A commentary about sports, media, and interpersonal relationships encountered throughout everyday life.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jorge Posada's Cranky Labarum

The Journal News' Peter Abraham has the play-by-play of Posada's injury right here.  Apparently the injury bug decided to absolutely decimate my team this year.  As many of you already know, Posada has now joined a long list of players (John Smoltz, Takashi Saito, etc) who have made this season one of the more difficult ones to manage in recent memory.

However, the Posada injury definitely puts Posada owners in a weird situation.  On the one hand, Posada has been told that he needs surgery, in fact... it's been recommended.  On the other hand, Posada wants to rest for about 10 days and try to come back as a 1B/DH.  Inside sources say that Posada's being pressured to come back by Yankees brass due to his huge contract.

However, I live in New York and, as a result, watch the YES Network and Yankee games on a near nightly basis.  I can put to rest the notion that Posada is being pressured to play by Steve Swindell or any of the Yankee Brass.  Posada is one of the most prideful baseball players in Major League Baseball and the only reason Posada is considering a comeback is because he loves playing the game.

Enough about Posada's pride.  Let's take a look at a few replacement players if Posada realizes that he can't hit either:

Chris Snyder (C, Diamondbacks) was incredible in the second half of 2007.  In 161 ABs, his OPS was .889.  He swatted 6 Homers and netted 31 RBI, while hitting to a tune of .292.  He's a forgotten man in fantasy leagues as he's been on the DL with a testicular fracture (I feel pain just typing that).  I would definitely give Snyder a scouting over the next few games while he re-wins the starting job back from Miguel Montero.

According to MLBTradeRumors' Catcher Market, the Yankees may be interested in Gerald Laird (C, Rangers) and Ronny Paulino (C, Pirates).  However, I think that the Yanks executing a deal for Rod Barajas (C, Blue Jays) or Greg Zaun (C, Blue Jays) is more realistic.  Both Blue Jay Catchers would serve as rent-a-players because they're both eligible for free agency at the end of the season (Barajas has a team option for 2009).  To me, both of those players aren't worth it unless they're streaking.

For this reason, Jose Molina (C, NYY)may end up being the best option for anyone who needs a Posada replacement this year.  The catcher position is so thin this season, that Molina may put up decent numbers for your fantasy team.  He's never been a full-time starter, but he's proven to be a doubles machine for the Yankees in 2008.  In the limited ABs over the past two years in the second half, Molina has actually put up better numbers than both Barajas and Zaun.  In 2006 he batted .273 with a .729 OPS.  In 2007 (his first season with the Yankees), it was more the same: .294 BA and a .738 OPS.

My official advice, for now, is to grab a guy like Molina or Barajas while you wait it out on Posada's decision sometime next week (when he's eligible to come off the DL).  While you're doing this, scout out Chris Snyder as the best possible heir to Posada's Catcher spot on your fantasy roster.

I just found this video of Brian Cashman talking about Posada's injury:

Seems kind of grim to me.  He's talking about how the "hitting hasn't been there" either.  As a Posada owner, I'm prepared for the worst...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

God Bless You Glen Perkins

Any goober (like myself) that didn't dive all over Jonathan Broxton when Takashi Saito injured his arm last week was in a bit of a pickle for this shortened week.  A few days ago, I gave one short term solution.  This solution wasn't going to get you any saves, he probably wasn't going to get you any strikeouts, in fact, he probably wasn't going to do much... other than pitch beautifully against one of the most fierce offenses in the Majors.

This man is Glen Perkins, the sole recommendation I gave for Saito owners this past week.  Last night, Perkins did his best to make me look like a genius for giving him the nod against Josh "The Great Hambino" Hamilton and the Texas Rangers.

Anyone who took that advice got this nice little stat line added to their Box Score for the week:

6 Innings Pitched, 0 Earned Runs, 3 Hits, 3 Walks, 1 Strike out, and 1 Win

Okay, so he didn't set the world on fire, but he helped your ERA with 6 shut out innings and a 'W' never hurts.  In points-leagues, he was more than serviceable accruing a respectable number for your team, despite not having very many strike outs.

For now...  It's time to say 'Good-Bye' to Glen.  That's right, I want you to drop Glen Perkins from your team.  You have to always remember what some experts refer to as the "Shawn Chacon Rule:" DON'T CHASE WINS!

More second half pitching recommendations to come soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Joe Blanton Affair

Baseball really knows how to kick off the second half.  For those who are not aware...  Joe Blanton has been traded from the Oakland A's to the Philadelphia Phillies for a plethora of minor leaguers.

Obviously, Blanton's going to find his way into the Phillies' starting rotation...  which begs the question: Who's Out?  There are three options for this one (keeping in mind the Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer are, obviously, safe from being 'voted off the island'): Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick, and Adam Eaton.

