Among the pitchers and catchers reporting: The Winnipeg Sun has a feature on George Sherrill and Bobby Madritsch, noting their efforts at making the team this year. I'm rooting for 'em, and will be disappointed if we don't have at least one or two youngsters in the bullpen to start the year.
Caple, that's not funny: From Jim Caple's latest:
[C]heck out what's on the calendar for the rest of the spring:
Feb. 23: In a straight Boone-for-Boone deal, owner George Steinbrenner trades Aaron Boone to the Mariners for All-Star second baseman Bret Boone.
Okay, now that's funny:The Red Sox respond by trading Nomar Garciaparra to the Mariners for his brother, minor leaguer Michael Garciaparra.
You know it's time to start getting frightened: ... when Onion stories start to look like the real news.
Jeff already linked the Onion story in regards to the Alex Rodriguez trade, but now rumors come out that the Yanks are trying to fill their lone non-All-Star infield position with either Jerry Hairston or Jose Vidro.
I think the Vidro rumor makes more sense, for two reasons: Steinbrenner would want a name, and it isn't clear what exactly Baltimore could get from the Yankees to make it worth their while. The O's need pitching, and the Yanks don't have much young pitching. In fact, the only thing New York has that Baltimore (read: Peter Angelos) might want ...
... is cash.
Uh oh. Now I've scared myself.
See, it does make sense for the O's to trade either Hairston or Brian Roberts. They're almost the same player, and that player looks to be pretty valuable in trade. Hairston would likely gather a greater price, given name-recognition and greater major league experience (is he a Proven Veteran yet?).
I don't think either of these guys would be a dramatic upgrade from what the Yankees have now. It's the prospect of Jose Vidro in the Bronx that really scares me.
Still, it's discouraging to think that a team can trade away nearly their entire farm system -- and still get just about any player they want due to a superior revenue stream.
MBSBL Update: Matt Clement comes on board as my fifth starter. Analysis here.
posted by Jefflink 6:19 PM 
The Odds-On Favorite: For those of you fretting about the A-Rod trade's impact on the pennant race, here's a good reason to relax a little: The people who have the most stake in it don't think it changes things much.
The players? The fans? Nope. Vegas, baby, Vegas!
As Beano Cook says, "These people live in nicer houses than we do." So their opinions bolster the "Soriano-Isn't-That-Much-Less-Valuable-Than-Alex" argument, I guess.
USA Today's Paul White's spring training column cites Wladimir Balentien as a "kid to pay attention to." Worth checking out for many reasons including the Wladimir Blurbentien.
posted by Jefflink 4:11 PM 
The MBSBL has its own 'blog now. Let the trash-talking and obscure-draft-pick-rockin' begin. My first post, about why I took Tim Spooneybarger, is here.
posted by Jefflink 1:51 PM 
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
MBSBL Update: While I'm waiting on making my pick, I found I had some time to do a brief review of the three or four picks that have happened since I posted last. Plus, it's been a while since I've done a pick prediction extravaganza, so let's go.
Picks I've loved lately: Brendan Donnelly, Onesixteeners. At this point in the draft, I'm looking for relievers with all-around excellent numbers. The righty-killing specialist can wait. That's why Donnelly's a great pick: low WHIP (1.07), miniscule ERA (1.58), strikes out more than one guy an inning, and isn't especially vulnerable to either species of hitter. Lefties actually have a slightly lower OPS against him (.549) than righties (.567). It should be obvious from my previous comments that I think Guardado, Marte and Cormier were excellent pickups as well. Gabe at The Safe filled holes with the best-available catcher, LeCroy, and another reliever, Hasegawa.
A question mark: Miguel Batista gets bonus points for being a deep fellow and a poet, but is he really the best starting pitcher available? His 1.33 WHIP is pretty pedestrian, and he seems hittable. Batters hit .267 against him and had an OPS of over .700. His strikeout rate isn't bad, but isn't anything to write home about either. Not a bad pitcher, but is he a better choice than Sid Ponson, Kevin Millwood, or Greg Maddux?
PREDICTIONS, REST OF ROUND 15 What The Hell Happened?!?: Kevin Millwood. Time for a fourth starter.
San Shin: Sodo Oh No has agreed to trade me A-Rod for the rights to this pick and a bag of chips. Right, guys?
Sodo Oh No: Joe Borowski. Very underrated player who is also tough on lefties (.516 OPS against).
