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Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Finch Files: What to do with Howard, Delgado

By Jennie Finch

Hello there, fantasy fanatics, and welcome back! It's training camp for me this week, and I'm starting to get excited for this summer. It's getting hot in Arizona, and I know that means July is right around the corner, along with the World Cup and the Pan Am Games. I'm facing hitters regularly now, training more and traveling less. This past weekend was my last trip for awhile. I went to Kingston, N.Y., for the Women's Health & Fitness Expo. It was amazing to come together with other women in sports, and it was an honor to meet Kathrine Switzer on the 40th anniversary of her run as the first woman in the Boston Marathon. She's such an important part of the history of women in sports. On the flip side, I loved being there with all the girls and hearing about their dreams, knowing that great things are still in front of them. It's exciting to think about the trajectory of women's sports, where we started, what was possible for me and what's possible for these girls.

Enough about that, we've got some important baseball questions to answer. It seems we're all settling in a little more, and things are starting to take form. We've got some good questions. A few people want to know what's going on with Ryan Howard, and a few others asked about Carlos Delgado. I picked one question about each but hopefully managed to answer them all!

Read on, my friends, and keep sending your questions and e-mails. I love hearing from you!

Scott: Hey Jennie, I know it's early, but do you think Carlos Delgado and Johnny Damon are going to come around or should I try and see what I can get for them?

The law of averages says Delgado will go on a hot streak at some point. He's healthy and has good bat speed. Saturday against the Diamondbacks, he got on base in all four at-bats. He had a double and a single and scored two runs. I don't know if it's his breakout game or not, but I really believe it's just a matter of time. On the other hand, Johnny Damon seems to be breaking down quite a bit. He's missed a few games with a variety of injuries, so in his case, I think it would be a good time to move him if you can.

Westville: Do you think Ryan Howard will ever get hot? Happy Mother's Day and happy birthday to little Ace!

Thanks for the kind wishes! I'm really looking forward to celebrating my first Mother's Day. With regard to your question, Ryan Howard is suffering through a nagging leg injury. He's hitting below .200. His power is off. He's striking out at an alarming rate. What I'm saying is that he'll get going when he's healthy, but it's hard to say when that will be. The rumor in Philly is that he may go on the DL to rest the injury, so plan accordingly.

Fort Worth: I have picked up Jermaine Dye, Juan Pierre, and Rafael Furcal from free agency. I drafted early for outfield and shortstop. But I have Delgado at utility. Should I bench Delgado and put in one of the three pickups? Or should I trade?

I'd package Dye and Pierre and look for an upgrade at utility until Delgado heats up. A slow start for Furcal is typical. Last year he hit just .198 in April, but he rebounded to hit .317 the rest of the season (.339 in the second half). Provided he's healthy this year, I'd imagine that he'll hit at least .290 and steal 45-plus bases.

Justin (Owings, MD): Jennie, I need your help! My roster is filled with injured players, and the league that I'm in has only two DL spots. Between Jim Thome, Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez and Jason Schmidt who should I drop? Do you think there is any trade value for these guys, and should I take a trade that benefits the other owner but still clears up a spot for me and provides a decent player in return? With only five bench spots, I need the room.

If someone will take Schmidt and Piazza even for a lesser deal, you've helped yourself out by making some room. I'm thinking that Thome is about to come off the DL, and his numbers are always better than Piazza's. As for the Martinez/Schmidt question, Martinez is on the road to good health and will be putting up good numbers once he's back. Schmidt, on the other hand, had a steady decline in his velocity from the mid- to high 90s to mid- to high 80s. That's pretty alarming and does not bode well for him even when he returns. So I'd keep Thome and Pedro Martinez.

Harrison Montague: I was wondering if I should dump Chris Capuano in exchange for either Ben Sheets or Rich Harden. Can I rely on Harden and Sheets to stay healthy? Also, who is going to give me the most production at third base this year, Adrian Beltre or Chone Figgins? Thanks alot!

I don't think Capuano is a bad alternative, but if you're going to exchange for Sheets or Harden, then think about this: Capuano has good ratios and offers an above-average number of strikeouts. Sheets and Harden are both injury risks, but Sheets is healthier. Both are dynamic pitchers and can carry a staff when they're healthy. As for third base, Beltre offers power, and Figgins offers steals. Whatever category you're weaker in, go with that guy.

Josh (Seattle): I dropped Pat Burrell for Hunter Pence. Think I made a good move?

It's hard to judge whether it was a good move or not. Pence has to produce, or the Astros will replace him with Chris Burke. Burrell is an enigma. He continues to baffle fantasy owners and his real owners, the Phillies. That said, I think you made a good move for the short term in dropping Burrell for Pence. Pence can't be any worse!

Lawrence (Frederick, MD): I'm mostly just writing simply so I can say Jennie Finch responded to my question, but as I am here I'll give you something to chew on: Dave Bush, Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera, Scott Olsen. Will owning these pitchers doom me to a year's worth of insanity? The K's are nice, but my team era is over 5.00 and my team whip is over 1.50. Thoughts?

I'm flattered! As for your pitching staff, it is what it is. It's just what you said: insanity. The K's are nice, but your ratios will be horrible.

That's it for this week. I wish I could've answered more, but keep 'em coming!

Want to ask Jennie a question for the Finch Files? Click here.