Looking at the numbers, Kendrick has been serviceable of late, winning two of his last four before the break.  One of those wins was an 8 Inning, 4 Hit shout-out against the Athletics, where Kendrick really showed the Phils what the 23 year-old is capable of when he puts it all together.  To me, I can't see the Phillies messing with Kendrick's standing as a starter.  He's been improving throughout the course of the season and it would be dumb to mess with his head at such a young age.

Todd Zolecki, of Philly.com, seems to think it's going to be Adam Eaton who gets the boot from the rotation (and the fans seem to agree wholeheartedly).  Over Eaton's last five starts, he allowed 6 earned runs twice and 8 earned runs one time... so... I may have to agree with the Phillies' faithful.  He's already a useless fantasy pitcher... check that... he's a useless starting pitcher, period.  His ERA at home is nearly 7 and this former Mets-killer, is not even useful for that anymore (ERA approaching 8 v. the Amazin's).

The guys at Rotoworld, however, suggest that Brett Myers may be the odd-man-out.  At first, I (a Brett Myers owner) nearly vomited on my keyboard.  He was so close to coming back and now Pat Gillick had to go and screw it all up!  Then, after regaining my composure and taking some Mylanta, I decided to take a look at Adam Eaton and Kyle Kendrick's numbers... in hopes that one of the two were godawful.  As you can see, from the above paragraph, Eaton is definitely worse than Myers (even if it is the HR-happy version of Myers) and should be demoted to the 'pen or placed on waivers (which is definitely a possibility).

So, for all Brett Myers owners out there... I hope you see this before you head over to Rotoworld so your body doesn't undergo the physical reaction that mine just did.  Brett Myers will be back next Monday to start against the New York Mets.  Far from a bold prediction, but I think that now is the time for stating what should be "the obvious."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Takashi Saito Update: Dear Lord No!

So it's not season-ending surgery... but it's a Kelvim Escobar-esque rehab.  Essentially, what the Dodgers have informed us all is that Takashi Saito could have surgery, but, in the interest of the organization's play-off aspirations, he's going to take six weeks off and attempt to rehab afterwards.

So this leaves Saito owners who did not grab Jonathan Broxton in a sticky situation...  Personally, as you 
may have noticed in my last post, I am one of these owners.  Due to the short week, I am looking at favorable match-ups that may pay an immediate dividend for me before considering Saito's long-term replacement on my fantasy team.

The most interesting option to me, is Glen Perkins of the Twins.  He's on a decent role with the Twinkies and is matched up against a somewhat flammable Kevin Millwood.  Though he's facing off against the Rangers, Perkins will be staring down a Home Run Derbied-out Josh Hamilton and two All-Star Game wearied Rangers in Michael Young (who finally ended this madness as I write) and Ian Kinsler.

Over his past three starts, Perkins has been kind of impressive:

June 30:  6.1 Innings, 7 Hits, 2 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, and 7 Strike Outs
July 6:  7.0 Innings, 7 Hits, 3 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, and 3 Strike Outs
July 11:  6.2 Innings, 6 Hits, 2 Earned Runs, 2 Walks, and 2 Strike Outs

In all CBS Sports Fantasy leagues, Perkins has only a 24% ownership.  So, if you're looking for a quick fix for the upcoming short week (and can't get Jonathan Broxton), that's the direction I'd go.

I'll be back on later today with some long term replacements for Saito.  In the meanwhile, take a look at the three undervalued starters I mentioned last week and a few hot July pitchers I mentioned a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saito Watch

Not to be confused with fellow baseball blogger Mike Plugh's Yuki Saito Watch, this Saito watch surrounds the current elbow ailment of L.A. Dodger closer Takashi Saito.  Despite the All Star Break, I'm sure that anyone who has Saito on their fantasy team has been at work refreshing Dodger message boards, Rotoworld, et al. in hopes that some news on this morning's MRI would be revealed.

However, unlike Alex Rodriguez and Scott Boras during last fall's World Series debut, Joe Torre and the Dodgers decided it would be a good idea to wait until after the Home Run Derby and All Star Game to let the world know what exactly is going on with Takashi Saito.  Sure it's a classy move... but what else would you expect from an organization run by Joe Torre...

Yet...  I can't help but feel a bit selfish.  As a Saito owner, I want to know if I'm wasting my time (not to mention a roster spot) with this 38 year-old closer.  I know what you're thinking... and I can't blame you for asking:  "Fadds, what about Jonathan Broxton?  You picked him up... right?"

My answer:  "Don't Ask."  I spent an entire weekend with my girlfriend.  Pools, Barbecues, Beer, Carnivals, you name it...  I was there.  It was fantastic.  But... it cost me Jonathan Broxton.  I'm not upset about it... far from it.  I just want an answer already!  Let me know if it's time for me to add Manny Corpas before Brian Fuentes is traded to either the Yankees or the Phillies  (which is a pick up I recommend looking into if you're starved for Saves).

