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July 7, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:57 AM)

Welcome back once again - it's Chat No. 2 of three scheduled this week. Today we've got Manny in NY, an injured Big Unit and Halladay trade rumors, not to mention a Cueto disaster to talk about, so let's get started... Who's up first?

Anthony (Raleigh, NC)

I know it has to be pretty easy to pitch with a 10 run lead after 1 inning, but Hamels still looked pretty good last night with 3 hits and no walks. Were the ATL and TOR games just anomalies?

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Frankly, Anthony, we don't know. If he had not been able to pitch well with that lead, the red flags would have turned into white surrender flags for him. However, I just dismiss this outing out of hand as far as figuring out if he's "back" because it really told us nothing.

Josh (Atlanta)

Is now a good time to sell high on Adrian Gonzalez? In a completely unrelated question, what about buying low on Smoltz after last night?

AJ Mass
  (11:00 AM)

I don't think most fantasy players would buy Ad-Gon right now. His lineup is bad, and the Padres seem to be starting to sell off what protection he does have. Kouz will likely be next to go... The "sell high" boat has probably already sailed. As for Smoltz, I'm not buying unless I'm in a very deep league.

Travis (Yetton)

After Cueto's start last night, my ERA was 121!!! (H2H league, obviously)... Is he DL bound soon because of the back, or was this just an awful, AWFUL start?

AJ Mass
  (11:02 AM)

This is exactly what I was talking about yesterday when I suggested that you shouldn't worry about starting Aramis or Hamilton fresh off the DL. If a hitter goes 0-for-4, it doesn't cripple you. If a pitcher has a Cueto-like outing, it destroys months of solid work from him. I think it was just a bad start, but it will take months to take off the ERA and WHIP hit.

Skunk Boy (Harrisburg, PA)

What's up with Hanley and his sore hip? I'm sorry, but I know his numbers look pretty good on paper, but he hasn't come close to being a #1 Draft pick thus far.

AJ Mass
  (11:05 AM)

Totally disagree with you Mr. Henson. Hanley is my #6 player on the season, which absolutely qualifies him as a first round pick. Sure he's going to miss a few more games than usual, but so what? Each HR counts equally - it's not like it's HR/162.

Adam (BQE)

On my way to the mets game, gotta ask if you see value from Ollie Perez this season?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Remember Johnny Cueto last night? I wouldn't go near Perez with a ten-foot pole.

Bill (DC)

"Halladay trade rumors" What rumors would those be and please tell me you arent talking about Roy?

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

GM JP Riccardi has said he's ready to listen to offers. That doesn't mean he's going to pull the trigger, but considering his stance used to be "There's no way we trade Roy" that's a huge change in attitude.

Anthony (Raleigh, NC)

Can you tell my buddy Doug (who's reading this at work like me) his team name change to The Titanic might be a little premature this early in the season - even with his starting trio last night of Cueto, Bergesen and Smoltz. (OUCH!)

AJ Mass
  (11:09 AM)

We're more than halfway, so I don't know if I'd call it "this early" -- but perhaps he should go with The Poseidon? At least there's a chance to pull a Shelley Winters swim to safety --- oh wait, she died during the attempt, didn't she? Never mind.

Jack (Pa.)

AJ, who do you want as your catcher for the 2nd half? Martin, B. Molina, AJ, or Suzuki, thanks.

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

I'm looking at Kurt. I just think Oakland's offense is going to improve steadily as they start to work towards figuring out who is going to be there in 2010.

Mike ( )

Are there updated rankings available anywhere?

AJ Mass
  (11:11 AM)

We will be posting an All-Star Break forward rankings in the next week.

Otis (Central jurists lounge)

Help me beat the jury duty blues! Everth Cabrera an advisable add in 12 team mixed roto keeper? I dropped carlos gonz for him and I have gbeckham at ss now - what's his 2nd half look like? What about 2010 - this is soooo boring!

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

Personally I think there isn't much there there for Everth in a keeper. Beckham on the other hand should continue to improve as time goes by. As for Jury Duty, simply stand up and say "Give him the death penalty!" regardless of the charges, and I'm sure they'll let you go home early.

