However, he is supportive of a dimished role due to Sanchez's success while filling-in.

Given this is the Pirates and GM Dave Littlefield reiterated recently that Randa will get his job back, I suspect Randa gets the job back. (If you need another example of managerial incompetence, look no further than the GM dictating who plays and who doesn't.)

This decision can be used by the wily Roto owner to acquire Sanchez cheaply once Randa is activated. I have little doubt Sanchez is the Opening Day 3B in 2007. I also believe he will be the full-time 3B by July 31.

His expected performance is a slightly better....Joe Randa!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Andy Pettitte

MLB - Houston Astros/Washington Nationals Box Score Thursday May 25, 2006 - Yahoo! Sports

Wow! Six earned runs in the first two innings on seven hits!

Is there anything wrong? If there isn't, Pettitte has all the makings of sinking Roto teams as the teams wait for him to finally turn it around while not being able to cut him lest he does turn his season around.

And then never does.

El Duque Trade

The Mets and Diamondbacks exchanged pitchers yesterday. The Mets got rid of Jorge Julio, who has strung together some good appearances after being a disaster to start the season, and acquired Orlando Hernandez, who numbers this season indicate the D'backs felt he was a disaster, too.

I do not like either player although El Duque may be a play if your team is desparate for Wins and the pool includes no starting pitcher alternatives outside of Rockies.

I believe Julio is going to pitch much more frequently in Arizona until he either proves competent, and that is not a high bar to meet in that 'pen, or completely blows-up.

Odds favor the former option and not the latter.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Randy Johnson

Another crappy start from the 2006 & 2007 $16MM man.

The question is whether or not Randy Johnson is done or will he learn to pitch with lessser stuff like Jason Schmidt did last season.

Washington Nationals

Thank God for Alphonso Soriano's 16 HRs.

Without him, the Nationals regular outfielders would only have 13 total - 5 from Jose Guillen, 4 from Ryan Church, and 2 each from Marlon Byrd and Damian Jackson.

(I'm sure Daryle Ward hit at least one of his season total of three while playing on the verdant lawn of RFK, but can he really be considered an OF for this post?)

That is quite a list of outfielders, isn't it?

NL Closers

There has not be a permanent change in closers in the NL yet.

Chris Reitsma looks like the worst of the lot, but the Braves have given no indication of taking him out of the role.

Joe Borowski looks like he will be sharing the role with some of the Marlins no-name relievers, but, until another reliever(s) gets two saves in a row, I will withhold the determination that Borowski has lost the job.

Brad Lidge was removed for three days to work on his mechanics. As the Astros had no save opportunities during that three-game stretch where Taylor Buchholz, Wandy Rodriguez and Fernando Nieve got destroyed, one cannot prove Lidge was actually not the closer.

Todd Coffey was used by the Reds to save a game last week and was promptly used in a non-save appearance in his next game. How can one conclude the role changed when Dave Weathers was used to close a game subsequent to Coffey's save?

The Dodgers lost Eric Gagne to the DL prior to the start of the season, and Danys Baez has operated as the closer in the interim. Grady Little did state he was going to use a commitee after Baez blew four straight saves.

Unfortunately, there have been few save opportunities since (Baez 1 and Taikito 1) to conclusively determine if Baez was out. I do concede that Baez's usage in the 7th and 8th would say he has lost the job.

There may never be a determination of that, though, because Eric Gagne looks to be back within the week.

What all this means is no team has fallen into a $10 or less closer this year, and that event is usually a positive sign of a successful season for the lucky owner.

Bail Season Approaches

Memorial Day has taken on the reputation as the point in the fantasy season when teams can seriously evaluate their team's make-up and decide whether playing for the following season is not the wiser course.

If the following season is determined to be the best strategy, then bail trades will inevitably follow.

With this seasonal occurence, trading between teams still in competition begins to grind to a halt as one no longer deems it wise to trade a $5 Prince Fielder in a power-for-saves trade because PF should get two players in a bail trade.

This happens despite the fact that each team does need what the other is offering.

The bail consideration also works for the team acquiring that not-too-distant-future two-for-one player. If a team acquires the bail piece, the he can flip it in a two for one.

This, of course, stops the other team from dealing said player.

There is really no solution to this dilemna barring the exchange of equal salary&contract status players i.e. $5 1st year Prince Fielder for $5 1st year Bronson Arroyo.

