Thursday, July 31, 2008

Achievers/Bums - Trade Deadline Special

Pittsburgh Pirates - Kudos to new Pirates GM Neal Huntington for turning the tide for the Pirates. At this time last year, the Pirates were the laughing stock of MLB. Former GM Dave Littlefield summed up his reign as GM by acquiring washed-up SP Matt Morris and his $9.5 million contract at a time when the Pirates's opening day payroll was $38.5 million (thank you Wikipedia). This season, Huntington has traded veteran players for good young players, capped off by involving himself in the Red Sox-Manny Ramirez soap opera and coming away with four young prospects from two different teams.
For the last few years, Jason Bay has been the centerpiece of the Pirates organization. From 2004-2007, Bay averaged 28.5 HRs and 94 RBIs . Despite Bay's production, the Pirates have failed to have a winning season since 1992. With this trade, the Bucs get a instant OF starter in LH Brandon Moss and a future closer in Craig Hansen from the Sox, and 3B Andy LaRoche (brother of Pirate 1B Adam LaRoche) and RH SP Bryan Morris (2006 1st round pick) from the Dodgers.
When added with their earlier trade of Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte to the Yankees, the Pirates have moved veterans and opened up space for big name prospects like Steve Pearce. This is a good sign for a storied franchise that has been losing for too long.

Los Angeles Dodgers - As the rumors of the Manny trade floated around like a National Exquirer scandal, I was ready to slam the Dodgers. The Dodgers have hurt themselves by burdening their team with overpriced, underperforming veterans like Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre. However, the Dodgers made a shrewd move in acquiring Manny but 1) not trading Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier 2) declining Manny's options, making him a free agent at season's end and 3) getting the Sox to pay for Manny's salary for the rest of the season. The Dodgers get the big bat as a free rental, in addition to picking up draft picks as compensation when Manny hits the free agent market. Andy LaRoche has been the "Next Big Thing" for the Dodgers for last few seasons, but he has yet to step up. LaRoche now gets the change of scenery that he needs, and the Dodgers still have Blake DeWitt for 3B next season. If I were the Dodgers, I would call the Nationals to see if Dmitri Young wants Andruw as a diet buddy.

Florida Marlins - The Marlins win by by not acquiring Manny. In the long run, they will benefit by keeping OF Jeremy Hermida and LH RP Taylor Tankersley. The Marlins are already sixth in scoring runs in the NL (ahead of the Rockies), and it did not look like that they were going to get the sweethart deal that the Dodgers received. In addition, their quiet acquisition of lefty specialist Arthur Rhodes will be helpful in matching up with the Phillies' Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and the Mets' Carlos Delgado in big games.

New York Yankees - Yes, the Yankees made a good trade by getting Ivan Rodriguez for MLB's verision of Russell Crowe. No one really cares.

Seattle Mariners - While the Mariners were smart not to put out early in the trading process (cough ... Jim Bowden ... cough) , the AL West disappointments overplayed their hand by not moving Raul Ibanez and Jarrod Washburn. The Mariners, to use medical terminology, are old and stinky. Raul Ibanez is going to leave as a free agent, and Jarrod Washburn is .... Jarrdon Washburn. Any prospect from the Yankees or Mets will be more valuable to the Mariners than these guys next April.

Boston Red Sox - The Red Sox made the best of a bad situation, but they have seen this train wreck coming for a long time. The last straw should have been Manny attacking a 64-year old man back in late June, not his phantom knee injury before the Yankees' series. Jason Bay is a very good player, but he goes from playing in the anonymity of Pittsburgh to heat of an AL East division race. In addition, the Sox had to give away a few good prospects and pay out Manny's salary to the Dodgers.

Washington Nationals - No cares about the Nationals except me, but I have to make one last gripe. In a move that I am convinced was made to spite me, the Nationals traded minor league pitcher Jhonny Nunez, who has 90 Ks in 89 IP this season, for another weak hitting IF in Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez will have a fight on his hands to take time from sluggers Cristian Guzman, Willie Harris, Ronnie Belliard, Felipe Lopez and the recently acquired Emilo Bonifacio to see who can be the first player to hit two HRs in the same month. At this rate, the Nationals 2009 daily lineup will consist of five second basemen, Ryan Zimmerman, and Austin Kearns ears.

This Ain't 'Nam #4

"This is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."

Rule #1 - Ken Griffey Jr. will disappoint you.

Rule #2 - It's ok to have one teeny-bopper, pop song in your iPod rotation at a time. Just one. Currently mine is Sneakernight by Vanessa Hudgens - a song ostensibly about sneakers and, uh, dancing. What? It's catchy. Plus I've got a thing for tube socks.

Rule #3 - When offering a trade to another owner, do not insult his team (or intelligence) in the process. Here's an example of what not to do: "Dude, I see you're starting that piece of crap Howie Kendrick at 2b for some reason. Are you retarded? I wouldn't start Howie Kendrick on my co-ed, church softball team. I've got Cano and B. Roberts. I'll take J. Santana off your hands, as he's clearly having an off year. Let's do it!"

Rule #4 - A save is a save is a save. Unless you close for the Tigers. Then a save is a roller-coaster is a blown save.

Rule #5 -
You are not as cool as Mr. Belding, but compared to Screech you're Miles Davis.

Griffey Traded to the White Sox

If Ken Griffey Jr. doesn't veto the trade, it looks like he's headed to Chi-Town. Not sure where he'll play. Or what the Reds get in return. More later...

UPDATE: The Reds will get RP Nick Masset and 2B Danny Richar in return for Griffey Jr. Griffey has ok'd the deal, so it looks like a done deal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 7/30/08


Adam Dunn - OF - Cincinnati Reds - 3/5, 2 HR - Adam Dunn might hit 40 HR's in the second half. Adam Dunn wants to eat your children. Adam Dunn eats flour and poops pancakes. Adam Dunn makes Bill Brasky look like a hobo.

Bobby Abreu - OF - New York Yankees - 3/4, 2 HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 4 R, BB - Bobby had a big day for the Yankees against the Orioles yesterday. He's getting hot at just the right time for owners needing to make a big move down the stretch.

Chad Billingsley - SP - Los Angeles Dodgers - CG Shutout, 5 H, 0 BB, 8 K's - Someone call Mulder and Scully, because this kid is "the truth". He's shutting teams out and he's doing it with K's. Billingsley has crossed over into keeper territory in most formats. I know you think it's too late, but make an offer for him anyway (unless you're in a league with me). People can be idiots, and you may get lucky.


The Astros - Well, the Astros have gone and made another move to bolster their pitching staff for the stretch run. On Wednesday they received LaTroy Hawkins from the Yankees for a ham sandwich. When notified of the trade, Hawkins seemed almost as surprised as me: "I'm pretty excited," he said. "I was sitting at home doing nothing. Now all of a sudden a team wants me. I'm pretty excited about that." That's right, LaTroy - Ed Wade wants to drink your bathwater. Wade went on about how LaTroy is a "competitor" blah, blah, blah. The same blather he was spouting after the Wolf trade. So far, so bad on that one, by the way. I don't know exactly how much of Hawkins salary the Astros are going to have to pick up, but regardless of the amount, it's a waste. Sometimes I just want to choke Ed Wade. To celebrate the new addition, the Astros went out and got throttled by the Reds.

Fernando Rodney - RP - Detroit Tigers - Blown Save - F--- Rodney.

