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July 30, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with AJ Mass

AJ Mass
  (10:59 AM)

Greeting all. The trade deadline ticks ever closer... tick... tick... tick. Who's going to new teams? Who's staying put? Who will be going on to the SYTYCD finale? Oh, the tension... Who's up first?

Grant (MI)

AJ, I have a strategy question, on a day like today where you have holes in your roster do you go ahead and drop a borderline pitcher to double dip for a NYM or COL player?

AJ Mass
  (11:01 AM)

Normally, I do like the double-dip tactic, and hey, if you don't mind losing a guy, and Luis Castillo is sitting on the WW, go for it... but don't expect too many fireworks at CitiField.

The Purple Trojan (Minny)

Joba looked pretty stout last night! Do you think he finally figure out how to pitch as a SP?

AJ Mass
  (11:03 AM)

I think he would have figured it out sooner if not for that ridiculous pitch count. Yes, we don't want to turn every pitcher into Dusty's Cubs of yesteryear, but if they're going to learn we can't pull them the minute they reach magic No. 100 - they'll always be counting the pitches themselves and won't learn how to "pitch."

Ryan (NY)

Luis is gonna miss 1st game because his wife is having a baby.

AJ Mass
  (11:04 AM)

Yes, I was using Castillo as an example, since he actually is worth owning, and didn't feel like recommending Alex Cora... perhaps I should have gone with Frenchy or Seth Smith? Castillo may indeed miss both games if his wife doesn't give birth early enough in the day...

Brandon (Arkansas)

When Beckham moved up to the 2 hole is that a one game thing or permanent?

AJ Mass
  (11:06 AM)

Nothing is ever permanent in the world of Ozzie.I'm not sure what lineup we'll see with Alexei's injury...

Rickey Henderson (Hall of Fame)

Someone should trade for Rickey at the deadline. Rickey is the greatest of all time.

AJ Mass
  (11:07 AM)

He was actually quite good with the whole new concept of "first person" - cut the HOF'er some slack.

Jason (Detroit)

What do you think of Milledge for the rest of the year? Is he acceptable insurance for a shaky Beltran

AJ Mass
  (11:08 AM)

I just wrote today's OOTB, and discussed the Pirates being a teriffic source of fantasy role players from this point forward. Milledge, by all accounts, could be up as soon as tomorrow... I'll take whatever HR/SB he gives me.

AJ (Indy)

I have VMart who can play C or 1B. Who for the rest of the year...Montero, Doumit, Blalock or Blanks?

AJ Mass
  (11:10 AM)

We'll see where V-Mart ends up when today is over. I doubt it is in Cleveland... I like Montero, though Blanks has been a nice surprise so far.

Matt (Passaic, New Jersey)

Is it worth picking up Latos and dropping Jon Smoltz? also what do you think of Tillman's performance last night?

AJ Mass
  (11:12 AM)

I never would have had Smoltz, so yes, I'll grab Latos before someone else does off last night's outing. As for Tillman - actually better than I expected. Those homers were crushed, but at least they were solo shots or the ERA could be 20 right now. He'll be terrific in 2010 - I don't want him in 2009.

AJ Mass
  (11:13 AM)

I think you got pwned, personally.

Bryan (Philadelphia)

What is the latest on Victorino? Is he okay?

AJ Mass
  (11:15 AM)

The last report I have heard is that it is not a serious injury and one of those "day-to-day" things. Expect new arrival Ben Francisco to play for a few days, but as of what I know now, I don't foresee longterm effects.

E.W. (Cleveland)

Any doubt that Casey gets evicted tonight? Any doubt that V-Mart gets traded, thus giving Shoppach some value?

AJ Mass
  (11:17 AM)

The stupidity and flip-floppiness of BB contestants never cease to amaze me. But, the banana man should be gone... I can't imagine Cleveland doesn't finish Part 2 now that Part 1 of their story (Lee) is done. Shoppach's value for the rest of 2009 certainly increases once he's gone...

charlie (syracuse, ny)

in your ootb today you said oswalt could be sidelined for an extended period of time. i thought i read somewhere that he would simply have his start pushed back a couple days. has there been any news on his injury?

