We at Fantasy Trade 411 realize that Twitter is an amazing place to get instantaneous answers to the many, fantasy sports questions that you may have. We also understand that 140 characters isn’t always enough space to provide a fully developed answer. The Fantasy Trade 411 Mailbag is a place where we encourage our readers to submit questions that warrant a lengthier response and maybe your question will be featured in our weekly column. Feel free to tweet me, @jcswigga, or the man himself @fantasytrade411, with your questions. If your question is selected for the column you will be notified that you’ve made it to the big dance! Enjoy…
It is evident that you are lacking in the power department but looking to the catcher position to fill that hole may not be wise. There is no guarantee that McCann will hit for more power than Montero. While Montero has started off slow, McCann has just made his way back from yet another DL stint which seems to be occurring much more frequently. On top of that you would be taking on the headache of owning Heath Bell who has already blown a save since being handed the reigns. It is clear that Hernandez is the more talented of the duo while Bell has only past experience to fall back on. The fact that Montero and McCann are interchangeable at catcher, the trade really comes down to Brett Gardner for Heath Bell which is highway robbery. If you still want to move Gardner, wait for him to have a good week where he steals 5 bags and then trade him for a package including a non-catcher.
DECISION: KEEP GARDNER
At the time of this writing, Adam Jones is sitting as the 4th ranked OF on ESPN’s Player Rater while Austin Jackson is 26th. We are all aware of the season that Jones had last year but many analysts feel that could have been his career year. Jackson, on the other hand, is as reliable as they come, leading off for a juggernaut offense in Detroit. I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see Jackson finish the 2013 season as the league leader in runs scored. The difference between Austin Jackson and Adam Jones is a lot smaller than many would care to admit. However, the slew of players that you would choose from to combine with Jackson is not very impressive. While Jason Hammel is currently (5-1), he is sporting a 4.93 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. It would not surprise me to see him become waiver fodder by the All-Star break. A borderline waiver wire SP and a less talented OF seems more than fair to acquire Adam Jones’ services.
DECISION: AUSTIN JACKSON AND JASON HAMMEL FOR ADAM JONES
That is definitely brutal, no question about it. However, owners should be able to make trades any way they see fit if they truly feel that they are bettering their teams. Collusion should be the only way that a trade is blocked by a commissioner. Knowing this, it’s not necessary to really pick this trade apart because of how one-sided it is. While Pujols is hurting and the Angels are struggling, he is still the best player in the deal by far. A case can be made that minus Cabrera’s SB’s, Rollins is the better SS. Lastly, Soriano is only a closer and one that hasn’t pitched well to date. What should be taken from this trade by you and your league mates is to either bombard this owner with absurd trades of your own or ask him to not return next season.
Most analysts will tell you that when comparing two equal players, the bat should always be taken. In this instance, the “bat” we are talking about hit 43 HR’s last season. However, Josh Hamilton has been a mess this year batting only .203 with 4 HR, 11 RBI and 14 R. Much of this can be attributed to how bad the Angels have played as a team. However, Hamilton isn’t for the faint of heart and has demons in his past to go along with a checkered injury history. Mark Trumbo is more than capable of replacing Hamilton’s power (or lack thereof). Matt Cain started the season slow but has since made two, dominant starts. Cain possesses all of the tools one would need to contend for an NL Cy Young Award each season. Unless you are in the camp that the Angels will completely turn things around and that Hamilton will be the main reason, it may not be a bad idea to let him figure himself out on someone else’s roster.
