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Kicking Rocks: Cutting Bait

Posted By Howard Bender On June 30, 2011 @ 11:16 am In Busts | 18 Comments

“Don’t take your love away from me
Don’t you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I’ll be blue
‘Cause breaking up his hard to do.”

It plays over and over in my head every time I look at a roster that includes the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Dan Uggla and Joe Mauer.  Aggravataing?  Yes.  Both the song and the lack of production.  But what’s really aggravating is that question that keeps popping into your head as well, “How long do I stick with this guy?

The phrase is called “cutting bait” and it’s literally the hardest thing to do in fantasy baseball.  After all, you drafted these guys pretty high and their expected levels of production were an integral part of your strategy.  But here we are, less than two weeks away from the All Star Break and their production levels are still just the equivalent of stepping in a pile of dog crap.  They’re nothing more than marquee names taking up valuable roster space as you spend countless hours revamping a roster that their lack of performance has subsequently ruined.

You can’t trade them because you’ll never get full value.  Whether it’s a keeper league or a re-draft league, you’ve probably received some of the most underwhelming, borderline insulting, trade proposals and you just can’t bring yourself to agree to any of them.  Not only do you believe that you’re getting the raw end by giving up the best player in the deal, but the fear of an immediate turnaround and watching said player produce like a monster for some other guy’s team actually makes you sick to your stomach.

You don’t want to just cut the guy either.  You’ll get nothing in return but the likelihood of watching one of your competitors pick him up for the price of dropping Jack Wilson.  That, of course, then leads to the aforementioned turnaround that prompts your acid reflux to kick in.

So what to do?  Will these guys ever put it together this season or has it been a complete waste of a fairly high draft pick?  How many times are you going to cite Mauer’s injuries and purport him as a great, second half, comeback player?  How many times are you going to mention Uggla’s .189 BABIP and say that a turnaround is just a few hits away?  It’s getting old, isn’t it?  Frustrating too.

Hard to say, really, on what to do.  Depends on who you’re talking about.  For the most part, when it comes to players like this, you just have to sit and take it.  Stick them on your bench, lose the roster spot and hope for the best.  How do you give up Dunn’s power potential and possibly miss out on 20 HR after the All Star Break?  How do you dismiss the overall talents of Hanley?  You can’t and you don’t.

Now if we’re talking about guys with injuries that are preventing them from doing their job, then I say you take whatever you can get in a deal and move on.  In a re-draft league, Mauer isn’t doing diddly for you in the second half.  Maybe you’ll get a decent average out of him, but probably not much else.  Same with Justin Morneau.  You could probably get as much out of Derrek Lee as you could Morneau, and Lee is probably available on your waiver wire.   Even a youngster like Pedro Alvarez.  There’s no guarantee that he’ll ever develop the way some people thought and this nagging quad injury is probably just the tip of the iceberg.  If it’s a keeper league, you’ll probably be able to net a little more in a deal for one of these guys.  Probably not too much more at this point, but maybe a little more.  Either way, take what you can get.

If we’re talking guys like Uggla, Casey McGehee, or even a Delmon Young — you know, borderline guys — then it’s definitely time to call it quits.  Cut bait, trade them, whatever you have to do to rid then from your roster.  You’ve probably already replaced them in your starting lineup and are just staring at them on your bench preventing you from making more efficient pick-ups for your team.  Say goodnight, Gracie.

Pitchers?  Same thing.  With the abundance of starting pitching out there for trades or pick-up, I’m sure you can find yourself a reasonable 2-for-1 deal for Zack Greinke.  If not that, then a straight up trade and a supplemental guy from your waiver wire, but why suffer any longer?

Nobody likes having to make those tough decisions, but at this point in time, it’s a must.  Tolerate your under-performing superstars like Dunn, Hanley and Ryan Zimmerman and hope for the best.  It’s all you can do.  For the rest of the lot, be proactive.  Get rid of them.  Drop them, trade them, do what you have to do, but, in the immortal words of the James Gang, “just turn your pretty head and walk away.”

 


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