Elmer Dessens

In his first opportunity as the Royals' closer, Elmer Dessens blew the save by giving up three runs in 1/3 of an inning - the 8th inning!

He had followed Ambiorix, who gave-up 2 runs in two+ innings.

Pitching a meaningless 9th was Johnny Peralta, who also yielded a run.

There would be little shock if Mike Wood closed the next time.

This bullpen looks exactly like it did in 2004 when Tony Pena used everyone to save games - and caused wasted FAAB throughout fantasy baseball as teams scrambled to grab each pitcher who had one save followed by Pena statements saying that pitcher was the closer.

Dodgers' Bullpen

Danys Baez pitched the 7th and 8th yesterday in an 8-1 win over the Rockies.

Why the nominal closer is pitching multiple innings in a meaningless situation is a mystery.

Takashi Saito pitched the 9th.

The reports on Eric Gagne are glowing so the last chances for saves for anyone other than EG in the Dodgers' bullpen will be limited to the remainderof the month.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Deep Leagues

The adjective "deep" or "shallow" is often used to describe one's fantasy league.

Neither has a hard and fast defintion, but like pornography, you know it when you see it.

The Yankees called-up Terrance Long yesterday, and the Rangers recalled Jason Botts today.

Both players represent the top two hitting options in the free agent pool.

That is a deep league.

Jered Weaver

Why isn't Jeff's little brother getting any hype and building eager anticipation of his recall?

In AAA Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League, he is 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 66 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched.

Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez threw 20 bp pitches yesterday with no immediate ill effects.

After the specter of Tommy John surgery hovered over him, there is the impression that he is free from that situation.

Why else would it be reported that Fish manager Joe Girardi hopes he will be activated soon?

Following yesterday's comments from Girardi that he is going to use his young players in save situations to see how they handle it, Carlos Martinez can be in line for a save or two.

That is a far way from where he was when he was first injured last month!

Barry Zito

Barry Zito is on his way to another CY Young award - if only his bullpen would cooperate.

With only three wins, the success he is enjoying will go un-awarded.

On the year, he is 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. If his bullpen had not blown a few wins, his W-L record would merit the deserved recogniton.

Recall, these figure include the nightmare Opening Day start against the Yankees - 1.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 runners.

Since that game, Zito has a 2.11 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Buster Olney says some great things about Scott Kazmir in his behind-the-Insider-wall column this morning.

He notes some Tampa Bay Bucs were in attendence yesterday and tenatively concludes Kazmir is building a following.

He also makes the first Johann Santana comparison. I have thought that same thing this weekend in a debate in my league over a trade an out-of-time Scott Kazmir for a $13 Jay Gibbons, who can be protected next season at the same.

Kazmir's start yesterday will not dissuade anyone from believing the trade was a fair one. Of course, Kazmir will need to maintain that level for it to work out for the Kazmir acquiree.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chris Reitsma

He was pulled from a save situation halving a two-run lead and replaced by lefty Macay McBride who faced consecutive left-handed batters.

Warming up in the bullpen was Ken Ray.

Since Ray was warming up, one should conclude McBride was only being used because of the two lefty hitters and not because he was first in line to close.

That would still be Oscar Villareal, but he had pitched the night before and faced 10 batters - getting hit very hard.

Ken Ray is next in line, but his 12 strikeouts and 10 walks in 20 innings does not bode well for him. To make it worse, he has only struck out three in last 10 appearances covering 10 innings while walking four.

Tampa Bay

Bullpen ERA for TB: 2nd to last in AL
Bullpen BAA for TB: Last in AL
Bullpen WHIP fr TB: Last in AL

Chances of Kazmir leaving with a lead and having the bullpen blow that lead (and Win)?

Standings for TB: Last place.

Are chances of starting pitchers getting wins on a last place team?

Joel Guzman

Kemp Might Make Jump From Double A - Los Angeles Times

Joel Guzman is going to be passed-by again so the Dodgers can promote AA OF Matt Kemp?

From almost making the team to being passed-by 5 times already and now another slap?

This is the type of treatment that demoralizes anyone.

Guzman can take lessons from the story of Job, but that is not the typical way to deal with professional athletes.

LA Dodgers Closer

Danys Baez pitched the 8th inning yesterday, and Takashi Saito pitched the 9th in an 8-4 victory.

Baez got the last save opportunity and then pitches in the 8th?

There are signals here but they are mixed.

