Monthly Archives: April 2016

Don’t Sell Too Early on These Players

Baseball players have rough patches throughout a 162-game season.  Often times slumps get magnified at the beginning of the season.  I play in 5 fantasy baseball leagues so a number of these slumping players are on my teams. I plan to hold these players in the short term and not sell them low in trade. Actually I’ve acquired a few via trade.  I’m also looking to see if any of these players go on waivers so I can pick them up.

Cubs SS/2B Addison Russell

Was expected to take step forward this season. Still lacks plate discipline. Put more stock in the.301/.377/.520 to minor league rate than the .244 batting avg. so far.

Royals DH Kendrys Morales

.227 avg. 3R 2 HR 7 RBI. Morales career 162 game avg. 24 HR 91 RBI.

White Sox 1B Jose Abreu

.217 avg. 2 HR 5 RBI. Abreu has 100 plus RBI and 30 bombs in each of his major league seasons. With Todd Frazier protecting Abreu in the lineup, number should be on the way soon.

White Sox 3B Todd Frazier

.154 avg. 2 HR 6 RBI.  Toddfather’s slump in the 2nd half seems to have carried over into this season.  Frazier has 162 game avg. of 28 HR and 83 RBI.

Jays SS Troy Tulowitzki

.140 avg. 3 R 2 HR 6 RBI.  New leg kick could be throwing off Tulo a bit.  Health has always been a problem for Tulowitzki.  If your concerned on his health sell Tulowitzki when his numbers rebound.

Braves 1B Freddie Freeman

.167 avg. 5 R 1 HR 4 RBI.  Freeman’s avg and power should get back to normal, but RBI’s are going to be a problem playing for the Braves.

A’s OF Khris Davis

.162 avg. 1 R 0 HR 1 RBI.  Davis’ power numbers may drop moving from Milwaukee to Oakland. His OBP will come around soon.

Indians SP Corey Kluber

0-3, 6.46 ERA 1.42 WHIP. Put more stock into the 19:5 K:BB thru 19 innings than the ERA.

Mets SP Matt Harvey

0-3 5.71 ERA 1.56 WHIP only 9.  Harvey hasn’t gotten out of the 6th inning in any game this season, but is too talented to sell low.

D-backs SP Zack Greinke

0-2 6.75 ERA 1.56 WHIP 15:5 K:BB. pitched much better in latest start. Flu at end of spring training may help to explain things a bit.

Rays SP Chris Archer

0-3 5.87 ERA 1.96 WHIP 23:8 K:BB. Archer throws too many pitches and struggles to pitch deep into games. Allowed only 2 ER in 2 of his 3 starts.

Pirates SP Gerrit Cole

0-2 4.22 ERA 1.22 WHIP 9:4 K:BB.  Cole hasn’t been sharp in his 2 starts this season. In 30 starts a year a pitcher will have a few stinkers.  Cole just happened to have them in his first 2 starts.

Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright

0-2 8.27 ERA 1.90 WHIP 7:9 K:BB.  Owners should be alarmed with Wainwright’s numbers.  Wainwright is the one pitcher on this list that I have the most concern on coming off the Achilles injury.  Owners should keep Wainwright on the bench if they’re concerned about his numbers.

Tracking Trea Turner

The Washington Nationals are off to a hot start with a 9-3 record.  While the Nationals top prospect Shortstop Trea Turner is tearing up Triple-A .368/.467/.526.  It’s not all roses as there’s a glaring hole at Shortstop.  Danny Espinosa has a slash rate of .176/.31/.206 so far this season.  In his 7th season Espinosa owns a career .229 batting average and is a stop-gap option until Turner is ready.  Stephen Drew has been more productive .273/.333/.545 in a third as many plate appearances as Espinosa.  The problem is Drew has lost a lot of range defensively and isn’t physically capable of playing everyday at this stage of his career.   The fact of the matter is production at the major league level closer to below replacement level player than the club should want.

Turner in a 44-game late season audition and spring training showed that plate discipline was a major problem.  Spring Training saw Turner slash .244/.327/.390 which in my opinion justifies getting sent down to Triple-A to start this season.  GM Mike Rizzo and company want to make sure Turner’s development isn’t stunted by bringing him up too early.  The Nationals are correct in giving Turner more time to work on his swing.  Turner’s ability to reach his potential could get stunted by returning to the majors too soon.

