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May 9, 1:38 PM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/ Eric Karabell

Eric Karabell
  (11:00 AM)

Hello all and welcome to another fantasy baseball chat session. Lots going on in the great game, so let's get right to it. Thanks for joining us today....

Jeff (Richmond, VA)

Hey Eric, I just traded Sabathia for McLouth and Butler... am I a total idiot? Please say no...

Eric Karabell
  (11:01 AM)

Well, I guess if you really need offense then I can say you got some, but Sabathia has been terrific since allowing 9 runs in back to back mid-April starts. He's why you don't give up on star players. I do think McLouth is legit, but I have to say CC has more value.

Michael (McLean, VA)

Start Lackey tonight?

Eric Karabell
  (11:03 AM)

You're a day late, but I was saying Wednesday I absolutely would have started Lackey in daily and weekly leagues. Tristan Cockcroft's article on pitchers returning from injury was a good one, and something like 14 of 45 pitchers in Lackey's situation with a DL stint to open the season have had more injury problems later, or struggled, but I think Lackey will be fine. Still more than four months to go, he'll win double digits.

Scott (Milwaukee, WI)

In an auction/keeper league, does a player's value vary based on his contract? For instance, is a $3 Matt Kemp with 2 full years remaining on his contract more valuable than a $43 Lance Berkman with only one more year left on his contract?

Eric Karabell
  (11:05 AM)

I think the case can be made for Kemp here based on salary, because then you'd have $40 to play with. Kemp is a runner, more than Berkman certainly, but what Berkman is doing right now, hitting over .600 this month, is outstanding. Thinking down the road, I'd take Kemp.

Walker, Boston

From today forward, even with a small sample size from Votto....Votto or Dunn?

Eric Karabell
  (11:06 AM)

I still take Dunn. He hits 40 home runs every season, and even with a slow start, I think he approaches that number again. Votto has been streaky. Other than the 3-HR game he's been getting hits, but still not a ton of power. He'll hit 20 or so homers.

Josh (Lincoln, NE)

After Mota's implosing last night, Gagne has to get his job back, right?

Eric Karabell
  (11:08 AM)

He had the job back from saving Tuesday's game, and was just unavailable Wednesday. Gagne is going to blow more saves. He's just not the same guy, or even close to it, he was as a Dodger. This will be a drama all season.

marcus (iowa)

will isringhausen return as a closer soon?

Eric Karabell
  (11:08 AM)

I think he returned as St. Louis closer on Wednesday actually. He was warming up with a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning to pitch the ninth, and only the Cards extending the lead to 5-1 cost him the save. Izzy is safer than Gagne going forward.

Carlos (Van Nuys)

EK love your work! I have Kotchman on my team but Joey Votto is available, should I drop CK for Joey? Think longterm.

Eric Karabell
  (11:09 AM)

Yeah, despite the fine power start for Kotchman, and the fact he's safe and will hit for average, Votto is the better long-term bet. Have to take him. Plus, he can run a bit.

Bob, NJ

Scott Downs.. Is he splitting save opportunities with Ryan the rest of the year? Worth adding over Torres, Franklin, or Borowski?

Eric Karabell
  (11:11 AM)

Downs has the quietest five saves in the majors, doesn't he? He got the Wednesday save because BJ Ryan can't pitch three days in a row, that's all, but it's clear Downs is next in line to save games in case Ryan gets hurt. That would never happen, right? All that said, I take Borowski over all these guys. He'll be closing by the end of next week.

Jay (Atlanta)

Over/Under: Bruce having equal numbers to Pence's from last year.

Eric Karabell
  (11:14 AM)

Under. I don't think Bruce plays in the bigs this month, and that's when Pence got the call. Bruce isn't a basestealer, and there's no room for him in Cincy until Griffey gets dealt or gets hurt. I don't think either happens until late July.

Cody Philly

Eric, really enjoying the Baseball today podcast, what is the deal with Brett Myers, stash him, trade him, drop him, please help. Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (11:17 AM)

Thanks, I am really enjoying the podcast. I love baseball, not just fantasy baseball, and it's a nice outlet to discuss things. As for struggling Myers, let Sabathia be proof that top pitches normally figure things out. Myers is striking hitters out, but it's the home run that kills him. Stick with him, he will be OK.

Justin ( Boston )

Are you worried Buchholz loses his spot on the rotation while Dl'd?

