Tag:Buy or Sell
Posted on: July 24, 2008 9:57 pm

Harden, Volquez, Peavy -- Buy or Sell

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The last time I did a rendition of Buy or Sell -- that's right: I have a new baby -- we found Johan Santana's name at the top of the list of most traded players in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. Well, now that I've come back for Phase 2, there he remains.

Why would anyone not want this guy?

The top six most traded players in Fantasy:
Johan Santana
Is he old? No. Is he hurt? No. Is he fat? No. Is he anything that might give anyone cause for concern in the coming weeks? No. Is he the best pitcher in Fantasy Baseball? Well, not statistically -- not yet, anyway. But he pitches for a contender, strikes out three times as many batters as he walks, and has a history of performing better in the second half. I have nothing against Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb, CC Sabathia and -- who else? -- Cole Hamels, but I wouldn't hesitate to trade any of them if someone offered me Santana. He just has too much history and hasn't performed poorly enough this year to distance himself from it. Sure, his 8-7 record doesn't look great, but his luck has to turn eventually. After all, he goes at least seven innings more often than not, which is more than anyone can say for Jake Peavy. Count me among the buyers.

Rich Harden
Ah, Harden -- owner of some of the most beautiful stats I've ever seen. That 2.12 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 11.3 strikeout rate really make him out to be one of the best pitchers in Fantasy Baseball. But you also have to consider another stat: those six trips to the DL in four seasons, making his 15 starts this season equal to his amount from the last two seasons combined. He tempts fate every time he takes the ball and stomps up the side of the mound, each start potentially his last. Certainly, he has Fantasy value even with the risk, but if someone wants to pay ace value for him, why not listen?

Carl Crawford
Like Santana, Crawford had a spot on this last time, but he's only gotten colder since then. His .269 batting average makes his chances of finishing under .300 for the first time since 2004 pretty likely, and his .689 OPS makes owners in leagues that hardly reward steals wonder if they should even own him. I admit his prospects have looked better, but if you sell him now, you sell him for less than his actual value. When he gets hot again, his batting average will rise, and his stolen bases and power numbers will follow as the number of opportunities (in this case, hits) increase. And he has the potential to get really hot, as evidenced by his .358 batting average after the All-Star break last year. Stick with him.

Edinson Volquez
I love this move and all the people who make it. I'd kiss them on the lips if I could. And if I had the foresight to draft Volquez in one of my leagues, I hope I'd also have the foresight to trade him now. See those 122 2/3 innings of his? His career high is 144 2/3. That gives him -- what? -- four starts before he slows down, if he hasn't already (5.20 ERA over his last five, anybody?). Now, if you do decide to trade him, keep in mind this isn't a panic maneuver, but a shrewd one. Don't sell him for less than you'd sell one of the best pitchers in Fantasy Baseball. You want to cash in on his maximized value, so don't slip into the mindset that you have to get rid of him before it's too late.

CC Sabathia
Depending on how much his owner wants, I'd happily buy Sabathia right now. If he sees his 10-8 record and 3.30 ERA and decides those numbers make him less than a Fantasy ace, swoop in for the kill. Sabathia has three straight complete games since his move to the National League, making him like Roy Halladay except he strikes out a batter per inning and allows fewer runs. Oh yes, I said fewer runs, despite him having a higher ERA. Don't underestimate the impact of Sabathia's dreadful April on his cumulative totals. He clearly trumps Halladay right now, and I came within an eyelash of ranking him the No. 1 starting pitcher in all of Fantasy Baseball earlier this afternoon. Buy, buy, buy.

Jake Peavy
Does anybody trade hitters anymore? Other than Crawford, apparently not. I don't know what angle I can take with Peavy that I didn't take last time. I like his ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. I hate that he pitches for the Padres and has a history of arm problems. In Fantasy, I'd rather own Santana or Sabathia, so if someone wants to buy Peavy as the second-best starting pitcher in Fantasy (how he began the season), I'd hear him out. If someone wants to sell Peavy because he no longer sees him as an elite option, well, I'd hear him out too.