Platooning Turner in the majors would be a waste of time in my opinion.  When Turner is eventually called up it should be as the starting shortstop.  Batting 8th in front of the pitcher also should be avoided by Manager Dusty Baker.  Turner should bat with protection in the lineup so he can see better pitches.  I’ve always despised batting young players in front of the pitcher.

Fantasy owners looking to add Turner should receive help in runs, batting average, and steals.  Your league size and construction dictates if Turner should be already owned. I own Turner already in dynasty keeper league dumping Ian Desmond in the process.  In a daily categories league another owner picked up Turner.  Owners where Turner is available should track the situation and be ready to make the move before Turner arrives in DC.

Trading The Hebrew Hammer for Kung Fu Panda?!?

Red Sox 3B Pablo Sandoval is one of the worst free agent signings in baseball in recent memory. “Kung Fu Panda” left the “Kung Fu” in San Francisco with a .245/.292/.366 slash rate last year in Bean Town.  2016 has gotten worse as Travis Shaw won the 3B job out of spring training relegating Sandoval to the bench. A shoulder strain has now pushed Sandoval to the DL.  The salary in 2016 is $17.6 million dollars followed by $17.6 million in 2017, $18.6 million in 2018, and $18.6 million for 2019.  2020 has a $17 million dollar team option with a $5 million dollar buyout that certainly will be paid. With the buyout that $77.4 million dollars remaining paid out to Sandoval.

Flipping Sandoval will certainly require the Red Sox to take on another bad long term contract in return.  In my opinion the Brewers with Ryan Braun are the perfect trade partner for the Red Sox and Sandoval.  Braun has one of the worst contracts in baseball with $96 million dollars remaining. $20 million dollars per year for the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons.  $19 million dollars due in 2019 and $17 million dollars due in 2020.  The 2021 season holds a $15 million dollar mutual option and a $4 million dollar buyout.  With the buyout Braun is due $100 million dollars. Braun’s contract is awful because of the club’s situation and his age.  Braun’s skills will have slipped farther by the time the club looks to contend.

Wins-above-replacement player has nothing to do with my position.  Money is the driving factor in proposing this deal.  The Brewers are in a rebuild looking to acquire younger players and cut costs. I have a hard time paying a player $20 million-per-year as the club struggles to win 70 games.  My belief is if a club can finish in last place with expensive talent, they can finish in last place with inexpensive talent as well.

The Red Sox can afford to make the move with David Ortiz and his $16 million dollars coming off the books after this season.  Braun could slot in as an OF or DH for the Red Sox.  The Red Sox are in a win-now mode every season, while the Brewers reside on the other end of the spectrum.  The process started to take place this winter, but a few more moves need to take place to fully rebuild.  Very few clubs around baseball would be willing to take on $100 million dollars.  Braun’s deal makes him tough to move for assets.  Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is a better trade piece to acquire young talent.  The only thing the Brewers would be able to do right now is take on another bad contract in return for Braun.  Saving roughly $23 million dollars long term as your losing anyways may be the best that can be done.  Corner infielders have been a problem for the Brewers and Sandoval fits that role.  The Brewers have plenty of Outfield prospects to eventually fill in that void.

Brewers GM David Stearns shouldn’t be afraid of alienating the fans by moving on from Braun.  The fact of the matter is getting out of Braun’s contract assists in the club’s rebuild.  Braun is on the club’s Mt. Rushmore despite his linkage to PED’s. If the Brewers were remotely close the contending the thought would have never crossed my mind. Sandoval will be younger at the end of his deal and could be moved at a later date if his career rebounds.  “The Round Mound of Pound” has hit well in his career at Miller Park with a .295/.371/.574 rate in 16 games.  Braun will be a tough player to move at age 36.  Other pieces may need to be added to make the deal work. Also no-trade clauses could come into play.  Sometimes you need to think outside of the box in a rebuild, this certainly would be doing that.

Fantasy Owners Burned By Drafting Billy Burns

A’s CF Billy Burns is one of the disappointments so far.  Last season was a breakout for the speedy center fielder with a .292/.334/.726 slash rate. Fantasy owners took notice of the nice OBP and 26 steals. Burns played well this spring training with a slash rate of .333/.361/.474 to go along with 5 steals. In my opinion Burns has played well enough to keep the starting job in Center Field for the Athletics.

