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Marginal Players: Marginal Players

Chris Liss

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire.com and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 22, 2008 9:57 am
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: RE: Charging



Last week we talked a lot about some of the premier guys in the game that are struggling. I thought that this week we could spend some more time on players that are more on the margin - the ones that we'd actually consider cutting to pick up a free agent, or at least benching in other cases. It's one thing to say to go pick up John Bowker or Rafael Betancourt, but every pick up must come with a drop. Here are some of the guys on my margins.


David Bush (18-team mixed league) - I'm finally cutting the cord on Bush. I didn't draft him anew in any leagues, but I've had him as a keeper at cheap prices in a couple of leagues. I was stubborn - his K:BB rate even last year showed some promise, even though he had the same problems as before when pitching with runners on base. This year, his walks are up, and though it's just three starts for him, the Brewers seem closer to pulling the plug as well. With Yovani Gallardo coming back, the Brewers are keeping Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva in the rotation ahead of Bush, though it looks like Bush will get at least one more start while Ben Sheets is out. I've lost patience with him, and have cut him in both leagues where I kept him.


Asdrubal Cabrera (12-team mixed league - Yahoo! Friends-and-Family) - While I constantly preach patience with slow starters, I think that sometimes hurts me when playing in the thinner formats. The bottom quarter of your roster can remain pretty fluid in such a league, with so much good talent available on the waiver wire. Sure, you risk the occasional panic move and cut a guy too soon, but you also can better seize opportunities when they arise. You can take this activity to an extreme (one owner in our F&F league has made 33 moves already), but I'm at that other extreme right now (five moves). There's a happier medium that I need to find, and it starts with cutting bait on Cabrera. I still believe in his talent, but the fact that he's losing time to Jamey Carroll of all people is a concern. Then again, at this time last year, Troy Tulowitzki was losing playing time to Jamey Carroll, so there's a lesson in patience somewhere in there. Oh, and stay patient with Tulo - I'm not at all worried about him.


I also have Cabrera in AL Tout Wars, a 12-team AL-only league. I'm stuck with him there - there's really no move I can make to replace him, not even just to move him to my taxi roster.


Rafael Perez (15-team mixed - NFBC) - I haven't pulled the trigger on this one yet, because of the Joe Borowski injury. Perez has been better over the last week or so, but he's nowhere near the dominating guy that we saw last year. I think that the general consensus was that there had to be *some* decline, but you and I disagreed about the extent of his decline. So far, it looks like you were right. Once again, context is key here - in a 12-15 team mixed league, Perez isn't that useful unless he's really dominant or if he's closing. Right now, he's doing neither, and I could use the spot to find another starter to use in select situations.


Matt Guerrier/Kazuo Fukumori (12-team AL-only) - Two of my little speculation plays in AL Tout Wars blew up in my face. Guerrier is another "yeah, he pitched over his head last year, but by how much?" guys. Once Joe Nathan signed a contract extension, the chances of him earning anything more than a couple of bucks this season dropped considerably. I'm a little more disappointed in Fukumori, who I used an extra endgame dollar on to speculate on the rest of the crappy Rangers bullpen blowing up. Fukumori was pretty solid in spring training, too, lending some hope that he'd be someone I could cash in on. Sure enough, most of the Texas bullpen has imploded so far, but alas, so has Fukumori.


Juan Rivera (10-team AL-only) - This might have been my toughest drop, as I truly believe that Rivera could hit 20-25 homers with regular playing time. The thing is, that playing time is just not happening anytime soon with the Angels. This particular league that I'm in has just three reserve spots, with no extra DL slots. I know that he's started the last two games, but I think that's unfortunately an aberration, with Torii Hunter a little banged up. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and I'll have to overpay to reverse this move? Or maybe that's just wishcasting.


Chad Cordero (10-team NL-only) - I won't be cutting Cordero anytime soon, but until he gets his velocity back up and has a chance to close, he's not going anywhere near my active roster. We haven't heard the last of Cordero's shoulder injuries. He was able to get his fastball up to 87 mph in his last outing, a big improvement over his scary outing earlier last week, when he topped out at 82 mph.


Scott Hatteberg (10-team NL-only) - This one is pretty self-explanatory. That lefty-lefty platoon that Dusty Baker had between Hatteberg and Joey Votto is just a memory at this point. Even in an NL-only league, Hatteberg is going to need a Votto injury to remain rosterable at this point.