Kind of like the Cincinnati bullpen.

Jason Lane

Phil Garner held Jason lane out of the starting line-up for a third consecutive game.

I figured it had to do with Garner's never-ending man-love for pieces of crap, Mike Lamb and orlando Palmeiro.

Then I read this:

"Although manager Phil Garner wasn't ready to say when Lane would return to the lineup, Garner says Lane will remain on the Astros' 25-man roster when Chris Burke comes off the disabled list on Monday."

The possibility of demoting Lane is part of the discussion?!?!?!

That is stunning.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Andy Pettitte

17 runners in 6 innings?!?!?!?!

His walk rate is down from 4.5:1 to slightly less than 3:1.

His k-rate is similar, 7 per 9 innings in 2006 vs 6.9 in 2005.

His hit rate is way up, though. 7.6 per 9 vs 12.2.

He started off slowly last year. I wonder if he will do so this year. I know his shutout in his prior start certainly lead to that conclusion.

After tonight's stinker, I am no longer willing to take that gamble.

Scott Baker

The Twins have staked Scott Baker to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

He has already given two of those back in the bottom of the inning on a Geoff Jenkins two-run HR.

Baker was a very highly touted sleeper this year because he pitched very well in 50 or so innings in 2005, and the hype around Francisco Liriano sucked all the air out of the room.

Also involved in the thinking about Baker was the Twins would be a good team.

Clearly that is not going to be the case. The Twins will stink this year and may for another year unless they get some power. Lew Ford and Shannon Stewart on the corner OF spots and Tony Batista/Michael Cuddyer at 3B will not cut it offensively. Nevermind Juan Castro/Nick Punto at SS.

Without a winning team, Baker can not be reasonably expected to win more than 10 or 11 games, and, if he reaches those levels this season, he will have to win almost half of his remaining starts - something I'd never count on.

Right now, I view Baker as a decent upside starting pitcher on a losing team. That makes him worth no more than the high single digits.

Todd Coffey

The Reds used Todd Coffey in the 8th inning of a 9-4 game yesterday.

Not exactly the situation a team would use its closer in.

While that certainly does not rival trading a middle reliever who turns into a closer, it has to hurt regardless.

Dave Williams

The Reds designated pitcher Dave Williams for assignment.

The shocking thing about this is the Reds dealt Sean Casey straight-up for Williams.

GM Wayne Krivsky deserves accolades for recognizing the mistakes of his predecessor, Dan O'Brien, and doing something about them. (The first being Tony Womack, DFA-ed a couple weeks ago.)

Cutting bait on your own roster mistakes is a lesson taken from Krivsky's actions.

I rid myself of Bruce Chen prior to his start in texas. I had protected him at $10. if he had repeated his 2005 performance levels, he'd have been a good pitcher, but he was far, far, far from those levels.

Another team criticized me for the decision.

Hindsight has proven it to be a good one.

So far.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Randy Johnson

The Yankees come out and treat Mets' starter Jeremi Gonzalez as if he is, um, Jeremi Gonzalez and score four runs in the top if the first inning.

The Mets answered by treating Randy Johnson like he was Jeremi Gonzalez!

Something is wrong with RJ, and I hope it is physical. If it is Whitson-itis creeping in.....

Carl Pavano for $10.5 MM and RJ for $16 MM on the de facto disabled list. Oh, brother!

Scott Kazmir

He looks to have arrived a a bonafide major leaguer pitcher.

Unfortunately for 4X4, his WHIP, and team, keep him from an equivalent value.

He has pitched slightly better than he did last season but, with 25 starts to go, he can easily get back to the same levels as last season.

In real baseball, two things will launch him into discussions of top pitchers - his win totals, 6 so far after only 10 in 2005, and a high strikeout rate.

For Roto, though, other things must be considered.

While I would not be surprised to see Kazmir maintain his improvement in WHIP - a 1.38 isn't great but it is no longer a net negative, I do not see him maintaining a 66% win rate.

Given his team I don't even see a 50% one. What I do see is a possible 14 wins for a last place team. This means he'll win only 8 of his next 25 starts.

Given the hype building, he won't be worth it. In a trade, he may be worth acquiring if you can keep him for next season.

Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera is off to a better start at the plate this season, which should no come as a surprise. He was 20 years-old in his major league debut last year and was ripping-up AAA pitching this year.