Manager Bob Melvin and General Manager David Forst actions so far have said otherwise. Burns has started only 5 of 9 games so far with Coco Crisp starting 5 as well. The A’s have a logjam all over the diamond Josh Reddick, Chris Coghlan, Billy Burns, Coco Crisp, and Khris Davis fighting for playing time in the outfield alone.  Coghlan has already seen time this season at 2B, 3B, LF, RF, and DH.  Stephen Vogt is locked in as the catcher but if Vogt is the DH then Billy Butler sits.  Butler has been benched quite a bit, while new addition Yonder Alonso has started 8 games at 1B despite batting just .115.

The platooning does make sense, however I have problem with cutting down the development of youth.  Playing a 36 year-old injury prone player in Coco Crisp over a 26 year-old emerging player in Billy Burns is a real problem. If adding Crisp to the lineup is a priority then why not play him in LF and move Khris Davis to DH? Being able to watch Davis everyday I would argue against any stats that grade him out as a decent fielder. Davis has a weak arm and doesn’t break on balls very well. The A’s acquired Davis for his power and OBP.  Crisp at age 36 may be better suited for a complimentary 4th outfielder role than a starting spot. Only time will tell if his body is able to hold up.  History says it won’t as Crisp hasn’t played 145 games in a season since the 2007 campaign.

Fantasy owners shouldn’t cut bait with Billy Burns just yet.  I recommend not overanalyzing the opening weeks of the baseball season.  Fantasy owners drafted Burns looking for steals, but you can’t steal from the bench. I expect Burns to be playing on a regular basis shortly.

A Look at Recent Trade Robbery in Baseball

Rosters can be built thru a number of different avenues; drafts, free agent signings, waiver claims, and trades. A successful combination of all of these avenues is often the key to success.  For this post I’m just focusing on trades in recent memory involving All-Star caliber players.

Scouting other clubs and being familiar with their players is just as important as knowing what you have in your organization. Take notice of some of the returns in these trades.  A lot of these guys went on to have successful careers, while others never made a peep in Major League Baseball.

Brandon Phillips

April 7, 2006: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named later. The Cincinnati Reds sent Jeff Stevens (June 13, 2006) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.

Jose Bautista

August 21, 2008: Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later. The Toronto Blue Jays sent Robinzon Diaz (August 25, 2008) to the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete the trade.

Chris Davis

July 30, 2011 Traded by Texas Rangers with Tommy Hunter to Baltimore Orioles for Koji Uehara.

Yan Gomes

November 3, 2012: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Mike Aviles to the Cleveland Indians for Esmil Rogers.

Tyson Ross

November 16, 2012: Traded by the Oakland Athletics with A.J. Kirby-Jones (minors) to the San Diego Padres for Andy Parrino and Andrew Werner.

Wade Davis

December 9, 2012: Traded by the Tampa Bay Rays with a player to be named later and James Shields to the Kansas City Royals for Patrick Leonard (minors), Mike Montgomery, Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi. The Tampa Bay Rays sent Elliot Johnson (February 12, 2013) to the Kansas City Royals to complete the trade.

Noah Syndergaard

December 17, 2012: Traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Wuilmer Becerra (minors), John Buck and Travis d’Arnaud to the New York Mets for R.A. Dickey, Mike Nickeas and Josh Thole.

Mark Melancon

December 26, 2012: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Ivan De Jesus, Stolmy Pimentel and Jerry Sands to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt.

Anthony Rizzo

January 6, 2012: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Zach Cates (minors) to the Chicago Cubs for Kyung-Min Na (minors) and Andrew Cashner.

Jake Arrieta

July 2, 2013: Traded by the Baltimore Orioles with Pedro Strop and cash to the Chicago Cubs for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Addison Russell

July 5, 2014: Traded by the Oakland Athletics with Billy McKinney (minors), Dan Straily and cash to the Chicago Cubs for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija.

Dee Gordon

December 11, 2014: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Dan Haren, Miguel Rojas and cash to the Miami Marlins for Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney and Enrique Hernandez.

Any trades I missed out on in this post? Feel free to post your favorite trades.