Jared from Subway - I'm sorry, but he's getting fat again. I don't have proof, but I can sense it.

2008 Trade Deadline Update: Pudge, Manny, Bay

Today the Yankees traded away cuddle boy Kyle Farnsworth to the Yankees for Venezuelan heart-throb, "Pudge" Rodriguez (who incidentally enjoys a cuddle from time to time). The Tigers upgraded their dilapidated bullpen, and the Yankees get an everyday catcher to replace Jorge Posada, so this was probably a good move for both teams from a real baseball standpoint, but who cares about real baseball. From a fantasy perspective, I wouldn't get too excited about I-Rod moving to the Yankees. He's basically sucked since he got off the 'roids and shrunk, and the Detroit lineup was just as good (in theory) as the Yankees' lineup (in theory). I guess Farnsworth could get a chance at some saves, but you don't want any of that action. If you desperately need a catcher, you may want to take a chance on Brandon Inge, who will now be the every day catcher for the Tigers.

Manny to the Marlins? Not yet, but Ken Rosenthal says it's a possibility. I guess I'm used to the Marlins trading superstars, because this seems like an odd fit. I don't see it.

The Rays are reportedly interested in Jason Bay, but talks have cooled according to Jayson Stark.

Achievers/Bums 7/29/08


Brett Myers - SP - Philedelphia Phillies - W, 7.0 IP, 2Ks - Myers returned to form with a solid game against the Nats. Of course, I could pitch underhanded against the Nats and probably win, but that is not the point. Myers is more talented than his 2008 stats indicate. He is worth a flyer from your waiver wire or a "buy low" pick-up for the stretch run.

Miguel Tejada - SS - Houston Astros - 2/4, HR - Since moving to the two-spot in the Astros' lineup, the ageless wonder has gone 10/15 with 5 runs. While his HR stroke is not the same, Tejada can help you with average and runs with Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee hitting behind him. I would recommend buying low on Tejada before his streak makes him difficult to acquire.

Matt Garza - SP - Tampa Bay Bleep Rays - W, CG, 5Ks - Garza is so hot, if you turned off the lights, he would glow. Word to your mother.


Jose Guillen - OF - Kansas City Royals - Awwww, Jose wants to leave Kansas City. He says (via a "source")that management is not doing to enough to make the Royals a contender. Guillen has certainly done his share to the help the Royals achieve. In 2008 alone, he has called his teamates "babies," tried to fight the pitching coach, and said that he does not "give a (bleep) about the fans." Let us all weep gently in support of Jose. To the extreme.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Great Mustaches in History - Frank Zappa

In honor of Jason Giambi's awesome mustache (and to just maybe kick him out of his slump), I present one of the great mustaches in history - Frank Zappa

FZ is the rock music equivalent of a single malt scotch - great, but certainly an acquired taste. Calling Zappa's music "rock" is a bit of a misnomer, as his music travels everywhere from jazz to classical to doo-wop.

I would recommend "Hot Rats," "Apostrophe(')" and "Sheik Yerbouti" as starters.

Here are some highlights

Guitar solo from "Punky's Whips" from the "Baby Snakes" film and soundtrack.

"Willie the Pimp" from "Hot Rats" featuring Captain Beefheart on vocals and an eight minute guitar solo.

"Camarillo Brillo/Muffin Man" from "Baby Snakes"

Random Thoughts

I like the Teixeira-Kotchman trade for both teams. Mark Teixeira gives the Angels get the big bat that they have needed (an AL team with Maicer Izturis hitting 3rd is pathetic). In addition, the Angels are one of the few teams with a bankroll to potentially afford Teixeira.

The Braves get younger (25) and cheaper ($1.45 mil this year - under contract until 2011) with Casey Kotchman. He has a great glove and gives the Braves the good problem of having too many LH bats (McCann, Kotsay, Kelly Johnson).

This trade may be the first insight into the Braves' offseason, as they will have to start rebuilding. Chipper Jones has a few good years left in him, but he is not going to play more than 130 games. Brian McCann might be the best catcher in baseball, but his position is one in which injury could arrive at anytime. Smoltz is done, Glavine should retire, and Tim Hudson is probably going to need Tommy John surgery (cue picture of Billy Beane twirling his mustache and laughing). However, the Braves did not win their division for 14 years in a row by accident. Whatever they will do will probably work.
I have recently started using Netflix's "Watch Instantly" function, and I am so far impressed. If you have any Netflix account, you get unlimited hours to watch. The selection does not extend to every DVD available, but you do receive a large variety of options, including most NBC shows that are available on DVD (entire seasons of "30 Rock" and "The Office"), plus tons of low brow horror (I am pretty sure that every crappy Troma movie ever made is here). I watched "Phantom of the Paradise" last night, and I am watching "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" (which, honestly, has aged very well) right now . Finally, I am pretty sure that I have ADD.
I like the move that the Mets are making by sticking with Fernando Tatis in LF. It shows some guts on the part of Mets management, and he has a great backstory (0ut of baseball from 04-05 - returning now to raise money for his church). Tatis has been raking in July (.415/6/18), and, for at least one season, he was awesome (.298/34/107 way back in 1999). Of course, if the Mets pick up Raul Ibanez for cheap, that will be a good move, too.

Speaking of Ibanez, I still think that he would look good in the D'backs line-up. They have too many right-handed hitters that are prone to Ks. I would not want to depend on Chad Tracy for the stretch.
Taxes. Death. Nomar hurt. I used Nomar on my money team for eight games (as a replacement for Cristian Guzman, who was replacing Rafael Furcal), but they were a great eight games with three HRs and eight RBIs. Still, I don't understand why teams, especially in the NL, give this guy space in their locker rooms. In case you care, I am now on the Marco Scutaro bandwagon.

Teixeira is an Angel

Mark Teixeira has been traded to the Angels. I called it (see post below).

2008 Trade Deadline Update

Is it just me or is this trade deadline more boring than an A-Rod/Madonna sex tape? The Sabathia and Harden trades were great, but since then it's been pretty underwhelming. Oooh...Xavier Nady....oooh. Speaking of Sabathia and Harden, I am enjoying the Cubs/Brewers series. Tonight's matchup of Sheets and Zambrano should be off the proverbial chain. Will Zambrano have his good control? Will Soriano continue his hot hitting? Will Ben Sheets arm fall off? Will Prince Fielder and CC Sabathia finally just get it over with and take a bite out of each other? Intriguing stuff, indeed.

Here is the latest on the boring trade rumors out there:

With Tim Hudson and Chipper Jones going on the DL, the Braves are waving the white flag and have opened season on Mark Teixeira. Teams interested in Tex include: Boston, Arizona and Tampa Bay, but since the Angels seem to be denying it the most, I expect him to land in Anaheim. I think Tex's fantasy value will stay about the same wherever he goes. Maybe he gets a little boost if he moves to Boston or LA.

There's speculation that Manny Ramirez could be headed to the Mets, but I really doubt that Manny is going anywhere. I don't think the Mets are willing to deal the prospects to get Manny, and I think we all need to remember that Manny bitches like this every couple of years and then he forgets about it and starts mashing again. That's right, just Manny being Manny. (Two Onion links in one post...FTW!!!)

I guess A.J. Burnett is not going anywhere. But why should you believe anything J.P. Ricciardi says?

With Burnett off the table, the most in-demand, stud pitcher is...wait for it...Jarrod Washburn. Apparently I wasn't the only one who just threw up a little bit in my mouth imagining Washburn in pinstripes because the deal looks to be dead.

