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June 10, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Baseball w/Tristan Cockcroft

Buzzmaster
  (11:13 AM)

Tristan is here, hang on...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:15 AM)

Good morning everyone! Sorry for the delay today, but don't worry, we've got you covered now. Who's got a question?

Dave (Fredericton, Canada)

Tristan, a little help for your Canadian Fans. Where do you see Alexei Ramirez at the end of the year, top 10 SS? What type of numbers could we expect. Thanks!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:17 AM)

Dave, I'm not even a Ramirez fan but yes, I'd say he's a top-10 shortstop from this point forward. I said in the preseason and will repeat it now, he's not a .290-hitting, 30-homer guy, but I could see him being the kind of guy who could do <i>either</i>, well, at least scaled down to remaining games. He's just a streaky type, and one thing that encourages me about him looking forward is that he started 2008 a bit slow, too.

Wayne (Atlanta)

Is it too much to ask for the Twins to pull Baker after 8 innings of shutout ball? DANG!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:18 AM)

I know that feeling, Wayne. I was actually writing Baker up in today's "Out of the Box" beginning with the conclusion of his eighth inning. If memory serves, he had about 114 pitches at the time ... and just kept on goin'. Hey, it's still a good outing, but that didn't seem smart to me, especially not in a 10-0 game.

1050 (Penn Station)

Offense is slumping in homers and RBI's, should I trade Peavy for Pence?

Eric (Philly, PA)

Tristan, are you buying on Oswalt or staying away?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:20 AM)

I noted in my recent column about BABIPs that Hunter Pence can't keep up this kind of batting-average pace, and I stick by that statement. By the way, what's he on pace for, 15 homers and 15 steals? Snore. If he bats .290 with those numbers he'll be a lot like Randy Winn, which is good but not great. So I'd say aim for more.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:21 AM)

Re: Roy Oswalt, I have a standing offer to get him in a league of mine and somehow feel a tad hesitant to pull the trigger. Gut instinct says I should go for it, because Oswalt has such a history of going on these remarkable hot streaks. He still has top-15 potential, at least.

RON (NY)

what are your thoughts on throwing a visiting team's HR ball back?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:22 AM)

Haven't really thought a lot about it, Ron. I guess I'd want to be sure I wouldn't get thrown out of the park for doing it (I bet some teams have rules against throwing things onto the field). Also, it's different if I'm like, eight years old and actually want the baseball. Or if I'm my age now and the 8-year-old kid next to me wants it. That kid's getting the ball, believe me.

Kevin (Boston, MA)

YOu starting Liriano tonight?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:23 AM)

Yup, sure. I know he beat up on the Mariners, and they stink offensively, but it's not like a matchup at Oakland is any more challenging. Good time in his schedule to build some confidence for future tougher matchups.

Dale Pettit (Pettit)

this new chat isn't that great of a set up

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:24 AM)

Give it a chance, Dale. People didn't like the idea of interleague play or wild cards initially, either.

Christian (Stony Brook, NY)

What are your thoughts on Tony Gwyn Jr. -

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Well, he's not his father, but he's faster than his father. Kind of guy I could see stealing 25 bases given enough at-bats, and maybe he could bat in the .270-.280 range. So NL-only worthy, but I bet he's streaky.

Cubs Fan (Wrigley Field )

Throw it back! Throw it back!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:25 AM)

Dang peer pressure...

Frank (Trenton, NJ)

Soriano/Smoltz...BJ Upton/Harang. Which side you buyin?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:26 AM)

I'm buying the latter, but I don't see Upton as much of a downgrade from Alfonso Soriano and I think Aaron Harang simply put is a safer arm. Not a crazy deal for either side, at least.

Kevin (Boston, MA)

Time to sit Wandy for a litle while?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:27 AM)

I think so. With his cold spell lately I'm a little concerned there might be something wrong with him. To avoid any "oh he's due for surgery" rumors, it could be something as minor as a dead-arm period, which a lot of pitchers have had and gotten through with no lingering issues in the past.