Cracking The Safe: Joel Pineiro. Has highest VORP of remaining starters and a .667 OPS against.
Mariner Optimist: Cliff Lee. Another lefty starter with low innings, but a sweet ERA, WHIP and strikeout rate.
Mariners Musings: Angel Berroa. Still needs a shortstop, and Berroa is the best one out there.
MarinersWeekly: Paul Quantrill. Needs a righty in the 'pen to go with Wags. Takes righty with .98 WHIP that is also tough on lefties.
Fire Bavasi.: Jeff has promised a surprise here, and I've wracked my brain thinking of what it could be. Brooks Kieschnick? A starter he'll convert to relief? I wait with baited breath. But I'm not creative enough to think of what he'll do, so I'll play it safe and say Matt Morris.
posted by Jefflink 12:28 PM 
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
FAR TOO MUCH THINKING ABOUT GEOFF JENKINS
Trade rumors. I love 'em. You love 'em. Rooted in reality or 100 percent fact-free, they're fun to think about.
Mariner fans in the blogosphere and out have been beating the trade drum for a while now. Most everyone seems to agree that Carlos Beltran would be a perfect fit, sliding into center and allowing Winn or Ibanez to play left. Ditto Magglio Ordonez, who plays right field: An outfield with Maggs in right, Ichiro in center and Insert Name in left would be pretty impressive.
But what about a third name we hear a lot about, most recently in Finnigan's latest piece for the Times, Geoff Jenkins? We've heard rumblings about him for a while, and it seems likely the payroll-cutting and (for now) Selig-plagued Brewers will deal Jenkins at some point this year.
Cynics will say (with some justification) that there's no way the M's will make a move for a big bat. But there are a few things about Jenkins that might make him intriguing to M's management: he's a lefty, and they covet left-handed sluggers in Safeco Field; he's a veteran (turns 30 in July); and he's from Olympia. We know how the Mariners love local boys and older players, and Jenkins is both.
I'll be up front. I can't tell you how likely it is that we'll make a move for Jenkins. This post aims to answer a different question: Would getting Jenkins make sense for this team?
The conclusion I come to is a qualified "yes." It has to be qualified, since we don't know a lot of things at this point: what he'd cost, who else would be available, what else could be done with the mid-season war chest. Without further ado, though, let's see what a Mariner outfield with Olympia's own Geoff Jenkins might look like.
Logistics: I agree with Steve Noslen of Mariners Wheelhouse fame that Raul Ibanez is the salary we should be trying to dump, not Randy Winn. He's older, makes more money, is worse defensively and less flexible (since Winn can play center). Unfortunately, I also agree with Steve that there's virtually no chance this will happen. How often does a new regime punt on a new signing like this? Remember, he's a "world-class human being."
Unfortunately, this poses an immediate hurdle in terms of acquiring Jenkins. While he's a pretty good left fielder range-wise, he can't really throw. Jenkins has played precisely one game in right field, way back in 1998, because of that weak arm. This comprehensive survey of defensive stats (via Wheelhouse) gives us a fairly clear picture of Jenkins as a defensive player. He's a surehanded (in 189 games over last two years, he has just one error) player with decent range and no hose -- almost identical to Winn, really, though Winn is a bit faster.
The ideal scenario would be to acquire Jenkins without giving up Winn (or getting another viable center fielder, an option I won't consider). The real glaring weakness on this team is the bench, and shifting Ibanez intto a fourth outfielder who could spell Edgar at DH while Jenkins plays left (or vice versa) would be the best option. Of course, he could also give days off to Jenkins and to John Olerud at first base. I'm sure Ibanez could get 400-450 at bats this way, for better or for worse. I think this is unlikely, since the M's won't want their "hot new signing" to be bench fodder, but it's the way to maximize offensive value.
It's also the only way to keep your best players in the lineup. If we do give up Winn, that would likely force Ibanez to play right field (where he's played 50-some times over the last three years) with Ichiro in center. Ibanez, who might charitably be described as an adequate left fielder, doesn't have the glove or the bat for this position, really.
But if we do get Jenkins, let's be honest -- this is the most likely outfield we'll be looking at, so let's evaluate on this basis.