Achievers/Bums 7/28/09

Ryan Braun - 3B/OF - Milwaukee Brewers - 1/3 HR, RBI - I was not on the Ryan Braun bandwagon as the season began. To me, Braun had sophomore slump written all over him. Eh, I was wrong. Really, really wrong. Braun hit another HR last night in a loss against the Cubs. It was his eight HR of the month, bringing his line for 2008 to .303/29/81. While he will lose a little value when his 3B eligibility expires next season, he will only be 25 when 2009 begins and will be a great player for seasons to follow.

Alfonso Soriano - OF Chicago Cubs - 2/4, 3 R, HR, RBI - The Lovable Losers stood up to the Milwaukee Brewers and the unstoppable force that is CC Sabathia last night in a 6-4 victory. Soriano homered against Sabathia and scored the go-ahead run in 9th inning. Beating Sabathia in Milwaukee was a big statement for the Cubs last night, and Soriano did more than his fair share. In his six games since returning from the DL, his line is .296/2/5 with one SB. Your chance to buy low on him has passed.

Kevin Slowey - SP - Minnesota Twins - CG SHO, Win, 5 Ks - While his overall stats are not impressive, (7-7, 4.00 ERA, 69 Ks in 96.2 IP), Slowey continues to pitch pretty well at home, shutting out a decent White Sox lineup on Monday. If you are looking for a streamer, you could do worse than pitching Slowey in the Metrodome, where he has four wins (including two SHO) with a 3.20 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.

Hiroki Kuroda - SP - Los Angeles Dodgers - L, 3.2 IP, 7 ER - While streaming can be an effective way to manage your pitchers, you can also get burned. Entering Monday's game against the Giants, Kuroda was 3-0 at home, with a 2.63 ERA and two SHO. I pitched him in all of my leagues and was sufficiently charred. I can understand a bad start at home, but against the Giants? A team with Bengie Molina batting clean-up? Regardless, Kuroda has another start this week at home against the D'backs, and I will probably start him again.

James Shields - L, 7.1 IP, 5Ks, 3 ER - This is nitpicking a little bit, as Shields did have a quality start; however, it is Monday, so cut me some slack. While Shields has looked like a burgeoning ace for the last two seasons, he has possessed some Ervin Santana-esque qualities this year, and I mean that in a bad way. At home, Shields is dominant (7-1, 72Ks, 2.16 ERA, 0.88 WHIP), but he is stinky on the road (2-6, 44Ks, 5.93 ERA, 1. 40 WHIP). If the Rays are going to win the AL East this season, Shields needs to pitch better on the road, which he is capable of doing (4.25 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 2007).

Jason Giambi - Despte my promptings, Giambi has continued to be very un-Dude this month with a .200/1/4 line since the All-Star break. He has been streaky this season, so hopefully Giambi and his 'stache are due for a hot streak soon. I wouldn't abandon ship yet, but I also wouldn't look away from picking up another hot hitter (Fernado Tatis, dare I say?) either.

Mike Mussina - SP - New York Yankees - L, 5 IP, 6 ER - I come not to bury Mussina, but to prasie him. On May 19, I picked up Mussina in my money league for a spot start. On May 20, he did not get out of the first inning at home against the Orioles. Like a petualant child not getting his way, I dropped the Moose before the game was even over. Since then, Mussina has gone 7-2, 2.66 ERA before last night's game. For some reason, the Orioles have it on Mussina, as he is 0-2 with an 11.12 ERA against the Birds this season. If there a point to this rant? Not really, but Mussina has been a pleasant suprise this season. If you own him, don't think that this is the beginning of the end of Mussina's great 2008 run.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 7/27/08


Johan Santana - SP - New York Mets - Win, 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K's - Santana has been a disappointment this year because expectations were so high. I was looking at his numbers so far and was surprised to find that they are strikingly similar to Jon Lester's, although Santana has 29 more K's. Lester has obviously had a solid season, but this is not what anyone was expecting from Johan in his debut NL season. He's still a very good pitcher and he turned in a complete-game, six-hitter against the Cards last night, but if I own Santana, I might try to shop him around today and see what I could get. His K/9 is a pedestrian 7.62, which has him looking up at such strikeout kings as Sean Marshall, Wandy Rodriguez and Bronson Arroyo.

Alfonso Soriano - OF - Chicago Cubs - 3/5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R - Soriano provided some sorely-needed offense for the Cubs. Could this be the beginning of a huge second half as predicted by Brandt?

Jake Peavy
- SP - San Diego Padres - Win, 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 10 K's - Peavy finished off a great July, where he went 3-1 with an ERA of 2.12, by dominating the Pirates. His strikeouts are back to what you would expect from him, and he looks like he's in perfect health.

David Wright - 3B- New York Mets - 3/5, HR, 3 RBI - David Wright is a fantasy beast. I feel like he's underrated because he plays second fiddle to A-Rod as a NY third baseman, but I think he has clearly delivered as a top-5 fantasy player this year. In a standard roto league, I'd probably only take Hanley, Berkman and A-Rod over him in a draft right now. His status has gone up as Delgado's production has increased too.


Ervin Santana - SP - Los Angeles Angels - Loss, 5 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 5 K's - Santana is who we thought he was. Remember, we thought he sucked on the road back in the day. Last night he reminded us why.

Javier Vazquez - SP - Chicago White Sox - Loss, 7 IP, 6 ER, 11 H, 2 BB, 3 K's - I love it when I try over and over again to trade for a player I covet, but the owner keeps giving me the middle finger, and then, on the same night that guy goes out and fails miserably, my guy, fresh of the DL, starts raking.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 7/25/08


Joba Chamberlain - SP - New York Yankees - Win, 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K - In his 10th start since moving to the rotation, Joba showed why Hank Steinbrenner called him the Yankees' answer to Beckett. It was nice to see him get a little deeper into the ballgame and cut down on the walks.

Carlos Delgado - 1B - New York Mets - 1/4, HR, 2 RBI - Don't look now, but Carlos Delgado is kind of awesome again. Last month: .355, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 20 R & only 16 K to 16 BB. I don't expect it to last all season, but there are worse options at first base.

Brian McCann
- C - Atlanta Braves - 2/3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, SB, 2 BB - Huge night for the Braves' backstop. Is there any doubt that he's the number one fantasy catcher in all the realm? I submit that there is not.


Edinson Volquez - SP - Cincinnati Reds - Loss, 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K - Uh oh, he's blaming mechanics. And I really, really hate to say I told you so...but I told you so.

Aramis Ramirez
- 3B - Chicago Cubs - 0/4, 2 K - A-Ram is only hitting .168 over the last month, which is bad news for Cubs and fantasy owners. He's a streaky hitter, and I believe he'll bounce back. Try to buy him low if you can.

Jonathan Sanchez - SP - San Francisco Giants - Loss, 2.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K - Rough night for Sanchez against the D-backs. But don't panic, and for the love of Pete, don't drop him. He's been a better fantasy pitcher this year than Scott Kazmir, Rich Harden, John Maine or Matt Garza. You know you lucked into him and you should be happy for what you get. Greedy bastards.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 7/24/08


Matt Cain
- SP - San Francisco Giants - W, Complete Game SHO, 4Ks. Cain's slow start turned some owners off, but those who held onto the Giant have been rewarded. Try to pick him up if you can. How awesome could the Giants be next season if they get some real day-to-day players to go with Lincecum, Sanchez and Cain?