Dan (Chicago)

TC I know you are a bit pessimistic on ARod this year. I'm thinking of trading him, but am worried he'll be a monster in the 2nd half at Coors East and I'd be trading him to a top contender in the league. The offer on the table is Youk, Granderson and Maholm. Should I pull the trigger?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:29 AM)

I'm prepared to be wrong on Alex Rodriguez. Not like he has looked like he has had any lingering problems. It's an OK offer but I see no player who's quite special enough to warrant dealing A-Rod for. I know I've been skeptical on A-Rod, but hey, you make calls based on levels of risk compared to production. Some calls just don't go well.

Bob (Las Vegas, NV)

What kind of value would you expect to get for Josh Hamilton in a trade?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:30 AM)

Well, a guy in my 18-team mixed league offered me David Ortiz straight up for Josh Hamilton yesterday and I had to seriously think about it. Not that I see Hamilton being Ortiz's equal <i>after</i> his return, but the six missed weeks matter. I did decline that deal, but I don't see it being far off. If you could get a clear top-100 player right now, I'd make the deal.

Lee (New Orleans)

Time to drop Guthrie? I have him in a deep AL keeper league, but I'm itching to get rid of him. Tallet, Outman, Niemann, and Swarzak are hanging out in FA. Thoughts? Thanks, Tristan.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:31 AM)

Not a Guthrie fan, have never been a Guthrie fan this season and I remember when I was taking all sorts of flak for his first 2-3 good starts of the year. Where are those folks today? I think Brian Tallet, Jeff Niemann and Josh Outman need to be owned in all AL-only leagues, and I'm amazed they're available in yours. I'd grab 'em in that order.

Ben Zobrist (Tampa, FL)

I hit another HR yesterday...Im here to round up some more peeps on my Bandwagon!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:33 AM)

You had me on yours from at the very latest the instant Chris Coghlan collided with Akinori Iwamura and ended the latter's season. And before that, really, as a matchups type.

Wes ((Columbus, OH))

You never answered the post from Eric in Philly about Oswalt. I am interested as well in your answer...

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:34 AM)

A couple people asking this, and actually I did, but it was two questions posted back-to-back, followed by the two answers to them. A little instance of bad button-pressing! Sorry about that.

Frank (Stl)

Speaking of Chris Coghlan, what is his value in a 12 team mixed keeper league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:36 AM)

Minimal. Matchups guy, that's about it. I can't see any way he's going to get himself keeper-worthy by season's end. He might only qualify in the outfield, where his value will be limited.

Jay (san diego)

Tristen your take on u. jimenenz

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:38 AM)

I'm a fan, but there's limited win potential with him and he does have a bit more of a downside than other pitchers ranked in his class. I like what he can provide in strikeouts, and that he has never been bothered by pitching at Coors Field. Call him a good NL-only option, mixed-leagues matchup guy. But I'd be a buyer, if the price is right (i.e. below the No. 30 SP value).

David (Thousand Oaks)

your telling me that if someone offered me Jay Bruce for JH take it?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

Well, that all depends on whether you think Jay Bruce is a top-100 player. What's he hitting, .213? (I bet I was close.) To me that's a little less value than I'd want the next six weeks Josh Hamilton is out to warrant giving up his second-half potential.

Harry (Seattle)

Tristan--will either S Drew or Peralta get to 20 HR? Who would you prefer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:39 AM)

I bet both of them do, and I'm on the Stephen Drew bandwagon right now. He has been hitting rather nicely in the past couple weeks, and still has breakout potential.

JB (memphis)

"You can't get up for the game as much being in the six-hole," Rollins said... Really? ugh

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:41 AM)

Wow, that's literally the quote? I knew J-Roll made it clear he was uncomfortable leading off, but that's just laughable. Lineup spot really doesn't make <i>that</i> much of a difference. A pro baseball player should really be able to provide maximum effort no matter where he's slotted.

