- Jennie Finch, Contributor, espnW.com
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Hello, Fantasy Baseball fans! Welcome to the latest installment of the Finch Files.
I guess the topic this week should be patience and the question: to trade or not to trade? I'm sure all you seasoned fantasy players have your strategies. I know some people think you should immediately start trying to improve your team by making offers to managers and seeing what they'll do. I can definitely respect that, but I like to sit back and watch how things go the first few weeks. I'm not a stickler for rules, like no trades until a certain date, but I do like to wait a little while.
Hot and cold starts can be deceiving and if you're confident in your picks, or even if you're not, I like to have a clearer picture of things before I make any moves. You have to think about the season as a marathon. It's not about how quickly you start, it's all about pacing yourself so you can make it to the finish line.
So what's in the mailbag this week?
I need another middle infielder, I drafted Jorge Cantu but it looks like he's going to Mexico ... and what do you think of ASU softball coming up the ranks?
Craig from Gilbert
Two infielders that may be available are Mark DeRosa and B.J. Upton. DeRosa hits right between Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee and will see a lot of good pitches this year. A lot of people don't like him coming from Arlington to Wrigley Field, but it's not like Wrigley is a pitcher's park. Upton doesn't qualify at second base yet, but he's the reason the Devil Rays felt they could do without Jorge Cantu, and he's off to a fast start. As soon as he's played his 10th game at second base, he'll fly off the waiver wire. Why not get ahead of the game?
Another great middle infielder to look at is Marcus Giles. He's healthy this year and should bounce back from a poor season last year. Plus I think that playing with the Padres will be really good for him. He's playing with his older brother, Brian, who's batting second in the lineup. I have a feeling that'll help keep him focused for the entire season.
I like the ASU softball question, but how can you ask a rival Cat about ASU? I suppose I should answer, since that's my job, and I'll give credit where credit is due. I definitely think ASU is on the rise. Coach Meyers has done an amazing job with the program since he took over a year ago. They have a beautiful facility, great program and it's a good university. That's all I'll say. I'm sticking with my Cats!
Dear Jennie, I was wondering who you think will be the closer in Cincinnati? I have David Weathers, and was hoping he would become the closer. Is this a good idea?
Kip from Chicago
Great question and I'm not sure I have an answer for you. The closer situation at Cincinnati is going to be fluid all year unless someone jumps up and grabs it. David Weathers is probably not a good bet to be that someone. He's a part of the committee and will get his share of the opportunities, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Reds try to trade him for somebody else. When Bill Bray gets healthy, expect him to have a shot at becoming the guy. And don't forget, slowly working his way back from surgery is Eddie Guardado. He could be a factor in the second half. Stranger things have happened.
Zack Greinke is available in our nonkeeper league. I have both Garza and Pelfry. Should I drop one of them to pick him up?
Mary from Los Angeles
Absolutely drop one of them and pick him up. Greinke looks like he's back. He had a strong spring this year and his first start was good. He's a special talent, and if anyone can have success with the Royals, it's him. Another good, young pitcher is Micah Owings from the Diamondbacks. Casey Daigle was in Triple-A with him last year and thinks he's going to have a great year.
Matt Garza and Mike Pelfrey are both good young prospects, but each has his own caveat for this season. Pelfrey is still working on a third pitch and probably wouldn't be in the majors if not for Pedro Martinez' injury. He's in extended spring training right now, but will be called up later this week, when the Mets need a fifth starter. Garza has been compared to a young John Smoltz, but the Twins want to take their time with him and will keep him down in the minors as long as they can.
So, if you have a chance for Greinke, who already has all his pitches and is starting right now, pick him up.
Any hints why Jose Valverde is so wildly inconsistent? He went from unhittable, to batting practice, back to unhittable in a couple of months last year.
Glenn from Pocatello, Idaho
It's unfortunate that he's so inconsistent. I watched him last year and thought it was trouble when he got away from throwing his fastball. He fell in love with throwing his breaking pitch and got hit a lot. When he sticks to his fastball he's very effective, but if he moves away from it he's less so. That's why he was sent down last year. I think he just needed time to figure that out.
What's your suggestion on how many starters versus relief pitchers to carry and how many bench positions to possibly use for pitchers too?
Bill from Springfield, Va.
That's a little hard to answer without more information because it depends on what your league setup is. If you're playing in a daily lineup game like the one here on ESPN, stack your bench with as many quality starters as you can and stream them in every day. Have three or four closers who can fill your pitching slots when your starters aren't going.
If you're playing the traditional nine-man pitching staff, I'd suggest six starters and three relievers in mixed formats. In AL- and NL-only leagues, I'd scale that back to five starters, since you don't want to force yourself to start a guy who could hurt your ratios.
So, you see, there is no one right answer. It's all about knowing what works for your league, and adjusting based on who is actually available for you to put into your lineup.
That's all we've got room for today. See you back here next week for another look at the Finch Files.
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Jennie Finch talks early season success and answers user e-mail.