Sunday, May 2, 2004
Some struggles require patience
While other ones necessitate a little roster tinkering
By John Nemo
| HOT BOX
Pick him up: Joe Nathan, RP, Twins. Eddie who? The Twins'
new closer has gone 6-for-6 so far in saves, and though he isn't going
to make anyone forget Mariano Rivera, much like Danny Graves in Cincinnati,
Nathan is turning into a pleasant surprise.
Sit him down: Kevin Jarvis, RP, Mariners. Seattle designated
him for assignment and is more or less done with him and (they hope)
his $4.25 million salary after he went 1-0 with an 8.31 ERA in eight
appearances. If he's still on your fantasy roster, you've got problems.
Keep an eye on: Lew Ford, OF, Twins. Look who's leading the
American League in hitting. Lewwwwww (as Twins fans love to yell) is
hitting .418 with three homers and a team-high 15 RBI. He was called
up as an injury replacement when Torii Hunter went down with a gimpy
hamstring, and he has refused to come out of the lineup thanks to a sizzling
bat. For the immediate future, Minnesota plans to use him as a DH and
(Cell phone ringing.)
"Hello, this is Ryan Vogelsong."
(Laughter on the other end of the line.)
"Hey, who is this?"
(More laughter.) "We knew, Vogelsong. We knew what pitches were coming. You been very, very good to us."
"Sammy, is that you?"
Few sagas this season have been as entertaining as Pittsburgh Pirates starter Ryan Vogelsong telling the media he received a phone call informing him that he was tipping his pitches during two horrendous outings against the Chicago Cubs earlier this season.
But the more serious side of things is that Vogelsong is struggling big-time after getting shellacked by Chicago for 15 earned runs and five homers in two starts. Last week against the Reds, he allowed three runs in four innings and walked six. For good measure, he hit Austin Kearns with a pitch and broke the outfielder's left arm.
Vogelsong isn't alone. Anybody want to talk about Derek Jeter, A-Rod, or the rest of the Yankees for that matter? How about Brad Radke? Jason Jennings? There are plenty of big-name fantasy performers playing like dogs right now, and it's time to a take a look and see what the heck is going on.
We'll start in New York, where Yankee haters are delighting in the Bronx Bombers' bumbling start to 2004. Alex Rodriguez is hitting .253. Jason Giambi is hitting .235. Bernie Williams suffered through a 1-for-31 slide that seems to prove he's long past his prime. Jeter was in an 0-for-32 slump before hitting a home run Thursday night and endured boos galore at home. Everybody else on the team not named Jorge Posada looks overmatched and clueless at the plate. Unfortunately for Yankee haters, history and the track record of guys like Jeter and A-Rod means it's only a matter of time until this nonsense stops. That means now would be the time to try to pounce on desperate fantasy owners who loaded up with Yankees before the season and are wallowing at the bottom of the standings. If there's a panicky owner in your league, keep hammering away with trade offers. You'll never get the likes of Jeter or A-Rod for less.
Minnesota's Radke remains one of the most overpaid pitchers ($10 million this year) in the game. He parlayed one great season (20-10, 3.87 ERA in 1997) into a monster contract that he mostly has failed to live up to. His ERA has been above 4.00 the past two seasons, and 2004 is no exception, with Radke starting 2-2 with a 5.46 ERA. I've always felt like this guy was fantasy junk - other than his win total and low walks - yet people race to draft him every year.
Another pitcher really struggling is Colorado's Jason Jennings, who is in danger of getting sent down thanks to a 10.45 ERA and the waning patience of Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. The word right now is Jennings will get another chance or two to keep himself in the Colorado rotation, but there's no reason he should be in yours.
Though many owners have touted San Francisco closer Matt Herges as a nifty April pickup (six saves), his shaky work (two losses, 5.73 ERA, 1.82 WHIP - walks and hits per innings pitched) makes the overall package tough to swallow. Still, unless you can snag somebody better off the waiver wire, stick with Herges. He's young and learning his way through this while Giants closer Robb Nen remains on the disabled list.
Finally, those of you waiting for Ken Griffey Jr. to wind back the clock to the early 1990s, keep waiting. When he's not pulling something stepping out of the dugout, he's mired in the likes of a 7-for-39 slump that recently dropped his average well below .250. Junior is a creaky 34 now and isn't getting any younger.
John Nemo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
130th KENTUCKY DERBY
wins with sentimental journey
Elliott, it's just a race - but a big one
Jones draws a crowd at home track
sees good things in the future
special place in their hearts
make for a contrasting infield
ads raise no fuss
gallery: The race
Photo gallery: The scene
FLYING PIG MARATHON
push each other in Pig Relay
age 82, marathoner's been a long time running
test doesn't trouble Panthers
lose 4th straight
Faraway fan reminds us of what we have
will test free agency
AL: Tigers hand
Mariners eighth loss in 10 games
NL: Rockies get
win against Braves
need funding for new stadium
hoping to shake his past
struggles require patience
McEachern exudes that star quality
combine continues to grow
Walton-Verona both lose in All 'A' Classic
Sistrunk hurdles to Roosevelt event victory
take 'blue-collar' approach to winning
season ends in Game 7
remain alive on Sakic OT goals
MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
celebrates 18th birthday with the lead
shorty goal tops Russia for USA
baseball team has 29 wins, 5 losses, 1 proposal
may get another shot at Illini
now is 'beautiful' and successful
quick chat with ... Mark Cassis
up with that?