The blockbuster of blockbusters highlights this week’s edition.
Before jumping into the baseball news, I just wanted to make sure you all know that Colton and the Wolfman has changed timeslots. We are now on Tuesdays from 10pm-1am ET on SiriusXM (Sirius 210, XM 87). This week we host the “Colton and the Wolfman” listener league draft featuring show regulars and 8 listeners. Will be fun!
Ok, now back to business . . . .
Adrian Gonzalez: Of course, you would need to have been living under a rock to have not heard about the quarter of a BILLION dollar deal the Dodgers struck with the Red Sox, acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto from the Red Sox for James Loney, Allan Webster, Ivan DeJesus Jr. and two players to be named later (believed to be Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands). Frankly, I am not sure why the Red Sox or fantasy players were down on AGone. In a supposed down year, he is hitting .299 with 89 RBI. Yes, it is only 16 HR but geez, who wouldn’t take .300 and 114 RBI (his current pace)? The bottom line is simple here. AGone will benefit from the change of scenery, Matt Kemp and of course a manager who knows a thing or two about playing 1B - Donnie Baseball. If you can buy for this year or next, do it!
Josh Beckett: The “other” immediate impact player moving in the blockbuster is Josh Beckett. Readers of this column know I am a huge fan. But, putting my bias aside (ok, not really), what do I think of Beckett for this year and next? Answer, I like - a lot! Beckett goes from pitching in the bombers of the AL East to the anemic bats of the NL West. Add in that Dodger Stadium is the polar opposite of Fenway and you have seeds for success. Now, let's get more specific. What has hurt Beckett in the past has been the HR. But, many of the Fenway HR now will be Chavez Ravine flyballs that land in the gloves of Kemp and crew. For this year, I buy. For next year, I am even more bullish. Josh Beckett has had 5+ ERAs twice in recent years (2006 and 2010). The succeeding years were stellar, 2007 (3.28 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 194K) and 2011 (2.89 ERA 1.03 WHIP 175K). The numbers don’t lie.
James Loney: Sticking with the big deal, let's not forget that the Red Sox got James Loney. Yes, he has never lived up to his potential and is hitting just .254 with four home runs and 33 RBI in 114 games this year. However, he is only 28 and that green monster could just be the cure for what ails him. Plus, he had homered twice in the last 6 games he played for LA. Add in the fact that he has posted double digit HR 5 years in a row in the pitcher’s park in LA and you could get cheap value here. Buy while the stock is down, just don’t expect a huge payoff - a solid return will do.
David Ortiz: Not only have the Sox lost Crawford, Beckett and A Gone, it looks like they will lose Papi too. It appears he will hit the DL and very well could be done for the year as the Sox have given up. Roto lesson here -- the T in SMART stands for Team. If Papi’s team was good and in contention, they might not shut him down and his roto owners might get more production. I am not saying anyone should have known the Sox would be bad back in March, but it does prove the maxim -- better to invest in players on good teams.
Ben Sheets: In proof of another timeless roto maxim -- that injury prone players get . . . injured -- the Braves placed RHP Ben Sheets on DL with shoulder inflammation. If you own Sheets, I hope you enjoyed the ride because it is likely over. Not only is he hurt, but he has given up 14 ER in his last 16 innings. Either he has been hurt for a while or the league caught up with him. Either way, time to find another starting pitcher for your roto rotation.
Casey Kelly: According to reports, top prospect Casey Kelly will make his major league debut Monday against Atlanta in place of the injured Jason Marquis. Kelly is only 0-1 with a 3.78 ERA over three rehab starts with AA San Antonio after missing most of the year. However, he is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Keeper leaguers beware and be awake. Major stash opportunity.
Andre Ethier: Andre Ethier is one of the Dodgers who should benefit from AGone joining the lineup. Friday, Ethier went 4-4 with a homer and four RBI. In my view, Ethier is one of the more underrated OF in fantasy. He is on pace to hit .290+ with 94 RBI. Not too shabby. Add in the fact that he has had to produce without Matt Kemp or any other serious threat in the lineup for most of the season and you can see why I am bullish for the stretch run. Buy now while you still can.
