There are many different ways to bail on a player, and it's much more complicated that whether to drop them for That Next Hot ThingTM. In one of my leagues, an owner was ready to bail on Matt Moore and dealt him to me for Brandon League. Whether it's 90 cents on the dollar or 50 cents on the dollar, if you are dumping a player for less that you would have at draft day (and it's not injury related), you're bailing on him.
Over this past weekend, most teams played their 40th game, which means we're roughly through 25% of the season so far. And that means it's time to start making tough decisions about our fantasy teams. Sample sizes are now more than 150 plate appearances for hitters and nearly 50 innings for starting pitchers -- not so small any more. So in an effort to provide some clarity into what we've seen so far in 2012, I'm going to throw out two players drafted within the top 100 that I'm ready to throw overboard for the right price and two players drafted within the top 100 who I'll gladly extend a life preserver to, along with the cost involved. And since I'm generally a positive guy, let's start with the..
HOLD ON -- I'LL SAVE YOU!
Alex Gordon (.231, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 22 R, 1 SB in 181 PA)
Pre-season ADP: 60th overall (19th OF), Current ranking: 241st overall (67th OF)
I was a big supporter in the off-season of Gordon's and really thought he would build on last year's breakout. He hasn't done anything so far this year to convince me otherwise. After starting the season 0-19 with 8 K's, Gordon has hit .259 in 162 plate appearances with an 18.5% strikeout rate. Not great, but then again even the most diehard Royals fan was probably not expecting him to hit .300 again. The one stat which jumps out with Gordon is his infield fly ball rate, which is a phenomenally high 22.5%, especially when compared to his career 8.0% rate. That will certainly put a hurting on your BABIP. And speaking of that 18.5% strikeout rate since 4/16 -- it's lower than his K% was last season (20.1%).
If you can acquire him for anything less than a top-100 player price -- maybe a starter like Matt Garza or Johnny Cueto -- I would pull the trigger.
More after the jump..Aramis Ramirez (.218, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 25 R, 2 SB in 164 PA)
Pre-season ADP: 67th overall (7th 3B), Current ranking: 221st overall (24th 3B)
If you look just at Aramis' stats, there are certainly things to make you optimistic about his rest of season outlook. The vast majority of his underlying stats are in line with what you would want to see, which makes his .240 BABIP (.283 career BABIP) and 5.5% HR/FB rate (12.0% career rate) seem like anomalies. Yes, he's 33 years old, but he's also coming off one of the best seasons of his career in 2011 (.373 wOBA, 133 wRC+) and his 2 SB so far this year suggests he's feeling rather spry -- at least as much as you can possibly infer from 2 steals. But the biggest reason I'm not worried about Aramis is that we've seen this before from him. A lot. Here are his slugging percentages during his career by month, starting with April: .459, .445, .511, .568, .532, .527. Almost all of his other stats follow the same pattern as well. As long as he stays healthy, he will get hot.
Same as I mentioned for Gordon earlier, if you can get A-Ram for less than top-100 player value, make that deal. Though it may be more difficult to pry him away from an owner until some of the injured 3B return.
Other strugglers I want: Mark Teixeira, Eric Hosmer, Ryan Zimmerman
JUST PULL THE RED CORD, YOU'LL BE FINE!
Dan Haren (1-5, 4.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 45 K in 55 2/3 IP)
Pre-season ADP: 39th overall (11th SP), Current ranking: 355th overall (100th SP)
Haren is a guy who I consistently love because I love his consistency -- terrible play on words notwithstanding. The only thing about his season so far which has really bothered me is the one thing you really don't like to see. Last season, Haren averaged 90.6 MPH on his fastball (including 90.5 MPH in April). So far this season, Haren is averaging 89.2 MPH on his fastball. In fact, in his last three starts, he's only thrown three fastballs combined that have eclipsed 90 MPH. That is worrisome. Right now we don't know what's physically wrong with Haren, but he dealt with "back spasms" two starts ago and he complained of a dead arm during spring training. The only thing scarier about what this means for Haren's future than if he's hurt, is what this all means if he's healthy.
Despite all of this, Haren still has too much value to deal him at less than 75 cents on the dollar. But if there's a Haren believer in your league (and they exist everywhere), I'd see if I could get a top 50 player who's struggling as well -- like a Nelson Cruz or Ryan Zimmerman.
Rickie Weeks (.154, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 14 R, 2 SB in 170 PA)
Pre-season ADP: 75th overall (6th 2B), Current ranking: 693rd overall (44th 2B)
Yes, he's really been that bad. So why is Weeks struggling so much this season? Is it his career high (and third worst in MLB) 31.2% strikeout rate? Is it his increasing ground ball rate, which has finally eclipsed 50% this year? If you said yes, you are correct. His contact rates are down across the board and from an anecdotal standpoint, he just looks terrible at the plate. Admittedly, I was down on Weeks coming into the season, but this is much worse than even I would have imagined. I don't like his chances of getting to 20 HR or 10 SB for the season, and if he's going to hit in the .230 range, what is he really worth? Of course, this doesn't even take into account the huge injury risk that's already on the table. Second base is relatively deep this season -- too deep for a headache like the elder Weeks.
If I could get any top-150 player for Weeks, I'd make that deal. If not, try to bench him if you can and wait until he puts together even the slightest hint of a hot streak -- then dump him.
Other strugglers you can have: Tim Lincecum, Jimmy Rollins
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