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Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Finch Files: Thoughts on Amanda Beard

By Jennie Finch
ESPN.com

Hello out there fantasy fans! Welcome once again to the Finch Files. We're having a great week over here in Chula Vista, Calif., at the Olympic Training Complex for Pan Am Team Selection Camp. It's a good chance to catch up with some of the ladies I don't get to see very often. Scrimmages ended yesterday, and today we start playing games, and that's what I love to do.

Before we get started, congratulations to my Cats for winning the NCAA softball title. I've known Taryn Mowatt, their pitcher, since she was a little girl. I'm personally very proud of her. I was getting the scores to the final game on my phone while I attended the opening of a hunting and fishing store in Mesa, Ariz., last week. It was an enormous party and the store was unbelievable. It's huge, first of all, and it has enough taxidermied animals to qualify as a natural history museum. I kept wishing my husband, Casey, was there. He loves hunting and fishing, so I'll have to bring him back. I have to give a shout out to Ed Gaylord and his wife and adorable children. The kids cut the ribbon at the store opening, and Mr. Gaylord is the chairman of Gaylord Sports, the agency that represents me. I didn't know he would be there, so it was a nice surprise.

There's also been a little controversy this week over my friend Amanda Beard's choice to pose for Playboy. Check out what I have to say about it on ESPN's program "Outside the Lines" on Sunday. It was an interesting feat to get that interview scheduled, but I was glad to have the chance to talk about it because it forced me to sort through some of my own questions. The interview itself was tough, because they really seemed to want dirt. That in itself was fascinating because I was interviewed by a woman and the producer on the segment is also a woman. I don't know what that means, and I'm not sure I have any answers to the questions this situation brought up.

I've been doing so much lately in relation to Title IX and really believe in women helping other women rather than judging them. And I think it's important for girls to learn to value their bodies for what they can do rather than just how they look. It made me think about what the real issue is. Is it about women and their bodies? That topic, though still hotly debated, seems to me like it should be old news. Or is it about personal freedom?

Back to the matter at hand, baseball fanatics: your questions. I had some trouble this week answering questions that were sent in about your rosters, but without much additional information. Please send more info if you want to know what I think you should do.

With that, let's actually get to the mail bag. And keep 'em coming! I look forward to hearing from you each week.

Victor (Orlando): Hey Jennie! Love the Files and I hope you ladies do well in the World Cup coming up. I recently made a trade in one of my leagues where I traded Brian Fuentes and Chris B. Young for Francisco Rodriguez since I had some starting pitching to spare. Now, I recently picked up Kelvim Escobar and Tim Lincecum to bolster a pitching staff with Santana, Oswalt, Hudson and Perez. Should I try and trade one of these guys to help out my situation at third base, where I have Garrett Atkins and Chipper Jones, who's on the DL … again?

Jennie:
Thanks for the well-wishes, Victor. The World Cup is right around the corner, and I can't wait! As for your fantasy question, I'd stay put. I think your starting rotation is strong. Atkins will eventually get hot and it's always good to have a Colorado hitter.

I hear your frustration on Chipper. I know his recovery is taking longer than expected, but when he returns -- as early as Thursday -- he's as good a third baseman as anyone other than A-Rod and maybe Miguel Cabrera and David Wright. I'd stand pat with him and Atkins and be patient.

Justin L (Toronto): I just traded Grady Sizemore and Scott Rolen for David Ortiz and Hunter Pence. I'm good with stolen bases for the time being (hopefully Chone Figgins starts running wild) and I needed some more pop. Thoughts?

Jennie:
You gave up the best player in Sizemore, but since you gave up what you had plenty of for something you needed plenty of, it sounds like you made a good deal. Of Pence and Rolen, I'd rather have Pence, so you did get some value back there. Sounds like you've got your bases covered.

Sam (Minneapolis) : Which prospects are worth picking up? Should I pick up Homer Bailey or Yovani Gallardo? Will Mark Reynolds last any longer?

Jennie:
Well, to begin with I'd pick up Homer Bailey. I think everything we've read and what we saw in his first start indicates that he has a chance to be special right away. Yovani Gallardo is rumored to get the call-up very soon -- maybe even by the time you read this -- but he will go to the bullpen, not the starting rotation, so Bailey is the better choice right now. As for Reynolds, I think he's a good player, but pitchers and scouting reports have caught up to him and he'll struggle for a while before he gets sent back down.

Colin (Arden, N.C.): Thanks for answering my Troy Glaus question in your June 6 mail bag. You're right, and I should have known it, so I'll keep Glaus. I'd love to pick up Ryan Braun, but to do it I'd have to drop one of my pitching prospects (Phil Hughes or Gallardo) and I value pitchers more than hitters. Too bad I don't have any guys who can go 12 innings, like you can.

Jennie:
Hey, Colin. It was a good question and deserved to be answered, as does this one. I would drop Hughes. Braun looks like he's the real thing. Hughes' severely sprained ankle isn't going to allow him to return until sometime in late July. The way I see it, by then, Braun could have close to 15 home runs.

Rockville Centre: Hi! I am not losing consistently but my infield outside of my catcher, Victor Martinez, and my shortstop, Derek Jeter, whom I took with my first pick, is starting to scare me. My second baseman, Howie Kendrick, is a young star but is constantly injured. What should I do?

Jennie:
Looking on the bright side, you have two cornerstones in Martinez and Jeter. I'd look to the waiver wire or trades to upgrade at the other positions. Now is the time of year when teams are starting to bring up prospects to replace struggling veterans. Keep your eyes open and you may be able to pick up somebody like Ryan Braun in Milwaukee, or even just get lucky with a short-term success story like Mark Reynolds in Arizona.

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