Jon Lieber (15-team Mixed) - I might regret this move, seeing as how Lieber has picked up a couple of wins already in relief, but I don't see him getting back into the Cubs' rotation soon. Maybe they'll give up on Rich Hill or put Ted Lilly on the DL, but I had a hard time staying patient for that to happen in the NFBC, where I'm starved for good starting pitching. I've held onto Lieber in my 10-team NL-only league, however.


So who have you been contemplating parting ways with, or have already done so? What do you do with Rickie Weeks in a 12-team mixed league? Just ride him out, or bench him?


Or maybe you'd like to discuss some of the guys on the margin that you're looking to add, or have recently just added?


----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 5:15 pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

Man, I made it easy on you last week, and now you send me this list of scrubs that I have to research! How many non-Asdrubal Cabrera owners actually know how he's doing this season off the top of their heads? Apparently, he's not doing very well, but a lot of that can be blamed on a .244 BABIP which would normalize over time. Would that be enough for him to salvage his season? Maybe. He had a good 368 at-bat stint at Double-A last year (at age 21), but that's not much of a resume for a 22-year old at the major league level. He could have a long and prosperous major-league career starting in 2010, for all we know, and of course, his lack of job security adds even more risk in the short term. In the Yahoo Friends and Family League, I would have cut him a while ago - I had Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins get hurt, and Stephen Drew and Tadahito Iguchi were available. In Tout Wars, of course, you're stuck with him and have to hope he turns it around - which he still might.

Dave Bush is a master at underperforming his peripherals and has been for years. He's Tom Glavine in reverse. I don't know why certain players are like that - perhaps it's just an uncannily long streak of bad luck. But the sample size is big enough that I'm ready to ascribe a cause to it even if I don't know what that cause is. Good riddance to Bush. Both of them, actually.

Rafael Perez had great peripherals last year, but you can't take those too seriously. Middle relief aces come and go unpredictably - even ones like Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel and Scott Linebrink who had been good for a couple years, let alone guys like Perez with a one-year sample. He might own those skills, but whether he can locate them is another matter.

Juan Rivera's a different case - I agree - 20-25 HRs for sure if he gets 500-plus at-bats, but playing time, for better or worse is part of the puzzle, and it can be hard to predict managerial tendencies or injuries. I'd need to be in a pretty deep league to feel attached to Rivera - at least as deep as our 18-team Staff League.

Don't talk to me about Cordero - I paid $15 for him in that same staff league, and now he's off to see James Andrews. Nothing we can do about that. Hopefully, Andrews doesn't find much.

As for Lieber, I'd hold on to him in deeper leagues - one of the Cubs' starters is bound to get hurt or be ineffective - how often does an entire rotation stay healthy all year? And Lieber could be effective with his excellent control and having the Cubs solid offense and bullpen behind him.

Finally, as for Weeks, I would absolutely keep him active in a 12-team mixed league (and I am in Yahoo Friends and Family). I'd even advise trading for him if you can. His BABIP is .189! His career mark is .312. Can you imagine how many runs and steals he'll have once that normalizes?

Okay, so here are a few guys that I've been on the fence about and would like to know your thoughts:

Travis Buck - overpaid for him ($14) in AL LABR, and he's been dinged up and bad. Is he going to bounce back?

Jason Giambi - paid $8 for him in LABR, and am still waiting for some production.

Mike Lamb - paid $9 for him in LABR - I assume he'll snap out of it.

(Funny, my LABR team's in sixth place, only a couple points out of second somehow).

And is it worth waiting on Clayton Kershaw and Pedro Martinez in a 15-team mixed league? That depth level is a 50/50 mix between upside and having reliable bodies.

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 23, 2008 2:46 pm
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: Charging

Are Weeks' struggles all attributable to BABIP? It's possible; after all, his contact rate is up, he's walking at a pretty good rate, so those are at least positive indicators. His line drive rate, courtesy of the folks at The Hardball Times, has dropped from 17.8% to 9.8%. Overall, I think that bodes well for him going forward, especially in the absence of the reporting of any injury. He's gotten off to poor starts before, but usually at least in part due to an injury. He looked really awful on Sunday, so maybe that's influencing my opinion about him.