Oliver Perez - SP - New York Mets - Win, 7.2 IP, 12 Ks. Owning Perez is a roller coaster ride. Also, I am pretty sure that I am the first guy to make this analogy. Regardless, great game by the schizo southpaw.

Roy Halladay - SP - Toronto Blue Jays - W, 7.0, 6Ks. Roy Halladay ... blah blah ... win ... blah blah ... lots of innings ... blah blah blah. This guys does not stop, but you already knew that. I am only bringing him up because a genius in my keeper league left both Halladay and Cain on his bench today.


Philedelphia Phillies - Philles' fans like to brag about their great comeback last year. These guys always seem to forget the help that the New York Mets provided in their epic collaspe. After their incredible rally against the Met's crappy bullpen on Tuesday, the Phils had a chance to break the spirit of the Mets, but lost the series to the Mets by failing to win any of the next two games. For all the smack talk that the Phillies spew, they should have finished the Mets off this week, but the other NY team lives to choke another day.

Achievers/Bums - 7/23/08


Carlos Quentin - OF - Chicago White Sox - 3/4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R - Josh Hamilton aside, Carlos Quentin has been the outfield surprise of the season. Eric Byrnes' average draft position in Yahoo this year was 54.8, while Carlos Quentin didn't even register. There are a bunch of fantasy owners who can commiserate with the D-back brass who decided they'd rather have Byrnes for $30 million over Quentin for next to nothing and now have to watch Quentin and his Latin-heartthrob good looks kick major ass this year while Byrnes founders on the DL.

Mike Mussina - SP - New York Yankees - Win, 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 7 K's - Hank Steinbrenner should've told Mussina to start pitching like Jamie Moyer a long time ago. Moose has been just what the Yankees have needed since then: an ace.

Jeff Mathis - C - Los Angeles Angels - 2/4, HR, 6 RBI - Looking for some pop from the catcher position? Go pick up Chris Ianetta. But Mathis did have six RBI yesterday, so he's a mandatory achiever for the day.

Adam Dunn - OF - Cincinnati Reds - 2/4 HR, 5 RBI - Dunn is up to 29 home runs this year, so he's got 11 to go. If your league doesn't penalize for hitter strikeouts, you definitely need to pick him up now and ride the wave before it's over.

(Yeah, I know C.C. had another shutout last night, but I'm tired of talking about how awesome he is.)


Greg Maddux - SP - San Diego Padres - Loss, 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 4 K's - Maddux wasn't terrible yesterday, but it has now been 14 starts in a row without a win. I love Maddux as much the next guy, but he's pretty much un-ownable at this point - even pitching for the Padres.

The Astros - The Astros have lost four in a row and are looking up at the Pirates and Reds in the NL Central, which makes the trade for Randy Wolf look even more foolish than it did when it happened. It wasn't quite as bad as the Pirates acquisition of Matt Morris a couple of years ago, but I still can't understand why Ed Wade and the Astros would sign Randy Wolf. Wade says he thinks the team still has a shot to compete this year, but even if that was true, why trade for Wolf? Even though Wade sees Wolf as a gamer, it doesn't change the fact that he has stunk away from Petco. The Astros just willingly saved the Padres a few million on a player who doesn't appear to want to play in Houston and will become a free agent next year. Wade said, "...It also gives us a chance to get a foot in the door with Randy (for next year)". According to this AP report, Wolf is already lobbying to go back to his beloved San Diego.

This Ain't 'Nam #3

"This is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."

Rule #1 - Adam Dunn will hit 40+ home runs every year.

Rule #2 - When Vin Scully talks, you listen.

Rule #3 - While it may sound like fun at the time, asking dudes from your office to join your fantasy league will ultimately result in Tom Glavine being drafted in the first round and lots of questions about how the scoring works. It's not worth it.

Rule #4 - When Tim McCarver talks, you press the mute button.

Rule #5 - It's all in the reflexes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 7/22/08

Separated at Birth
Jim Bowden and Roddy Piper

Nick Markakis - OF - Baltimore Orioles - Markakis has finally found his groove. Since the beginning of June, Markakis has hit .333 with 5 HRs and 28 RBIs. He added to those totals tonight by going 2/4 with a 2B and HR. Markakis won't help you too much with HRs and RBIS, so don't overpay for him. If your league ranks OBP or BBs, see if you can pick him up, but it might be too late.
Adam Lind - OF - Toronto Blue Jays - The super-prospect went 4/5 with a HR and 3 RBIs against the Orioles. While he will eventually be a decent player, Lind will still be inconsistent this season. Play at own risk.
Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies showed some heart in coming back against the Mets in the first game of a big series. And we all know how tough the Mets are when they are under pressure. (BTW, Joe Blanton stinks)

Jim Bowden - GM - Washington Nationals - I will give Bowden credit for one thing: he makes me feel confident that I could be a MLB general manager. First, the Nats traded Jon Rauch for 2B Emilo Bonifacio, adding to the Nats' stable of weak hitting IFs (Felipe Lopez, Ronnie Belliard, Willie Harris). Rauch was a solid if not specatular closer who was under contract until 2010 with his highest salary totalling only $2.9 million. While he was not untouchable, Rauch was worth more than another 2B who can't hit.

Of course, you can't discuss weak hitting middle infielders without mentioning Cristian Guzman. Guzman's 2008 success has been a pleasant suprise, very similar to Dmitri Young's comeback with Nationals in 2007. After his great season, Bowden signed the oft-injured, poor fielding Young to an extension. Instead of moving Young with his value restored, Bowden rendered him untradeable by signing him to a large contract. Young now resides on the DL (shakes magic eight ball) .... to get his diabetes under control. (Somewhere, even Mark Prior and JD Drew are making fun of "Da Meat Hook.") Bowden today signed the oft-injured, poor fielding Guzman to an extension. Instead of moving ... you get my drift. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Those teams with Jim Bowden as your GM are condemned to be stinky.

Johan Santana/NY Mets Bullpen Did Santana spend his off season desecrating an Indian burial ground? Beating up nuns? Speaking our new Messiah's name in vain? Santana had a pretty good outing tonight (8 IP, 4 Ks, 2 R) against the Phils, but his awful luck reared its head again. He is wiping his tears away tonight with $100 bills, but Santana is quickly losing time to redeem himself for this season.
It is not fair to blame Santana's bad luck; you really need to blame the Met's crummy bullpen. Duaner Sanchez, de facto closer with Billy Wagner on the shelf, rose to the occasion by giving up three runs without getting a single out. I predict that the Mets will overpay for a RP in the next week. Hey, the Nats have Jon Rauch ... oh, nevermind.

Wolf Traded to Houston

Randy Wolf just lost what was left of his fantasy value as he was apparently traded to the Astros today. Obviously, a move from Petco to the Juice Box is not going help his bloated 4.74 ERA improve, especially since he was 1-6 with a 6.63 ERA in away games this year. I'm dropping him.

This was a great move by San Diego to realize that they are in the basement of the NL Worst and they don't have a shot to compete this year, so they may as well move Wolf's salary and get something in return. I have no idea what the Astros are thinking.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 7/21/08


Randy Johnson – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks – Win, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's – With only four K's, it was not Vintage Unit, but it was pretty damn good. Johnson outdueled a filthy Rich Harden to get the win against the Cubs. It appears that Harden is going to have to throw a perfect game to get a W with the Cubs, by the way.