Josh (Fresyes)

Looking for lighting in a bottle...who carries the greatest fantasy value for the second half?...Gamel, C. Davis, or LaPorta?

AJ Mass
  (11:14 AM)

I think Davis has the least chance to do anything, with Smoak now at Triple-A. Gamel has been outdone by the surprising mighty Casey. I'd go with LaPorta.

Rusty (Kansas)

Is it wrong to want to trade Wright for Reynolds if I don't care about steals and need power???

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

I don't think so. Wright is just not giving you the power numbers, and while the batting average is great, the HRs will come more frequently from Reynolds.

Lightning (Bottle)

Right here, Josh! I'm right here!

Tony (Philadelphia)

DAVID WRIGHT: Please stay on this subject. I see no lineup protection, a disturbing strikeout rate in a league that penalizes then, and his power numbers not improving. I think I want to cut the cord with my 1st round pick. If I can get Sabathia and Y. Escobar (Move Scutaro from SS to 3rd), should I do it?? Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

I'm not saying to cut Wright. He's still very valuable, and far more so than Yunel and CC.

Bob (Philadelphia)

Will Jose Reyes have any impact in the 2nd half?

AJ Mass
  (11:19 AM)

Is he coming back? That's the big question. If he does, he'll have impact, not only on himself, but the whole dynamic of the Mets' lineup changes. But it's an "if"

Brett (DC)

Do you think Calero factors in saves in Floriday? He seems to be the best pitcher in that bullpen. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:21 AM)

I think they throw out whatever arm happens to be freshest on the given day. Once Kiko returns from the DL, he'll be on the Glengarry Glenross call board.

Greg (Boston)

Who are the top 5 SS at season's end?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

Han Ram, Bartlett, Scutaro, Rollins, Tejada

AJ Mass
  (11:23 AM)

Missed Jeter in there... add him to the group.

Fuu (Houston)

Going forward, how would you rank : Wandy, Liriano, Slowey

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

I like Wandy best of the three, with Slowey slowed by a trip to the DL. That gives Liriano second place.

Hassey (Harrison)

No sexy Alexei in the top 5???

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

He's in the next group with Tulo. Hey, we have to draw these imaginary lines somewhere... I can't put 10 guys in my Top 5, can I?

DanC (Grants Pass, Oregon)

Need help before our add/drop deadline today, Jason Kubel for M. Ordonez?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

I'm keeping Kubel.

Scott (StL)

Where would Michael Young sit in that group at SS?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

He'd be right there, ahead of Tejada, but I'm considering him at 3B... some of these multi positional guys like him and Theriot and Zobrist are hard to classify.

Rip (Denver)

N. Blackburn or G. Floyd going forward?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Floyd if K's count, Blackburn if they don't.

Adam (South Orange Nj)

I just said David Wright to my cat and she hissed. Is that a sign from the baseball gods?

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

That's it - take advice from the cat. Next, you'll be cutting Johan for David Purr-cey.

Dan (Gotham)

Jason Marquis or Ricky Romero to fill out my staff?

AJ Mass
  (11:31 AM)

I like Romero, but I think I'm the minority when it comes to Marquis. I, for one, think the All-Star nod is totally deserved.

Jamaal (Marlton, NJ)

Are you worried about Haren's second half? He's been absolutely filthy, but I'm worried that he's gonna struggle after the break.

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I don't buy into first-half/second-half splits. I'm sorry, I just don't. True, pitchers may get more tired from being overworked in pressure situations, and Zona certainly has been in many playoff runs over Haren's career.... but not this year.

Mike (LA)

Is Milledge worth a speculative add? I'd have to drop Price or Smoltz to get him.

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I do not like Price for this season, so I'd gamble on Milledge. That's more the heart talking than the head, because I still think Lastings can be something special.

Adam (South Orange Nj)

Answers like that are why I tune in to your chats, AJ. I was actually gonna trade Wright for Joe Meow-er

Greg (Boston)

You buying Juan Rivera?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Plenty of momentum and he's already in my Top 75 hitters, so yes, yes I am.