For the latest news on Saito, I've been checking his ProTrade page.  They're fairly pessimistic... but I like that straight shooting when it comes to guys on my team.  Personally, I wouldn't cut Saito loose just yet... wait for the calm, soothing voice of Joe Torre to let you down easy before making a drastic move like that.

I'll be back tomorrow to let you know who I am looking at as possible replacements for Saito on my team and yours.  Until then, have a night cap and attempt to get some sleep despite this uneasy news (especially if you're a team with play-off aspirations).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

McGowan/Harang Update

Apparently my vent session gave mercy to the respective rotator cuff and forearm of Dustin McGowan and Aaron Harang.

For more on their injury updates:

Essentially, Harang'll be back before McGowan.  He'll probably spend a stint on the DL and get his act together for a few rehab starts.  Maybe this will give Dusty Baker time to think twice before starting his ace on two days rest... now the Reds faithful can take a minute and stop having nightmares about Wood, Prior, and Harang.

McGowan, on the other hand, is going to get a second opinion.  I don't know if I'd cut him loose if he's just going to do a DL stint.  Stay tuned to the blogosphere over the next few days for more updates on McGowan's status.

Dustin McGowan & (maybe) Aaron Harang: The Straw(s) that Broke the Camel's Back

Seriously, I don't know what's worse this year: the maple bat epidemic or the injured pitcher epidemic.  Think about it... unless you've had incredible luck this season, I'm sure you've lost at least one pitcher for an extended period due to injury.  Are they not drinking their milk, taking their vitamins, and saying their prayers every night?

Today, news from Blue Jays camp informed the public that Dustin McGowan was the latest "star" pitcher to hit the DL.  McGowan's diagnosis: an apparent rotator cuff tear.  So that means at least 4 weeks away from baseball activity.  Sure, my only knowledge of rotator cuffs comes by way of my love-hate relationship with Chad Pennington (two years in a row)... but I have a feeling it'll be a bit more than just 4 weeks.  In fact, I think it's time for every McGowan owner to cut loose and pick up Anibal Sanchez while he's still available in your league.  Normally, I'd deliver a few stats about Sanchez... but I'm on the edge right now.  My only advice is this:  he's a more valuable 2nd half starter than McGowan; cut away.

I know that I can't be the only one who's in complete amazement (which is another way to say I'm beginning to get a little pissed) about this starting pitcher famine.  Think about it... the news about McGowan comes the same week that Erik Bedard landed on the DL for what seems like the 70th time this season.

And now... I see message boards and blogs exploding over this.  Don't cue the gloomy "dun-dun-DUN," just yet... let's remember there have been similar scares this year (note Jorge Posada, Victor Martinez, etc) that haven't completely killed fantasy baseball squads around the world (and by "completely killed... around the world" I mean, my team survived...).  Could you imagine Harang being lost from the Reds for the year?  He'd be added to an already crowded list (including Yovanni Gallardo, Jeremy Bonderman, John Smoltz, Chien-Ming Wang and, now, Dustin McGowan) of season-altering starters who are lost for a looooooong time-- if not the season!

So where does this leave us?  Well, that rant was somewhat therapeutic for me... but I'm not going to leave you to just commiserate with me.  Instead, I'll attempt to throw you a few fliers who've caught my attention:

Josh Johnson:  He's a risk... but this season... not so much.  I say this because even if he only pitches for a month, his starts could be quality enough to give your Roto stats a nice boost.  Don't get me wrong: he's not a fantasy savior by any means.  Hell, he's not even the Robin to your ace's Batman.  He's more like the Supporting-Actor's sister's neighbor.  How does that translate?  Well, he'll help you with WHIP and ERA... he's not going much more than 6.0 IP per start and he'll win a decent amount of games... but not an overwhelming amount.  Does this description leave you where you started?  Maybe.  But Johnson's randomness factor may be worth risking against someone like Daniel Cabrera's guaranteed-to-blow-in-the-second-half factor.

Mike Pelfrey: He's owned in my fantasy league... but that's mainly because it's filled with current and former New Yorkers.  If he's not owned in your mixed league, you should take a flier on him.  I remember a few years ago, Pelfrey was compared to Justin Verlander-lite.  Eric Mack described him as having "Verlander-like Stuff."  The funny thing (to me, since I don't own him) is that in 2008, Verlander doesn't even have Verlander-like stuff.  All shots aside, Pelfrey is maturing before our eyes.  The NY media has caught on, which means your fantasy league is not far behind.  Take a flier on him now because, from what I've seen, he's already turned the corner and hasn't yet reached his climax.

Jeff Suppan:  When he hit the DL, he was the Brewers' number three starter.  He comes back as their number five.  Insulting?  No!  That means a lot of possibly cheap wins.  He's going to be facing the fading Todd Wellemeyers and Ian Snells/Tom Gorzelannys of the NL Central for the 2nd half of 2008.  As I said about Josh Johnson... don't rely on him as a weekly-start, rather look to him for some stat padding in the second half of the season.