Travis Buck has spent his entire major league career banged up - that doesn't surprise me. The strikeout-to-walk ratio (20:2) really worries me. Usually his plate discipline is not a problem. He's a HACKING MASS All-Star right now. I'm in a similar boat with you on Buck - in my AL home league, I used up the last of my endgame dollars to lock him up. Now the A's are claiming Rajai Davis off of waivers, and I'm legitimately worried about Buck losing playing time as a result.

Jason Giambi's poor start surprises me. He had such a good spring and was healthy for once entering the season. I think his groin injury in the first week of the season has had a lingering effect on his production, though I don't really have a whole lot to point at to prove it. Maybe his homer on Tuesday will turn things around for him. Like Buck, you really can't be surprised at all with Giambi's fragility. It's all part of the package, and I consciously avoided Giambi because of that. It's just too bad I didn't have such clarity of thought with Buck.

Mike Lamb is another one of your guys that coincidentally enough had a good night on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 against the A's. Maybe their collective ears are burning - perhaps you should name every single member of your teams in your next missive, to see if there's a causal relationship at all. I tend to think he'll come around too - he's not good enough to have a peak period, but that also means there shouldn't be a cliff either. I'm a little concerned that the Twins called up


Last week we talked a lot about some of the premier guys in the game that are struggling. I thought that this week we could spend some more time on players that are more on the margin - the ones that we'd actually consider cutting to pick up a free agent, or at least benching in other cases. It's one thing to say to go pick up
John Bowker or Rafael Betancourt, but every pick up must come with a drop. Here are some of the guys on my margins.


David Bush (18-team mixed league) - I'm finally cutting the cord on Bush. I didn't draft him anew in any leagues, but I've had him as a keeper at cheap prices in a couple of leagues. I was stubborn - his K:BB rate even last year showed some promise, even though he had the same problems as before when pitching with runners on base. This year, his walks are up, and though it's just three starts for him, the Brewers seem closer to pulling the plug as well. With Yovani Gallardo coming back, the Brewers are keeping Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva in the rotation ahead of Bush, though it looks like Bush will get at least one more start while Ben Sheets is out. I've lost patience with him, and have cut him in both leagues where I kept him.


Asdrubal Cabrera (12-team mixed league - Yahoo! Friends-and-Family) - While I constantly preach patience with slow starters, I think that sometimes hurts me when playing in the thinner formats. The bottom quarter of your roster can remain pretty fluid in such a league, with so much good talent available on the waiver wire. Sure, you risk the occasional panic move and cut a guy too soon, but you also can better seize opportunities when they arise. You can take this activity to an extreme (one owner in our F&F league has made 33 moves already), but I'm at that other extreme right now (five moves). There's a happier medium that I need to find, and it starts with cutting bait on Cabrera. I still believe in his talent, but the fact that he's losing time to Jamey Carroll of all people is a concern. Then again, at this time last year, Troy Tulowitzki was losing playing time to Jamey Carroll, so there's a lesson in patience somewhere in there. Oh, and stay patient with Tulo - I'm not at all worried about him.


I also have Cabrera in AL Tout Wars, a 12-team AL-only league. I'm stuck with him there - there's really no move I can make to replace him, not even just to move him to my taxi roster.


Rafael Perez (15-team mixed - NFBC) - I haven't pulled the trigger on this one yet, because of the Joe Borowski injury. Perez has been better over the last week or so, but he's nowhere near the dominating guy that we saw last year. I think that the general consensus was that there had to be *some* decline, but you and I disagreed about the extent of his decline. So far, it looks like you were right. Once again, context is key here - in a 12-15 team mixed league, Perez isn't that useful unless he's really dominant or if he's closing. Right now, he's doing neither, and I could use the spot to find another starter to use in select situations.


Matt Guerrier/Kazuo Fukumori (12-team AL-only) - Two of my little speculation plays in AL Tout Wars blew up in my face. Guerrier is another "yeah, he pitched over his head last year, but by how much?" guys. Once Joe Nathan signed a contract extension, the chances of him earning anything more than a couple of bucks this season dropped considerably. I'm a little more disappointed in Fukumori, who I used an extra endgame dollar on to speculate on the rest of the crappy Rangers bullpen blowing up. Fukumori was pretty solid in spring training, too, lending some hope that he'd be someone I could cash in on. Sure enough, most of the Texas bullpen has imploded so far, but alas, so has Fukumori.