Craig (Philly)

With Ethier's latest tear, what is Juan Pierre's value once Manny returns? I'm thinking I should try and trade him now, but what kind of value should I be expecting in return if everyone knows he's going back to riding the pine?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:42 AM)

Man, if I could get the aforementioned Ubaldo Jimenez for Juan Pierre, I'd be all over that deal. I'd swap him for any pitcher even close to that in value. I really do think Pierre goes right back to the bench once Manny returns next month, so you've got about three and half more weeks to peddle the guy before he loses a ton of his value.

Bill (Philly)

From now until the end of the year who has more value - Kemp or Manny?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:43 AM)

I'm not even going to hesitate in picking Matt Kemp. And this whole thing about batting low in the order is just laughable. He needs to hit higher, but even when he's not, he's too valuable to not pick here.

Michael (oYo)

Can you give me a reason to think Barmes can keep this up?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:46 AM)

Hmmm, maybe that the Rockies have played only 23 home games compared to 34 on the road, as colleague <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?id=4246361">A.J. Mass pointed out today</a>? With more Coors games yet to play, that favors Barmes.

Boomer (Atlanta)

Regarding players like Manny or Hamilton who you know are missing time, are your thoughts different for H2H leagues, where you would get the guys back for the playoffs? In other words, is Manny more valuable from today forward in a H2H league...since you are not really missing his cumalitive stats?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:47 AM)

Well, sure, but remember that you have to <i>get</i> to the playoffs in order for that to matter. It really depends on standing in H2H leagues. I actually have a H2H team that's something like 4-6, yet it's second in the league in points. I'm not in any position to be stashing players for later, because I'm going to need to win now just to qualify. If you're in a spot where you're looking good and have parts to spare, by all means, go for it.

Jeff (Atlanta)

What's the deal with AJ Burnett? He's so jekyl and hyde this year. I was hesitant about starting him last night, but did anyway. Should have gone with my gut.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:49 AM)

Keep your fingers crossed that his issues this year don't portend some kind of hidden injury, because with a guy like Burnett, that's a definite possibility. He's a fiery competitor and it wouldn't surprise me if he tried to pitch with pain -- I know Blue Jays fans will care to disagree with me on that, but it's a different year and different circumstance.

edwin (canada)

hi tristan,can you help me decide if i should do this deal. i trade rollins for theriot and haren. i need pitching and it's a 14 man league. no brainer?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:50 AM)

I think that's an absolute no-brainer.

Fred (Portland,maine)

Would you rather have Himmez or Nolasco?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:51 AM)

Interesting question, if that's Ubaldo Jimenez you're referring to. I'd take him because I think he's closer to his normal self of the two, but I do think Ricky Nolasco's 2009 ceiling is higher. If you can afford the greater risk/reward potential, then the Marlin is probably your guy.

Lincoln (CA)

What kind of hitter should I expect in return for Cliff Lee?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:53 AM)

In that league where I had the standing Oswalt-for-Pence offer, I had offered Pence for Lee, actually, and got turned down. I agree with the guy, I would accept no less than Hunter Pence in exchange, and probably would aim for more. Maybe a Matt Kemp, or a Raul Ibanez...

Michael (Portland, ME)

Can you offer any clairty in the Rays closer situation?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:55 AM)

Um, that it's a mess? Sorry I can't give you a very helpful answer here, but I see matching up that team's strategy for the foreseeable future. Randy Choate and J.P. Howell have been matched up effectively and can help a little in the category, but the gut still tells me Dan Wheeler is the best bet to lead the team in saves of the team's currently active relievers.

Ryan (NJ)

Do you expect John Danks to turn it around this year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:56 AM)

Yes, but I believe in John Danks and I think that he has been hit by some hard luck. It's a valuable point that the White Sox's infield defense is weaker than it was in 2008, but that doesn't explain how treacherous his luck has been. It's not a loaded division, either, so I bet he can mount a nice hot streak at some point. I'm a buyer.

suzanne (chicago)

trade even? vernon for oswalt

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:58 AM)

About right, sure.