I've seen a couple of interesting ABs from him this year to lead me to believe he's got a careeer as a major league player. In both cases, he fell behind 0-2 and worked the count to 3-2.

He did not draw the walk but the fact he wasn't an easy out despite the most unfavorable of counts is encouraging.

Carl Pavano

Tha Yanks should have been afraid of any pitcher who strikeouts 139 hitters in 222 innings while in a hitter's park in the NL - regardless of health!

Carl Pavano was removed from a AA rehab start due to tricep soreness, and today's NYTimes reports Pavano says it feels just like it did back in 2000 prior to his Tommy John surgery.

Pavano's muscle memory aside, he was unable to straighten his arm the next day - a less than encouraging sign.

I'd drop him from my roster at the first sign of a promising available player.

Todd Coffey

The Enquirer - Coffey nearer to becoming closer?

Reds manager Jerry Narron says he used Weathers for the 7th and 8th and Coffey to close because he needed the more rested pitcher to throw two innings and that pitcher was David Weathers. Todd Coffey had thrown 30 pitches the day prior.

A strange rationale, but a rationale nonetheless.

I'd still grab Coffey as he is likely on a closing committee right now.

John Sickels on XM Radio

Minor League Ball :: Radio Waves

John Sickels will be hosting the Friday edition of Fantasy Focus on XM Radio.

As he is not a Johnny-Come-Lately to prospect analysis, I find his discussions of the utmost importance as I evaluate minor league prospect implications for Rotisserie baseball.

I don't know how I ever got by without XM Radio and channel 175. Fanatsy Focus is a great program only made better by Mr. Sickels regular appearances.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Todd Coffey

Looks like there is a new closer in the Queen's City. Todd Coffey closed out this afternoon's Reds' win.

Grab him quickly.

Elmer Dessens

Kansas City Star 05/18/2006 Dessens steps in as closer

He was named the KC closer with Mike Wood inheriting the 8th inning role.

I wonder what would have happened if the Royals had a save opportunity last night with Dessens unavailable and Wood successfully closing out the game?

Would that one shot for Wood/missed shot for Dessens mean Wood would close the next time?

I do think the closer's role is open to that type of random assignment when no pitcher clearly differentiates himself from his competition.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Last Place Bail

The last place team attempted to make a trade in which he dealt a great bail piece in exchange for two expensive stars - a kind of reverse bail trade.

His reasoning was the bail piece will bring back the same type of players he received earlier.

What he failed to recognize is the team acquiring his bail piece and giving up two stars would lose the performance of that second star for however long he went between acquiring the bail piece and dealing him in a bail deal.

Whilst I liked the contrarian thinking of the last place team, some examination of the consequences for both parties demonstrated why this is not a typical trade tactic in Roto.

Kanasas City Closer

Ambiorix Burgos is out as the KC closer.

Who is in? Elmer Dessens? Andy Sisco? Mike Wood?

Hopefully, the Royals have an opportunity to use the newly-designated closer before transactions deadlines hit.

Dessens has pitched well, but if there is a save chance tonight, he likely will not get it because he pitched 2+ innings yesterday.

In that case, I'll take Mike Wood.

Russ Martin

Martin Has Earned Some Security - Los Angeles Times

When Dioner Navarro returns from the DL, the Dodgers say Russ Martin will remain the starter.

Martin has continued to draw walks as a major leaguer - an encouraging sign.

Neither player has shown double-digit power so the OBP (and catching skills) is a good tie-breaker.

If OBP is a category, then Martin should be grabbed. If not, then it should be a stat one uses to determine whether he will continue to play.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

'Pen Writes a New Ending - Los Angeles Times

To quote (for those to busy to click through the link):

"Little said he would employ Baez and Saito according to matchups rather than assign them rigid roles. Beimel, a left-hander, might be called upon again in the late innings as well."

Is there an undisclosed Baez injury coming next?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Danys Baez

Baez Was Ready, but Wasn't Needed - Los Angeles Times

After blowing four consecutive save opportunities, Baez received the dreaded vote of confidence.

Yesterday, the Dodgers scored a run in the 9th to expand a three-run lead to four, and Grady Little decided to keep Joe Beimel out there to pitch the ninth and record the save.

No big deal except the report from this morning's LATimes says Little stayed up until 4Am going over his options.

I doubt Beimel would be the closer but Takishi Saito may be and a longer shot would be Jonathan Broxton.