Eric Karabell
  (11:18 AM)

I think that's what the Red Sox wanted to do in the first place, actually. Buchholz struggled the past two weeks, but is a nice buy low option. The K's are there, and once the finger nail heals, he should be fine. The Red Sox wanted to keep his innings in check to about 160 or so anyway, and this injury allows that. It helps the Sox. Don't drop Buchholz in fantasy, he'll be starting again by July.

Jeff - (KC)

Delmon Young is killing me with his lack of power, even gap power. He has 45 Total bases with 40 hits... Will he ever turn it around or is it time to look from a replacement?

Eric Karabell
  (11:21 AM)

Young is having a strange season. I thought for sure his power would be going up, but he's showing nothing. That .304 slugging percentage is hard to believe. He is on pace for 20 steals, though, and I have to think he's the kind of hitter who can hit for power at some point. I'll take the under on 20 homers for the season, but he's still worth waiting for.

Rick (Houston)

What's your take on Todd Helton? A slow start or is it time to trade him?

Eric Karabell
  (11:23 AM)

It depends what you expect from Helton. He'll get that average over .320 I suspect, and maybe hit 15 homers or so, so how much of a slow start is this for him really? Helton is not a top 10 first baseman. I took Youkilis over him in March, and that turned out well.

Mush (Boston, MA)

Byrnes..... a bum or will he turn it around?

Eric Karabell
  (11:24 AM)

Well, Eric Byrnes is a real nice guy. He visited ESPN a few years back. He's not a 25-homer, 50-steal guy, however. Congrats to him for the big contract, but I targeted him for around 20 homers, 30 steals this year. It's not too late for him. He's been dropped in the order, and I really think a hot streak is approaching. Remember, he steals bases in bunches, too.

Nate (Santa Barbara, CA)

Name game! Better long term value - J. Upton of Ellsbury?

Eric Karabell
  (11:26 AM)

I think Upton is going to be a better fantasy player, because he has 30-homer power, though he won't get there quite yet. Upton is going to be better than his brother soon. Power, speed, the total package. Ellsbury might swipe 40 bases this season and hit .300, but he's not a power guy.

ty (d-port, IA)

who do you expect to come of the DL SOONER & put up better numbers, Jorge or doumit?

Eric Karabell
  (11:28 AM)

As much as I like Posada, I think he's on the DL until the All-Star break with that problem shoulder. If it was the last year of his contract, that wouldn't be the case, but for four more years, you can see how this is going to work. Doumit is out a month, but I bet he returns first. In August, I'd take Posada's numbers, but that's a ways away.

Paul, Chicago

I screwed up and drafted Matt Cain and A.J. Burnett for my rotation. Hang on to them, or cut bait for some free agents? Anyone in particular to look at free agent wise?

Eric Karabell
  (11:29 AM)

I don't think you messed up. These are good pitchers, major strikeout guys who should improve. I'd stick with them, and I can't begin to guess who is available in your league.

Jon (chicago)

Alright EK ... who comes out on top in this deal? ARamirez and CHart for JUpton and RZimmerman.

Eric Karabell
  (11:30 AM)

Oh I definitely take the Ramirez-Hart side for now. Safer, more balanced players, and Zimmerman still concerns me. I don't think he's going to be Scott Rolen anymore.

Derek (Michigan)

EK - Erik Bedard is listed in the top five of starting pitchers in the May Rankings, yet he has never pitched 200 innings in a season, his strikeout rate last year is an anomaly compared to previous seasons (including his time in the minors), and he's playing for a team that will struggle to provide run support. Is this an example of a elevated ranking based on hype? Thanks for your thoughts.

Eric Karabell
  (11:31 AM)

Not really, because I think the strikeout potential is real, and one of the most overated things to project is run support. Don't do it. Even on bad offensive teams, some pitchers win and some do not. Last year's Giants, for some reason, never scored for Cain, but Lowry won plenty. Run support is always misread. I didn't and still don't regard Bedard as a top 5 pitcher, but he's top 10 for me, and still likely to improve and bring solid returns.

Todd (Philly)

How long is Longoria's fantasy leash - would you consider dropping him if there was a waiver pickup that could help right now (like Izzy for saves)?

Eric Karabell
  (11:33 AM)

I don't think Longoria is failing at all. His batting average is low, but it's a month. He's had some big hits, he has power and speed, he's going to be very good, this season. Then again, there should never be an Isringhausen sitting on waivers, so it depends on team need, but Longoria will be fine.