The Positive: Make no mistake, Jenkins' bat would add serious value to the lineup immediately. If you discount his injury-plagued 2002 (more on this later), here's what the last few years look like:
So Jenkins' worstyear is about as good as Winn's best year. To be fair to Randy, he does steal bases (Jenkins doesn't) and can play center field. There's no way you look at those numbers and don't conclude that Jenkins is a massive upgrade, though.
Also, consider park effects: Much of Winn's career has been spent in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field. If we look at my favorite stat, EqA (a rating of a players total offensive value per out that considers park factors), Jenkins comes in at .306, Winn at .280. A league-average player is .260. At .306, Jenkins would be just outside of the top 20 hitters in the National League. The Baseball Prospectus puts their respective Value Over Replacement Player ratings at 36.6 for Jenkins, 25.2 for Winn.
From the VORP numbers, it looks reasonable to conclude that Jenkins' bat would likely be worth an extra 10 runs over Winn's throughout the course of the year. FYI, Ibanez' VORP rating is 16.2, meaning an extra 20 runs wouldn't be out of the question.
Sure, these numbers assume repeats of last year's performances in new environments -- but they don't assume the added offensive value if Ibanez goes to the bench and takes 100-200 at bats that might otherwise go to your friend and mine Quinton McCracken. It's highly probable that adding Jenkins adds real pop to the lineup, whether Winn goes or not, but especially if Winn stays.
The Concerns: It's tough to objectively rate how an outfield of Jenkins/Ichiro/Ibanez would perform defensively since Ichiro hasn't played center in the U.S. before. However, I don't think it'll be controversial to say that Jenkins is probably a slight upgrade over Ibanez in left (the aforementioned array of defensive numbers seems to bear this out); that Ichiro would probably be a slight-to-moderate upgrade over Winn in center (a much better arm, probably a bit better range); and in right field, going from Ichiro to Ibanez would be like trading in your used 2003 Mercedes for a shiny, new Gremlin. At best, this outfield would probably be a defensive wash, and could be a downgrade: You get a little better at two positions and a lot worse at the other.
But here's the kicker: This is true only if Jenkins can stay on the field. Any guesses as to how many times he's played more than 135 games in a season? That's right, never.
This is another reason the "trade for Jenkins, but keep Winn" pipe dream is ideal: you upgrade significantly on offensive, upgrade slightly on defense (since Jenkins would be better in left than Ibanez), and create a solid bench bat for when Jenkins hurts himself running into a wall or when Edgar hurts himself in a home run trot.
One final note of concern: Jenkins' splits show he has a real weakness against left-handed pitchers.
AVG OBP SLG OPS
vs. Left .270 .322 .396 .718
vs. Right .308 .400 .607 1.007
This makes Jenkins actually worse against lefties than Winn, whose rate stats are .314/.368/.491/.859. Certainly not enough to make acquiring him a bad move, but something worth noting. On the bright side, his numbers against right-handers border on "yowza" numbers.
To sum up:
*If the Mariners are going to trade for Jenkins, they should keep Randy Winn to play center field and shift Ibanez to the bench. This probably means making the deal just for pitching prospects if that's feasible.
*If the Mariners do trade Winn in the deal, they can expect a significant offensive upgrade in the starting lineup, an outfield defense that holds steady or possibly declines slightly, and a bench that continues to be a real problem.
*If the Mariners trade for an injury risk like Jenkins, they should also add a low-cost lefty masher to bolster the bench and give their new acquisition some days off against tough southpaws.
Here's how much the Yankee payroll is: According to Dugout Dollars, "[t]he Yankee payroll for 2004 is greater than the payrolls of the Twins, Indians, Expos, Pirates, Devil Rays and Brewers combined."
Wilson Watch:Trent and Jeff want to Free Craig Wilson: Well, that's the title of a story by Jerry Crasnick, ESPN's Insider, posted today. Subscribers only, I'm afraid.
This might possibly be close to the wishy-washiest story ever: Bob Finnigan's latest piece attempts to keep our appetite for trade rumors sated with the following morsels of "information":
The biggest possibility is a potential trade to bring in the big bat that this club has been seeking for several seasons.
Pitcher Freddy Garcia might be most likely to go, especially if one of Seattle's premier pitching prospects is having a big spring.
There was a rumor that Seattle might have been laying groundwork for such a move by negotiating to bring in free agent Greg Maddux. But one club official denied that, and reminded that by all accounts Maddux is focused on staying in the National League.
