- Jennie Finch, Contributor, espnW.com
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Hello out there, Finch Files readers! I've been spending some quality time in the Windy City with the Chicago Bandits. The season opener went 12 innings, and for those of you who don't know about softball, I pitched all 12 innings. In the end we lost 1-0, but not to worry: We bounced back to win our next game.
I'm back in Tucson, via Los Angeles, for a day. It's great to be home again, even if it's only for a little while. I have another appearance coming up in Mesa, Arizona this week, so I'll get to hang out with some fans that afternoon. That's always fun for me. Then, next week, the craziness starts again. I have Pan Am team selection camp, followed by Team USA training, and forget about July with the World Cup and Pan Am Games! I'm excited about it all, but it's going to be August before I know it. I guess there are a lot of people in Arizona who wouldn't mind that. It's been hot here. The sooner the summer's over, the better!
Enough about that, let's get to the mail bag! Keep those questions coming!
JoJo (Chicago) : I have a killer pitching staff. Do you think that trading Josh Beckett for Roy Halladay and Joe Mauer is good? Also, I have Mark Teixeira and Felix Hernandez. Do you think trading them for Justin Morneau and Chad Cordero is good?
Jennie: Yes, trade Beckett for Halladay and Mauer. I think Halladay is every bit as good as Beckett and the fact that you'd also get Joe Mauer, the 2006 AL batting champ, makes the trade very one-sided for you. I'd also make the second trade. Hernandez is still struggling and being very inconsistent, which isn't a good sign for someone trying to avoid elbow surgery. Cordero is solid and has a good chance of being traded to a contender. On top of that, Morneau is playing on a better offensive team with the Twins, and looks to be having a repeat of his MVP campaign.
Jenna (Cedar Falls, Iowa): Jennie, what is going to happen with the Yankees this year? Do you think they are going to be able to fix the pitching situation?
Jennie: Well, I think the Yankees will fix the pitching situation, because they have the means and they've always shown they're willing to go out and get what they need. The hitters are due for a hot streak and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Yankees go on a tear and win 20 games out of 25, getting right back into the wild card race. I don't think they can catch Boston, though.
Scott (San Diego, Calif.): Hey Jennie, love the column. I've been offered Ichiro Suzuki and Victor Martinez for Vernon Wells and Miguel Cabrera. I hate parting with Cabrera but I can use Ichiro's steals., average and runs, and Martinez is a big upgrade over my current catcher, Ramon Hernandez. What do you think?
Jennie: This is a tough trade to give you advice about because all four players are very good and I have to believe that Wells is on the cusp of going on a tear. If Ichiro and Martinez upgrade you in areas where you're a little weak, then I'd make the trade. Otherwise I'd be content with Cabrera and Wells.
Chris (KC, Mo.): Hi Jennie. At the time of the fantasy draft a few months ago, I was very much a novice and decided to go for the best possible pitching staff. I now have Johan Santana, Danny Haren, Roy Halladay, Randy Johnson, John Maine, Francisco Rodriguez, Francisco Cordero, Jonathan Papelbon and Oliver Perez. Thanks to some underachieving batters, I've been losing consistently for about a month. It seems obvious that I should trade some pitching for some offense, but I'm not sure how exactly to proceed -- who to keep, who to trade, and how much I should expect to get in return.
Jennie: My advice would be to hold onto Santana and Halladay, Rodriguez and Papelbon and put the other guys on the market. Trading any of them should allow you to receive a quality offensive player. The key to doing this is to check out the category breakdowns in your league's standings. Find someone who is really struggling in the pitching categories, but doing really well in offense, and start talking trade. You also can target someone who can make up a lot of ground in one or two category, even if they're not struggling with the rest of their pitching. You just have to be willing to make the first move. If you're not sure what a pitcher is worth, you always can check the Player Rater to help you put players in perspective.
Lou (Parts Unknown): OK, a quick question for you. In my Fantasy League, I am having some minor pitching problems. Having acquired Dontrelle Willis in the draft, he has played, as it is known in my league, "all right." As of now he is 7-3 with a high 4.83 ERA. Now I am a huge Marlins fan, and I had to have him in the draft, but his ERA and low K counts are killing me. Mind you I have Jake Peavy and Aaron Harang to make up for that, but what should I do? Keep 'em or drop 'em? I know that The D-Train is a great player, and he has a knack for improving throughout the season, but thus far he has proved just "OK." Randy Wolf is looking promising, 6-3 with a 3.41 ERA, could he be an alternative?
Jennie: At this point in the season, I like Wolf better than the D-Train. I'm not sure what's wrong with Dontrelle, but all those innings he threw in the last four seasons can't be helping Wolf is two years removed from Tommy John surgery and would appear to have returned to his all-star form. He's solid in the ratios (3.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) and has good strikeout numbers as well (74). The Dodgers are a good team and they play in a division that doesn't have great offense. I think for those reasons that his ratios should be solid throughout the remainder of the year. See if you can trade D-Train for something -- anything -- on offense, and pick Wolf up. .
Colin (Arden N.C.): I currently have Troy Glaus as my starting third baseman in a 10-team, 5x5 keeper league. I'm in first by about 15 points, but I'm starting to fall behind in some power categories. Glaus's nagging injuries are hurting me as far as his playing time, but because of the injuries his trade value has plummeted. I've got other third base-eligibles (Upton, Teahen) so do I stick it out with Glaus and hope he gets healthy, or take what I can get and pick up someone like Ryan Braun?
Jennie I'd stick with Glaus because, by the end of the year he'll have put up his 30-35 home runs and 100 RBIs. He's a tough guy and if anyone can play though that pain, it's him. He'll heat up when the rest of the offense heats up, especially Wells, and as I said above, I think that's imminent. Of course, if you can pick up Braun and reserve him I'd do that for sure.
Jim Deptford (New Jersey): Hi Jennie. Do you think it makes sense to pick up Troy Percival, since I have Tom Gordon and Brett Myers already? Is there a fantasy league for your (softball) league? Good luck this season, I'll be rooting for you and your team.
Jennie: I'd stay away from Troy Percival. Myers and Gordon will get healthy and could both possibly return to Philadelphia by the end of this month. Percival hasn't thrown a baseball in a big-league game since 2005 and there's no reason to think he could come back as anything more than a set-up man. There's no guarantee he signs with Philadelphia, either.
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