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April 23, 12:07 PM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

It's Thursday morning in America. Lil Rounds is gone and the Losties are all recapped. Time for a second cup of coffee and some fantasy baseball chat! Let's get started shall we?

phestice (Jersey City)

I own Zumaya and see he has now pitched well in back-to-back games. I assume he will be activated soon, will he get a shot at the closer role? thanks

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Zumaya should be back with the team this weekend. I think Rodney is still option 1, but Zumaya will definitely be the 8th inning guy, and Lyon? Well, we all make mistakes.

Jimmy Cape Cod

Sit or Start Lohse today at home vs the Mets?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

Not based on the history. Los Dos Carlos kill him, and the rest of the Mets aren't too shabby against him either. Checkout our Daily Notes for Thursday for my full rankings.

Brad (texas)

AJ I got a fever and the only cure is an answer. Talk to me about maybin and lind. Are these guys here to stay?

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

I thought the only cure was more cowbell - silly me! I think Lind is here to stay, but Maybin may have one more trip to the minors in him - especially if the Marlins keep winning and he keeps not hitting.

Kramer (nyc)

AJ, I'm in desperate need of a 1B. Jorge Cantu was just dropped in my league. Should i used my #2 waiver pick on him. Do you know how serious his injury is? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Cantu should be back in the lineup regularly if the Marlins are to be believed. It's "just a bruise" - but it is clearly lingering, and I'm a tad concerned. Probably wouldn't use a high waiver pick on him just yet.

John (baltimore)

Lastings Milledge? What's the deal

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

Wish I knew! On first blush, it's just a numbers game combined with a really slow start that sent him to the minors... but I think he comes back only when and if Elijah Dukes implodes at this point. Call them matter and anti-matter if you wish, but clearly Manny Acta doesn't want them both around at the same time.

Jarrod (Washington, DC)

AJ, this week I dropped Cueto for a more stable pitcher, too many ups and downs... But after seing last night's game I'm having second thought. Should I pick him back up?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

I think Cueto will be decent from here on out, but clearly your gut said something different. While I have no problem benching pitchers early in the year, I tend to wait a good four starts until I consider letting them go completely. Liriano, for example, is now someone I'd seriously have to think about dropping. But having said that, chasing after someone you've already let go after already missing a good start is a recipe for disaster.

Tim (Mass)

Better bet for stolen bases: Morgan, Iwamura, or Bonifacio?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

Morgan. I am more and more impressed with Nyjer every time I watch him play... and though Bonifacio has a lot of speed, he's not a leadoff hitter, and will continue to have trouble getting on base to steal.

Richard: (Appstate, NC)

I know you don't like questions like this but a trade was offered and accepted in our league and now everyone is mad at me and I'm trying to explain that Papelbon for J. Shields is not a fair trade. It's an AL-only league but I just can't believe that this isn't a lopsided deal. Am I wrong? Or is this fair and I'm making to big a deal about it?

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

I think you're making too big a deal about it. Look, if you agree to play in a league where trades are allowed, you need to let all trades go through. Even the lopsided ones - which I don't necessarily think this is. Just because you wouldn't make a deal doesn't mean it's a bad one.

Ian Kinsler (Awesomeville)

Let's be honest. I'm the best healthy player in the American league, right? A-Rod hurt, and Miggy can't play D. Is thier anyone else? Pedroia, um... nope.

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

Great start to the year to be sure... but "D", schmee! This is fantasy! I still like Miggy to be MVP.

John Locke (alive, walking)

Hard to manage my fantasy team from a coffin - please rank Twins pitchers for rest of season, Slowey, Liriano, Perkins, Baker.

AJ Mass
  (11:16 AM)

Slowey, Baker, Perkins, Blackburn, Liriano.

Jarrod (Washington, DC)

Following up with your Morgan comment. Would he perfom better than Coco Crisp this year?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

Yes, because I think Coco is too enamored with trying to hit the long ball to play to his strength - his wheels.

Joe (NYC)

Are you seriously giving up on Liriano? Every fantasy owner would love to have this kind of upside.

AJ Mass
  (11:18 AM)

Which is why I'd trade him... I can still get value on that upside, but truth be told, there's something really wrong with him - check out the fly ball/ground ball numbers and they are scary. I don't think this is a quick fix.

Dan (Champaign)

Ive got Scott Downs, when does he finally get his shot at closing out ballgames in Toronto?!

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

One would hope soon - especially as BJ continues to blow up. I think he has the edge over Frasor, if only because of the left-handedness - but Cito, please! Put one of them in there!

