This time of the year, the season long production of a player means a lot less than how they have played over the past few weeks. Colby Rasmus, Zach McAllister, and Jose Quintana have all had solid years, but it’s time to cut bait and pick up more useful players for the stretch run of the season.
For much of the year, Quintana had an ERA under 3.00. That has risen pretty astronomically over the past few weeks, now up to 3.68 after yesterday’s miserable 1.1 inning seven run outing against the Twins. For many teams, Quintana was a savior to their rotation, but focusing on how he helped you earlier will fog up the fact that he is hurting you now. Overall his numbers still look pretty solid, yet unspectacular. He has a 3.68 ERA and a 4.17 FIP while pitching in a pitcher’s ballpark, but three straight bad outings from a player that was not expected to produce much coming into the year are all I need to see before I risk falling down the ERA pecking order during the season’s last month. If Quintana had high strikeout numbers, maybe I would be willing to hold onto him for a few more starts but he strikes out just over five batters per nine.
McAllister is a player I was particularly high on, and that I still have faith in to finish the season relatively strong, but again the risk to reward of McAllister pitching as a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm or getting completely shellacked as he has since the start of August (6.08 ERA and nine home runs allowed) does not equal out. When McAllister is on, he’s a solid fantasy arm. He can get a decent amount of strikeouts, pitches in a solid park, and has avoided getting hurt by the walk. When he is off, it’s ugly.
The most difficult one to part ways with may be Colby Rasmus, who many who have owned him have been pleasantly rewarded with a solid power season. It is difficult to let any player with 20 home runs go, especially one that plays in the AL East where nearly all of the parks are hitter friendly. Rasmus’s average has been low all season, but it has now bottomed out at .227. The lower averages were fine when he was hitting for a ton of power, but he has hit just four home runs since the All-Star break to go along with a .164/.222/.261 line. Additionally, he hasn’t stolen a base since the end of June. Rasmus is not helping in any categories, when the hope before the season was that he could be a decent steal in his first full season in Toronto. He helped many teams early in the season with his 16 pre-All Star break home runs and high RBI total, but his performance over the past two months has made him a must drop for any contending team down the stretch run.
Parting with these guys is not easy, because in all likelihood they could have been moved or at least packaged to net a decent return at the trade deadline. At this point in the season, the waiver wire does not offer a ton of tremendous options, but it must be understood that these three are no longer the solid options they were early in the season as well. Drop these guys and let a competitor pick up their season long numbers while they receive their more recent poor performances instead.