Bobby Cox (2000 Wins Baby) (Atlanta)

Should Rafael Soriano be my new closer, and Mike Gonzalez the set up guy? This has to be totally confusing fantasy owners.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (11:59 AM)

Don't you hate matchups bullpens? Nothing wrong with Atlanta's, or Cox's approach. It's the way baseball <i>should</i> be played, even if the fantasy owner dislikes it. Remarkably both of these guys have stayed healthy all year, and I see both maintaining NL-only and deep-mixed value over the long haul (unexpected injury aside). Gonzalez could easily save 20-25 ... and Soriano 10-15.

Big Papi (Boston)

I hit 2 of my 3 home runs in the last six games. Time to buy me or you still selling? Do you like me or Ludwick more for the rest of the season?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:01 PM)

I don't know why my gut tells me to have faith in David Ortiz. I'd say it's because it's about the same size, but it's probably not; he's a big fella. Sure can slug the ball a mile, and maybe this helps him build some confidence. I'm so tempted to take a trade offered to me for him yesterday.

fitzy (mass)

THC! What's for lunch? The old Chicken Parm? Is Qualls going to be all right? should I be lookin' for a replacement?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Thai chicken with rice. Gotta have a rotation, after all! As a Chad Qualls owner and fan, I'm concerned about the reports on him. I'd definitely be formulating a backup plan, which might very well be Tony Pena, the guy who would step in if Qualls requires a DL stint.

Steve (ND)

Tristen already went to lunch, but I'll answer your questions.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:02 PM)

Who's "Tristen"?

Steve (forked river, nj)

please dont tell me matchup bullpens are the new 2 RB systems of fantasy sports.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:03 PM)

Oh no no no, I wouldn't tell you that. I don't think this is necessarily a trend. If it was, then the Mets' old Jesse Orosco/Roger McDowell combo from the '80s would have made that the norm today. That's one of the better ones that I remember. I just don't think the way salary structure is in baseball today would allow players to accept that as a league-wide thing. Guys like K-Rod want to make their money, have the job to themselves!

Michael (Chicago)

I think the new chat interface is sorta rad. More value from here on out: Snyder, Napoli, or Ruiz?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:04 PM)

Well, I'm glad to hear that Michael! Kinda neat for me too, the questions pop up for me as they come in, so it shows me just how quickly people are asking. I'd take Mike Napoli. I still admire his power. The ceiling is just noticeably higher than it is for either of the other two, though Chris Snyder does have matchups/streaks ability.

charlie (huntsville)

are you going to answer your big papi question?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:06 PM)

OK, so I'm still learning in the new chat system along with you, what can I say. I actually answered that and then I guess didn't hit the button hard enough. Ah well. Yes, I'd buy on David Ortiz, at least to the point of where his value is. Maybe this little hot streak is a confidence builder? Still see Travis Hafner 2007 value in him.

chris (nj)

enough about big papi, answer the qualls ?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:07 PM)

Hmmm, that's odd. Thought I had done that too. It was a lunch question, I <i>always</i> answer those! Lunch: Thai chicken with rice. Qualls: I'm concerned, yes, as both a fan and an owner in several leagues. So I'd be formulating a backup plan, and it'd probably include Tony Pena, the man who would step in if Qualls requires a DL stint at any point.

gary (garyville)

so with this new system the more times someone asks a question the more times you have to look at it? bumout! so what about lidge when he returns from DL? and what type hitter is he worth right now?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:10 PM)

Well, that was always the case. Never a big fan of the repeatedly posted question; I doubt anyone is. It's like the caps lock on an e-mail. As for Brad Lidge, I think this will be a good thing for him, but there's not a lot you could get for him these days. Probably smarter you just stick with him and hope for the best. Interesting thought: What about peddling him for a terribly slow starter, like the aforementioned Papi?