If fellow big man Bobby Jenks can close as a rookie for the World Series champs, I do not see why Broxton couldn't step-in until Gagne returned.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Andy Pettitte/Taylor Buchholz/Todd Walker
Livan Hernandez/Takishi Saito/Jason Lane.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Jesse Crain

Jesse Crain was amongst the absolute worst strikeout relievers last season and amongst the best middle relievers due to 12 Ws and great ratios (2.71/1.13) in 80 innings.

Very few people would have thought Crain could repeat those ratios without missing more bats (25 Ks and 29 BBs in those 80 innings.)

After 6 weeks, the vast majority of those people who thought missed bats would be necessary to continue his relieving value are wrong. Crain has struckout 17 in 15.2 innings – with 7.47 ERA and 1.79 WHIP.

If those currently-wrong forecasters are victims of a bad sample, then those Ks should presage better performance going forward, and you would be wise to grab Crain as a throw-in in another trade.

Yankees Outfield

Hideki Matsui is done for a long time, and the New York Times is reporting that Gary Sheffield’s wrist may be worse than previously reported.

That makes the Yankees outfield one ugly site. Johnny Damon as the most powerful hitter amongst himself, Bernie Williams, Melky Cabrera, Bubba Crosby and Kevin Reese is not inspiring.

That is a joke. I’d expect Mitch Jones to be recalled by the end of next week and possibly by the end of this weekend if that amalgamation of single-digit HR hitters goes 1-29 or something equally horrific.

Emotions aside, one of those extra outfielders (Cabrera, Reese, Crosby, Jones) is going to emerge as a helpful Roto player.

My guess is Melky Cabrera, but keep an eye on the DH role now that Bernie is likely to become a regular in the OF. This will opens those DH ABs to someone. (Andy Phillips? The aforementioned Mitch Jones?)

Brandon Phillips

Brandon Phillips stole three bases yesterday. With eight on the season, one has to accept that he is likely to get to 20 on the season.

As such, his value will approach the $20 mark. The issue is how quickly it takes your league to recognize that value and pay appropriately in a trade.

Three SBs in one game goes a long way towards that recognition.

Wheeler bails out Lidge Wheeler bails out Lidge, Astros in ninth at L.A.

Brad Lidge was pulled from a 4-2 game after loading the bases with two outs. Dan Wheeler got the one-out save.

The question is whether Lidge is out of the role. I doubt it unless he is injured, but his lack of command is worrisome.

I just hope he isn't in the process of contracting Steve Blass/Mark Wohlers disease.

Chris Reitsma

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell and manager Bobby Cox gave Chris Reitsma the dreaded vote of confidence.

FWIW, Oscar Villareal pitched the 9th last night, and Ken Ray threw the 8th. I know the game was a blowout, but I found that noteworthy regardless.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Matt Cain

San Francisco’s Matt Cain was shelled again last night, bringing his season ERA to a Lima-esque 7.04. With seven starts under his belt, the Giants can reasonably conclude they have given him his chance to work through his difficulties and remove him from the rotation. Whether this means a demotion to AAA or to long relief is meaningless.

If Eddie Guardado and Francisco Cordero can lose the jobs due to ineffectiveness, then Cain can certainly do so.

One more poor start, and I expect, at a minimum, to see the Giants skip his turn in the rotation.

I do have a caveat, though. His WHIP is only 1.54, which I’d think was too low for such a high ERA. If that holds, then he could be in store for a rebound.

Regardless, I think his value is zero. If you disagree, you should attempt to get him via trade for close to nothing i.e. the throw-in in a hitter for pitcher trade.

Joel Guzman

The Dodgers recalled Wily Aybar to take the place of the DL-ed Jason Repko. As this is the third DL stint for a starting Dodgers hitter (Nomar Garciaparra and Kenny Loften) and the fourth opportunity to recall a minor league hitter (Ricky Ledee), I was surprised to read Joel Guzman did not get the call.

I checked the LATimes and manager Grady little is reported as saying he wants to be sure Guzman gets full-time ABs when he is called-up. (Never mind, he can 100% control that when he fills-out his line-up card.)

This thinking is acceptable in the first couple weeks of the season, but I caution that it is now May 11. 25% of the AAA season is in the books and Guzman has 128 AAA ABs. This is not a long time, but another couple/few weeks and suddenly, the season is nearing the halfway point.

There is also the risk that one of these call-ups goes on a Francoeur-esque tear and blocks Guzman. In this case, Guzman stays in the minors all year and begins 2007 behind that hot player.