Miguel Cabrera – 1B/3B – Detroit Tigers – 5/6, 6 RBI, 2 R – These were the video game numbers I was expecting from the Tigers going into the season. There were a lot of Tigers with a chance to named "Achiever" today, but six RBI's gets you on the list every time. Miguel could be the beast of the second half.

The Rays – Is it too late to recant my second-half bums predictions? It's only been a few games, but so far Kazmir, Longoria and the Rays (that's right just Rays, they've earned it) are starting to convert me. Longoria was 2/5 with a HR and 2 RBI and Kazmir got the win after pitching seven innings of two-hit ball with nine K's.


Francisco Cordero – RP – Loss, .2 IP, BS, 1 H, 3 BB, 3 ER – Cordero had another brutal outing last night and then made excuses. Trevor Hoffman and Brad Lidge don't make excuses, and neither should you, you piece of crap. You got rocked. Period.

Jose Valverde – RP – Loss, .1 IP, BS, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 ER – Speaking of overrated, highly paid, piece-of-crap, NL Central closers, Jose Valverde went and made Cordero's blown save look a little less horrible.

Royals Pitchers – If I had to pick just one, I guess it would be Jimmy Gobble, who gave up ten earned, but the whole pitching staff should be ashamed after giving up 19 to the Tigers. That's embarrasing.

Random Thoughts - 7/21/08

Per, the Rockies are lightly peddling Matt Holliday, but are asking for everything and the proverbial kitchen sink in return. I do not think that Holliday will be traded during the season, but I would gamble that the Rockies will move him in the offseason to give his new team a full year rental. I got the yips with Holliday earlier this year and moved him in my keeper league. If you check his career splits, he is a Hall of Famer when in Colorado and below average everywhere else (1.085 - Home OPS; .790 - Road OPS. In comparison, Lyle Overbay's career OPS is .812). You have a chance now to sell Holliday at his highest value, but follow the Rockies' strategy and hold out for everything you can get.

By the way, is it me, or does Matt Holliday look a liiiitle bit like Dwight Yoakum in "Sling Blade?"


Since you demanded it, a Patrick Swayze update.


"The Dark Knight" is awesome. It's not the "Godfather II", but it is the best movie with a guy dressed like a bat that you will see this summer. Plus, no bat nipples.


Over at, Mark Teixeira potential trade destinations are mentioned. I would love to see him in the Diamondback's lineup, but they emptied their farm system when they acquired Dan Haren. They are not going to trade whoever they have left for a guy that they probably won't be able to sign. The LA Angels could really use him - tonight is the fourth game in a row that Maicer Izturis is hitting third - but you have to wonder if the ghost of Gary Matthew's contract will keep them from trading for a Scott Bora's client.


The Onion AV Club has an interesting comparison of two of the "best worst " movies ever. I can testify to the greatness of "Manos: Hands of Fate." However, the new contender is "Troll 2." Apparently, the movie is now on tour in various towns, accompanied by cast members. In addition, this movie has generated its own website and accompanying documentary. "Troll 2" is now on the Netflix queue, but it will be difficult to convince The Chief of Staff (ie -the wife) to experience "Manos" again.

Achievers/Bums - Weekend Edition


Cliff Lee - SP - Cleveland Indians - Yes, it was against Seattle, but Lee earned his 13 win with a complete game on Sunday. He now stands at 13-2 with a 2.29 ERA and 110Ks in 133.2 innings.

Cody Ross - OF - Florida Marlins - Four hits, including a 2B, 3B and HR, over two days against Philly. He still might on your waiver wire, as I picked him up in two leagues this morning. Plus, he might have the best picture on Yahoo, though this Cody's picture might be better.

Evan Longoria - 3B - Tampa Bay Blank Rays - The Desperate H-Ray continued his quest for Rookie of the Year with a Grand Slam against demigod Roy Halladay. His line is now .272/18/68 with six SBs for a little spice.


Brandon Lyon - Lyon got rocked, giving up five runs in 2/3 of an inning, blowing the save and costing Brandon Webb his 14th victory. Co-bum honors should go Bob Melvin for working him for the third day in a row. While he has been stinky in his last two appearances, I would not worry too much. If you are panicking, pick up Tony Pena.

Rickie Weeks - It seems that every season is supposed to be Weeks' breakthrough season, but in the end, Weeks ends up as a disappointment. This season is no different, except that the Brewers have picked up paleolithic 2nd baseman Ray Durham. I am not saying that Durham is old, but for his first birthday, his parents gave him fire as a present. Regardless, Weeks needs to improve his .326 OBP quickly, or it will be pine time for him.

Kerry Wood - Water is wet, the sun rises in the east, and Kerry Wood will probably go on the DL with his blister. Wood should be complimented for going this deep in the season before getting injured. If you are a smart Wood owner, you already have Carlos Marmol. If you don't have Marmol, you should hope that Damaso Marte or Jonathan Broxton are still available on the waiver wire.

Great Mustaches in History - Magnum TA

In honor of Jason Giambi's awesome mustache (and also to inspire him out of his slump, even though he did hit an HR yesterday), I present one of the great mustaches in history - '80's NWA superstar Magnum TA.

Born Terry Allen, Magnum TA was named after his slight resemblance to another Magnum. He quickly shot to fame in south, particularity with Jim Crockett Promotions, one of the major divisions of the National Wrestling Alliance.

During the 1980's, Magnum TA was a huge star. He had legendary feuds with the Four Horseman, especially in a series of "I Quit" matches with Horseman Tully Blanchard, and with "Russian Nightmare" Nikita Koloff (who is now a Pentecostal preacher - who'd thunk it). As he was being groomed to be a World Champion, Magnum's career came to shocking end when he crashed his Porsche into a telephone pole. Magnum TA was fortunate to be alive, but his body was left partially paralyzed. His career was finished.

In a cage against Wahoo McDaniel

Promo with the Rock N' Roll Express

Magnum TA gets beat up by the Andersons (Please note Magnum's poor choice of words around 1:15)

Getting into it with Ric Flair in "The Suit."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 07/18/08


Nomar Garciaparra – 1B/3B/SS – Los Angeles Dodgers – 3/5, 2 HR 3 RBI – Mr. Hamm had a great offensive night in a big game against the D-backs. He played SS and batted fifth for Joe Torre's squad and is probably worth a pickup due to his multi-position eligibility. Obviously, he's a huge health risk, so don't get too excited.

CC Sabathia – SP – Milwakee Brewers – Win, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K's – Boy, has Sabathia been just what the Brewers were hoping for, or what? He's 3-0 as a Brewer with two complete games. If you were able to get Sabathia earlier in the season when he was struggling, pat yourself on the back and enjoy watch the big fella the rest of the season.

Bronson Arroyo – OF – Cincinnati Reds – Win, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's – I've been pretty hard on Bronson lately (he deserved it), but he's quietly been a pretty effective pitcher over his last few starts with four wins in a row.


Clay Buchholz – SP – Boston Red Sox – Loss, 4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's – Boston's defense was terrible last night, but Buchholz gave this one away early. He'll have every opportunity to succeed in Boston's rotation, but he hasn't shown much lately.

Zack Greinke – SP – Kansas City Royals – Loss, 3 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 K's – This is the second time this year that the White Sox have rocked Greinke. He's 0-6 lifetime now at U.S. cellular and last night he got crushed.

