You might notice I have a blog entry on Thursday for, by my recollection, the first time ever. Yes, getting a three-day "weekend" last week means I get a one-day "weekend" this week, which means I have to work on Lost day. But I have a second and third VCR set up to record it, so I'm cool.
Although that's an ironic way to put it.
Anyway, I thought I'd take a moment here to address some of the feedback I've received over my recent entries on trading, starting with a blog comment from CBSSports.com user "tweedy."
"I love your trade philosophy. I have tons of studs on my team, but I'm always looking to tinker. I accused half of my league of being "hand sitters" and throw in zingers like "well, losing in the first round of the playoffs every year might be good enough for you, but I'm looking to win it all." What do you think of a Head-to-Head trade of John Smoltz, Greg Smith and Clayton Kershaw (his dudes) for my B.J. Ryan, Joe Saunders and Oliver Perez? I'm thinking Smoltz will replace Ryan, Saunders is at peak value and Kershaw is due to come up soon. The guy is a Mets fan, and he's getting two starters he can use now and a closer that just had the training wheels taken off. Basically, is Saunders this good, and is Smith for real?"
See, I'm not so sure you have a clear advantage in that deal. The Dodgers are handling Kershaw with kid gloves, so I have a feeling the 20-year-old won't get a call-up before September. Ryan might have just lost his training wheels, but at least he's healthy. I don't know if I can say the same for Smoltz. The guy clearly loved starting, so I think him so quickly volunteering to move to the bullpen suggests he had no choice. If he's too hurt to start, might he also discover he's too hurt to close a week or two into trying? Smith-for-Saunders is almost a wash. Both are unproven, and I actually think Smith has more upside. So basically, I think you're giving up Perez for nothing but a riskier closer. How's that a good move?
Next, I'll answer an e-mail from Robert Brooks.
"I am going to pick up Greg Smith and drop Jeremy Bonderman. What do you think of this choice? Also, do you know who I could pick up in place of Michael Bourn? I mean, I need his steals but his batting average is hurting my team average."
Smith is a popular guy these days, isn't he? I guess that'll happen when you have a 2.54 ERA through six starts and you're going seven or eight innings most of the time. He has more walks than strikeouts and is on pace for only 101 of the latter, and we're talking about a guy who struck out over 200 batters as recently as 2006. I have a hard time believing the pinched cartilage in his elbow that caused him to blow up in the second half last year isn't somehow related. Yeah, I'd make that exchange.
I mostly wanted to answer this e-mail because I recently traded Bourn in a deal Gonos mentioned in his blog. I gave up Micah Owings, Stephen Drew and Bourn for Rafael Furcal. I originally offered Owings and Drew and, when it didn't go through, decided Bourn wouldn't be such a loss for the exact reasons you mentioned. You can't write his batting average off to a slow start anymore. It's .195 in early May and steadily getting worse. At this point, I wonder how long the Astros will keep him in their lineup, considering his main contribution is steals and an inability to get on base renders it meaningless. He also hasn't stolen a base since hurting his groin April 21 -- a span of 11 games. In other words, I feel like I was actually selling high on Bourn, if you can believe it, and I'd suggest you try to do the same rather than simply cutting him.
I was able to add Furcal, of course, and grab Randy Winn off waivers to compensate for the loss of steals. If you need to look deeper, I wouldn't totally sleep on Scott Podsednik. He won't get many at-bats, but when the Rockies use him, he'll steal bases for sure.
And finally, I'll field one from a somewhat fed-up Gerry Nason.
"I've noticed in my leagues that owners are placing way too much priority on prospects. Way too much! Yes, prospects are fun to watch grow, and they give you that warm fuzzy feeling of building a dynasty. However, prospects can also be dangerous when you overvalue them to the point you are trading established vets to acquire them. In three of my leagues, prospects are all the rage, and the fad is to stock your minor-league system with nothing but the best. However, due to media hype, expectations are way out of line versus reality. Most of these media darlings will not reach the lofty goals projected for them. For every Ryan J. Braun, there are twenty guys like Anthony Reyes. Phil Hughes, Jason Hirsh, Brandon Wood, Delmon Young, half the Marlins' pitching staff -- there are too many to name that have not lived up to the hype for one reason or another. I know it is your job to build these kids up and sell them as the future of the game, but I think that owners need to be cautioned that the game is won and lost in the present and trading top players for a package of prospects not only kills the competitive balance in your league, it in no way guarantees you of getting a good player."
Without commenting on each of the players you named, Gerry -- some of which I wouldn't yet pass final judgment on -- I tend to agree with you. Too many Fantasy owners bank too heavily on the unknown. Prospects are fine as late-round fliers or last-second free-agent pickups just to see what they can do, but you don't want to stash them and wait because -- like you said -- you might end up waiting for nothing.
In only two types of leagues would I recommend stashing prospects:
1. Long-term keeper leagues where you have to maintain a minor-league system (and even then, I'd make it an afterthought compared to my major-league roster).
2. Deep AL- or NL-only leagues where the concept of free agency is virtually meaningless, making every call-up the only real chance you have to improve your team (other than trading, of course).
That's all for now