Adrian Beltre: There is no one hotter in MLB than Adrian Beltre. Friday, Beltre went 4-4, hit for the cycle and had 3 RBI. In the last week, Beltre hit .433 with 5 HR. It is these kinds of weeks that change roto fortunes down the stretch. Yes, Beltre gets nicked up and misses time, but that team will score and Beltre will hit while healthy. In my book, a good gamble for the rest of 2012.
Matt Harrison: Matt Harrison just keeps on pitching really good baseball. Friday, he took a no-no into the 7th inning and ended up tossing 8 shutout innings for his 15th win of the year. Add in his 3.04 ERA and you have a solid horse for your rotation. Harrison has proven that his 3.40 ERA of 2011 was no fluke. Bottom line here folks: Big reliable lefties pitching for good teams are very hard to find. Harrison is one. Buy.
Andrew Bailey: Andrew Bailey got his first save of the year on Friday. This writer thinks there will be more to come. Aceves is in the doghouse and the Sox need to see what they have in Bailey while they prepare for 2013. Buy if you need saves. He won't get a ton but what he gets could make all the difference!
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “While I am sure it's self-explanatory from the title, this column usually takes a look back at the week that was and discusses what happened and how it might affect the future of your fantasy baseball team. One of the things that's rarely done - on this site as well as others that cover the same subject matter - is a discussion as to the rules that govern fantasy and rotisserie baseball. Notwithstanding the fact that nearly a million people engage in the roto-baseball pastime (all figures made up, not estimated or approximated, though I suspect I may be right), there really are no uniform rules for standard play and each league has its own quirks that usually develop over time and with good cause. It's this lack of uniformity that makes most call-in/write-in shows/columns inane as the "expert" usually has no framework for why anyone would be asking if they should start Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander or the question needs Schultz-like verbosity to obtain a useful answer.
As the Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto for James Loney and prospects trade has yet to be formalized or actually take place, it's not really proper fodder for a column entitled The Week That Was. (Definitely material for a column entitled The Week That Would Have Been Really Cool). As the Greatest Commissioner In The History of Rotisserie Sports, seeing this trade arouses a feeling of empathy for Bud Selig, the man who must decide whether this trade will be allowed to occur. If the prospective Red Sox/Dodgers trade took place in your roto-league, I suspect that it would result in an e-mail chain that would contain questionable language, insults that would require future apologies and one threat to quit the league. (Schultz' tip: whenever anyone threatens to quit, the Commissioner should just say OK. You would be amazed how quickly that shuts up narcissistic hotheads who overestimate their own importance to your roto-league). Surely, you can imagine the last-place owner in your league would be whining about playing for next year and that he wasn't going to keep those guys anyway and that no one else offered him anything better while the owner sitting in the Dodgers' position quietly sits back and hopes that the Commissioner doesn't exercise his (or her) veto power.
For rotisserie baseball purposes, it should never fall onto one person to decide whether a trade should be sanctioned or reversed. Quite frankly, even if your Commissioner is Schultz, one person isn't going to be right 100% of the time and what makes roto-baseball fun is the various different strategies employed by the owners to achieve the same goal. Any league of worth should employ some sort of trading review system in which every owner has the ability to register an objection with a threshold of 60% or 67% of the non-involved teams objecting in order to negate a trade. One or two vociferous owners should not have more sway than the rest of the league and it should take significantly more than half of your league feeling the competitive balance has been skewed to prevent two other owners from exerting their freewill. There is much more that can (and should) be written on this subject, but I suspect it's not smart to have Schultz Says run longer than the main column.”
Response: I laughed a few times. Thanks! In Schultz’s defense, he sent me his section before the blockbuster went through. He should have more to say next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.