DECISION: MATT CAIN
This question has many pieces that will be answered in the same fashion; this will help us paint a more complete picture. Is Joe Mauer for David Wright a fair deal? The answer to that question is yes. Joe Mauer has a good chance of finishing the 2013 season as the highest rated C (don’t tell Buster Posey) just like David Wright could finish the season as the highest rated 3B (don’t tell Miguel Cabrera, either). Is Mauer better than Napoli, McCann and Santana? The answer to that question is yes. While Mauer didn’t provide much pop last season, his numbers looked like this: .319 BA, .418 OBP, 10 HR, 85 RBI, 81 R and 8 SB. To date in 2013, his numbers look like this: .341 BA, .418 OBP, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 22 R and 0 SB. It is important to note that Mauer has multi-position eligibility, as well. However, while it is a luxury to own both Evan Longoria and David Wright at 3B, it doesn’t mean that one should be expended for less than their actual value. Mauer is better than all of the catchers listed above but is still not as valuable as David Wright would be, playing U if you have Longoria at 3B.
DECISION: DO NOT TRADE WRIGHT
A very important detail was not included in this Tweet clip that readers need to know; Ken is referring to a keeper league with his question. Knowing this, it’s time to evaluate. Jay Bruce is a power hitter that will probably do two things every year for the next five years: hit 30 HR’s and bat below .250. Aoki had a very nice season last year compiling a .288 BA, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 81 R and 30 SB in only 520 AB’s. Those numbers extrapolated over a full season would have been even gaudier. Let’s fast forward to 2013 and Aoki’s numbers look like this: .288 BA, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 19 R and 4 SB. Now, to the other side, Nolan Arenado (3B) and Jean Segura (SS) both look like eventual all-stars at their respective positions. Arenado will have the luxury of playing half of his games in Colorado’s thin air. Segura is currently batting north of .360 and look like he could contend for top-5 SS honors as early as this season. Hisashi Iwakuma has been a very nice story to date compiling a record of (4-1), 1.74 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 51 K’s in only 51.2 IP. There is no way to know how Iwakuma will hold up over the course of a full season but his numbers have been downright dominant up to this point. Bruce and Aoki are very talented players and more proven at this point in their careers but play OF which is a much deeper position. The three players you would be getting back can all provide great, long term value. If you are very close to winning this year I would suggest holding off because the HR/R/SB value from Bruce and Aoki will be necessary to contend for the title. However, if you are building for the future it’s a trade that can certainly be made.
DECISION: MAKE TRADE UNLESS CLOSE TO TITLE THIS YEAR
At the time of this writing, Zack Wheeler’s arrival to the big league is being estimated at around a month. Wheeler’s last start came for Triple-A Las Vegas in which he tossed 7.1 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 7 batters. Travis Wood, on the other hand, has been a rather nice story to begin the season. Wood’s current numbers look like this: (3-2), 2.33 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 34 K in 46.1 IP. If this were a keeper league I’m sure you wouldn’t even be asking this question because you would know that Wheeler has the higher ceiling. However, it looks as though you are referring to this season only in which I would say that Wood is the safer own. Both pitchers will play with offenses behind them that instill little fear into opposing hurlers. Also, many young pitchers that are brought up either realize they aren’t quite ready relatively quickly or are dominant for a first go around and then come back down to earth. Regardless, it is sometimes better to let these youngsters figure themselves out on someone else’s roster and then draft them the following season when they are more polished.
The trio of closers all come with their issues which is why they are all still available in what is assumed to be a shallow league. Steve Cishek currently has 5 saves with the putrid Marlins. It is interesting to note that he has 17 K in 15 IP which demonstrates that he has the tools necessary to get the job done. However, 7 BB in that same time frame certainly contributes to his 1.267 WHIP, which is far too high for any closer to sustain success. Brandon League is much more difficult to interpret because while he has converted 8 saves on the year, his ERA is an astounding 6.28. League also has only 7 K in 14.1 IP which proves that he is probably to hittable to maintain the role across a full season. It also seems that Kenley Jansen always seems to strike out the side right before one of League’s hiccups. Heath Bell was a dominant closer in his own right in the seasons leading up to last year. Currently, J.J. Putz’s injury has given Bell the first crack at closing duties and he was cruising right along nailing down his first three until he finally blew one. Many analysts feel that Daniel Hernandez is the more talented of the duo but it was Bell who actually received the managerial nod. While Bell can be very frustrating to own, he would be the play here because Hernandez’s recent work on the mound has done very little for an imminent take over of Bell’s duties.