If the Dodgers do, in fact, intend for Guzman to be the everyday left fielder, I suggest they install him there instead of recalling other players who have the opportunity to mess-up that plan.

Chris Reitsma

I know Chris Reitsma pitched in a non-closing situation yesterday, but I can't get past the fact he was lit-up. Again.

1st, Texas removed Francisco Cordero from the closers' role for ineffectiveness. Then the Mariner's did the same with Eddie Guardado.

This is the time of year when clubs make changes, and I think The Braves will move next and remove Reitsma from the closer's role.

I'd guess Oscar Villareal would get the first chance, but I am not very condfident as the Braves would have to have a save opportunity first.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

KC Line-up

I am battling an injured wrist and a deadline at work, but I couldn't stop myself from commenting on the KC line-up.

It is filled with 8th & 9th place hitters!

Doug Mientkiewicz batting third?

Matt Stairs in the clean-up spot?

Justin Huber could step into either spot and upgrade it, and he can't sniff the field?

It is Major League come to life!

Randy Johnson

Another stinker pitched by the Big Unti, albeit one made worse by two costly errors, one by ARod and the other by Melky Cabrera. However bad the defense, RJ was wild and that compounded matters.

He has not pitched well in his past three starts. I would shy away from him unless he is already on my team, in which case I'd try to trade him for old RJ value.

If I was offered him in a trade, I'd offer Jorge Posada or someone similar to him a la Dmitri Young, Craig Monroe, Shannon Stewart - obviously nothing close to his previous value of Manny Ramirez.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera was hitting AAA pitching very well (.385/.430/.566), but after last season's 19 AB flop, he is off the radar as a stud prospect. Heck, I'd say off the radar as a prospect at all.

I am a little more forgiving of his 19 AB tryout as a 20-year-old in 2005.

Assuming Torre can be believed, Melky is going to play everyday until Sheffield returns.

What i can't quite grasp is how good Melky will be. Of his 47 AAA hits this year, 35 are singles. He has 10 walks in 122 ABs.

One stat in his favor is 9 strikeouts. This indicates he is ready to face more challenging pitching.

Think Josh Beckett qualifies?


Reports have Sheffield going on the DL because he can't play through the pain of an injury any longer.

Anyone who thinks this isn't 100% wrapped up in the Yankees' refusla to pick-up his $13 MM option for 2007 is foolish.

And anyone who actually believes Torre is going to play any minor leaguer called-up to replace Sheff everyday is even more foolish.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Closer Inflation

To further follow-up on the trade discussions I had last week, I spoke with another team that has two closers and made one available for hitting as he currently has one point in HR and one in RBI.

He was offered a $28 Geoff Jenkins from the same first place team for his $11 Mike Gonzalez and turned it down because he wanted a cheaper hitter with the same production. In this case, he wanted a $15 Chad Tracy. (I would rate Tracy higher than Jenkins if the salaries were equal.)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Trade Follow-Up

The Joe Borowski owner I complained about earlier this week did trade the Florida closer to the first place team, who had zero saves and no closer, for JD Drew. (As opposed to me who has zero saves and a closer.)

As another league member said, this trade is great for the second place team.

The league leader weakened the area (hitting) that has carried him to the top of the standings while adding some saves for a few months. (IMO, Borowski will be dealt to a play-off contender in need of relief help.)

What makes this a bad move is not the fact that addressing an area of perceived weakness is a poor strategy, but the fact that the other two teams with 1 or 0 saves have closers, too.

Now that all three Saves bottom feeders have a closer, there is a good chance that no one gains any points despite the presence of a closer because each team can have 3, 2 or 1 points as easily with with one save or two or three or "x" saves.

In order to separate from the pack, a second closer is needed and that is why I was trying to get one. I will continue to do this but the price has to come down from Adam Dunn, Chase utley, and the latest, a $5 Ryan Howard.

Brad Lidge


Brad Lidge's strikeouts are still sky high, but he has only had two good appearances in his last ten.

Normally, the strikouts would keep me from concluding there is something wrong, but his 13 walks say otherwise.

Unless he can be had at a discount, I'd be very wary of him.

Remember the Astros dealt Octavio Dotel out of nowhere a few years ago. Do not be surprised to see that happen again with Lidge and see Dan Wheeler installed as closer.