Josh, CA

When does the Cliff Lee fairy tail end?? Does it have a happy ending?

Eric Karabell
  (11:34 AM)

I think Lee is going to have a solid season, though not quite THIS solid. Doesn't seem a fluke to me. Final ERA around 2.50, and 16 wins? Sure!

Eric Karabell
  (11:34 AM)

And he wins Game 7 of the World Series at Arizona against Brandon Webb. What a year for Lee!

Dan (Windsor, CT)

How likely is it that Russ Martin gains 3b eligibility this season?

Eric Karabell
  (11:35 AM)

He's already at four games, and might get more time there against lefties. I think it's pretty likely Martin reaches 10 games and adds eligibility. It might seem odd to play a catcher at 3B in fantasy, but any time you get flexibility, it helps.

bob (houston)

EK, closet Indians fan?

Eric Karabell
  (11:36 AM)

Ha! Nah, just realistic. Angels, Tribe and Red Sox win divisions, I said it before the season. In the NL I had Braves, Cubs, 'Zona. I can stick with that as well.

Colin (NYC)

Keppinger's out 4-6 wks, already had MI issues with Kendrick hurt and Velez not producing. Should I drop Velez for Omar Quinanilla, Maicer Izturis, Juan Uribe, Adam Kennedy, Brendan Harris or Ray Durham?

Eric Karabell
  (11:38 AM)

I'm becoming convinced that Velez just can't hit, and he'll fall short of 20 SBs because of it. If he played every day you'd think he could be like Carlos Gomez, but he can't even do that. I don't particularly like any of the options you named. Quintanilla has no power, no speed. Kendrick really doesn't either, by the way, but he's probably back in the next week.

Josh, CA

Back to the Indian SP. Is Laffey worth grabbing in a 12 team ROTO league?

Eric Karabell
  (11:39 AM)

I don't think Laffey is up much longer, because Westbrook will return. Watch his outing today, I predict it won't be a shutout. Laffey is better than his stats from 2007, though. In a 12-teamer he's probably a spot starter.

Jason (Atlanta)

General baseball question for you...are the Tigers done?

Eric Karabell
  (11:41 AM)

I don't think so, but let's just forget about those projections for 1,000 runs scored. Sheffield is done. I don't see him overcoming his shoulder problems. Ordonez, Renteria, Granderson, Guillen are formidable, and this team will hit, but until Verlander gets going, this is a .500 team, and a huge disappointment. I think the Indians and White Sox will finish ahead of them.

Jennifer (S.F.)

Hairston will soon qualify at SS in our league. In a non-keeper, him or Bartlett?

Eric Karabell
  (11:43 AM)

I don't think Hairston can play there longterm, but who knows what the Reds want to do. Hairston can steal a base, but he's not a .300 hitter and has no power, so be careful here. A slump is coming. Bartlett isn't special though, so I can see that switch. By the way, some questions in here about Ryan Freel playing short. He can't. He's less a SS than Hairston.


My friends and I have a drinking game built on your incessant use of the word "terrific." Why don't you use that word to describe Pence? Your beef is completely unfounded-

Eric Karabell
  (11:45 AM)

Ha! Find that word somewhere in this chat. And don't drink and drive. As for Pence, I have no beef with him, so I'm not sure what you refer to. I think people expect him to be better than he is. I don't think he hits .300. I don't think he hits more than 20 homers, or steals more than that. He's fine. Better than Mike Cameron, but similar statistically.

Ben (Cincy)

I'm worried about Bourn. He's not hitting and I keep waiting to hear news that he'll either be dropped in the order or from the lineup altogether. Will he turn it around?

Eric Karabell
  (11:46 AM)

Bourn isn't that good, that's why he's struggling. The Phillies saw that he couldn't be an everyday player, that's why they moved him for one year of Brad Lidge. Bourn might swipe 50 bases, though, if he keeps playing, but that on base percentage stinks. He shouldn't be leading off. My column today on why Kenny Lofton could be employed by half the league right now deals with Houston a bit.

Levi, Tx

Carlos Quentin is years Carlos Pena?

Eric Karabell
  (11:47 AM)

Yeah, he actually could be. It's amazing how quickly people give up on players. This was a very good prospect in Arizona, and fantasy owners thought he was done. Now he leads the AL in home runs and OPS. Totally legit 30-100 guy, probably more. I don't see 46 home runs, though.


What do you see Justin Masterson doing with Clay Buchholz going to the DL.

