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Saturday, July 21, 2007
Finch Files: Using B.J. Upton

By Jennie Finch
ESPN.com

Welcome back to the Finch Files! It's been an incredible couple of weeks. I was sorry to miss the All-Star game and the ESPYs, but it was all for a good cause, because the World Cup of Softball was great. My teammates all played so well. I was really proud of the way we worked together, and we were really pleased with the result. We've won back-to-back titles now, which is a pretty amazing thing, given the quality of the competition out there. Competing at this level against other countries is what I love. It's a real privilege and I'm grateful for every moment of it.

We had an unbelievable time playing on our own soil. There's nothing like being the home team! To those of you who sent lovely e-mails wishing us well, thank you! We love the USA and all the support you give us. Keep it coming! We can use all the good wishes we can get because, as you read this, the team is off to Brazil for the Pan Am Games.

Not to fear, though, I'll still be checking my emails and the box scores. I've been assured that we will have internet access. So send your questions and comments. I love reading them! We had some really great ones this week, so if you're looking for answers, read on, fantasy fans …

Jayson (Moorhead MN): Jenny, you told a guy that B.J. Upton was best used at second base. It made me wonder where I should play him. I have Dan Uggla at second, Aramis Ramirez at third and for outfielders, I have Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Juan Pierre, Eric Byrnes and Pat Burrell. I'm in a ten-team 5X5 head-to-head. We start regular positions plus two utility spots. I got Hanley Ramirez at shortstop and Rafael Furcal on the bench. I have Pujols at first and Kenji Johjima at catcher. Where would you use Upton? I don't know who to bench. Help.

Jennie: You're in great shape. It looks to me like you are loaded offensively, so in your case I wouldn't worry too much about where you end up putting Upton. Play him in the outfield over Pat Burrell, and consider yourself covered should something happen to any of your infielders. You do have the luxury of trading Uggla or Aramis Ramirez, though, if you have a good offer that can shore up your pitching.

Matt (Bellevue, OH): I picked Randy Johnson up off the waiver wire and stashed him away in my DL spot. Will he make a comeback in the second half and help me out? Or if one of my other guys gets hurt should I drop the Big Unit and get immediate help in that position?

Jennie: It's possible Johnson will be back by mid-August and will help you then, but if you are painted into a corner by bad performance or an injury, don't hesitate to drop him. There's just over two months left in the season, so you don't want to play the waiting game too long. I hope you can wait on him, though, because when he has been healthy, he has been very good. I think it's important to remember that the Diamondbacks are still in a pennant race, so they want him healthy and pitching as much as you do. You can bet they're doing everything right to get him healthy and back on the mound.

Namreg (Old Bridge NJ): I play in a very competitive 13-team roto redraft league with a 29-player roster, so the free agent pool is very thin. Someone just dropped Jeremy Hermida. Should I pick him up if he clears waivers and drop Ryan Church? Thanks. Love your info and insight.

Jennie: It looks like you might be in luck. I have to say that Hermida has more upside and is with a better offensive club with the Marlins than Church is with the Nationals. I'd definitely go with Hermida if he clears waivers.

Jeremy(Toronto, ON): Hey Jennie, I am in a keeper league with 14 G.M.s and we get to keep 8 guys, I traded Shane Victorino and Chad Gaudin for Erik Bedard, the rest of my keepers are Felix Hernandez, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rios, Brandon.Phillips, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonnez and Kenji Johjima or Corey Hart … so do you think I should cash in on Maggs and Hart for Sizemore or someone like that?

Jennie: Under normal circumstances, I would say Sizemore, as great as he is, isn't worth the cost of Hart and Maggs Maggs is on an MVP pace and Hart is a potential 25/25 player that I really like. However, with only eight keeper spots and nine players to choose from, you're wise to upgrade one of your eight keepers by using the ninth guy as bait, just as you already cashed in Victorino and Gaudin for Bedard. My question to you, though, is are you sure you want King Felix among your keepers? He's been terribly inconsistent, and although he's really, really talented, I think you can get him back a lot cheaper next season than what he might have cost you this year.

Scott (Boston): I had a good first half, my team is in first place, but I have problems on the horizon. Carlos Beltran, Adrian Gonzalez, Orlando Cabrera (he's my backup shortstop to Carlos Guillen) and Kevin Youkilis are all trending downward. I'd like to grab James Loney from free agency (for Youks or Gonzalez) and Troy Tulowitzki for Cabrera. Good moves or bad moves? And how long do I put up with Beltran? I can't drop him and I doubt anyone would trade for him. Do I just bench him for eternity or what?

Jennie: Deep breaths, Scott. Deep breaths. Maybe it's not the case, but I sense panic and to that I say: Be patient. Those are all good players with proven track records. In the course of a season they're bound to have peaks and valleys. Beltran, Cabrera, Youkilis and Gonzalez are all good players on good teams that are in pennant races. They will continue to play hard and they're going to be getting a lot of at-bats down the stretch, so they'll stay productive. Hang in there, and might I recommend a little yoga or meditation…

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