Here are some of the tidbits from the first week of the season chats. Listening to "Let's Rock-n-Roll" by Charm City Devils, I'm trying to determine if Nikki Sixx has found a solid heavy metal band for those of us not overly impressed with today's rock and roll sound. Baltimore Ravens' QB Joe Flacco thinks so.
Niceville, FL.: Good morning. I have a roster dilemma. 5x5, mixed non-keeper with 5 bench spots and 1 DL spot. I currently have Ichiro, E. Santana, Lackey and Wieters tying up 4 of those spots. I have Sandoval as my catcher. Do I continue to have Wieters tying up one of my valuable spots or do I move him? And what sort of trade value does he have when nobody knows when he will be brought up? Thanks for taking my question.
Steve Gardner: With Wieters, the potential is tantalizing so there will always be a market for people who like to speculate. I don't think you'll have trouble finding someone willing to deal for him. It's just up to you on how much you want to get for him. Sandoval is a nice starter and he's had a great spring. I'd be willing to go with him for the full season -- especially since he won't be spending the majority of his time behind the plate anyway. See what the market will bear for Wieters, but just remember Sandoval has multiple eligibility so he could be a valuable utility guy if Wieters ends up starting for you.
Cleveland, Ohio: Hi Ron, Early Post Auction Draft Strategy? I know you preach patience, but I am thinking draft repair. In a 5X5 mixed 14-team roto league, I did well on offense (competitive in every category), but my pitching is lacking. I have Liriano, Vazquez and Myers at the top, and Lidge, Qualls and Villanueva to close. I filled the other four positions with Kawakami, Bush, S. Marshall (replacing Smoltz on DL) and David Price (bid $1). Would you replace Bush with a middle reliever like JJ Putz, or sit with someone like Buchholz? Would you sit with Price since he could be up at any time and cost so little? Will I take too much of a hit in K's early in the year? Thanks
Ron Shandler: I do preach patience, but not at the expense of fixing holes. Your staff is not bad, but I agree that there are some spots that could be upgraded. Despite what others seem to be saying, I am not a Bush fan and would definitely replace him. Putz is interesting, but I think you are okay in saves. If you can get Buchholz, do it. You will have the top minor league pitchers of the past two years waiting for an opportunity. THEN you need to be excruciatingly patient while they sit in the minors. They WILL come up, and probably soon, because someone WILL get hurt.
akachazz (DC): As an Upton owner / fan of the game of baseball, should I be worried about Upton the Younger being benched today?
Joe Sheehan: It's an annoying decision, apparently based on little more than Upton's nine career ABs against Cook, if I'm interpreting Melvin's words correctly. This is what happens when you have a $10 million fourth outfielder; you find excuses to play him.
ericmilburn (San Francisco): Kevin, I know he's seemingly been a prospect for 5 million years, but were you encouraged at all by Brandon Wood's spring, and consequently what chances do you give him of developing into a major league regular?
Kevin Goldstein: I was encouraged by what I saw last fall, and yes, I think he'll be not only a mlb regular, but a good one at that.
tdees40 (Jersey): Is Jordan Schafer as good as he looks? He just hit his second homer of the season.
Kevin Goldstein: Yes. I mean, he's not going to hit 108 home runs or anything, but he's damn good.
Jim (Anchorage, AK): Justin Upton not starting in Arizona because of his spring. What are updated projections with this news? Thanks Chris.
Christopher Harris: Hi, Jim. Let's be clear: Upton isn't starting *in the opener*. He's expected back in the lineup tomorrow. So don't panic just yet. The D-Backs view Aaron Cook as a "tough" righty, evidently, and want to get some lefties in there against him. Hey, I'm not going to argue this is *positive* news for Upton, and I wrote a 30 Questions piece about him earlier in the spring that wasn't all that glowing about his '09 chances. I think he was overdrafted in a lot of leagues. But it's not like he's suddenly a candidate for only 300 ABs. He'll be on the right side of 500 as long as he stays healthy.
Minneapolis, MN: What do you think of Ron Gardenhire's man-crush on Michael Cuddyer? Doesn't it make sense to have Cuddy the odd man out most of the time and have a regular outfield of Delmon Young in left, Carlos Gomez in center, and Denard Span in right?
Rob Neyer: A tough one, because Delmon Young is really, really, really not good ... but on the other hand the Twins sort of need him to develop and he won't develop on the bench. I suspect Young will get his 450 PA (at least).
Anne Hathaway: Matt, if I've got Mark Teahen on FAs in my league should I pick him up and stash him on my bench?
Matthew Berry - Talented Mr. Roto: Depends on who you have to give up but I like him a lot, esp w/ 2b eligibility
Greg (Savannah, GA): Jordan Schafer or Daniel Murphy? This year and beyond.
AJ Mass: I think Schafer is probably going to be the better fantasy player longterm, but for 09 Murphy is my pick.
Mike (Indy): I heard A-Rod is progressing nicely with his rehab. Do you really think he'll be back playing before May 15th? Thanks!
Stephania Bell: Mike: Yes, he is - but keep in mind that he really hasn't tested his hip much, based on what the rehab protocl allows at this point. I think we'll know more once he gets into baseball activities. I would not be surprised if he's back in the lineup by then, but I would be surprised if he's in mid-season form before June at the earliest.
Ryan (jersey): Tristan. Do you expect Ryan Perry to move into the closers role any time soon?
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Maybe in a future season, but I can't see him being rushed into the role this year, at least not in the first half. I liken Perry very much to Brandon Morrow in his rookie season. Could quickly elevate to a key late-inning role, but I think it's asking a lot for him to get saves in 2009. That said, stranger things have happened, and Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon aren't exactly stellar finishers. With a hot start I think Perry might have a little value, so in deep AL-only leagues I'd have him reserved.
Eric (Milwaukee): Do you think Gamel can stick at 3B? If not, does he have the athleticism for a corner outfield spot or is he stuck at 1st?
Jim Callis : I don't think he'll stick at the hot corner, but he could play left field. He's not a total slug.
Nick (Burlington): Isn't Emilio Bonaficio a career .167 from the left side of the plate, though?
Eric Karabell: My point on Bonifacio is he has never played enough for anyone to assume anything about him at the major league level. Not enough of a sample size. Maybe he can't hit RHP, we shall see. But I think he's better than Michael Bourn, and he's 2B eligible.
John Boy (Cincinnati): Reds have Joey Votto. Reds drafted Yonder Alonso. As Nancy Kerrigan once asked, WHY?????
Keith Law: They felt he was the best player available. I don't know that I disagree, but given how close Alonso probably is to the majors, they're going to have to figure a way to cash one of them in pretty soon.
Nick (Bos): Any serious concern about Alexei Ramirez, or is it just a slump combined with the product of batting 8th?
Brendan Roberts: I have no concern. The type of hitter Alexei is (a la, a free swinger), those guys tend to be streaky hitters, and this is just a bad streak. I'll admit the batting 8th does bother me (especially when I see Chris Getz and Dewayne Wise leading off), but I wouldn't downgrade Alexei.
Gray (Chicago): Speaking of Percival, why isn't Madden going with Balfour, the clear stud of that bullpen.
Jerry Crasnick: Gray, Percival looked very good in spring training, and he finds a way to get by even though he's now throwing in the 89-91 range. Plus, Balfour records a lot of valuable outs with strikeouts in the 7th and 8th. Before the year is through, I wouldn't be surprised to see three or four different guys recording saves for the Rays.