Jacob Ellsbury – OF – Boston Red Sox – 0/4, K – Ellsbury has been terrible over the last month, batting .232 with 15 K's and only four walks. You want worse news? He is only stolen one base out of four attempts in the same time span. That said, if you've found an owner who has give up one him, I'd buy low. He's going to bat lead-off for the Sox for a long time and his numbers will absolutely bounce back.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oakland Fire Sale Continues

Well, Adam Eaton can finally be put out of his misery. The A's shipped Joe Blanton and his 4.96 ERA to Philadelphia for three prospects, including top 2b prospect Adrian Cardenas who will probably be the MVP in 2010 if Billy Beane wants him. Blanton is an innings-eater, but he hasn't been very good since early last year. He could be a serviceable spot starter against some of the weaker NL foes as he will have the Phillies potent offensive backing him up, but he will also be moving to a much more hitter-friendly park.

This Ain't 'Nam #2

"This is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."

Thank God baseball is back today. Here are some rules to get you ready for the second half.

Rule #1 - The National League will find a way to lose the All-Star game.

Rule #2 - There isn't one pitcher I would trust pitching at Coors Canaveral. Humidor or no humidor.

Rule #3 - If you aren't rooting for Josh Hamilton, you are a holier-than-thou loser and people don't like you.

Rule #4 - The number of Quality Starts is a better indicator of a good fantasy starting pitcher than his number of Wins.

Rule #5 - "There are two kinds of fat people: there's fat people that were born fat, and there's people that were once thin but became when you look at 'em you can sorta see that thin person inside." As usual, Bender was right.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Top Five Projected Second Half Bums - Brandt Edition

Now, it is time to visit to the dark side. (No, not there). Let's see who I think will fail in the 2nd half.

Dan Haren - SP - Arizona Diamondbacks - Haren had a great 1st half in his NL debut, gaining 8 wins, 112Ks and a 2.72 ERA. Of course, Haren always has a great first half, but it is his traditional 2nd half achievements that place him on this list.

Haren's 2007 1st half = 10-3, 101 Ks, 2.30 ERA.
Haren's 2007 2nd half = 5-6, 91Ks, 4.15 ERA.
Haren's 2006 1st half = only 5 wins, but 98Ks, 3.52 ERA, 1.13 WHIP.
Haren's 2006 2nd half = 8 wins, but with 78Ks, 4.91 ERA (including 5.80 in September) and a 1.31 WHIP.
Prognosis - Sell high while you can.

Kevin Youkilis -1B/3B - Boston Red Sox - The legendary "Greek God of Walks" had a great first half this season with a line of .314, 14, 63 equaling a .933 OPS (Yes, I know your league does not count OPS, but it is a great indicator.) These figures are better yet similar to Youkilis' 1st half line from 2007 of .328, 9, 44 with a .920 OPS. What did Youkilis' 2007 2nd half look like? How about .238, 7, 39 with a .747 OPS. How about 2006? .258, 3, 29 with .728 OPS. Unless you are using him as sub due to his 1B/3B eligibility, you might want to sell him before he realizes the All-Star game is over.

Josh Hamilton - OF - Texas Rangers - I want to be wrong. I want to be wrong. I want to be wrong. But I can't see how Hamilton does well this half. First, his 1st half was so amazing - .310, 21, 95 - that a regression must be due. Second, due to past his drug issues, if he gets hurt (played only 90 games in 2007), Hamilton will have to recover without the help of painkillers. My brain says sell high; my heart says Hamilton for 2008 MVP.

Rich Harden/AJ Burnett/Ben Sheets - Disabled List - On the other end of the spectrum, I have no problems calling these guys bums. With the Oakland A's, Harden went 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA and an impressive 92Ks in only 77 innings. Yet Billy Beane shipped him out as soon as he could. Does Billy Beane ever end up on the wrong end of trade? Exactly.

AJ Burnett has not been awful (10 wins, 126Ks), but he hasn't been great either (4.96 ERA, 1.46 WHIP). Don't get delusions of grandeur when you hear mentions of him going to a contender. Move him now, or move him as soon he goes to a contender.

Ben Sheets is a bit of a conundrum to me. He is always hurt (averaging only 134 innings from 2005-2007), but Sheets is in his contract season, which might prevent him from collapsing until the Yankees give him Kevin Brown's old contract next season. Regardless, tread lightly, as you might jar lose Sheets' shoulder if you step too hard.

Ryan Ludwick - OF - St. Louis Cardinals. Yes, he went .289, 21, 65 in the first half. Yes, he is also 30 years old, had 28 career HRs coming into this season, and you never heard of him before this season. Come sell away, come sell away, come sell away with me ....

Other bums - John Danks - SP - Chicago White Sox, Joe Saunders - SP - Los Angeles Angels, Chone Figgins - 2B/3B/OF, Milton Bradley - OF - Texas Rangers

The Fiery Furnaces Hate the Cubs Too. Cool!

My favorite band just got even favoriter. Check out this interview the Fiery Furnaces did with The best part is near the end where Matt Friedberger says he hates the Cubs and they deserve to lose! Awesome. Finding out that your favorite band hates the Cubs is like finding out that your eighth-grade crush is also into D&D.
If you aren't acquainted with the Friedberger siblings' music, you should watch the concert below. Turn off all of the lights and just let the experience shower over you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top Five Projected Second Half Bums - Donny Edition

I must admit that I was ready for the All-Star break this year. In my oldest and favorite league I was relying on Erik Bedard and Aaron Harang to be my top two starting pitchers. Instead, they both just pitched like number two, and I am looking way up at first place. Here are some guys I predict will be number two in the second half.

Carl Crawford - OF - Tampa Bay Beelzebub Rays - I don't believe in the Rays and I don't believe in Crawford. Forget his name is Carl Crawford for a minute and consider the fact that he has never hit more than 18 home runs or 81 RBI's in a season. I compare Crawford to a guy like Corey Hart, who gets way less hype, but has similar numbers. Sure, Hart will only give you about 25 SB's, which is half of what you get from Crawford, but you'll end up with a similar BA, more RBI's and twice the HR's. Crawford will end up with another 20 SB's in the second half, but he shouldn't be confused with actual elite power/speed guys like Grady Sizemore, Hanley Ramirez, Brandon Phillips or David Wright. If you desperately need steals and can get him really cheap, go for it, but don't overpay as I don't see a big second half for Carl.

Pat Burrell - OF - Philadelphia Phillies - At some point he's gotta remember he's Pat Burrell, right? Look, Pat the Bat had a surprisingly wonderful first half (.275 AVG, 23 HR, 57 RBI) and his eye at the plate seems to have improved, as he is tied for the Major League lead in walks with Adam Dunn, but unlike Dunn, he has trimmed his K's significantly. I still like Burrell okay for the second half, but I don't think he keeps this pace. He usually ends the year with about 30 HR's and 95 RBI, and I expect him to end this year about the same. Chances are he will hit a prolonged slump at some point, so I would probably try to shop him based on his first-half numbers to see if you can get a nice return. You're not going to be able to get Grady Sizemore or Matt Holliday, but you might be able to snag Nick Markakis.

Evan Longoria - 3B - Tampa Bay Prince-of-Darkness Rays - Rookies aren't supposed to get called up and have huge offensive numbers right away. Ryan Braun was the exception; Alex Gordon is the rule. I expect Longoria to come back down to earth in the second half. Opposing pitchers are too smart and they will find his weak spot. Right now the hype machine is in overdrive for Longoria, and if it wasn't for Josh Hamilton, Longoria would be the big story of the All-Star break. His stock is soaring right now, and I would move him quickly. The only possible exception is if you are in a keeper league because I do think he will be a very good player in the league for years to come.