Should the Mariners angle to bring in an outfielder, with Magglio Ordonez of the White Sox and Geoff Jenkins of the Brewers possibly at the top of the available list, the Mariners might be expected to move Randy Winn's contract.
There are more qualifiers in that four-paragraph segment than on the U.S. Olympic team. Possibility, potential, might, if, rumor, should, possibly, might -- yawn.
Texas might figure that holding onto Soriano until the trade deadline will create a bigger market. In elite pitching prospect Ervin Santana and a new owner craving Latin stars, the Angels have the way and the will to land Soriano. So might the Cubs, Mariners, Dodgers and Indians. The Red Sox have Pokey Reese at second, but not the pitching prospects for this endeavor.
There's probably nothing to this, for obvious reasons: The M's have never given any indication of interest in Soriano, and he doesn't seem to fit on the team given the presence of a masher who looks a bit like Huckleberry Hound at second base. It's kind of fun to think about, but I wouldn't put much stock in it.
posted by Jefflink 9:27 AM 
In my defense, I didn't really want to make this pick. I was looking for one of the three left-handed relievers who are murder on lefties and tough on right-handed batters, too: Rheal Cormier, Damaso Marte and Eddie Guardado. Unfortunately for me, all three went in succession right before my turn.
Throughout the draft, I tried to take the best offensive players with balanced splits so I wouldn't have to worry about getting platoon partners. The idea was that, instead of using two picks to get one productive offensive slot, I could concentrate on filling out the pitching staff. That's generally working out: Nick Johnson is the only player I really want to platoon, and lefty-crushers at first base are a dime a dozen. Plus, I'd feel comfortable even if I didn't get Johnson a platoon partner -- his OBP is still nearly .400 against lefties, and that's what I wanted him for anyway.
With that type of player a low priority, I wanted to get a reliever and a starter out of these two picks. With all the top-tier southpaw bullpen aces gone, I decided to wait on a situational lefty (which I'll get later in the draft). I also elected to wait on another reliever, since righty flamethrowers are still in great supply. Instead, I figured now was the time to get my fourth starter.
And yes, Kevin Gregg is another of these low-innings cheapies. But his peripherals are a cut above: a 1.05 WHIP, which is by far the best available among starters (as far as I know) to go along with a .676 OPS against.
The low strikeout rate (5.11/nine) worries me, which is why I also considered taking Roger Clemens earlier in the draft. Still, a 1.05 WHIP isn't anything to be sneezed at, especially if he doesn't give up much in the way of extra-base hits.
I'll either fill out the rotation or snag another reliever on the way back around.
posted by Jefflink 8:59 AM 
Monday, February 16, 2004
Better late than never: An online chat with Paul DePodesta just started at 5 p.m. PST. That's a link to submit questions. I just found this and thought I'd pass it along.
posted by Jefflink 5:37 PM 
Something worth more outrage than the A-Rod trade: If Charles Pickering had his way, my wife and I would have to serve jail time for our marriage because I'm white and she's not.
Who is Charles Pickering? Some lunatic-fringe Klansman? Afraid not. He's now a federal judge. President Bush just appointed him to the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals through a back-door "recess appointment" designed to bypass the normal Senate approval process.
I'm shocked that people like Pickering still exist in America. I'm horrified that he's going to have power to interpret laws that affect millions of us.
Saturday was Valentine's Day. And this clown has argued in favor of making my marriage illegal. Unbelievable.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled frivolous fantasy baseball experience: The Optimist is freakin' killing me. Two rounds in a row he's bagged players I coveted: This time it's Rheal Cormier, who holds lefties to a miserable .384 OPS. If he pitches to Bonds, it'll be like the irresistible force and the possibly chemically enhanced object.
Another nice find: James at Cracking the Safe plucks Luis Castillo out of the ether to fill his second base slot. Though Castillo lacks power against right-handed pitching, this is a solid value pick: Value over replacement player (VORP) statistics rate him higher than Jeff Kent, Mark Grudzielanek, Placido Polanco and Ray Durham, all of whom were selected earlier.
Two interesting questions that I will be interested to see how Diamond Mind resolves.
Issue one: I have had my eye on Darrell May for a while now, and Peter at Mariner Musings just snagged him. What makes May attractive is his sterling 1.19 WHIP, among the best still available.