RJ (Detroit, MI)

AJ- What in the world is going on with Prince Fielder? I know he started out slow last year but wow has he been non existant. Time to abondon ship or continue to sail?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

The problem is that he's the only lefty in that lineup. It makes it real easy for opposing staffs to avoid him. This team did not do a great job at balancing the lineup this spring.

Jeff (DC)

Closer strategy - I hate to pay for saves, but I got nothing and it's my only weak category and there is nothing on the waiver wire. Do I just punt them, keep waiting for new closers to pop up and hope I don't dig too big of a whole, or try to make a move?

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

I wouldn't punt the category completely, but neither would I put much effort into selling the farm to try and catch up. Look at how many saves you are behind the midpoint now, and that should tell you how many saves you'll need to pick up per week more than that owner to catch up. If it will take more than one guy, then there's little point in working too hard. Grab a couple of 8th inning guys and hope for a handful.

Nick (Milwaukee)

AJ PLEASE HELP - an accepted trade has become heated amongst myself and a friend. Shallow 6 team league. I trade Wainwright, Cano, Chris B. Young, and get Markakis. He needs SP badly, has Hart to replace Markakis, and would drop Doumit and Tulo. A friend calls the trade bunk, saying Wainwright is waiver fodder. Help save a friendship.

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

6 team leagues? Ugh! There's no reason for any deals at all in those leagues. That's my advice. When the FA pool is that deep, only bad things and suspicions and hurt friendships can come of any and all deals.

dave (jersey)

Start Meche today? We only have 35 more minutes to decide

AJ Mass
  (11:27 AM)

I think he's one of the better options today, yes.

Billy (Philly)

Do you try to avoid having too many players on the same team? I have A. Jones, Markakis and Huff on the O's and Utley, Howard and Werth on the Phils. Should I try to move some of these guys to spread my team out? Thanks AJ!

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Although when I draft I don't pay too much attention to the makeup of my team in regards to that, once the season is underway, I don't like having too many eggs in one basket. Yes, it's great if I have Indians galore against the Yankees. But it's ultra-sad if much of my team gets shut out for three-game set. And that happens to teams far more often than the 22+ run affairs.

Dave (Boston)

Both Rollins and Brandon Phillips have started off really slow and represent potential buy low deals. Which one has the better chance of turning the season around?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

I think Rollins does. I was not too high on Phillips in the pre-season, and while I never expected this kind of bottoming out, I don't think the move to the six hole is a longterm fix for him.

Jeff (SF)

Trying to find the right 5th OF - JD Drew, Dukes, Span, N.Morgan, Daniel Murphy, Spillsborough, Matsui, D.Young, J. Upton, Ankiel ...please help me identify the top 2! Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

Morgan for speed, Drew for power and Murphy for average, although his defense is so bad, he may not get as much PT as you'd like.

David (LA, CA)

Wandy at home...but vs the Doyers...I'm torn. Are you starting him?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

He may be second best option in the game (behind Billingsley) but I'd still start Wandy over everyone else today except Big Z.

Andrew (NYC)

AJ, is it advisable to give up Kershaw and Braun in exchange for Morneau and Johan in a 20 player keeper league?

AJ Mass
  (11:33 AM)

I would not do that in a keeper league. You're giving up far too much in both age and total talent for '09.

Mike (NYC)

Washburn or Hampton. Which is the better pick up in deep keeper league?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I'm buying Washburn. He's not going to keep this up at this level, but he seems to have found a new pitch to add to his aresnal, and should be a good No. 3 or 4-type fantasy pitcher.

Craig (Norwalk, CT)

ETHICS QUESTION! Scott Baker is officially active, but still on the DL for an owner in my league. Should I (as the LM) compel him to activate Baker to his bench, or allow him to sit on his DL while not being to make any FA acquisitions? Thanks!!!

AJ Mass
  (11:36 AM)

Something that should be in every league constitution before the season starts, as this comes up every season. My personal take is that once a player is no longer on the DL, they should not be allowed to stay in the DL spot. Once it is brought to my attention (because I'm not checking every roster every day) I give the owner 24-hours to activate him and cut someone else, or I cut the no-longer-DL'd guy for him.

Eric (MA)

Trade Derrek Lee for Iannetta? I lost Doumit and have no back-up... plus I'm not confident in DLee's power numbers... what do you think?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

No, no, a hundred times no! Pick up a Napoli or one of the many Molinas before making that deal. There's got to be a catcher available.

Scotty (CHI)

Jeff Samardzija is getting called up. SP or RP? Would you rather have him than Wang or Guthrie?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

The word on the windy streets is that JS is going to the pen to be the 7th inning guy. It's a strange decision, as they were grooming him as a starter, but that appears to be the scenario. I'd rather have Guthrie, given the role.