Juan Rivera (10-team AL-only) - This might have been my toughest drop, as I truly believe that Rivera could hit 20-25 homers with regular playing time. The thing is, that playing time is just not happening anytime soon with the Angels. This particular league that I'm in has just three reserve spots, with no extra DL slots. I know that he's started the last two games, but I think that's unfortunately an aberration, with Torii Hunter a little banged up. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and I'll have to overpay to reverse this move? Or maybe that's just wishcasting.


Chad Cordero (10-team NL-only) - I won't be cutting Cordero anytime soon, but until he gets his velocity back up and has a chance to close, he's not going anywhere near my active roster. We haven't heard the last of Cordero's shoulder injuries. He was able to get his fastball up to 87 mph in his last outing, a big improvement over his scary outing earlier last week, when he topped out at 82 mph.


Scott Hatteberg (10-team NL-only) - This one is pretty self-explanatory. That lefty-lefty platoon that Dusty Baker had between Hatteberg and Joey Votto is just a memory at this point. Even in an NL-only league, Hatteberg is going to need a Votto injury to remain rosterable at this point.


Jon Lieber (15-team Mixed) - I might regret this move, seeing as how Lieber has picked up a couple of wins already in relief, but I don't see him getting back into the Cubs' rotation soon. Maybe they'll give up on Rich Hill or put Ted Lilly on the DL, but I had a hard time staying patient for that to happen in the NFBC, where I'm starved for good starting pitching. I've held onto Lieber in my 10-team NL-only league, however.


So who have you been contemplating parting ways with, or have already done so? What do you do with Rickie Weeks in a 12-team mixed league? Just ride him out, or bench him?


Or maybe you'd like to discuss some of the guys on the margin that you're looking to add, or have recently just added?


----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 5:15 pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

Man, I made it easy on you last week, and now you send me this list of scrubs that I have to research! How many non-Asdrubal Cabrera owners actually know how he's doing this season off the top of their heads? Apparently, he's not doing very well, but a lot of that can be blamed on a .244 BABIP which would normalize over time. Would that be enough for him to salvage his season? Maybe. He had a good 368 at-bat stint at Double-A last year (at age 21), but that's not much of a resume for a 22-year old at the major league level. He could have a long and prosperous major-league career starting in 2010, for all we know, and of course, his lack of job security adds even more risk in the short term. In the Yahoo Friends and Family League, I would have cut him a while ago - I had Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins get hurt, and Stephen Drew and Tadahito Iguchi were available. In Tout Wars, of course, you're stuck with him and have to hope he turns it around - which he still might.

Dave Bush is a master at underperforming his peripherals and has been for years. He's Tom Glavine in reverse. I don't know why certain players are like that - perhaps it's just an uncannily long streak of bad luck. But the sample size is big enough that I'm ready to ascribe a cause to it even if I don't know what that cause is. Good riddance to Bush. Both of them, actually.

Rafael Perez had great peripherals last year, but you can't take those too seriously. Middle relief aces come and go unpredictably - even ones like Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel and Scott Linebrink who had been good for a couple years, let alone guys like Perez with a one-year sample. He might own those skills, but whether he can locate them is another matter.

Juan Rivera's a different case - I agree - 20-25 HRs for sure if he gets 500-plus at-bats, but playing time, for better or worse is part of the puzzle, and it can be hard to predict managerial tendencies or injuries. I'd need to be in a pretty deep league to feel attached to Rivera - at least as deep as our 18-team Staff League.

Don't talk to me about Cordero - I paid $15 for him in that same staff league, and now he's off to see James Andrews. Nothing we can do about that. Hopefully, Andrews doesn't find much.

As for Lieber, I'd hold on to him in deeper leagues - one of the Cubs' starters is bound to get hurt or be ineffective - how often does an entire rotation stay healthy all year? And Lieber could be effective with his excellent control and having the Cubs solid offense and bullpen behind him.

Finally, as for Weeks, I would absolutely keep him active in a 12-team mixed league (and I am in Yahoo Friends and Family). I'd even advise trading for him if you can. His BABIP is .189! His career mark is .312. Can you imagine how many runs and steals he'll have once that normalizes?

Okay, so here are a few guys that I've been on the fence about and would like to know your thoughts:

Travis Buck - overpaid for him ($14) in AL LABR, and he's been dinged up and bad. Is he going to bounce back?

