- Jennie Finch, Contributor, espnW.com
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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Hello again, fantasy fans! Welcome to the Finch Files. Great to hear from you this week. Things are starting to get interesting.
I've had an unusual week in that I've been at home. And you know what that means? That's right. More access to the computer. I've been checking on things before softball practice and in the evenings. It's nice to have that time and to mull over your questions in the comfort of my own home!
Team USA has training camp right here in Tucson, which is great. Training camp is amazing. We're gearing up for the World Cup and Pan Am Games this summer, which I'm really excited about. We had some intra-squad scrimmages. I train year-round, but it was great to finally face hitters! The team looks good. We're definitely ready to go. It was lucky, too, that my husband, Casey, was playing in town and we were able to hang out and catch up on some much-needed family time. Our son, Ace, is starting to walk, which is fun. He takes about six steps and then nose-dives, but we have his fastball down and are working on his slider.
Let's get to the mailbag and see what you have for me. Oh, and if I could ask one thing: Can you please go easy on us pitchers? We all have our quirks and ticks. It's a narrow-focus, high-pressure job!
What's the deal with the Phillies sending Brett Myers to the pen? Do you think he'll be good in that role, or should I expect him to be back in the rotation by the All-Star break? Scott (Reading, Pa.)
I think he'll for sure be back in the rotation by the All-Star break, if not sooner. There are two things here. The Phillies needed help in their bullpen, and Myers has been having mechanical issues. He's been giving up way too many fly balls, and at Citizens Bank Park, that quickly turns into too many homers. He's at his best when he is getting at least 25 percent more grounders, but right now, it's been the other way around. So, he'll fix that in the bullpen, and at the same time, the Phillies get to showcase Lieber in hopes of trading him to obtain some bullpen help, which would then send Myers back to the rotation. The bottom line is that they're not paying Myers $8 million plus to be a set-up man.
I say hang on to the two young players unless you're in desperate need of home runs and RBIs, and really, it's too early to be desperate. Young is a five-category fantasy player, so he'll help you everywhere, but Jones will hurt your batting average and do nothing for you in the stolen base category. Having to give up Lind to turn your five-category stud into a three-category stud is just too steep a price. Shop Lind around, or wait until he's red-hot, then see what you can get for him.
I wasted an early pick on Adam LaRoche. I thought he'd do well in Pittsburgh but so far he has been awful. He has a batting average worse than 100. I want to trade for a strong first baseman such as Mark Teixeira or someone of that ability. I have an amazingly strong outfield, Carl Crawford, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Lee. I don't know which one to trade because they are all doing well so far. Who should I trade? Scott (Houston)
I wouldn't trade anyone. It's still early. LaRoche might be hitting less than .100 the first three weeks of the season, but he's too good a hitter not to pick himself up like that. Not that he's the same player, but Justin Morneau hit only .208 last April, and he made up for it in the long run, didn't he? Maybe LaRoche is just a slow starter. He hit only .200 last April himself, and he finished the year at .285 thanks to that terrific second half, when he hit .323 with 19 of his 32 home runs. You wouldn't want to miss out on that, would you?
Your outfield is amazing. Don't break that up. Those guys could carry you to a title.
Jennie, I just dealt Michael Young and Jon Garland for Ryan Howard and Gil Meche in a keeper league. I am deep at first, with Pujols and Helton and now sport a shortstop platoon of J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett. I am looking to move Howard to get an experienced ace to complement my top three of Jeremy Sowers, Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez. Would you wait until Howard heats up to move him, move him now for a Derek Lowe-type, or depend on young arms to carry my staff leaving Howard in my utility slot with Pujols at first base? Carlo (Boston)
With the injury to Hernandez on Wednesday night, I'd look at moving Howard, but I think you have your sights set too low if you're thinking Lowe. You should get better value for Howard. He's one of the top fantasy players in keeper formats, even in his current form, and most importantly, someone in your league will agree. Maybe you want to trade him for two pitchers in the Derek Lowe mold. Something along the lines of Lowe and Dan Haren, at the very least. Better yet, trade Todd Helton instead. Howard can be a big part of your team for years to come.
Who would you rather have between Adam Wainwright and Zack Greinke? I know Greinke is widely seen as a huge sleeper drawing comparisons to Greg Maddux, but the "personal issues" of last year leave me hesitant. Mental issues wreak havoc on pitchers. I've also seen good outings from Wainwright as he transitions out of the bullpen to the starting role and he looks solid. Which do you think will perform better? Nathan (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Both have bright futures, but for this year, since they're young, I expect them to be a little erratic. That shouldn't be seen as a lack of mental toughness, in Greinke's case. Bottom line, for this year, I prefer Wainwright because he's with a better team and so will have a better shot at wins and a better bullpen to strand his inherited runners. I'd gladly have both on my team, though.
Well, that's a wrap for another week. Thanks to all of you who sent in a question. I'd love to answer them all, but there's only enough room for so many each week. Keep trying; just like in fantasy baseball, it's too early to give up yet!
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2dMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne