TOUT WARS MIXED FAAB
• Chad Billingsley: $1 Alex Cushing, MLB.com
And down goes Schmidt : In the face of a wholly unforeseeable Jason Schmidt injury, Chad Billingsley -- once the Golden Arm of the Dodgers farm system -- will slowly get stretched out and assume the fifth starter role, presumably for the rest of the season. Once he gets up to 100-plus pitches (probably within the next couple weeks), Billingsley will have three things working in his favor:
1. Dodger Stadium is a pitcher's paradise
2. Interleague play will be over, so he will not have to face a DH, and
3. He is good.
Billingsley is capable of striking out more than a batter an inning, and his WHIP remained relatively low in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. The strategy here would be to grab him now, drop him to your bench, and wait for him to be fully stretched out until using him.
Sweep the leg!: An Italian kid from the Northeast reinjures a pre-existing hamstring injury. And a guy named Jonny benefits. Haven't we seen this somewhere before? The scorching-hot Gomes (.405 batting average, four home runs, nine RBIs, and seven runs since his recall on June 14) will continue to play in right field with the Rays announcing Rocco Baldelli re-injured his hamstring and will be out for much longer than they originally thought.
TOUT WARS NL-ONLY
Oh coo --- whoa! Glavine and Lincecum?
Rob: "The way I looked at: I currently have Jeff Suppan, Woody Williams and Juan Cruz on my bench. Glavine's strikeout rates are down. His BABIP and hit rates have regressed to normal. Yes, he may get wins playing for the Mets [note: Rob is a die-hard Mets fan. His wife of two weeks already chastised him for trading away a Met], but he is a declining pitcher with a mid- or high-4s ERA now. So he is a complete throw-in. Thus, I saw the trade as Lincecum for Capps and a throw-in outfielder with upside who I can play for a week, at which time Brian Giles comes off the DL. I also get $5 FAAB, which gives me the most money in the league, so I can control the destiny of whatever player comes over in deadline deals to the NL.
"As for Lincecum, I absolutely think he is/will be an ace, but he's a No. 5 starter at the moment and still adjusting mentally to the majors and is in at least a little bit of danger of being sent down at the moment. So high risk/high reward. Capps has been displaying closer-worthy skills for a while with good command and strikeout ability, so I am fairly confident he has the ability to hold onto the job. Right now I'm in the middle of the pack in saves, and by adding Capps to go along with [David] Weathers, I can at least stabilize my position, if not pull away a little bit from the pack. Meanwhile Capps replaces Lincecum on the roster, and I can pick and choose between Suppan, Woody, and Cruz to replace Glavine."
Phil: "It was apparent to me that the weak spot on my team was starting pitching. Relying on [Greg] Maddux, [Dave] Bush, [Jon] Lieber, and the oft-injured El Duque just wasn't getting the job done. Among other things, I was tied for last in wins. On the other hand, I wound up with three closers (F. Cordero, Capps, and Kevin Gregg), leading to a five-save lead over second and a double-digit lead over the rest of the league.
"My initial hope was to get an ace along the lines of Brandon Webb, but Rob and others resisted. Rob, however, remained an obvious trading partner, as he had a plethora of starters, and acquiring a closer could easily net him a few save points.
"The negotiations actually had begun a couple of days before he left for his honeymoon two weeks ago, but we both were probably asking for too much at that time. I restarted the talks early this week, and we went through several iterations before Rob targeted Capps over Gregg, and I targeted Lincecum and Glavine. As the negotiations were getting closer, I threw in two sweeteners: Nate Schierholtz, who was going to ride the bench for me but was an upgrade on one or two of his hitters, and FAAB. I knew that if I gave him a few FAAB dollars, Rob would have the lead in FAAB. That made the deal reality."
• Brandon Watson: $12 Mike Lombardo, Wise Guy Baseball ($11)
Behind the Stats: We all know and love the cuddly Watson from his 43-game hitting streak in the minor leagues. It ended on June 19, and by the 20th he was in the mix for starts in center field for the Nationals. This probably shows that Watson may have been called up earlier if he wasn't shattering 95-year-old records, and he has as good a chance as anyone to win the job in center for Washington over Nook Logan and Ryan Langerhans. Watson has been kicked around several organizations for the past few seasons, but he's only 25 and can be a great source of steals and batting average if he manages to stick with the Nats.