Here's the catch: May is hittable, and is susceptible to long hits as well. His OPS against is a risky .725. Since he doesn't walk anybody, hitters get on base against him at a mere .290 clip -- but they slug .435, which would make me gulp.
So, how does this play out in the software? We'll find out. Another intriguing player with the opposite issue is Russ Ortiz, who has an "uh-oh" WHIP of 1.31 -- but a very strong OPS against of .657.
The lesson for real-world baseball, I think, is that pitchers can be successful by 1. Not walking batters (see Schilling, Curt) and 2. Not giving up long hits, and 3. Ideally, both. Which part of that equation is more important to Diamond Mind? A look at May and Ortiz' numbers at the end of our simulated season is the best way to answer that.
My first reaction is, wow, what a great idea: Dotel's ridiculous peripheral numbers would be a nightmare for opposing hitters. My second reaction is, wow, how will Diamond Mind handle this? Dotel hasn't made a start since 2001, when he began four games on the bump. Theoretically, Mariner Optimist could do the same thing with John Smoltz, who is an almost identical situation to Dotel (five starts in 2001).
A guess is that the software probably has some type of stamina setting for pitchers. [This was something I considered when I picked Barry Zito.] There may also be an adjustment for relievers' numbers as they enter the rotation (which might also apply, to a lesser degree, for Johan Santana).
I don't know any of this for sure, though, and I'll be interested to see how it pans out.
I'll also be excited when spring training begins, and we've all got real baseball to think about in addition to the MBSBL.
posted by Jefflink 12:49 PM 
Sunday, February 15, 2004
MBSBL Update, Round 13: Just wanted to say that there were several excellent picks this round, many of which had me cursing. The Optimist took Phil Nevin and his 1.222 OPS against lefties, a player I had my eye on to platoon with Johnson; ditto Onesixteeners' tapping of Eduardo Perez, who mashes lefties to an 1.126 clip.
Sodo Oh No's selection of Roger Clemens, one of the starters I wanted, made me second-guess my decision to take a reliever. Fire Bavasi's pickup of Octavio Dotel made me feel bad and good -- good that someone else thought this was the time to go for top-notch relievers, bad because Dotel had a helluva year, and this is a great choice for Jeff's pitching staff.
posted by Jefflink 7:01 PM 
This is probably my fault for gloating over the prospects of a shoddy, Travis Lee-filled platoon at first a few days back. Note to self: Save schadenfreude for later.
While I'm trying to get my mind off this, and while I'm waiting to make my round 13 pick, here's a mid-draft MBSBL re-cap.
MBSBL Update, Round 13: Again, I'm not going to try to rate the teams, but here are a few summaries of where I think everyone's at. Certainly, you can't judge a work in progress. But I can.
Fire Bavasi Positives: Cliff Floyd, the last player left in the EqA top 80, was a steal last round. Top three starters are scary-good. Has Vlad Guerrrero. 'Nuff said. Well-balanced offensive attack, including infield vacuums Rolen and Vidro.
Negatives: Mike Cameron is a solid addition, but I think Jeff could have waited a few rounds and still snagged him. Derek Jeter can't field. Sodo Oh No will probably not trade him A-Rod so Alex can field for him.
Key Questions: Can he find a now-scarce masher of righties to platoon with Craig Wilson? Will Cameron's defensive value make up for the slight sacrifice of offense?
Mariners Weekly Positives: Best rotation in the league. Billy Wagner is a top-tier closer. Teams will struggle to score against them.
Negatives: It's round 13, and Aaron Boone is penciled in at second, short and third. Where will the infield offense come from? It's good that Pedro, Oswalt, Zambrano and Vazquez get strikeouts, 'cause Manny and Juan won't run down many gappers.
Key Questions: Can he find some bargain-bin offensive talent in the late rounds? Will the "win a bunch of 2-1 games" strategy pay off?
Mariner Musings Positives: A host of potent infield bats, led by Boone and Thomas. Got a great value pick in Larry Walker, bolstering an offense that also features Gary Sheffield. Mulder and Wood are a pair of aces.
Negatives: Still needs a shortstop, and the top guys are long gone. The Guy Who Ate C.C. Sabathia has a forgettable OPS against as a third starter.
Key Questions: Will Eric Chavez' weakness against lefties be remedied with a platoon? Mo Rivera is a stud, but will last year's splits against righties (more than .700 OPS against) haunt him?