Jason Giambi - paid $8 for him in LABR, and am still waiting for some production.

Mike Lamb - paid $9 for him in LABR - I assume he'll snap out of it.

(Funny, my LABR team's in sixth place, only a couple points out of second somehow).

And is it worth waiting on Clayton Kershaw and Pedro Martinez in a 15-team mixed league? That depth level is a 50/50 mix between upside and having reliable bodies.

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 23, 2008 2:46 pm
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: Charging

Are Weeks' struggles all attributable to BABIP? It's possible; after all, his contact rate is up, he's walking at a pretty good rate, so those are at least positive indicators. His line drive rate, courtesy of the folks at The Hardball Times, has dropped from 17.8% to 9.8%. Overall, I think that bodes well for him going forward, especially in the absence of the reporting of any injury. He's gotten off to poor starts before, but usually at least in part due to an injury. He looked really awful on Sunday, so maybe that's influencing my opinion about him.

Travis Buck has spent his entire major league career banged up - that doesn't surprise me. The strikeout-to-walk ratio (20:2) really worries me. Usually his plate discipline is not a problem. He's a HACKING MASS All-Star right now. I'm in a similar boat with you on Buck - in my AL home league, I used up the last of my endgame dollars to lock him up. Now the A's are claiming Rajai Davis off of waivers, and I'm legitimately worried about Buck losing playing time as a result.

Jason Giambi's poor start surprises me. He had such a good spring and was healthy for once entering the season. I think his groin injury in the first week of the season has had a lingering effect on his production, though I don't really have a whole lot to point at to prove it. Maybe his homer on Tuesday will turn things around for him. Like Buck, you really can't be surprised at all with Giambi's fragility. It's all part of the package, and I consciously avoided Giambi because of that. It's just too bad I didn't have such clarity of thought with Buck.

Mike Lamb is another one of your guys that coincidentally enough had a good night on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 against the A's. Maybe their collective ears are burning - perhaps you should name every single member of your teams in your next missive, to see if there's a causal relationship at all. I tend to think he'll come around too -


Man, I made it easy on you last week, and now you send me this list of scrubs that I have to research! How many non-Asdrubal Cabrera owners actually know how he's doing this season off the top of their heads? Apparently, he's not doing very well, but a lot of that can be blamed on a .244 BABIP which would normalize over time. Would that be enough for him to salvage his season? Maybe. He had a good 368 at-bat stint at Double-A last year (at age 21), but that's not much of a resume for a 22-year old at the major league level. He could have a long and prosperous major-league career starting in 2010, for all we know, and of course, his lack of job security adds even more risk in the short term. In the Yahoo Friends and Family League, I would have cut him a while ago - I had Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins get hurt, and Stephen Drew and Tadahito Iguchi were available. In Tout Wars, of course, you're stuck with him and have to hope he turns it around - which he still might.


Dave Bush is a master at underperforming his peripherals and has been for years. He's Tom Glavine in reverse. I don't know why certain players are like that - perhaps it's just an uncannily long streak of bad luck. But the sample size is big enough that I'm ready to ascribe a cause to it even if I don't know what that cause is. Good riddance to Bush. Both of them, actually.


Rafael Perez had great peripherals last year, but you can't take those too seriously. Middle relief aces come and go unpredictably - even ones like Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel and Scott Linebrink who had been good for a couple years, let alone guys like Perez with a one-year sample. He might own those skills, but whether he can locate them is another matter.


Juan Rivera's a different case - I agree - 20-25 HRs for sure if he gets 500-plus at-bats, but playing time, for better or worse is part of the puzzle, and it can be hard to predict managerial tendencies or injuries. I'd need to be in a pretty deep league to feel attached to Rivera - at least as deep as our 18-team Staff League.


Don't talk to me about Cordero - I paid $15 for him in that same staff league, and now he's off to see James Andrews. Nothing we can do about that. Hopefully, Andrews doesn't find much.


As for Lieber, I'd hold on to him in deeper leagues - one of the Cubs' starters is bound to get hurt or be ineffective - how often does an entire rotation stay healthy all year? And Lieber could be effective with his excellent control and having the Cubs solid offense and bullpen behind him.