• Joey Devine: $6 Jason Collette, RotoJunkie.com ($5)
Devine was optioned to Double-A Mississippi hours after bids were submitted. On the bright side, Jason doesn't have Jamey Carroll on his team
• Brett Carroll: $4 Scott Pianowski, FantasyGuru.com ($3)
He's no Joey Devine: Ever wonder what it's like to be privied to "reply-to-all" e-mails among fantasy experts? After the FAAB results were sent to all Tout Wars participants Friday evening, a little confusion arose when commissioner Todd Zola mistakenly listed Jamey Carroll instead of free agent Brett Carroll:
Peter Kreutzer: "I'm not sure this qualifies as bad news for anyone but me, but Jamey Carroll can't be bought this week because Jamey Carroll is already on my team."
Scott Pianowski: "I've already lived through the hell of Jamey Carroll this year - never again. I was bidding on Brett Carroll."
Jeff Erickson: "Yeah, um, I was bidding on the great Brett Carroll as well ... Not sure I'm proud of that either, though..."
In his career against the National League, Maroth has quietly put together an impressive set of stats -- 3.99 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. But if you take away a horrible 2004 start against Colorado at Coors Field (prehumidor), his numbers dip to 3.57/1.33 in 80 2/3 innings. To whittle it down even more, when Maroth faces NL Central teams, his ERA is 3.69 with a WHIP of 1.15 (in just 12 1/3 IP). He won't get you strikeouts, but Maroth could be a solid source of ERA and WHIP as a member of the Cardinals staff.
• Josh Phelps: $1 Trace Wood, LongGandhi.com
Cost of living is lower! Josh Phelps has a career OPS of .802, a .268 batting average and the ability to hit 30 homers in a season. Yet he has bounced from Toronto to Cleveland to Tampa to New York, and now to Pittsburgh. He will most likely work his way into a platoon with Adam LaRoche at first base but could see some action at catcher before the season is through. If he plays, he's a great sneaky pickup for power categories.
• Wilfredo Ledezma: $1 Collette
Lieutenant Telsij's was right: It's an American League invasion! The third player to come over via trade this week, Ledezma could see some spot starts, or could complement Rafael Soriano and Bob Wickman in the bullpen. Todd Zola announced to the entire league that he felt it was the "second straight week Jason has my vote for best Tout Bid."
"Back in 1987, I won the Sawamura Award!": Lost in all the hype over Matsuzaka, Igawa, and Okajima was a 39 year-old former MVP from Japan, who signed a minor league contract with the Pirates. A sprained ankle sidelined him for two months, but he was called up to Pittsburgh two weeks ago, and has put together a 3.38 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP in 4 1/3 innings. If he can keep it up there's no reason to believe he won't be at least a solid part of their late-inning strategy.
TOUT WARS AL-ONLY
Talented Mr. Roto: "Bedard is a difference-maker in our league, and I felt it was OK to pay full price for him based on my team needs. Plus, I really needed strikeouts. That's an area in which I could move up quickly and gain a lot of points. Most of the guys that get a lot of strikeouts, however, are on teams that I am neck and neck with and are unlikely trade partners. I made the trade prior to Bedard's injury, of course.
"I believe Marcum is not nearly this good and will get hit hard his second time through the league. His three walks to one strikeout versus the Dodgers is one of a few bad signs. And I felt I could give up Sexson because I have a number of underperforming players (Travis Hafner, Adam Lind) that I expect to have more power in second half, plus I just got Mark Kotsay back (he'll get me 7-10 home runs) and I get Juan Rivera back in a month or so.
"I am hoping Sexson on Ron's team brings his batting average down so I can catch him, but gives him enough power so he can pass Walker and Erickson in home runs, two guys I am neck and neck with."
