Saturday, April 17, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard to Do...

Ever since I started playing fantasy sports, I've had a compulsive habit of adding and dropping players. I despise having open slots on my roster, when normal starters have days off. I love spotting and riding a hot streak. And who doesn't like picking up a starting pitcher with a favorable match-up? Most of the time, this "strategy" hurts my team more than it helps. For every random guy I pick up who gets a win or pops a home run, I have two or three pitchers that can't get out of the 5th and too many hitters that go 0 for 4 or 1 for 4.

One of the difficult times for an add/drop junkie like me are those occasions when you fall in love with your roster and can't find anyone to drop. Breaking that bond with someone you value on your roster can be tough. However, is it not true that the human psyche craves something new? Something spontaneous? Wasn't there a time - just a little before my time, when playboys called new conquests "strange"? As an old friend of mine* said many years ago, when he was growing tired of his current girlfriend "I need new p***y".

*to protect the innocent, let's call this friend Ben Korn.

It was tough for me a few days ago to let go of some players that I think will be very useful this season and beyond. With conflicting emotions, on April 15th, I relented and let go of Gio Gonzalez, Brandon Wood, and Mat Latos. My reasonings for letting these guys go slightly differ, but the main theme is that I don't think anyone else is going to gobble them up right away. So, I have the chance of getting them back in the next few days, if it seems like I gave up too soon.

As any degenerate in Atlantic City or Windsor will tell you, it is fun to gamble. In fantasy sports, it's no different. If you crave the action, but don't place bets on games, then betting on individual players in fantasy can scratch that itch. For example, let's say you're an accidental tourist in St. Louis one evening before a business meeting the following day. Serendipitously, your hotel is directly across the street from the ballpark, and an off duty cop in the lobby just gave you a free ticket to sit in Big Mac Land. If you want a little action for the game, why not pick up Skip Schumaker or Kyle McClellan and try to catch lightning in a bottle.

Just for fun, let's talk about th risk/reward of the newest members of Good Friends and where our thoughts are for the future of our roster.

We dropped Gio Gonzalez for Tom Gorzelanny. I still love Gio, but he struggled last time out and faces the Yankees next. I don't think anyone is picking him up in the next 5 days. Unless Gorzelanny does something like strikeout 9 or more Astros, I think we will drop him for someone else who can help us right away. Perhaps, we'll find another starter, a relief pitcher who has SP eligibility, or another hitter to take a flyer on.

Mat Latos was dropped for Ryan Sweeney. As long as Ryan Sweeney is batting 3rd in a Major League lineup, he has value to us. I don't think we will drop him unless he goes into a significant slump. I still like Mat and Gio a lot. I'm not sure how it'll happen, but I hope they both find a way back on our team.

We are keeping a very focused eye on Brandon Wood. If he shows signs of getting hot, like a multiple hit day, or hits in 4 of 5 games, we will try to scoop him back up. I just could not compete in the short term of our roto league with him, Alexei Ramirez, and Chris Davis dragging our team down. We have basically benched Davis until he shows more, but Alexei is in our lineup every bleeping day. We picked up Jose Bautista to replace Wood as our backup third baseman and platoon partner with Chris Davis at Corner Infield. Bautista's historical performance is relatively abysmal, particularly in the most important part of not making outs.

We are gambling on Bautista because he is entrenched in the leadoff spot for the Blue Jays, and he's never really had a chance to blossom as a starter for an entire season. Remember how Marco Scutaro shocked the world with his career year at age 34 atop the Jays' lineup last season? Well, Bautista is only 29 1/2 years old. He was born in the '80s for crying out loud, so he can't be "old" yet.

They say the best trades you make, sometimes, are the ones you don't make. Last night, we almost dropped Mike Leake for Corey Hart. Hart has shown a little life in the early part of the season, and he credits hitting coach Dale Sveum for working with him. That's a good sign from someone with 20-20 potential, in a potent lineup. It also sounds a little like Milwaukee hype. Mike Leake was almost off our roster because he gave up three runs in the first to innings, against Pittsburgh, no less. He settled down to throw five more scoreless and leave after seven inings, saving his role on our squad. It's a funny thing. This whole fantasy baseball thing.

If you get a chance, enjoy some of the games today. The ones I'm looking forward to are...

Astros @ Cubs: It's Tom Gorzelanny Time!

Giants @ Dodgers: The Freak vs The Knuckleballer

Mets @ Cardinals: Johan vs Phat Albert Pujols

Marlins @ Phillies: Cy Young Pick Nolasco @ Philly

Rays @ Red Sox: Tampa Bay has been playing very well, and Boston has been jogging to a 4 and 5 record. Last night's game was supended in the middle of the 9th Inning, so they'll pick up today with the bottom of the 9th of a tied 1-1 game. That's always fun. The Red Sox lost Cameron and Ellsbury to injuries, so their Outfield has JD Drew, Bill Hall, and Jeremy Hermida. Clay Buchholz is on our rotisserie team. Should we bench him today? Here we go again...

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