That's all for now.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 3, 2008 7:21 pm

Santana, Bruce, Crawford -- Buy or Sell

You know, I wanted to pull out a regular feature today -- the one where I examine the top players traded in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues (I'm thinking of calling it Buy or Sell) -- but I don't want to end up talking about the same cast of characters. You've probably gotten tired of hearing "Justin Verlander will come around eventually." I know I've gotten tired of saying it. Stop trading Verlander, people.

Oh look. They have. Guess we can revisit the tried-and-true after all.

Johan Santana
Santana has gotten a lot of negative attention in Fantasy this season. I blame disgruntled Mets fans who built him into something he isn't. He is perhaps the best pitcher in baseball. He isn't a one-man team. In short, the Mets have problems, but none of them involve Santana. Has the two-time Cy Young winner disappointed Fantasy-wise? Maybe a little. I'd expect more than a .500 record, and his 1.22 WHIP seems a little high. But why did everyone all at once decide he no longer fits the description of a second-half pitcher? He had a 3.98 ERA in the first half of 2005 and a 3.78 ERA in the first half of 2004, the first year he won the Cy Young. Compared to those years, his current numbers look like an improvement, and I still can't think of a pitcher I'd want more in Fantasy. Consider me among the buyers.

Aaron Harang
I think we all know why Harang ended up on this list. He pitched like a drunk in June, compiling a 6.00 ERA -- his worst for a single month since 2005. Still, he hasn't walked an unreasonably high number of batters, and he continues to rack up strikeouts. I wouldn't view his June (and in fairness, end of May) as anything more than a longer version of his usual cold streaks. Yes, he has a few every year. Why else would his ERA end up on the wrong side of 3.50? Count me among the buyers.

Jay Bruce
Well, I would have counted myself among the sellers back when Bruce had a batting average over .500 and a three-game homer streak. I remember advising a co-worker who owned him back then and wanted to trade him. He managed to fleece another owner in his league for John Lackey in a one-for-one trade. I might have settled for A.J. Burnett, personally, but the guy had the diligence to find an even better deal. Good for him. Actually, great for him. I can't remember the last time I saw the sell-high strategy executed to such perfection. On Wednesday, Bruce hit two home runs, and he has his batting average up near .300 again. Another hot streak looks on the horizon. If you wait just a little longer for when he gets burning-hot again, you might snag a Lackey for him. So yes, I'd still sell on Bruce, but wait a little while first.

Carl Crawford
Crawford hasn't hit below .300 in a season since 2004, but he hasn't finished a game with a batting average that high since April 27. Still, a quick look at his situational stats from the past few years shows his performance this year doesn't come without precedent. He hit .285 before the break last year and finished at .315. He hit .284 before the break in 2005 and finished at .301. I don't remember any widespread panic either of those years. His slugging percentage has lagged a bit, but he's still on pace for 15 homers. If you can find someone willing to sell low, which I assume the buyers in these cases have, I'd buy.

Jake Peavy
I generally don't make a habit of buying pitchers with arm issues, and Peavy missed time earlier this season with a strained right elbow. I suppose this one really depends on the price tag. Peavy still has the stuff to finish as the best pitcher in Fantasy, so I'd obviously want him, but I don't think I'd trade Ben Sheets for him. I certainly wouldn't trade John Lackey or Cole Hamels for him. Mark Teixeira? No. Jimmy Rollins? No. If I can get Peavy for a bargain, I'd do it. Otherwise, I can't justify the risk for a pitcher who probably won't even win many games pitching for the lowly Padres. On the flip side, I wouldn't settle for anything less than the guys I just mentioned if I owned Peavy and wanted to trade him.

Adam Dunn
Dunn has delivered the home runs as always, his 21 putting him on pace for exactly 40 for the fourth straight season. His batting average looks pretty rough at .223, but can you honestly expect much more? Sure, he hit .264 last year, but he hit .234 in 2006 and .247 in 2005. If you can't handle the drain on your batting average, then you can't handle owning Dunn. Find someone who thinks he can rebound to hit .260 and sell.

That's all for now.
Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com