Eric Karabell
  (11:48 AM)

I think Bartolo Colon gets the call to start next week, actually. Masterson has more upside of course. Either of these guys could be up for a month or so, because Buchholz will be babied here. They want his innings low.

mike (minneapolis)

Are you "buying" either Jose Contreras or Daniel Cabrera? Has either of last night's strong starts against some pretty imposing lineups done enough to merit an add?

Eric Karabell
  (11:49 AM)

I actually added both these pitchers in our 18-team auction league, so I'm buying. Then again, it's a very deep league. Each of them has ability, but the walks are the problem. Not anymore. I think Cabrera has really figured things out.

Kenny, NY

HELP! someone just dropped cueto. should I swap him for any of these two on my roster -- edwin jackson or jurrjins?

Eric Karabell
  (11:51 AM)

Interesting. I take Jurrjens over Cueto, but would probably cut Jackson. You know, I might be in the minority on that one. Jackson looks like he's safe now. Cueto not so much.

David (LA, CA)

Eric, would you trade Hamilton and Wright for Aramis Ramirez and Fielder? What type of 1B would you target for Hamilton if you needed one, and will Fielder turn it around?

Eric Karabell
  (11:52 AM)

Nah, I think I stick with Hamilton and Wright there. Hamilton is not a fluke. He's going to knock in 100 runs, probably by August, and could be a 30-120 guy. He's healthy, knock on wood. This is very impressive, really. Fielder will be fine, hit 45 or so homers, but Hamilton is not a sell high guy.

Lonesome Dave (Foghat NJ)

EK - 14-team mixed and I am DEAD LAST in HR's - yet I have Fielder, Hamilton, Texiera, Holliday, A-Ram, Hart, and Hafner. Please tell me that things will improve...

Eric Karabell
  (11:52 AM)

Just let it all play out, that offense will be OK.

Jeff, Detroit

Who do I pick up from the WW - Wellemeyer, Danks, Buerhle, or Maddox? Thanks

Eric Karabell
  (11:53 AM)

Wellemeyer is not a fluke, he's just in uncharted territory in terms of innings. I do trust Dave Duncan to keep him healthy and productive though. I take Wellemeyer first here, and then Maddux.

Ryan (Chicago)

Tulo was dropped in my league but it appears today he may be ahead of schedule. Am I foolish if I do not pick him up and stash him on my DL?

Eric Karabell
  (11:54 AM)

There's no reason not to stash him, but I still think it's the All-Star break until we see him play again, and even then, will he play well? Be careful here, Tulowitzki has to fix his swing as well as his quad.

Paisan (NY, NY)

You seem a bit down on Zimmerman "I don't think he's going to be Rolen anymore". First you say his wrist injury may sap his power (earlier chat), now you're ready to make career statements about the guy. What gives? (PS: Love your work.)

Eric Karabell
  (11:56 AM)

Lot of comments on that one. What I mean is more based on Rolen's big season. I think Zimmerman will be consistent, put up the numbers he has the first two seasons, but I no longer expect the big, breakout campaign. I'm not really down on him, just reassessing. He's not walking at all, and that has nothing to do with his wrist, or ballpark. Again, there's nothing wrong with 25 and 90 every year though.

John (Hills of Ohio)

Name game: Pence or Markakis?

Eric Karabell
  (11:56 AM)

I take Markakis, and that's nothing against Pence. I don't see why Markakis remains so underrated. The numbers will be there for him.

Wes (North CA)

Is Furcal going to come back strong? What is your gut feeling? I hope he continues what he is doing so I can trade for a top notch pitcher since I have HamRam

Eric Karabell
  (11:57 AM)

My gut says he returns in about a week and plays well, though he was due to step back some anyway. He's a solid player who had a wrecked 2007. Before that, even in L.A., he was underrated.

John (Denver)

Eric, so would you pick up Daniel Cabrera over Rich Hill?

Eric Karabell
  (11:58 AM)

Right now, sure. Hill isn't in the majors, and it might be another few weeks. Cabrera looks safe to me, though all it takes is one seven-walk outing to scare us again.

Jim (Mass)

Chris Young over or under .260 average

Eric Karabell
  (11:58 AM)

Going out on a limb... over. Like .262.

Eric Karabell
  (11:59 AM)

OK, it looks like our time is up for today. Thank you for sending the thousands of questions you did, wish I could have gotten to more of them. Continued luck in your leagues.