Ben (Dover, DE

Trade Liriano for Nathan?

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

I might trade him for Neshek at this point... I keed! I keed!

David Price (Stuck in Durham)

Hey, what's your thoughts on me? When do you see me coming up?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

I'd say if the Rays lose three of next five, it's a done deal.

Tom (LA)

DL spot? I disagree. In any league where you are allowed to keep a guy in the DL spot even after activated, I manager should be allowed to have the right because every one has that option too. Its not cheating its just strategic. I have problems with managers who fail to see what advantages they can use rather than hating on someone who is smart enough to use it.

AJ Mass
  (11:42 AM)

Tom, if you're allowed by the league rules to do something, then of course you can do it. I'm merely pointing out my preference for how the rule *should be* spelled out, and barring any rule to the contrary, how I would proceed.

Triumph (LA)

Liriano is good....FOR ME TO POOP ON! I keed, I keed. When do hitters generally get out of a slump? Tex is hitting .211 and i know i cant panic but its getting tough to swallow.

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

If I knew the answer to that question, I'd win all my leagues by 20-25 points, my canine friend. I see no reason for Tex to not break out of it - but as to the date and time it begins? I'm no John Edward.

Jimbo (Philly)

Lets talk about the same players and same topics over and over again...instead of bring up new topics...mix it up AJ...damn...

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

That's helpful, Jimbo. What are you, a SNL character? "Fix it!" How? "Just fix it!"


AJ, QUALLS? You drinking the KOOL-AID??

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Not much not to like there. Heck, if the team would score some runs for Dan Haren, Qualls could have 7 saves by now. Even if the D-backs win only 60, he could well have 35 saves.

Richard Nolasco (Miami, FL)

Do you feel confident with me right now?

AJ Mass
  (11:49 AM)

Kind of hard to be confident in you, with only one good start out of four,but I'm not jumping ship either. I'm hoping this is just a string of bad luck.

Justin Verlander (Detroit)

Hey AJ - Jason Grey and Rob Neyer both said I was turning things around, that my first 4 starts (3 being bad) were a mirage and that I should be bought low. While my velocity is back, I was pretty awful again last night. What are your thoughts?

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

I will not, won't not, would not go near Verlander with a 10-foot woozle-smacker. I can't say it any clearer.


This whole "don't pay for saves" ESPN favorite is so myopic. You always list middle/end round closers who end up getting 30+ saves but forget to mention the ones at the beginning of the year who never make it to the end (e.g. Lyon). If you drafted Lyon in a roto league, you just blew saves. Give me a Paplebon and lock up 40 saves.

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

I fail to see your point. If I paid $1 for Lyon, and he busts, then it's not a big deal if he fails. If I pay $40 for Papelbon and he breaks his leg tomorrow, then I not only don't have saves, but I don't have the $39 of value spent elsewhere.

Steve (NJ)

Strategy Q! What strategy would you employ in a league with L, BB & K/BB as additional categories besides the standard 5?

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Leave the league? A league needs to have balance between positive and negative categories. All this does is add three negative categories, and devalues pitching versus hitting. I don't like it at all.

M. Williams (Secaucus, NJ)

Myopic is a big word.

Rick (VA)

Top 3 or 4 Buy Low SP's right now. Thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:55 AM)

I think you saw three of them pitch last night - Lee, Cueto and Lannan. Not the complete list, but fresh in my mind.

Chuck (NY)

AJ, your Papelbon example was terrible. Injuries occur at every position, not just closer. You lose value whenever someone whom you drafted gets hurt!

AJ Mass
  (11:57 AM)

Of course they do. But closers are only there to contribute to one category (which essentially they are the only ones to contribute to). Therefore, the point is that there's no need to EVER spend money on a closer because the difference between the elite and the mediocre is negligible.

me (here)

better 2009...Hanson or Price?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Price. I think he comes up earlier and hits the ground running.


I have Chris Davis and he is doing nothing for me! Lowell and Reynolds are in FA which one should i pick up?

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

I think Davis will come around a bit, but as I'm not that high on him to begin with for 09 I'd roll with Lowell.

Confused (everywhere)

Do you even like your job? Out of all the ESPN Fantasy analysts, why do you always seem to be bothered by people's questions? Quit being sarcastic to people. Your job is awesome, be happy!!

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

Jimbo, I know that's you! You can't fool me! I love my job and I am very happy, and appreciative of all who asked questions today. Unfortunately, it's time to run... we'll see you the next time on Villa Allegre!