Finch Files: Cardinals will improve

Updated: May 15, 2007, 12:47 PM ET
By Jennie Finch |

Hello out there! Welcome back to another installment of the Finch Files. It's been a hot week in Arizona, but training camp was great anyway. We're scrimmaging now, so I'm getting my arm in shape. It's rough going sometimes, but I love it. I'll definitely be ready for Opening Day with the Chicago Bandits at the end of June. Our first game is against the Rockford Thunder, so I'll be facing Kat Osterman. I'm excited for the matchup. She's a great girl and a great competitor, so it's bound to be a fun way to start the season!

On a separate note, we had a great Mother's Day over the weekend. I hope everyone out there had the same. Looking back to the last one when Ace was only a few days old, it's hard to believe it's already been a year! He's such a funny little guy with a happy personality -- he certainly makes me glad I'm a mom.

Let's get to the mailbag. We've got some good questions this week, so keep 'em coming!

Mike, Washington, D.C. : Jennie, do you think Scott Rolen is going to come out of his slump soon? Mike Lowell and Hank Blalock among others are available in my league. Should I drop Rolen now, or wait it out some more? Thanks

If you can reserve Rolen, I would, and replace him on a temporary basis. He's too good of a player to hit around .200 with no power for much longer. The entire Cardinals team, including Pujols (.248 BA) and Edmonds (.208 BA), is in a tremendous offensive slump. It's tough to break out of things when there's nobody on base. This is essentially the same team that hit .269 last season, so an improvement from .234 has to be expected.

Jeff Wallace, Lake Havasu City: Hey Jennie. I got one question and one comment. I got a trade proposal from another team in my league. The trade was Lance Berkman and C.C. Sabathia for Randy Johnson, Carlos Beltran, and Rafael Soriano. Should I accept the trade even though it's a three-for-two deal his way? Second, I live in Arizona, and I would give anything for my daughter Shelby to have an opportunity to meet you. She is 9 and has played 3 years of softball and wants to learn how to pitch. Any suggestions from the "best"? Thanks for your input. Sincerely, Jeff Wallace

It's great, as always, to hear from a fellow Arizonan. I'm doing an appearance and signing later this week on Friday at Metro Center Mall from 4-6 at Sports Chalet if you'd like to bring your daughter by. I love meeting younger players. I'm not sure I'll be able to show her how to pitch in the store, her coach is probably better for that, but I hope you can make it.

If I understand you correctly, he's getting Randy Johnson, Carlos Beltran and Rafael Soriano from you. If that's the case, then I think Berkman and Sabathia is a good deal for you. Soriano is a temporary closer. I know I hyped Randy Johnson in the preseason as a good value, but the reality now, that the season's under way, is that he's a 42 year-old who could break down on any pitch. Beltran would be the best of the five players, but Berkman isn't far behind and Sabathia is a big upgrade to your pitching.

Scott Z, Houston : I have Adrian Beltre on almost every team. He's killing my batting average and other stats. I keep waiting for him to get back to form when he was with LA. Am I dreaming or what? Should I drop him for the likes of a Mike Lowell?

I hear you on the batting average and other stats. It appears that Beltre's career year with the Dodgers (.334 batting average, 48 HR and 121 RBIs) was an aberration. I really think that waiting for him to return to that level is wishful thinking. Did you know that Lowell has had an OPS over .800 for four of the last five seasons, while Beltre's has been under .800 the same number of times? I also like Lowell more than Beltre because he's with a better offensive team. Lowell hitting behind Ramirez and Ortiz will create more opportunity for him than Beltre hitting anywhere in Seattle's lineup.

Bertha, Pasadena: I picked Barry Bonds late in my draft, thinking his upside is worth it over potentially mediocre players. Obviously it has worked out so far, and my question to you is do you think this will continue? Is Bonds one to slow down with .290-30-90 numbers, or could he be the Bonds of old, hitting high-.300s with 40-plus homers?

I always love Barry. He's fun to hang around with. There's a lot of trash talk between us, which is fun. I pitched to him a few years ago, and he was one of only a couple MLB players who got a hit off me! I'm always watching him, and right now he looks great. His legs are healthy and his bat looks quicker than ever. The only thing that would affect his offensive number is if teams decide to start pitching around him the way they were after he broke the single-season home run record. Either way, and without any personal bias, he's a great pick and I would keep him with the expectation that he'll be closer to the 40-plus Barry than the 30-90 guy.

Dave Webster: Can I count on Chipper Jones to stay healthy and produce all year? Also Delmon Young is a player I just traded for in exchange for Marcus Giles and James Shields who were both FA pickups. Will he hit like what the projections say, or struggle since he's still so young?

Yes, I think you can count on Chipper Jones to produce all year, in between his bumps and bruises. He'll be as healthy as any 34 year-old can stay, so as long as you're not shooting for more than 130-140 games, you won't be disappointed. He can be frustrating when he misses games like right now, with his sore thumb, but when he's healthy, he's as productive as any third baseman in the game. Even in 2006 with limited at bats (411) he put up great numbers (26 home runs and 86 RBIs). If you can play a backup in his place when you know he's out, you're fine.

Delmon Young will have his ups and downs this year, so I don't think he'll quite hit his projections, this year, but you'll probably want to draft him again next April.

Andrew Kantner, Charlottesville I'm in a H2H league. I've got Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka. Right now, Dan Wheeler, Al Reyes and Ryan Dempster are sitting on the waiver wire. If I drop both, I can have two closers rather than playing the Rangers DL-game all season, but I know those guys are available for a reason (and Gagne could be magic in a bottle). What do you think? Thanks!

If you're into magic, then I guess Gagne would be your answer. I'd prefer to have two closers that I know are definitely doing the job for their teams. That would be Dempster and Reyes. Wheeler and Lidge are too similar in situation to Gagne and Otsuka, in that only one of them gets to do the job at one time.

Max, Philadelphia: Jenny, I just want to ask your opinion on two young potential studs; Tim Lincecum and Phil Hughes. I used a waiver spot on both of them and have them sitting on my roster hoping that they'll turn into potential studs, but I don't know if I'm wasting my time. What do you think?

I think you're a lucky man. Their strikeout potential alone makes them fantasy-worthy. Assuming they can stay healthy, they'll have a chance to be outstanding in their rookie years, at the very least in their first trip around the league. Hold on to them for now, and if you don't think they'll be as good when they start facing teams for the second or third time, that's when you trade them.

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Jennie Finch

Jennie Finch is a former professional softball pitcher who won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens and a silver medal in 2008 in Beijing before retiring from the sport. She was a two-time National Player of the Year at Arizona.