Now, let us take a look at part two of your question. Andrew Cashner is a beast that can really dial it up on the radar gun. In 2012, Cashner had a K/9 rate that exceeded 10 which is astounding. So far, Cashner’s 2013 numbers look like this: (2-2), 3.23 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 24 K in 30.2 IP. The problem with Cashner is that San Diego moves him back and forth between starting and relieving (a la Joba Chamberlain). If San Diego decides to leave him alone (he has made 4 consecutive starts), he could really pay dividends but would almost certainly be faced with an innings cap. Hector Santiago, for all those that aren’t new to fantasy baseball, was actually Robin Ventura’s surprise closer choice early last season and did okay for a little while until losing the job. In 26.2 IP this season, Santiago has compiled a record of (1-1) with a 1.69 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 25 K. However, due to the makeup of each pitcher, Cashner projects as a more dominant starter and would get the nod of approval.
DECISION: HEATH BELL AND ANDREW CASHNER
One will always wonder just how much the “juice” helped Melky play at the level he once performed. To date, Cabrera has a .261 BA, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 13 R and 2 SB. Those numbers look like a player that should probably be part of an OF platoon but given Cabrera’s $6M price tag, that probably won’t happen. Grant Balfour has been impressive this season. He has 6 saves to go along with a 1.88 ERA, 1.326 WHIP and 15 K in 14.1 IP (he has given up 19 H+BB which is a bit concerning, though). Lastly, Tim Hudson is (4-2) with a 4.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 35 K in 46 IP. These numbers are obviously very mediocre which is probably what should be expected from Hudson over the duration of a full season. So, we have an underachieving OF, an underachieving SP and a closer with a WHIP north of 1.32. I don’t want to go into too much detail on Aoki because he was discussed in detail above but he is a huge upgrade over Melky Cabrera. Jason Kipnis began the season slow but that can probably be attributed to injury. Since his return, Kipnis has been very productive at the plate and can contend for a top-5 spot at his position (2B) at season’s end. Side-B of this trade should out produce Side-A by a noticeable amount.
DECISION: AOKI AND KIPNIS
A.J. Pierzynski always seems to be the catcher that is owned by half of the league by the time the season ends. He does just enough to be owned while he’s hot and then almost enough just before he receives his walking papers. Last season Pierzynski produced these numbers: 479 AB, .278 BA, .326 OBP, 27 HR, 77 RBI, 68 R and 0 SB. The 27 HR jump right off of the page at you but let us not forget that he has never hit more than 16 HR’s in a season and that came back in 2006. He has also never hit more than 77 RBI which he did one other time way back in 2004 when he was a member of the San Francisco Giants. This year’s numbers look like this: 95 AB, .263 BA, .297 OBP, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 9 R and 0 SB. It is not very often that we see a 35 year old have a career season which is clearly all that last season was. Miguel Montero, on the other hand, is only 29 years old and had a solid season last year. Montero’s 2012 numbers looked like this: 486 AB, .286 BA, .391 OBP (73 BB), 15 HR, 88 RBI, 65 R and 0 SB. Fast forward to 2013 and Montero’s numbers look like this: 145 AB, .197 BA, .297 OBP, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 13 R and 0 SB. Montero has been one of the slowest players to get going this year but it seems almost impossible for him to not substantially improve. Since 2009, Montero’s BA’s have looked like this: .294, .266, .282 and .286. He may never develop the power that many scouts thought he would, but a .280 BA with 80+ RBI is certainly more production that one could hope to get from another year older, A.J. Pierzynski.
DECISION: MIGUEL MONTERO
Joe Costello is a staff writer for www.FantasyTrade411.com and can be reached on Twitter @jcswigga to answer any fantasy baseball or football questions. I am also available to answer any commissioner related questions as I currently serve as League President for both baseball and football leagues. You know what’s better than winning my own league? Helping you win yours…