AJ Mass
  (11:20 AM)

He's definitely missing Sunday. He saw Houston docs and received an injection, and they'll "wait and see" - that's the latest, and ambiguity at its finest.

Ray (VA)

"I think you got pwned, personally." I don't understand. You think the deal was unfair to me?And would rather have Span or Milledge?

AJ Mass
  (11:22 AM)

I think you got back Figgins, which is great if you need steals and don't need saves, but the other two hitters you sent away are way better IMO than the ones you got back. And I'd rather take the chance on Lastings than what I know I'll get from Span.

KC (Columbus)

AJ- Pujols = ______ and _______( insert SP's) Thanks buddy.

AJ Mass
  (11:24 AM)

Tim Lincecum/Dan Haren has to be one of the two - or I don't even bother with the second blank.

Steve (ND)

Do your colleagues like Milledge as much as you seem to?

AJ Mass
  (11:25 AM)

I doubt it... this is all heart and little head. I fully admit that. His gazillion strikeouts to start the season were painful to sit through. But the potential - oh that darn potential!

Greg (Ellicott City)

You dont think that Youk is teh best player of the 6 in the deal?

AJ Mass
  (11:26 AM)

Not for fantasy purposes, no.

JoJo (Richmond)

What do you think of Hunter Pence going forward?

AJ Mass
  (11:28 AM)

I wish he'd run a little more. I wish he'd hit for just a bit more power... But definitely Top-50 right now and easily could break into the Top 25 next season. Viva Captain Underpants!

Russell (Big Brother House)

Start Gavin Floyd today?

AJ Mass
  (11:29 AM)

Passing. Not his regular day, and not sure who is going to be in the field behind him.

Pwner (LA)

i think pwned is a little harsh. definitely agree that ray got the shorter end of the deal. but pwned is more like what would happen if Berry were to wrestle the Iron Shiek.

AJ Mass
  (11:30 AM)

What if we throw in Nikolai Volkov as TMR's manager?

Eric (Flagstaff)

I was offered Prince Fielder for Dan Haren. My pitching is pretty solid with Josh Johnson, Carp, Floyd, Nolasco, Lee, Baker. My offense has been lacking. Hitting is usually more valuable than pitching right?

AJ Mass
  (11:32 AM)

Hitting is equally as valuable as pitching if you're in a league with the same number of categories in each... but hitters, generally speaking, are more valuable than pitchers b/c they contribute in more categories. However, in each individual case, you know where you stand in each category - value comes in where you can make up ground.

JDK (ATL)

In keeper leagues, what do you think of dump deals, where last place teams send their entire roster to a contending team in exchange for a better keeper?

AJ Mass
  (11:34 AM)

I think there need to be limits set on these type of deals through either an in-season salary cap, or a max number of players that can be swapped between any two teams in a season, but barring those presets: you have to let all deals go through.

Cameron (Atlanta)

Wieters or Martin for the rest of the year?

AJ Mass
  (11:37 AM)

Martin. I'm not a huge fan, but I like him more than Wieters.

John (MT)

whats your stance on having a ton of players from the same real life team? For example I have Roberts, Markakis, Jones, and Wieters all the same line up (head to head league). If the O's face a tough team or two, im toast maybe for the week. Should I trade one just for the sake of mixing it up?

AJ Mass
  (11:38 AM)

In a head-to-head league, I think you can't do it. Spread out the risk.

John Lackey (LA)

Am I a top 15 pitcher going forward?

AJ Mass
  (11:40 AM)

No, sir. You are not. Maybe Top 50.

Pwner (LA)

MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF THIS CHAT: who would win in a royal rumble of ESPN fantasy writers. i think you just edge out brendan roberts.

AJ Mass
  (11:41 AM)

James Quintong wins hands down, dressed resplendently in his best Jim Cornette outfit.

Steve (SF)

We all know that you normally have a very different opinion abut players than your co-workers. I'm just curious on how you came to be like that? Is there a certain stat you look at, is this just gut feelings you have, do you watch games and see things that make you think like that? It's always nice to get a different point of view of players, but I know you take a lot of crap from people about your opinions and I was just wondering what your thought process was. Thanks!

