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Roto Roundup: Stephen Strasburg, David Price, Ryan Howard and others

Ray highlights some of the top fantasy performers from Tuesday's roto action, including Stephen Strasburg, David Price, Ryan Howard and others.

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Mike McGinnis

David Price to be traded?

I was listening to SiriusXM MLB Radio yesterday and heard Casey Stern and Jim Bowden discussing some quotes from Rays GM Andrew Friedman, who they interviewed earlier in their show. Bowden opined that he thinks Rays ace David Price will eventually be traded before the July 31st trade deadline.

Why did Bowden think Price will be traded? Well, Friedman was asked if he would consider adding at the trade deadline, rather than exploring trading Price and Ben Zobrist. Friedman's response, according to Bowden's Twitter account:

Bowden repeated this on the show and said the fact that Friedman said he wouldn't rule out "adding" at the deadline meant he was leaning toward getting the best possible deal for Price. Maybe he already has offers on the table that he is considering?

Price is set to start on Friday night at home against Jon Lester and the Red Sox. That could be his last start as a Ray, as his next scheduled start would be next Wednesday, and I would be surprised if he makes that start as a member of the Rays. That is all assuming Friedman does elect to deal him.

And with the way Josh Beckett and Dan Haren have pitched the last two night, one can imagine the Dodgers are exploring the available starting pitcher market this weekend.

For more on Price and the Rays, make sure you check out DRaysBay, SB Nation's Rays fan site.

Stephen Strasburg: Not an ace?

Since winning 15 games and striking out 11 batters every nine innings in his rookie season in 2012, Stephen Strasburg has fooled us into thinking he is an ace starting pitcher. Last season, he made 30 starts, winning just 8 games with an excellent 3.00 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 3.15 xFIP, a 1.05 WHIP and striking out nine batters per nine innings. All that and he kept balls on the ground at a 51% clip too boot. Solid stats -yes.  Ace-like - yes.

This season, though, he has struggled more than we all expected. Yesterday, pitching in Coors Field, Strasburg gave up 4 runs on 9 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts in 5.1 innings in the Nationals 6-4 loss to the Rockies. The loss moved his record to 7-8 with a 3.67 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 2.53 xFIP, a 1.26 WHIP and a 163-30 strikeout to walk rate in 137.1 innings this season.

He has made 22 starts this season, giving up 4 runs or more in six of them. I read somewhere yesterday that he appears to struggle with men on base, leading to starts where he gives up the 3, 4, or 6 runs.

Most ace starters can pitch into the 8th inning, maybe throwing a few complete games here and there. I understand the complete game is not as common as it used to be due to the extensive use of bullpens now, but Strasburg has pitched into the eighth inning just SIX times in his 80 career starts. SIX.

Granted, he is a dominating starter. His strikeouts per nine are up and the walks are down this season, but he has been more hittable, as his career high .347 BABIP would indicate. He could return to the dominating starter we thought we were drafting back in March, but right now, for me, he is not an ace like Madison Bumgarner, a healthy Masahiro Tanaka, Jon Lester, among others. For me, he is a step below them.

For more on Strasburg and the Nationals, check out Federal Baseball, SB Nation's Nationals fan site.

Ryan Howard to be platooned; possibly released?

It seems like it was inevitable that at some point, the Phillies would finally start platooning first baseman Ryan Howard, and that is exactly what manager Ryne Sandberg seemed to indicate last night. Here is more from Jim Salisbury from Comcast Sportsnet:

Manager Ryne Sandberg would not use the word "platoon," but that's exactly what his actions suggest.

"As far as the lineup, that will be a day-to-day thing," Sandberg said before the game.

The manager made it clear he would not let Howard's huge contract dictate playing time.

"It's about wins and losses out here," Sandberg said. "When the game starts, it's about winning the game and being productive and chipping in and doing the part and doing something to help win a game. If that means playing somebody else there and there's production right away -- that's trying to win a baseball game."

Salisbury went on to discuss Howard's poor production this season, before delivering this shot to the gut:

Phillies officials have spent a lot of time discussing ways to retool their disappointing team in recent weeks. Trades are on the way and there could be several before next week's non-waiver trade deadline.

Multiple sources say the team has also discussed moving on without Howard. The team has floated his name in trade talks but Howard is owed the remainder of $25 million for this season and $60 million over the next two seasons. No team is interested in taking on that amount of money -- or even part of it because the Phils know they'd have to eat a large portion of Howard's salary -- for a declining player.

The logical next step is to release Howard. Sources say team officials have discussed the possibility of paying off Howard and moving on without him after the season.

An outright release would be surprising to me, but if they truly want to move on and begin a rebuild, releasing Howard would be a huge tell about how serious they are.

For more on Howard and the Phillies, make sure you check out The Good Phight, SB Nation's Phillies fan site.

Round'em Up

Alex Cobb has been a little disappointing this season, but last night he shut out the Cardinals on 5 hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts in 7 innings in the Rays 3-0 win. Cobb moved his record to 6-6 with a 3.77 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 1.21 WHIP and a 79-26 strikeout to walk rate in 88.1 innings. He has been prone to the disaster start this season, but seems to have righted the ship, as he has given up two runs or less in each of his last three starts.

One of the more underrated starters in the game is Brewers starter Kyle Lohse. Yesterday, Lohse limited the struggling Reds to one run on 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in Brewers 5-1 win. Lohse is now 11-4 with a 3.,07 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 101-25 strikeout to walk rate in 140.2 innings this season. He has given up two runs or less in 11 of his 21 starts this season.

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