Captain Ron: "I was loathe to give up Bedard, but with [Mark] Teixeira out and the tight races in the offensive categories I had to get a big bat. Sexson is primed for a big second half, and although Marcum is a big step down from Bedard, he has some intriguing skills. Pitching can be managed, offensive productivity must be
• Freddie Bynum: $10 Joe Sheehan, Baseball Prospectus ($9, $0, $0)
Thirty-two at-bats gets you $10? With Miguel Tejada's trip to the DL now being official, Bynum will see a fair share of starts at shortstop for the Orioles. He has three steals and 11 runs scored in those 32 at-bats, but beware of Chris Gomez. Anyone who has played in an AL-only league the past few years can tell you that Gomez always seems to pop up in Baltimore's box scores. We have seen very little of either of them -- and even if we had, with a new manager in town it's all moot anyway -- but don't expect either to really get hot and win the job in the short amount of time it will take Tejada to return.
• Jeff Weaver: $3 Sheehan ($3, $0)
"I'm smart! and I want respect!" Jeff is still the older brother, and his return from the DL has at least three experts casting themselves as believers. Let's look at this from two lines of thought:
A. Jeff Weaver is not a good pitcher
- His 2007 numbers: 8.56 ERA, 1.85 WHIP
- His career numbers: 4.58 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
B. Jeff Weaver is a good pitcher
- Since his return from the disabled list: 1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 1 complete game, 1 shutout and 2 quality starts.
- 2006 World Series championship ring that is roughly the size of a walnut.
When Weaver was placed on the DL, Mike Hargrove said something to the effect of Weaver not being able to dig deep and pull out that extra bit of oomph needed to get his balls where he wanted. Whatever it was that happened on this stint -- be it rest, rehab, or just a mental vacation -- it seems to have worked. Exercise caution before picking him up in mixed leagues, but consider him immediately rosterable in AL-onlys.
Three Degrees from Kim Dawson: Quick. What do Tonya Cooley, of the "The Real World: Chicago," and Eric O'Flaherty have in common? Walla Walla, Wash., of course! They -- alongside Dirk Benedict (the guy who played Face on "The A-Team") and Drew Bledsoe -- all hail from Walla Walla. Eric, of course, is the only one with three wins and a 2.38 ERA in long relief for the Mariners, but he'll never be able to say he once worked with both Lance Bass' ex-boyfriend, Reichen Lehmkuhl, and Bachelor Bob Guiney.
Seriously, guys. "Terry Evans" and "Eric O'Flaherty"? What happened to "Chone Figgins"? As plain as the name sounds, Terry Evans has been a minor league force and is worth a place in the back of your mind for the next couple weeks. Let's get all the fun stuff out of the way first. He was a 47th round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001 and is only in the Angels' system because he was the player traded for Jeff Weaver. So it's a bit serendipitous that he ends up in the same FAAB recap. Evans destroyed the ball last season in Class A and Double-A, hitting 40 home runs and stealing 44 bases with an average that was above .307 at every stop. So far this season in Salt Lake City (Triple-A), he was batting .327 with 10 home runs and 13 steals. And in two games with the Angels? One home run in four at-bats. With Garret Anderson on the DL, Nathan Haynes is really the only man standing between Evans and increased at-bats. If you want to impress girls with a deep-fantasy-sleeper candidate at happy hour this week, "Terry Evans" should do the trick.
ESPN EXPERT LEAGUE
Steady steady now!: Go and get him, before it's too late. Once a player makes an appearance in ESPN standard leagues, it should be a sign that he is a legitimate pickup for you and your friends. June has been especially kind to the phenom third baseman, as he sports a .342 average with three steals and 10 RBIs. On top of all these upward signs, he now has first-base eligibility.
Put your Dukes down: With Elijah Dukes back in the minors and most likely on his way to another team, and Rocco Baldelli pulling up lame on his rehab assignment, the Tampa Playing Time Carousel shakes out to something like this:
Carl Crawford in left field
Delmon Young in center field
Jonny Gomes in right field
Sometimes, the key to winning in fantasy is picking these guys up before they go on their huge tears and taking gambles that they're about to burst forth with goodness. Young seems to be very close to a power surge, and Gomes has already shamed upper management for keeping him buried in Durham, N.C., with four home runs in a week. Don't be the owner who waits until 99.8 percent of fantasy managers own a player to pick him up. Now is the time to pounce on the redesigned Tampa Bay outfield.
• Hideki Okajima: $1 Di Fino
Nando Di Fino is a fantasy analyst for TalentedMrRoto.com and ESPN.com. You can e-mail him at Nando@TalentedMrRoto.com