Craig (Norwich, CT)

I've been offered Hunter Pence for Mark DeRosa. Should I accept the deal?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

Positional needs come into play of course, but yes, I'll take that deal. I don't really think DeRosa has as much value with Albert taking all the RBIs in that lineup.

Rick (CA)

Give me 1 breakout player to try go get for the second half.

AJ Mass
  (11:39 AM)

Adam Lind - AL, Pablo Sandoval - NL.

jeff (Rochester, NY)

I need a 2B/SS option for my bench - Barmas or Bonifacio?

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

Closer than you think, but I'd go with Barmes b/c of the ability to help you in multiple categories. Emilio's not reaching the bleacher seats.

J (Arkansas)

What?? Albert taking RBIs? Shouldn't he create more RBI opportunities? If DeRosa hits before Pujols, then he gets good pitches, if he hits after, then he gets to drive in the big man himself. Pujols is an on base machine with ok speed.

AJ Mass
  (11:44 AM)

And he has twice as many RBIs as anyone else on the Cards. If he homers, that's zero RBIs for DeRosa behind him. If he drives in the guys from scoring position, then he can only drive in Albert. And with LaRussa in love with Pujols hitting third, I don't think there will be "people" on base ahead of DeRosa if he bats second.

John (Reimold)

Jon Lester is a top __ pitcher from this point forward.

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

20.

Mike (Atl, GA)

Sandoval...........breakout for 2nd half........dude's already broken out in the first half. He has been on a MAJOR tear the last month, ranking as the 4th best player in fantasy.

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

What I meant by those picks is that these are guys who will keep it up or better their first halves. Obviously, they've "broken out" - that's what makes them "breakout" players. For guys who are not in Top 100 now? How about Billy Butler and Skip Schumaker as fliers.

Ryan (Boston)

Lester is easily top 10. You're nuts.Rank: Holliday, Damon, Werth, Choo, or Soriano. Need to trade A-Gonz for one of them.

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Ryan, doesn't Top 20 include the Top 10? Not saying it can't happen, but with a 4.00 ERA he's not top 10. I'd tell you to trade A-Gonz for Damon of those names, but you'd think I was nuts, so I won't.

Joe (TN)

Who prefaces asking a favor with "you're nuts" ?

AJ Mass
  (11:51 AM)

Evidently it's all the rage in Beantown.

Marie (San Francisco)

What do you think about trading V Mart for Sandoval? Crazy?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

Not at all. They're pretty close in the rankings, and with V-Mart possibly getting traded to another team, presumably a "winning team" who knows how that will effect his production.

Tyler (VT)

It must be nuts. Like almonds nuts.

AJ Mass
  (11:53 AM)

Almonds, like coffee, are for closers.

Monco (West Texas)

You're nuts! Haren was not on Arizona for any playoff runs. How can you ignore the fact that EVERY season for the last 5 years his ERA jumps 1 full run, sometimes 2, and his WHIP jumps by at least 0.5 post allstar break?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Last season they finished two games back. That's a high-pressure playoff run. You don't have to make it to have the situations be pressure-packed. And he was on Oakland teams who won divisions, as well. And he's had three good Septembers and three bad ones. What's 2009 going to bring? If you say you know for sure, you're nuts!

Tom (TX)

One word answer needed, with no insults offered. Alexei or Drew this year only?

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Alexei

Taylor (Columbia)

One word: Joba or Wandy.

AJ Mass
  (11:59 AM)

Wandy

Bryan (Pitts)

Last one .... Your all nuts!! Got an extra OF since Hamilton is back what do you think of this deal/ fair? I give Branyan, Cody Ross, M. Bourn for A Rod and Ellsbury

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

I think you're getting the best players in the deal, so it's very heavily slanted in your favor. It's not unfair, but if your league votes on deals expect a veto. Ross and Branyan aren't as "sexy" as A-Rod.

Ogre (Adams College)

Fantasy baseball is for NERDS!

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

Clap your hands, everybody. And everybody clap your hands. We've gotta run. Thanks for the Q's. Jason Grey comes your way at 3 pm, and we'll be back on Thursday at 11 am. As always, we'll see you the next time on Villa Alegre.