Matt (Columbia, SC)

Trist, my man, I'm in danger of going over the pitching games limit this week, who should I sit, Wells, Hanson, or Outman?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:11 PM)

Well, not Josh Outman. Ride that hot streak and the quality matchup at San Fran. Between the other two, I like the idea that Tommy Hanson will be facing the Orioles, a team that almost assuredly can't have a great scouting report on him. So I'd sit Randy Wells.

Jay (Amherst, MA)

Buzzer beater...Tallet or Feldman?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:11 PM)

That's not even a contest to me. Brian Tallet all the way. Check my comments on him in today's "Out of the Box."

Andrew (WI)

Trade Jay Bruce for Andrew McCutchen in a keeper league?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:12 PM)

No way. I'm actually not a big McCutchen fan, but this one is all about the fact that Bruce has future MVP potential.

Nick (Monroe, NC)

its already been 5 days why arent the Rangers just giving Francisco a retroactive DL stint and let him rest up for the stretch?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:13 PM)

There have been a lot of teams putting off DL stints way longer than they should this season. Great example: Jose Reyes.

Greg (Philly)

Buy or Sell Markakis as a top-15 OF the rest of the year?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:14 PM)

Buy. But I'm a huge Nick Markakis fan and will point out that he's a tremendous second-half performer. For his career he has batted .317 with a .913 OPS after the All-Star break.

Reggie (Tucson)

Who wins in a Lilly for Cruz swap?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:14 PM)

Can't believe I'm saying it since I pointed out the risk Nelson Cruz had in the preseason, but I think that's Cruz. He's apparently legit.

Buddy (Columbus, OH)

DINNER BELL Wings? yum Baker back? If Gardenhire doesn't kill him!

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:16 PM)

Wings probably wouldn't be the best idea, not the level of spice I prefer them at. A little under the weather today. Thai chicken is risky enough! As for Scott Baker, another guy I covered in "Out of the Box" today, and I do think this is very much what should be your expectation from him, but the homers do still worry me a little bit. Top-25 candidate, but there's a little too much risk to push him into the top 20.

Mike (Indy)

Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell?? Brings back some great RBI baseball memories.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:16 PM)

Loved that game. Also underrated was Baseball Simulator 1.000 for the Nintendo. And I'm a huge Earl Weaver Baseball fan. (The original.)

Charlie (ATL)

Tristan - here's a lunch tip. Arby's is giving away a free menu item every Wednesday with the purchase of any drink. Who has more value on my roster, MacDougal (Nats "Closer") or Wheeler (Part of the TB Committee)?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:18 PM)

I don't think there's an Arby's anywhere near me, unfortunately. Not a big fan of the fast food besides. As for saves, I always recommend you take the "right-now" over the "possible-future" saves, and that swings the balance to Mike MacDougal.

Mike (Nashville)

So the questions that "pop up" as you're answering one, you never see those??? Or those are less likely to get answered? Just curious.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:19 PM)

No, I see those. They all pop right up. But there's a limited amount of time and way more questions than time to answer. We do our best!

Michael (Portland, ME)

Under the gun: Redwings or Penguins?

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:19 PM)

Penguins, but that's the heart talking. I love that young core.

Marshall (St. Louis)

Do you let weather influence your lineup at all? I picked up Pavano pitching tonight with a 60% chance of rain. I could drop him and pick up an OF to fill in for the injured Ellsbury.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:20 PM)

Yes, but I have to have a sneaking suspicion that the game is utterly unplayable. That means if I'm hardcore about it, I'm checking the hour-by-hour report up until my lineup deadline. You can usually tell which games are at most risk; we talk about them in our Daily Notes. And if it's not at least 50 percent, and sounding really treacherous the way we describe it, I wouldn't be too worried.

Tristan H. Cockcroft
  (12:21 PM)

OK folks, time to call things to a close for the day. Thanks for all your questions and bearing with me through the new chat format today, and sorry if I couldn't get to yours. Take care everyone!