Finally, as for Weeks, I would absolutely keep him active in a 12-team mixed league (and I am in Yahoo Friends and Family). I'd even advise trading for him if you can. His BABIP is .189! His career mark is .312. Can you imagine how many runs and steals he'll have once that normalizes?


Okay, so here are a few guys that I've been on the fence about and would like to know your thoughts:


Travis Buck - overpaid for him ($14) in AL LABR, and he's been dinged up and bad. Is he going to bounce back?


Jason Giambi - paid $8 for him in LABR, and am still waiting for some production.


Mike Lamb - paid $9 for him in LABR - I assume he'll snap out of it.


(Funny, my LABR team's in sixth place, only a couple points out of second somehow).


And is it worth waiting on Clayton Kershaw and Pedro Martinez in a 15-team mixed league? That depth level is a 50/50 mix between upside and having reliable bodies.


-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 23, 2008 2:46 pm
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: Charging

Are Weeks' struggles all attributable to BABIP? It's possible; after all, his contact rate is up, he's walking at a pretty good rate, so those are at least positive indicators. His line drive rate, courtesy of the folks at The Hardball Times, has dropped from 17.8% to 9.8%. Overall, I think that bodes well for him going forward, especially in the absence of the reporting of any injury. He's gotten off to poor starts before, but usually at least in part due to an injury. He looked really awful on Sunday, so maybe that's influencing my opinion about him.

Travis Buck has spent his entire major league career banged up - that doesn't surprise me. The strikeout-to-walk ratio (20:2) really worries me. Usually his plate discipline is not a problem. He's a HACKING MASS All-Star right now. I'm in a similar boat with you on Buck - in my AL home league, I used up the last of my endgame dollars to lock him up. Now the A's are claiming Rajai Davis off of waivers, and I'm legitimately worried about Buck losing playing time as a result.

Jason Giambi's poor start surprises me. He had such a good spring and was healthy for once entering the season. I think his groin injury in the first week of the season has had a lingering effect on his production, though I don't really have a whole lot to point at to prove it. Maybe his homer on Tuesday will turn things around for him. Like Buck, you really can't be surprised at all with Giambi's fragility. It's all part of the package, and I consciously avoided Giambi because of that. It's just too bad I didn't have such clarity of thought with Buck.

Mike Lamb is another one of your guys that coincidentally enough had a good night on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 against the A's. Maybe their collective ears are burning - perhaps you should name every single member of your teams in your next missive, to see if there's a causal relationship at all. I tend to think he'll come around too - he's not good enough to have a peak period, but that also means there shouldn't be a cliff either. I'm a little concerned that the Twins called up Brian Buscher as a possible alternative, and that they could still slide in Matt Tolbert. Lamb has never held a full-time job and isn't a prospect, so the Twins' incentive to stick with him isn't that great. As long as he can get turned around to passable numbers in the next few weeks, I wouldn't be too worried.

I think that I'd wait on both Kershaw and Pedro. Part of the equation has to be how many bench spots that you have - and given that you're asking about Pedro, I'm presuming you don't have separate DL spots. In a 15-team mixed league, sure there's talent out there on the waiver wire, but I wonder if they're potentially as impactful as either Kershaw or Pedro. There's a risk that Kershaw doesn't get the call until September (and strictly as a baseball fan, I wouldn't mind seeing that as the best developmental tactic), but for that to happen, the Dodgers are going to need to get either Hong-Chih Kuo, Esteban Loaiza or eventually Jason Schmidt to give them something. The best bet for them is that Kuo provides that, but he's so injury-prone that I doubt he'll be useful for an extended period. I see Pedro coming back sort of like he did after last year's injury. His first start wasn't great, but who cares? It's just one start. His velocity wasn't very high in that one start, but it wasn't last year either. He's still capable of overcoming that.

Bronson Arroyo is getting rocked tonight by the Astros, and hasn't had a good s


Are Weeks' struggles all attributable to BABIP? It's possible; after all, his contact rate is up, he's walking at a pretty good rate, so those are at least positive indicators. His line drive rate, courtesy of the folks at The Hardball Times, has dropped from 17.8% to 9.8%. Overall, I think that bodes well for him going forward, especially in the absence of the reporting of any injury. He's gotten off to poor starts before, but usually at least in part due to an injury. He looked really awful on Sunday, so maybe that's influencing my opinion about him.