Mariner Optimist Positives: Strategy to wait on starters seems to have worked: Got Eric DuBose, an exceptional value pick, last round. Has far and away the best catching with Lopez and Posada.
Negatives: Reached for Smoltz early, though it's tough to dislike having him on the team. Probably needs platoon partners for Koskie and Stairs.
Key Questions: Is Stairs an everyday first baseman? Will more valuable starters fall to Corey? We know he's thinking positive.
Cracking the Safe Positives: Superlative outfield defensive. Mad position flexibility, with Huff eligible at three slots. Terrific lefty-righty balance. Didn't draft Rafael Furcal as I suggested, noting correctly that Furcal isn't eligible at second base.
Negatives: Still needs to find a good player that is second-base-eligible.
Key Questions: Where do you find a gifted second sacker after round 12? Is the "all-underrated team" underrated for good reasons, or just full of overlooked talent?
Sodo Oh No Positives: Having a masterful draft. Grabbing Bagwell this late gives them a devastating first-base platoon. Got A-Rod with the fifth pick, and got exceptional value for most every pick thereafter (Edmonds and his 1.000+ OPS, Alvarez and his small-sample-studhood).
Negatives: No everyday DH or relief pitcher -- at least not yet. Better hope that Enron/MinuteMaid/Whatever Field didn't inflate the numbers of the three Astros on this team (Ensberg, Bagwell, Kent).
Key Questions: Will they go for a big bat, a fourth starter, or a top-tier reliever next to fill out this potent roster?
San Shin Positives: The offense is full, and full of big boppers. Three left-handed bats (Giles, Bonds, Johnson) can be sprinkled through the lineup to thwart situational lefties. Jumped when Edgar slipped too far.
Negatives: Most of the big boppers sling the leather like you would expect big clumsy guys to do. No real speedsters except for Soriano. Waited to long to get a good catcher. What, no Japanese players yet? Has he looked at the name of his blog?
Key Questions: To go with a fourth starter or a stud reliever next? Is there steroid testing in this league? Will he buy Barry Bonds one of those urine-cleanser gadgets?
What the Hell?!? Positives: Lineup is strong top-to-bottom, and so is the pitching. A staff of Loiaza, Mussina, Colon and Gagne is intimidating.
Negatives: Dmitri Young has a great bat, but should he be playing third base every day? Was Preston Wilson a reach in round eight, when Chipper Jones, Larry Walker and Cliff Floyd were available?
Key Questions: Will Carl Everett create clubhouse chemistry problems when he assails Stanford grad Mussina over his belief in dinosaurs?
Onesixteeners Positives: Has three top-of-the-line starters in Hudson, Beckett and Livan Hernandez. Loretta is a dramatically underrated second baseman. Is a team of high-OBP players with speed, especially with the addition of Podsednik.
Negatives: No relievers yet. Piazza a risk to throw the ball into center field a lot -- though he was the best catcher available.
Key Questions: Eduardo Perez murders lefties, but where does he fit in on this team? Is the plan to platoon him with Geoff Jenkins, or play him mostly at DH? If it's the former, Perez is a big step down defensively; If it's the latter, what happens with Mike Sweeney?
The Safe Positives: Superb defensively, with no everyday player having a range less than 3 or an error rating over 100. Has four starting pitchers (including two lefties) and Rafael Soriano.
Negatives: Still no catcher. Must hope that no one has their heart set on any other backstops for platoon purposes, or it's a free trip to Molina city.
Key Questions: Is this lineup too vulnerable to lefties, with Ichiro, Trot Nixon and Hank Blalock apparently pencilled in every day? May have to look for lefty-mashers in the next round.
Updated to reflect my round 13 pick: I just took Valverde so the Mariner Optimist could get another prediction right.
Kidding. Actually, I struggled with whether to take a starter here, since I consider them generally more valuable than relievers. But given Valverde's ridiculous .489 OPS against (including .465 versus righties), I really wanted him pitching my high-leverage innings.
Plus, all his other numbers are lights-out as well -- almost 13 strikeouts per nine innings, a sub-1.00 WHIP, etc. There are other relief aces available, but I looked at the fourth starter I had my eye one and couldn't justify taking him over Valverde. I'm betting that one of the group of six starters I'm interested in is available on the way back.
Of course, I've been wrong about my last "I'll bet so-and-so is taken" predictions, so we'll see.
posted by Jefflink 1:15 PM