While the trade talk in Major League Baseball seems almost stagnant right about now, the talk in fantasy is getting louder and louder. There are usually two key times in the fantasy year that you'll start seeing an abundance of tarde talk and a flurry of deals -- the first being right at the trade deadline and the second being right about now. By the close of May, most league standings have started to separate the contenders from the....well, from the rest of them. Owners are getting a better feel for their players capabililities, hot starts have leveled off, cold starts have improved and it's a much easier time to see in which categories you are strongest and which need improvement.
So with that, I like to share in the number of emails I receive from owners seeking trade advice. It can be a real tough thing, to pull the trigger on a deal, but in the end, you know it needs to be done. Here's a look at some of the questions I've received and some of the responses I've sent back.
I'm last in HR and RBI and am in desperate need of power. I've been offered two deals and I don't know which one to take. I can either give up Roy Halladay and get back Alfonso Soriano or I can give up Coco Crisp and Matt Garza and get back Ryan Ludwick. Which one should I do?
As nice as it is to get a player of Soriano's caliber, the give up the anchor of your pitching staff might be a bit too high a price to pay. Crisp's average has gone south again in the past 2 weeks and he hasn't sniffed a stolen base in 7 games now. We knew it was just a matter of time before K.C. got to see the real Coco. And while I've always been a huge fan of Garza, his pitching totals are probably very replaceable with guys on your bench or even on the waiver wire. Everything I've read says that Ludwick is healthy and ready to come back at full strength. You'll get decent power out of him and you won't be slitting your throat to get it.
I'm in dire need of saves and have just been offered Brad Lidge in a deal for Micahel Bourn. I'm loaded up on stolen bases with both Carl Crawford and a few other guys. Do you think it's a good move?
I definitely like this offer for you as I was just in a similar boat -- loaded up on SBs and people asking for B.J. Upton. I think Lidge is fine and if you're in need of saves, then you should make the move. Bourn is playing very well, but if you have Crawford and other SB help, then you're not going to lose anything by dealing him. Lidge seemed to turn the corner about a week or so ago and hit a speed bump withthe Yankees. But come on...it's the Yankees. Charlie Manuel has given his full endorsement to Lidge and he should be righting the ship from her on in. Make that deal!
I'm in a keeper league and have been decimated by injuries to start the season. My team is in the tank and there's very little hope for this season. I need to trade for some guys to keep for next year. What do you think of Nolan Reimold? He's off to a great start, but is he going to turn into the power guy people say he is?
Obviously, the biggest question is what it's going to cost you to keep Reimold. If it's next to nothing, then you might as well trade for him and see what happens the rest of the way this year. But if it's going to cost you plenty to keep him, then I don't know if now is a good time to do it. He's got 4 HR in just 49 AB and his minor league totals indicate some quality power. But how many times have we seen a hot rookie go in the tank after a month or two in the bigs. One thing to monito is his 3/1 K/BB ratio. His average will start to drop and his Ks will increase the more he tries to yank the ball out of the yard. I don't see why you can't give him a little more time to see how he really develops.
Would you do Zack Greinke for Adam Jones?
Wow. Now that would be some deal right about now, wouldn't it? Greinke looks like he's having a Cy Young season and Jones is having the breakout year I knew he would. I think if you have some serious starting pitching behind Greinke, then it's a deal I would do, but if you'll be left with only mediocre starters, then unfortunately, you can't. What Grienke does for your staff, what he does for your ratios, is very hard to come by right now, and you don't want to sacrifice too much just for one hitter, albeit one of my favorite hitters. Again, I say, wow. I don't envy your position. If the rest of your starters are just average, maybe try trading from another strength and pick up a better starter or two. Then you'll have more flexibility to go after Jones.
I've got Matt Wieters on my bench and people are asking about trading for Joe Mauer. I'm in need of stolen bases and starting pitching. If I get a good enough deal, do you think I can trade Mauer and still be fine with Wieters behind the plate for me?
That's a tough call. It's very difficult for a rookie catcher to really produce right from the start. Like I've said before, for every Geovany Soto (circa 2008) there are 10 J.R. Towles. The fortunate thing is that there are still probably some servicable catchers available, so if you get the right deal for Mauer, then you could probably get away with using Wieters and someone else. I'm not so sure Mauer will keep up the power numbers, but unless you're getting back something good to help you in other categories, your average could take a big dip. Still, the catcher position is one that won't kill you to partially sacrifice. And who knows...maybe Wieters comes up and hits a ton anyway.
Thanks to everyone that has written to me seeking advice this year. I try to get to everyone as quickly as possible as I know trades can be a very time sensitive issue so if you have more questions, please feel free to email me me as much as you like. And if you were hoping to see your letter here and didn't, don't worry. With plenty of trading still to go, there will be more Fantasy Mailbag articles to come.
Good luck and I'll see you all in the money this year!!
Seeking more fantasy advice? Need more help evaluating players and trades? Well just come and check out RotoBuzz.com. We've got all your fantasy answers right here.
Howard Bender is a freelance fantasy sports writer and champion in both rotisserie and head to head leagues. For questions, thoughts, or comments, please emal him at Howard.Rotobuzz@yahoo.com.