The Finch Files: Pitching Questions Abound

Hey, all you fantasy fanatics. Welcome back to the Finch Files. It's been a busy week for me and some of you, too, judging by your e-mails. My son, Ace, and I have been all over the West Coast enjoying ourselves. We got to hang go out on the road, with my husband Casey and the Tucson Sidewinders, the Diamondbacks' Triple-A affiliate, and watch some baseball. I've always got my eyes open on those occasions to see if I can pick up any inside tips for my readers. The Diamondbacks are facing some difficult decisions in the coming weeks about their pitching staff. I've been watching Randy Johnson, who is rehabbing with the Sidewinders, with interest, and he's looked good. I'm convinced he's another ageless wonder like Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan. What's impressive about him is that, unlike Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and David Wells, he's still all about making the catcher's mitt pop with his fastball. He's still working out the kinks right now -- this is basically his spring training -- and I'd get him into my lineup the moment he gets back into the rotation.

Ace and I left the team in Colorado Springs, Colo., and headed over to Reno, Nev. I had a good time meeting people there and speaking at the University of Nevada about the importance of Title IX and women's sports at the collegiate level, a topic I feel strongly about. In fact, it was interesting timing because of the whole Imus controversy. It's hard to hear someone speak disrespectfully about women who I know have worked so hard to attain a level of success. I also got to attend the Billie (Jean King) Awards in LA, which was really fun. At the event, I was able to see Sir Elton John perform and meet some fun people such as Geena Davis and Sharon Stone. But I have to laugh when I realize I'm rushing back to my laptop to check the box scores and get your e-mails!

We have some great questions this week. Lots of them are about pitchers, which may well be my favorite subject, so it's fine by me. It also sounds to me like some a lot you are starting to panic. I still have to say, take it easy. The key word at this stage of the season is patience. Remember last week? I suggested taking a step back, hanging out and watching how things go. It's a long season and everyone's just getting started, so hang tight.

Hey, I am in a 5X5 keeper league with 10 teams. I have Roger Clemens and Matt Garza both on my bench not playing and only have five active starters, with closers filling out the other spots. My question is: Is having less starting pitching while waiting for Clemens and/or Garza a risky move? Or since I drafted them real late are they worth the wait? I think early on my pitching will give me less wins and strikeouts, but very good ratios, and hopefully when either Clemens or Garza begin pitching in the bigs they can help with the wins and K's. When do you expect them to be pitching, and is it dangerous having 2 pitchers not helping out on your bench? Thanks, Ben (Bloomington)

Dear Ben,

I'd keep Clemens and trade Garza. It is my opinion that you don't want to fall too far behind in wins and strike outs to the point that neither Clemens or Garza will be able to help you make up the difference, so pick one and get what you can for the other. Clemens should be gearing up sometime around the first or second week of June. With Garza it's much harder to say. You're waiting on an injury in the Twins rotation or someone to be totally ineffective before he gets called up. So far, Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Silva have been solid, and Sidney Ponson bought himself some more starts with his win over Tampa Bay. I don't recommend any of them, but as long as Ron Gardenhire and the Twins are happy with them, Garza will be in Rochester. He should use that time wisely. In his first two starts, he's struck out seven, but also walked the same number. His minor league play is something to keep an eye on, but no need to panic. It's early.

I selected Chad Cordero to be one of the anchors of my bullpen and now I'm afraid he won't log a save all year! His non-save situations have been dreadful. Will he get over or under 20 saves? Thanks Jennie! Chris (Saratoga, N.Y.)

Dear Chris,

You're in luck. Since we received your e-mail Cordero has recorded his first save, so you can relax! I know he got off to a slow start, but I still think Cordero will have 25-plus saves this year because the Nationals are definitely going to win 40 games and most of those will be close encounters. Also, there's a chance that he'll be traded before deadline to a contending team that needs a good closer. You've seen how crazy things have been with bullpens around the big leagues already. Good closers are hard to find and he's one of the best, even if he is on a bad team. Keep the faith.

What do you think of Adam Wainwright as a fantasy player? I picked up him off of waivers because of his SP and RP eligibility. I currently have eight starters on my team; Wainwright and Scott Olsen rank the lowest in my rotation. I am looking for an extra bat or some middle relief help. Do you advise dropping one of these guys in favor of a Scot Shields or an Adrian Gonzalez-type of player? Marcus (Hyde Park)

Dear Marcus,

It's great to have so many questions about pitching this week. If there's one thing I know, it's pitchers! Wainwright and Olsen are definitely two of the most promising young guys in the National League and both will end up in the top-15 in strikeouts at the end of the year. It may sound strange, but I'd suggest that you trade a better name pitcher for a good bat. Although, if you can pick up Gonzalez on waivers, go for it before your competitors wake up!

Hi Jennie! I am having 3B problems. My current 3B is Freddy Sanchez (DL) and am looking for replacements. Melvin Mora, Nick Punto, Wilson Betemit and Ramon Martinez are all available and I can't decide whom to chose. Is there anyone you like there or do you have any suggestions? Eric (Grayling, Mich.)

Dear Eric,

Take it easy. No need to panic. Freddy's back and playing, so you can make your decision based on performance, not at-bats. In your list, the only one who compares is Mora, and in terms of career, his is in decline while Sanchez's is on the upswing. I'd stick with Sanchez. However, I have to ask, who do you have at second base? Sanchez has eligibility there, and if you can trade your current second baseman for a better third baseman based on positional scarcity, you can slide Freddy in at second. It's all about getting the most out of every aspect of your player, intangible or not.

That's it for this week's files. We'll see you next Monday, same time, same place.

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