Jonathan Broxton


The Dodgers called-up Jonathan Broxton to bolster what has been a horrendous middle relief corps.

He has found the major league hitters to be more challenging than the minor league ones, but he has struck out four in 2.1 innings.

While his WHIP is heavily skewed by a three-runner appearance, his strike outs offer lots of appeal that Broxton will be a dominant reliever.

I'd go so far as to say he has the chance to look like Eric Gagne or Brad Lidge - to the Rotisserie player.

Mark DeRosa

Rangers' manager Buck Showalter stated that Mark DeRosa will remain the starter at 2B when Ian Kinsler returns from the DL.

When managers make nutso statements like that, I dismiss them and then try to trade for the displaced starter knowing talent will win out over the lunatic public avowal.

But in Buck Showalter's case, I move much cautiously. He has his favorites and plays them regardless of talent evaluations.

As a result, DeRosa is a safe pick-up from the free agent pool.

As much as that pains me to write.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Freddy Sanchez

Notebook: Randa has stress fracture - Tribune-Review

With Randa's injury (and likely without it), Freddy Sanchez looks like he will be elevated to the everyday thirdbaseman's job.

His AVG should remain in the .300. I doubt it with remaon in the .330 one though because he does not take a walk.

By putting everything in play, he is just as prone to bad luck as he seemingly has been to good luck.

That aside, he is definitely a player to add in NL-only leagues.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson won again last night after giving-up 5 ER in 6.2 innings.

His ERA remains over 5.00.

He is around 90 MPH on every pitch.

He gets another $16+ MM next season.

He looks like Mike Mussina now.

How many players pull the ball on him now?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More Gouging

So I make an offer fo Todd Walker and Andy Pettitte to two other teams while not sending it to the Borowski owner.

A pang of conscience leads me to make the offer to the Borowski owner for Tom Gordon.

His reply was that he offered Borowski and he'd have to look to see what I'd have to add to Walker/Pettitte to get Tom Gordon.

This team is currently in last place in AVG, HR, RBI, and W. He is near the top in SB and Saves. His WHIP and ERA are in the lower half of the categories.

Price Gouging

There is nothing I find more annoying than owners who try to "gouge" you when you inquire about a trade.

As a free marketer, I believe in the principle of getting what you can. As a practioneer, I can find it aggravating to no end.

I offered Todd Walker for Joe Borowski. A fair offer if you believe, as I do, that Borowski has no chance of finishing the season as a closer, much less the Florida one. That aside, I was ready to improve the Walker side if necessary.

The team with Borowski asked for Chase Utley because Borwski is the closer, and "a closer is a closer" to quote the other owner exactly.

I replied the owner should be aware this is an election year and some politician may accuse him of price gouging.

He answered with Todd Walker and Andy Pettitte for Joe Borowski.

I counseled him to do whatever deal comes along that matches his wants and explained why I thought my offer was fair.

To my shock, the other owner had not thought about the situation in Florida beyond Borowski's current stats.

That explained the seeming idiocy of his counters.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Brandon Phillips

Two stolen bases tonight! That makes 5 on the season.

While still early, the Cincinnati press is showering Phillips, and Krivisky, with praise.

While ineligible for ROY, Phillips looks like he may provide season long production. SBs would be enough to make him a very desirable bait piece.

Maybe the Reds have found a long-term 2B finally.

What will happen, though, is Ryan Freel will see his playing time very adversely affected. However, his value is wrapped-up in SB and position eligibility.

This will keep his Roto value up, but if he has recently passed through a draft, he is likely priced north of $20. At that price, he can't be protected without regular playing time.

AL Progress

My AL team has fewer glaring problems than my NL one does.

It has good starting pitching, a closer, power and SBs.

What it hasn't received are good seasons from Casey Kotchman, Adrian Beltre, and Aaron Hill on offense, and Bruce Chen on pitching combined with inconsistency from Barry Zito and Scott Baker.

I expect Kotchman and Beltre to get better but would not be surprised to see Aaron Hill continue to play himself into becoming one of the better players in the free agent pool.

The biggest surprises have been Jason Giambi and Jonny Gomes. Both players are hitting way beyond what I'd hoped for. When they come back, I hope at least one of my frigid hitters would pick things up.

Bruce Chen is thisclose to getting cut. Scott Baker isn't that close at all to being sent packing though, and neither is Zito.

Going forward, I will be focused on cutting bait on my poorer performers and on the lookout for Saves.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jason Michaels

What the heck happened to Jason Michaels?