Travis Buck has spent his entire major league career banged up - that doesn't surprise me. The strikeout-to-walk ratio (20:2) really worries me. Usually his plate discipline is not a problem. He's a HACKING MASS All-Star right now. I'm in a similar boat with you on Buck - in my AL home league, I used up the last of my endgame dollars to lock him up. Now the A's are claiming Rajai Davis off of waivers, and I'm legitimately worried about Buck losing playing time as a result.


Jason Giambi's poor start surprises me. He had such a good spring and was healthy for once entering the season. I think his groin injury in the first week of the season has had a lingering effect on his production, though I don't really have a whole lot to point at to prove it. Maybe his homer on Tuesday will turn things around for him. Like Buck, you really can't be surprised at all with Giambi's fragility. It's all part of the package, and I consciously avoided Giambi because of that. It's just too bad I didn't have such clarity of thought with Buck.


Mike Lamb is another one of your guys that coincidentally enough had a good night on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 against the A's. Maybe their collective ears are burning - perhaps you should name every single member of your teams in your next missive, to see if there's a causal relationship at all. I tend to think he'll come around too - he's not good enough to have a peak period, but that also means there shouldn't be a cliff either. I'm a little concerned that the Twins called up Brian Buscher as a possible alternative, and that they could still slide in Matt Tolbert. Lamb has never held a full-time job and isn't a prospect, so the Twins' incentive to stick with him isn't that great. As long as he can get turned around to passable numbers in the next few weeks, I wouldn't be too worried.


I think that I'd wait on both Kershaw and Pedro. Part of the equation has to be how many bench spots that you have - and given that you're asking about Pedro, I'm presuming you don't have separate DL spots. In a 15-team mixed league, sure there's talent out there on the waiver wire, but I wonder if they're potentially as impactful as either Kershaw or Pedro. There's a risk that Kershaw doesn't get the call until September (and strictly as a baseball fan, I wouldn't mind seeing that as the best developmental tactic), but for that to happen, the Dodgers are going to need to get either Hong-Chih Kuo, Esteban Loaiza or eventually Jason Schmidt to give them something. The best bet for them is that Kuo provides that, but he's so injury-prone that I doubt he'll be useful for an extended period. I see Pedro coming back sort of like he did after last year's injury. His first start wasn't great, but who cares? It's just one start. His velocity wasn't very high in that one start, but it wasn't last year either. He's still capable of overcoming that.


Bronson Arroyo is getting rocked tonight by the Astros, and hasn't had a good start yet. Would you cut bait on him if you had him (I don't, fortunately)? Anyone else out there that you're ready to write off? What do you think of the Jays writing off Frank Thomas? Would you be more patient than they were willing to be? Send it home, my friend.


----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 9:23 pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

I think the Blue Jays are retarded. They need the offense, Thomas has produced at a high level the last couple seasons and it was only three-weeks into the season. Thomas was right to be annoyed, but it's a lesson I've learned several times - just because you're in the right doesn't mean it isn't better to keep your mouth shut. Or maybe in this case, it's better that he got released. In any case, you have to wonder about J.P. Ricciardi - whether he knows what he's doing. I still remember when he soured on Orlando Hudson after Hudson called him a "pimp" - which was a compliment.

Arroyo should be okay - his hit rate is the problem this year, and he's going to get lit up in that park from time to time. But he's got a good offense behind him, and his command is decent. I wouldn't have high hopes, but in an NL-only league I'd buy low.

I hope you're right about Pedro - he was getting roped in that first start before he went down, but as you say, you don't want to read too much into that. Look at what C.C. Sabathia did last night - completely turned it around. And it's not like he was pitching poorly only due to bad luck - he was genuinely bad for three starts.

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 23, 2008 10:01 pm
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: Charging

Wholeheartedly agree with you about the Jays and Frank Thomas. Even if the unspoken reason - Thomas' contract - is the real reason that they cut him, that doesn't excuse Ricciardi. After all, who signed Thomas to that contract in the first place? Wasn't this a foreseeable scenario? No matter how he tries to spin this, it's yet another awful misstep.

While we're talking about ill-timed moves, how about the Reds firing GM Wayne Krivsky after just 21 games this year? I understand if there's some sort of irreconcilable difference between Krivsky and the ownership, or even Krivsky and Walt Jocketty. But the rationale being used, the Reds' 9-12 start, really makes them look shortsighted. I don't know how well they really thought this one through. I'm not the biggest Krivsky defender - he's had some good moves, some bad - but this method and timing is really silly too.