Kerry Wood - RP - Chicago Cubs - Kerry Wood has two big things working against him, 1 - He is a Cub, 2 - His name is Kerry Wood. I gambled on Wood in a couple of leagues this year and have been pleasantly surprised, but I don't expect a big second half. He's got a blister right now, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him spend some time on the DL. I always think it's a good idea to try to move a closer around this time and see what you can get anyway. Unless it's one of the elite such as: Joe Nathan, K-Rod or Papelbon, I would rather move a guy with a bunch of saves for a no-name closer and try to get something else in the deal. For example, if I could move Kerry Wood for C.J. Wilson and an A.J. Burnett, I'd do it.

Edinson Volquez - SP - Cincinnati Reds - This one hurts, and I almost didn't include him, but I have to be honest: I don't believe Volquez is going to have a great second half. As a Reds' fan, I hope I am terribly wrong, but hear my reasoning. First of all, he has never pitched more than 34 innings in the big leagues before this year and he is already at 117 IP. Having Dusty Baker as the man who decides how long to keep him on the mound doesn't exactly give me a warm fuzzy about this scenario either (although I was pleased to read that Dusty petitioned to Clint Hurdle to try to keep Volquez from pitching more than an inning in the All-Star game). Another concern is his 56 walks issued in the first half. He has managed to use his mid-nineties fastball and filthy, low-eighties circle-changeup to work out of jams, but I'm worried that the walks are going to catch up with him at some point. The most signficant stat of all for Volquez is that he has only allowed five home runs all year (that's a Bronson Arroyo inning) and only one at Great American Ballpark. To think that this trend will hold up in the second half just seems way too optimistic. Volquez doesn't have a body of work to compare to, and his last few starts have been shaky, so while I wouldn't be super-eager to move him, I'd listen to offers at this point.

Others to watch:

Joe Saunders - SP - Los Angeles Angels, Ryan Dempster - SP - Chicago Cubs, Milton Bradley - OF - Texas Rangers, J.D. Drew - OF - Boston Red Sox

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Natural Puts on a Show in the Bronx

Josh Hamilton just put on a show unlike any I have ever seen. He set a record with 28 first-round homers in the Home Run Derby, and it was electric. Each bomb he hit was more impressive than the one before it. He said earlier in the day that he wouldn't be surprised to see someone hit it out of the stadium, and now I understand why. I actually thought he had hit a couple completely out, but I think they just barely missed. I know he hit a few over 500 feet - the longest at 518! After each towering fly ball he hit, I found myself jumping out of my seat and just watching in amazement. He apparently had a dream two years ago in which he was being interviewed in Yankee Stadium after participating in a Home Run Derby, and tonight it became a reality. Like most of the rest of America, I'm mesmerized with his story and feel like I'm watching a movie script play out. Maybe I'm a little caught up in the moment, but when Yankee Stadium erupted in chants of "Ham-il-ton, Ham-il-ton," I'll admit I got goose bumps.

Random Thoughts - 7/14/08

The Arizona Diamondbacks are rumored to be interested in Raul Ibanez. For the D'backs, he would give them another LH bat to go with Chad Tracy (assuming that he stays healthy). With Ibanez, the D-backs could use a top five of Hudson-Jackson-Ibanez-Young-Tracy. The O-Dog (OBP - .359) and Conor Jackson (OBP - .387) make more sense at the top of his lineup. Chris Young and his .401 slugging percentage could hit fourth, and he might benefit with being surrounded by Ibanez and Tracy. For fantasy purposes, while Ibanez is not the sexiest player, he does have 55 RBIs and won't hurt you in average (.275). As he is in the last year of a contract, Ibanez should be motivated to play for the rest of the season. A move to a contender might be the necessary motivation to give a boost to these numbers
The Onion Movie is hillarious. Basically, it is a 2000's knockoff of The Kentucky Fried Movie, but a very entertaining knockoff nonetheless. Click HERE for an example (NSFW).
With Takashi Saito probably headed to DL, Jonathan Broxton will take over as closer for the Dodgers. Broxton has been closer in waiting for a few years. This season, he has acculmulated 46 Ks in 39.2 innings. His ERA of 3.40 is a bit of an illusion due to two bad outings in May. During the month of June, Broxton did not allow a single earned run. If you are a Saito owner or looking saves, he is worth the risk to pick up. However, it is important to remember that a dominant middle reliever is not guaranteed to make the move to closer (Rafael Betancourt feel free to raise your hands). Broxton has filled the role on occasion with mixed results. Pick him up if he is available, but don't overpay for Broxton.
If and when Brian Fuentes moves, Manny Corpas will get the first shot at closer over Taylor Buchholz. Depsite superior numbers (1.83 ERA and 35Ks in 44.1 innings), Buchholz will wait in the wings. If moved, Fuentes will be used in a set-up capcity, pretty much losing all of his value. Fuentes owners will want to grab Corpas. It is disappointing that Buchholz will not be the closer, but it does not mean that he lacks value. Taking advantage of his SP status, I have used Buchholz in various leagues. If you have in extra spot, he could give you an advantage in Ks, ERA and WHIP in HTH leagues.
Who had Ian Kinsler pegged as this awesome? No, you did not.
The Boston Globe is reporting that the Red Sox are interested in Mark Teixeira. They offered Kevin Youkilis and Craig Hansen to the Braves for the free agent-to-be. Even if this deal does not happen, expect the Braves to move Big Tex if they fall out of the race. While Teixeira would benefit to finish his year in an AL lineup, such a move would be pretty damning for Chipper Jones owners.
Roy Halladay is freaking awesome. 11 wins, 7 CG, 2.71 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 121/21 K/BB. In 146 innings this season, he has nearly reached his Ks from last year (139 Ks). At age 31, you have wonder when all of these innings will catch up with him. If Halladay can keep this up for a full season, it will be an incredible achievement.

Top Five Projected Second Half Achievers - Donny Edition

As I prepare to watch the annual Home Run Derby tonight, I can only hope that Chris Berman will be providing the "back, back, back, back...oh juuust missed..." commentary again this year. Some people hate Berman, but I kind of enjoy him in a sick way. On some level he has to know that he comes off as an egotistical blowhard, but I don't think he cares. According to his bio at Brooks International, he has appeared onstage with Huey Lewis and the News "over half a dozen times" (why not just say seven?) as well as twice with Eddie Money. Who amongst us can make that claim? None of us? That's what I thought. Anyway, here are guys I think will blow up in the second half. Trade for them if you can. Pray for them to get injured if you can't.

Mark Teixeira - 1B - Atlanta Braves - Tex is a classic second-half monster. In 2007 he hit 18 of his 30 home runs and 64 of his 105 RBI in the second half. And that's nothing compared to 2006 when he hit a whopping 29 home runs in the second half. He may end up a Yankee or a Red Sock, which may not improve his numbers as much as you might think, as he has a nice little spot hitting after Chipper and before McCann, but it certainly can't hurt to be in a lineup with A-Rod or Man-Ram/Large Father. The downside of trying to trade for Teixeira is that it's pretty much common knowledge that he's a second-half stud. You'll probably have a tough time acquiring him, but if you're already an owner, hang on for a huge rest of the season for Tex.