He has been nothing better than a singles hitter with little in the way of any other batting skill. His batting line of .245/.304/.287 says it all.

How can a corner OFers have such a pathetic SLG? How can the Indians continue to play him?

My guess is he has a couple more weeks to shake his Mary Kate Olsen imitation and return to being a baseball player or he is going to return to pinch-hitting.

First Month NL

The first month is in the books, and my teams are both in 5th place less than 10 points off the lead. This is generally a place I like to see myself as it leaves room to improve as opposed to being at the top and becoming afraid to make adjustments for fear of falling from the top spot.

My NL team can improve greatly in Wins and Saves. I have Dontrelle Willis, Jason Schmidt, Andy Pettitte and Matt Cain anchoring the staff with Taylor Buchholz and Juan Cruz filling two more starter slots. In one of the flukes of the season so far, Buchholz leads my staff with two wins. With that situation, I expect Wins to be a category that I will move-up in.

I have Armando Benitez as my closer and expect him to get more saves than the other two teams I am tied with two teams in that category with zero saves apiece. At worst, I expect to gain a point. Given I am hyper-attuned to saves, I expect to find a second closer in the pool or via trade. There are an additional 5 or so points to grab painlessly.

If my other points held steady, I’d move towards 70 with only those improvements. I do not expect the other six categories to remain static so I must examine my hitting as objectively as possible as I am at or near the top in all four categories.

I have done this with the likes of Wilson Betemit, Freddie Sanchez, Craig Wilson, Todd Walker and Brandon Phillips. Clearly, I will need to keep my eye on the free agent pool and for any hitters dealt into the league. To expect five more months of the same from those five hitters would be a recipe for losing – not that there are not Roto participants who do expect that. They usually end-up losing.

I have little to worry about in SB as I have Juan Pierre and Raphael Furcal. That is an area I will ignore barring an injury to both players – not that I wouldn’t grab SBs when available. Only that I will not try to acquire them via trade.

The strategy going forward will be to look for saves and everyday hitters while passively allowing Wins to take care of themselves.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jonathan Broxton

After dominating AAA Las Vegas (11.1 IP, 6H, 3 BB, 18 Ks), the Dodgers finally broke down and called-up one of their top prospects, Jonathan Broxton.

I expect him to continue to strike out batters at 1+ per inning pitched. What i am unsure of is whether he will perform like he did at AAA or like he did in his 13 innings as a Dodger at last season's end.

Even the, he struck out 22 in 13.2 innings.

SB Totals

When evaluating how you stand with SB and whether or not you need to address them is an important decision especially if you are struggling in Saves.

Examine the players on your team who have stolen bases so far. Are they players likely to steal any more or are they as likely to end the season with the same number they currently have?

Craig Wilson has one SB. He is more likely to finish with one than to swipe one more per month and end with 6.

Jim Endmonds has 2 SB. He is more likely to end with 2 than to end with 12.

Jose Vidro has one SB. See Craig Wilson.

Juna Pierre has 7 SB. He is likely to steal 42+.

And so on.

If you have a lot of the Wilsons, Edmonds, and Vidros, you must recognize that and decide how you will address SBs.

Esteban Loaiza

The Oakland A's $21 million disappointment, Esteban Loaiza, was available on my league's waiver wire last night.

I grabbed him for a few reasons. The first was his $1 salary. As we get deeper into the summer, salary cap space becomes more important. As he is cheaper than the player waived ($10), I put that in $9 savings in the "trade" bank.

The second reason I took him is my league rules allow only one waiver claim/successful FAAB per week, and the week runs Monday to Sunday. Using this time frame makes claims on Sunday painless as you need only wait until the sun next rises to have that option back.

Most importantly though, is Loaiza reports no physical problems, and the A's are meeting today to decide how to handle his atrocious season-to-date. A trip to the DL to work on mechanics would be best as it would allow me an open roster spot to search for closers-to-be for two weeks.

Or I could pick-up a player from the pool and waive him for the pitcher I had waived to pick-up Loaiza - Bruce Chen. The question in that scenario is whether or not I wait until after Chen's start in Texas (the reason I chose to waive Chen in the first place) on Thursday or grab him ASAP to avoid another team waiting for the same reason.

Any way it works out, I am glad to pick-up a starting pitcher on a play-off contending team with a great defense who only costs $1.