----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:16 pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

Especially because the Reds finally have a competitive team - it really makes little sense. Take a look at their lineup with Joey Votto, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, Brandon Phillips, Edwin Encarnacion and Jeff Keppinger - and one of the top prospects in all of baseball - Jay Bruce - is on the way. And Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, Arroyo and Edison Volquez is a well above average rotation. If Homer Bailey pans out, this team could contend this season, don't you think?

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 23, 2008 10:34 pm
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: Charging

Yes, absolutely, they should be competitive this year, barring a complete botching by Dusty.

Article first appeared 4/23/08


I think the Blue Jays are retarded. They need the offense, Thomas has produced at a high level the last couple seasons and it was only three-weeks into the season. Thomas was right to be annoyed, but it's a lesson I've learned several times - just because you're in the right doesn't mean it isn't better to keep your mouth shut. Or maybe in this case, it's better that he got released. In any case, you have to wonder about J.P. Ricciardi - whether he knows what he's doing. I still remember when he soured on Orlando Hudson after Hudson called him a "pimp" - which was a compliment.


Arroyo should be okay - his hit rate is the problem this year, and he's going to get lit up in that park from time to time. But he's got a good offense behind him, and his command is decent. I wouldn't have high hopes, but in an NL-only league I'd buy low.


I hope you're right about Pedro - he was getting roped in that first start before he went down, but as you say, you don't want to read too much into that. Look at what C.C. Sabathia did last night - completely turned it around. And it's not like he was pitching poorly only due to bad luck - he was genuinely bad for three starts.


-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 23, 2008 10:01 pm
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: Charging

Wholeheartedly agree with you about the Jays and Frank Thomas. Even if the unspoken reason - Thomas' contract - is the real reason that they cut him, that doesn't excuse Ricciardi. After all, who signed Thomas to that contract in the first place? Wasn't this a foreseeable scenario? No matter how he tries to spin this, it's yet another awful misstep.

While we're talking about ill-timed moves, how about the Reds firing GM Wayne Krivsky after just 21 games this year? I understand if there's some sort of irreconcilable difference between Krivsky and the ownership, or even Krivsky and Walt Jocketty. But the rationale being used, the Reds' 9-12 start, really makes them look shortsighted. I don't know how well they really thought this one through. I'm not the biggest Krivsky defender - he's had some good moves, some bad - but this method and timing is really silly too.

----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:16 pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging


Wholeheartedly agree with you about the Jays and Frank Thomas. Even if the unspoken reason - Thomas' contract - is the real reason that they cut him, that doesn't excuse Ricciardi. After all, who signed Thomas to that contract in the first place? Wasn't this a foreseeable scenario? No matter how he tries to spin this, it's yet another awful misstep.


While we're talking about ill-timed moves, how about the Reds firing GM Wayne Krivsky after just 21 games this year? I understand if there's some sort of irreconcilable difference between Krivsky and the ownership, or even Krivsky and Walt Jocketty. But the rationale being used, the Reds' 9-12 start, really makes them look shortsighted. I don't know how well they really thought this one through. I'm not the biggest Krivsky defender - he's had some good moves, some bad - but this method and timing is really silly too.

----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:16 pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

Especially because the Reds finally have a competitive team - it really makes little sense. Take a look at their lineup with Joey Votto, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, Brandon Phillips, Edwin Encarnacion and Jeff Keppinger - and one of the top prospects in all of baseball - Jay Bruce - is on the way. And Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, Arroyo and Edison Volquez is a well above average rotation. If Homer Bailey pans out, this team could contend this season, don't you think?

-----Original Message-----
From:


Especially because the Reds finally have a competitive team - it really makes little sense. Take a look at their lineup with Joey Votto, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, Brandon Phillips, Edwin Encarnacion and Jeff Keppinger - and one of the top prospects in all of baseball - Jay Bruce - is on the way. And Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto, Arroyo and Edison Volquez is a well above average rotation. If Homer Bailey pans out, this team could contend this season, don't you think?


-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: April 23, 2008 10:34 pm
To: liss@rotowire.com
Subject: Charging

Yes, absolutely, they should be competitive this year, barring a complete botching by Dusty.


Article first appeared 4/23/08