Grady Sizemore - OF - Cleveland Indians - Considering the fact that Grady Sizemore has already nearly reached his career-highs in HR's and SB, this actually a pretty bold prediction, but I think this is his big breakout year. He has not been a huge second-half guy in the past, but he is running wild this year, and I think the power numbers are legit. Last week I predicted 40/40 for Grady and I'm sticking to it. And, yes, I am a card-carrying member of Grady's Ladies.

Miguel Cabrera - 3B/1B - Detroit Tigers - Awww, poor you. You used your first draft pick on Miguel Cabrera and he only gave you a .284 BA, 16 HR, 57 RBI & 43 R in the first half (AKA, nearly the identical numbers he had last year in the second half). Not to fear, Miggy is still in a potent offense that is starting to pull it together and he will have a big second half. Worst-case scenario, he matches his first-half numbers and ends up with 32/114/86, but I would project closer to 38/125/100 with a BA around .300. It's worth a try to make an offer on him, especially in a keeper league.

Javier Vazquez - SP - Chicago White Sox - Javier has been striking guys out in near obscurity for years now. Starting your career in Montreal tends to have that effect (see also: Cabrera, Orlando). There was the unfortunate stint in pinstripes in 2004, but since then he's been pretty solid. He's a good pitcher who can catch fire and become your fantasy ace at any moment if you'll just let him. Last year he was 9-3 in the second half with a K/BB ratio of 105/24. He's on a contending team this year and he will continue to get the K's. I think he'll rack up the wins also and I'm buying.

A.J. Burnett - SP - Toronto Blue Jays - I actually picked the Blue Jays to win the AL East this year. Yeah, I was the guy. The main reason was I loved the rotation of Halladay, Burnett and McGowan. Well, Halladay has been good, but the other two have been pretty brutal. But Burnett is a guy who really helped me down the stretch last year, and I had him on this list even before his performance last night against the Yankees. I can see him getting traded to a team like the Cardinals, which would be awesome for him. He's got all of the tools, and if he stays healthy I can see a huge second half for A.J. I think there is enough reward potential there to take the risk in trading for him if you need a SP for the second half.

Others to watch:

Nick Markakis - OF - Baltimore Orioles, Kevin Youkilis - 1B/3B - Boston Red Sox, Sean Gallagher - SP - Oakland A's, Matt Holliday - OF - Colorado Rockies

COMING SOON - Top Five Projected Second Half Bums

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Achievers/Bums - 07/13/08


Chad Billingsley – SP – Los Angeles Dodgers – Win, 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 13 K’s – Billingsley is the real deal. He pitched a brilliant game against the fish last night, striking out thirteen and walking none. This is a guy I have tried to get in a couple of leagues, but probably didn't try hard enough. He had a pretty good first half, and after last night's start, the window to acquire him at a fair price may have just slammed shut.

CC Sabathia – SP – Milwakee Brewers – Win, 9 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 9 K’s – C.C. didn't appear to have his best stuff in the early innings, but the Reds didn't capitalize on the opportunities they had, and Sabathia went nine to secure the win. The turning point in the game was when C.C. cranked a no-doubter home run into the right field bleachers off of Homer Bailey in the bottom of the third. Sabathia has looked solid in his first two starts as a Brewer, and I expect him to have a phenomenal second half.

Carlos Beltran – OF – New York Mets – 3/4, 1 HR 3 RBI – Beltran has come alive in the last month, hitting eight HRs with twenty-four RBI in that span. The Mets have won their last nine games and they'll need Beltran keep playing at this level if they're going to make the playoffs. A lot of people say Reyes is the key to the Mets' success, but I think it's on Beltran. Reyes and Wright are going to be good, but will Beltran be able to deliver that kind of second half he did with the Astros in 2004?


Derek Jeter – SS – New York Yankees – 0/4, 2 K's – Jeter has been moved into the leadoff spot with Damon out, and has actually been pretty good in that role so far, but he was owned by A.J. Burnett yesterday. I know I pick on Yankees' hitters a lot, but remember they were supposed to be the juggernaut, bitch? (link NSFW)

Jose Contreras – SP – Chicago White Sox – Loss, 4 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's – Contreras has had some good moments in the first half, but he got mauled yesterday. Manager Ozzie Guillen - normally not prone to hyperbole - said, "I've never seen such a poorly pitched game in all of my years in baseball." So did he miss Gavin Floyd's start the other day or what?

Andrew Miller – SP – Florida Marlins – Loss, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 3 K's – I guess Ozzie missed this one too. Miller's line from Sunday night is just ugly to look at. We're talking Bronson Arroyo ugly. Remember when you blew a waiver spot on this guy when he got called up by the Tigers a couple of years ago? Yeah, it might be time to go ahead and admit that was a mistake.

Top Five Projected Second Half Achievers - Brandt Edition

The season is officially half over. It is time to predict will achieve in the second half.

Alex Rodriguez
-3B - New York Yankees - Yes, I know, this is a tremendously bold prediction. However, take this thought in context. A-Rod is coming off (for him) a fairly sub-par 1st half of a season. His divorce is going to put lot of extra pressure on him. These factors might give you reason to doubt the power of A-Rod. Also, it might give you the opportunity to buy low. If he stays healthy, A-Rod should continue to match his usual numbers. See if you can use the negativity around him to pick him up for below market value.
Robinson Cano - 2B - New York Yankees - Cano is one of those players who consistently has an awful first half, and then turns up after the All Star break. In 06', Cano hit .325/4/27 in the first half and .365/11/51 in the second half. In '07, Cano started .274/6/30 and finished .343/13/57. See a pattern? Pick up Cano this week before the break ends, and Cano begins his Rod Carew imitation.
Francisco Liriano - SP - Minnesota Twins - Per Rotoworld, Liriano has a streak of 20 scoreless innings in AAA. During this streak, he has a K/BB ratio of 24/3. It will not be long before the Twins bring him back to the Big Leagues. While Lirano has been a disappointment so far this season, the Twins were wise to send him down to AAA to let him find his groove again. If you are fortunate, he might be on your waiver wire. Otherwise, try to buy low on him before he comes back to the majors for the 2nd half.
Carl Crawford - OF - Tampa Bay D---l Rays - While I have always felt that Crawford is overrated, he is not as bad as he is playing. Crawford ended the first half in a 0-25 slump. In addition, he has had some knee and hamstring issues. While these are certainly not good signs, they are opportunity to buy low. Crawford has consistently provided R, SBs and Avg. He will have this week to recover and a six game homestrech to start the second half. Trade for Crawford before he gets hot again.
Alfonso Soriano - OF - Chicago Cubs - Soriano has been saddled with some hard luck this season. He started ice cold in April, followed by a DL stint after injuring himself by hopping unnecessarily after catching a fly ball. Once he came back, he started to blister the ball, hitting 10 HRs in May alone. Of course, this ended with a broken finger. However, this might have been a blessing in disguise. Soriano has been able to rest his legs for the second half and will return to a Cubs team that continues to hit well. While there will be lingering worries about the hand, Soriano should be fine. Try to buy him low if you have a manager tried of dealing with his injuries. If you already own Soriano, be patient and wait for a good second half.

Others to watch
Prince Fielder - 1B - Milwaukee Brewers, Clay Buchholtz - SP - Boston Red Sox, Dave Bush - SP - Milwaukee Brewers, Nick Markakis - OF - Baltimore Orioles,

COMING SOON - Top Five Projected Second Half Bums

Contributing Achievers