Travis Hafner is among the latest casualties of players to be placed on the DL. If your team had Alex Rodriguez and Brandon Webb already, this probably kills you because it leads to a wasted roster spot. If you own David Price or Matt Wieters and are out of DL spots you are feeling panic and helplessness. Fear not. Life is full of problems and problems were meant to have solutions. Everything is going to be ok.
When I’m most stressed in life I look for advice. Maybe I’ll ask a friend. In fantasy baseball I can’t do this because I compete against my friends and their word is like saw dust (good for nothin). So the next place I turn is the internet – the world’s favorite imaginery friend. And the fantasy baseball hot stove is a descedent of the internet. Like I said everything is going to be ok.
The first thing that you need to decide is whether or not a dead roster spot is causing your performance to deteriorate. If you are in a head to head league the answer is simply yes. If you are in a rotiserie league or the kind of league that puts a cap on the innings pitched and games played or does not allow roster changes daily the answer is most likely no. In the case of head to head leagues here’s who you should drop right now:
Hafner: Drop him in 8 team mixed leagues, 10 team mixed leagues. Hold him in 12 team mixed leagues and AL only leagues. Regardless of how well he heals, Hafner will be sitting out one game a week at least going forward this season. It’s how the logjam in Cleveland works between Kelly Shoppach, Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko. Now that he has an injury that is a rerun from last season, the question of how well he heals is tough to answer with optimism. Thus Billy Butler and Kendry Morales are worth adding for the dead weight now.
Kelvim Escobar: Drop him in 8 and 10 team mixed leagues. Hold him in 12 team mixed or deeper leagues (CI, MI, 4 or more OF leagues). Similar to Hafner, Escobar is coming off a season where he didn’t play much baseball so just how well he heals and for how long is an issue with serious doubt. He has shown that he can throw in the mid 90s while rehabbing, but he also won’t be back until June. Deeper leagues should consider holding him because when he does come back he’d be a great option to trade for a hitter if he has early success.
Chris Carpenter: Drop him in 8 team mixed leagues. Hold him in 10 team and 12 team mixed and deeper leagues. The injury is to his oblique which is a tough injury to overcome for a pitcher, but the good news is that unlike Hafner and Escobar it’s not an injury that has lingered for years. Carpenter’s arm by all accounts has been terrific since spring training. Especially in head to head leagues Carpenter is someone who could be extremely valuable in September.
Alex Gordon: Gone in all leagues. On the contrary if you have 0 DL spots and he is a free agent, it’s not a bad flier to take. Otherwise this guy has not shown the promise that many people in the industry thought he showed coming out of Nebraska.
Hiroki Kuroda: Drop in 8 team leagues, hold in all other leagues. The Dodgers as a team appear to be a great source for wins. True wins are a luck stat – luck based on great relievers and run support which the Dodgers have in the NL West. He also has the benefit of pitching in Dodger Stadium. It’s hard to pick out a better option in free agents outside of someone in free agents. I’d rather have him than Dave Bush.
B.J. Ryan: Drop in all leagues except deep leagues. I seriously doubt that he will return to the closer role even though his salary justifies it – providing that Scott Downs remains healthy. Even if he does, most people in your league will look at him as dead weight with his ERA and WHIP where they currently sit. If anything you can drop him and add him back in two weeks if reports are encouraging. I’d rather sign Ryan Madson or Joe Beimel than carry Ryan.
Justin Duchscherer: Drop in 8 and 10 team leagues. Hold in 12 team and deep leagues. Much like Carpenter, Ryan and Escobar there is a reputation for injury here. Again though finding a substitute for the potential numbers of Duchscherer in a month is difficult to do. If a young pitcher like Tommy Hanson is available I would snag him ahead of Duchscherer because even if Duch returns in June, he’s a candidate to get hurt again. Once Hansongets the call it would be more difficult for him to let go of the gig.
Ricky Romero: Drop in 8 and 10 team leagues. Flip a coin in 12 team leagues and hold in deep mixed. Romero’s early start was encouraging, but the league doesn’t have a book out on him yet either. Still 1 home run in 21 innings is impressive enough to hang on to in deeper mixed leagues until something else emerges.
John Smoltz: Drop in all leagues. Yes the K/9 could be great. Yes the ERA and wins could come. Let’s be realistic though. Sidney Ponson will end up with more wins and strikeouts than Smoltz this year. For three starts Smoltz could be a great boost to a team, but there’s no way he stays healthy for too long. He recently suffered a set back in his rehab so the wait will be one week longer.
Clay Buchholz: Drop in all leagues but deep mixed leagues. Between Brad Penny and John Smoltz the Red Sox will eventually come to see that they need a number five starter. If Daisuke Matsuzaka returns and the rest of the rotation stays healthy (big if with Blister Beckett, cancer survivor Jon Lester, and 42-year old Tim Wakefield) it’s possible Buchholz gets squeezed out in favor of another bright young arm Justin Masterson. Overall the odds are in his favor. It’s just not until Smoltz is officially done that we can get optimistic so he’ll be dead wood for 6 weeks or so.
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