AJ Mass
  (11:45 AM)

A very fair question, Steve. My take comes from the same stats as everyone else, but I weight stats differently than most. My rankings are based on what I call "actual value" of stats versus "perceived value" - A guy with 10 more SBs than the next guy is far more valuable than a guy with 25 more RBIs than the next guy - because of the scarcity of the stat in the MLB universe... so weighting each stat, and adjusting it as time goes on and the trends change will give you different results than those who still use .300, 30-100 as the "measuring stick"

Jim Cornette's tennis racquet (some undisclosed location in the

The Midnight Express will tear the heads off the Rock n Roll express...now who do you like better for next year..Hart or Werth?

AJ Mass
  (11:46 AM)

Right now, I lean towards Werth, unless Hart ends up somewhere else. And I was always an Animal/Hawk fan myself.

Brandon (New Jersey)

I think the Phillies are now the team to beat in the NL because they got Cliff Lee.

AJ Mass
  (11:47 AM)

I think the Phillies were already the team to beat in the East BEFORE they got Lee.

Drew (Hudson Valley)

How about pitchers on the same team? I think if you had say Sabathia, Burnett and Joba you'd fare pretty well comparatively.

AJ Mass
  (11:50 AM)

Pitching is far more an individual effort. Wins are always a crapshoot, but look at Matt Cain last night, for example. He didn't hurt your team at all even though the Giants got goose-egged for 9. I still wouldn't want to suddenly face a road trip through Texas, Minnesota and Boston with those guys in a single week - but it's not the same as with hitters whose stats kind of depend on each other in a lineup (can't drive in runs if nobody gets on base ahead of you, for example)

Matt (NYC)

How does this Cliff Lee trade affect Hamels?

AJ Mass
  (11:52 AM)

It shouldn't really, although adding another lefty in the rotation would make it harder for the team as a whole to L-R-L-R opponents. Maybe certain platoon players find their groove easier against Philly as a result.

Josh (Atlanta)

Since the Indians just traded Sizemore's backup (Francisco), does that make a DL stint less likely or is he gonna just play hurt thus making this a good of a time as any to try to trade him?

AJ Mass
  (11:54 AM)

I don't think that factors in. LaPorta is probably coming up and he can take the OF slot if need be. Plus we don't know who they'll get in any deal today... If you're in a "one and done" league and you're worried about the injury, go ahead and trade him while you can, but don't let the Lee/Ben deal affect it any.

David Wright (CITI of Lost Homers)

Am I a top 5 or even a 1st round pick next year? My numbers are slightly worse, and almost identical, to those of Bobby Abreu.

AJ Mass
  (11:56 AM)

Probably will be close to Top 5 for next year - I mean we need to see whether the fences get moved at all in CitiField in the off-season, but you're still Top 25 fantasy performer in my book right now, and that's without Beltran, Reyes and Delgado for most of the year --- and don't be dogging Abreu either. You should be lucky to have his production in your lineup.

brandon (arkansas)

laporta didnt get called up trevor crowe did.

AJ Mass
  (11:58 AM)

Right you are Brandon, it was still undecided last I checked, but the Sizemore answer stays the same, and the day is not yet over...

Rob (NJ)

Is this the real McLouth? A .260 hitter with 25-25 potential?

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

The Real McLouth, coming soon to a theater near you! I think this is Nate. I didn't like the deal to Atlanta for him then, and I still don't now.

Nathan (FL)

Harang is done! I hate Dusty Baker he started him into the 8th last night for some reason when he had already thrown 112 pitches and then he puts on two players and gives up two more runs after a nice 5 run first inning comback!

AJ Mass
  (12:00 PM)

Is this your first time in the Dusty rodeo? I think he just has a phobia of the bullpen phone.

Zed (Van Nuys)

Garrett Jones, what is a chat without a question about the sustainability of Garrett Jones' production, or lack-thereof?

AJ Mass
  (12:01 PM)

I'll be subbing in for Brendan in Hit Parade next week, and will address this very issue... but suffice to say, no sustain-o.

J. Baker (NYC)

AJ, this one's for us in AL-only keeper leagues: who takes over for Wladimir Balentien in the Seattle OF?

AJ Mass
  (12:02 PM)

Looks like Saunders, doesn't it? That's all the time we have, thanks for the Q's. And as always, we'll see you the next time on "Villa Alegre!"