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Monday, August 18, 2008
Updated: August 19, 9:25 AM ET
Karabell: Maddux's value doesn't change

Deadline? What deadline? I'm not sure why Greg Maddux wasn't traded from the Padres to the Dodgers before July 31, when everyone was prepared for it, but now that Brad Penny is done for the season, it appears the move was finally made a few weeks later. Maddux would join the Dodgers late in the season for the second time in three years, and his arrival would mean the team doesn't have to move oh-so-valuable Hong-Chih Kuo, Chan Ho Park or anyone else from the bullpen. The impact for fantasy owners, however, is relatively minor.

Maddux is owned in a mere 28 percent of ESPN standard leagues, despite sporting a competitive 3.99 ERA and strong 1.22 WHIP. Hmm, what could be the reason so few people want to own Maddux? Oh, maybe the fact he has fewer wins than 98 other pitchers has something to do with it. Maddux recently found a way to win three straight starts, doubling his season total. This was nice and got his ownership up again, but before that he didn't win in 14 consecutive outings, even though he was pitching well. Blame the Padres' woeful offense, which gave Maddux 3.99 runs of support per game, matching his ERA. Only 12 pitchers among the 120 who had pitched 100 or more innings have received less support. Also, Maddux isn't exactly a big strikeout guy; there were 93 pitchers, including reliever Carlos Marmol, who began Monday with more K's.

The new Manny Ramirez-led Dodgers offense would help Maddux a bit, but let's remember this is not Roy Halladay by any means. Maddux doesn't go deep into games, though he does boast 15 quality starts. No Dodgers pitcher has more. Then again, Maddux averages fewer than six innings per start, and there's little reason to expect this will change. This also costs Maddux potential wins.

Another factor to watch here is Maddux's dependence on Petco Park; in 14 home starts this season, his ERA was 2.62, and in 12 road outings his ERA was 5.75. But Chavez Ravine isn't Coors Field by any means. Checking the ESPN Park Factor page, we see Petco Park ranks dead last for runs scored, and Dodger Stadium is right there with it at No. 29. Basically, nothing changes. Maddux had made only one start at Dodger Stadium this season, allowing two hits and no runs over five innings in April, and over the previous three seasons his ERA at Dodger Stadium was 2.68 over eight starts. Other than some added run support, this isn't a move that would really change Maddux's value much.

As for the Padres, they'd be left with a not-so-gaping hole on a staff that went from leading the majors in ERA a season ago to No. 16 now. It's possible Clay Hensley would get a chance to start again, or maybe Wilfredo Ledezma. Fantasy owners can do better. In September, fantasy owners might get a chance to see top prospects Will Inman or Wade LeBlanc, but knowing the meager run support they would get, we'd preach caution with them in fantasy.