Is It Time to Bench Pujols?

Last season, I drank the Adam Dunn Kool-Aid. He was coming over from the the National League. He would likely be in the lineup everyday, even if hurt, with the option of the D.H in the AL. What could go wrong? Pretty much everything. It couldn’t happen again I figured, so this season I drank the Albert Pujols flavored Kool-Aid. With him getting up in the years, he would be able to get a rest from fielding, DH a bit, continue hitting, win the MVP, and most importantly, lead my fantasy team to a title. Yea … that is not happening.

Many people are guessing the reasons behind Albert’s struggles and when will he finally break out of the slump. No one knows for sure. Besides Pujols himself struggling, his fantasy owners are struggling with what to do with him over the rest of this season. Here are some possibilities. I know that they may seem obvious, but sometimes owners become so concentrated on just one possible solution, they don’t expand their options.

Trade him?

It would be the total sell low situation. An owner would/should not expect top return, but they may be able to trade him and get a reasonable replacement as part of the trade. Find an owner with an extra 1B on their bench. Possibly the owners that took a chance on Adam Dunn. They would be able to sit Pujols and hope he turns it around. The owner that got rid of Pujols would now be able to have a productive 1B in their lineup.

I know it is frustrating to have high hopes for a player and see them under perform. If an owner is going to trade Albert, make sure it is not out of frustration, but out of a desire to improve their team.

Sit him?

I got to this point yesterday with my Ottoneu points league (and no thanks needed for him going 3 for 4 last night). He sat at 68 points on the season. Alex Rios had twice as many points as Albert. Alex Rios. I have the option of 2 good catchers (Matt Wieters is the other), so I have moved Mike Napoli over to 1B and put Albert to the bench.

I plan on re-evaluating the situation once he has hit a total of 3 HRs. I just picked that number out of the air, but I am tired of trying to see if he has turned the corner on a daily basis. I like to use this method of stepping away from struggling players, sitting them and re-evaluating at a set point like a week later.

If an owner has the option of playing another productive 1B in his spot, play them for now. Maybe Albert will get, maybe he won’t. At least the owner’s team will be getting decent production from the 1B position.

Play him out?

I find myself in this situation in an AL-only league I am in. I have no better options on my bench (especially after Longoria went down). I will just have to hope for the best. I just looked and the best 1B option on the WW is Daric Barton.

Some owners will just have to put him out their everyday and hope for the best. Having to play under performing stars is just one of the pit falls of playing in a deep league. With less starters, not alone stars, to go around, an extreme under performer will just have to be played every day and hope he turns it around. Sometimes I find this situation the easiest to handle because I know I have no other options.

—————–

Albert Pujols has been the biggest disappointment of the year so far. His owners have the options of trading him, benching him, or just playing him everyday. Depending on the each owner’s unique situation, they will have to make the best choice for their own team.



Print This Post

Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

newest oldest most voted
yaboynate
Member
yaboynate

Wait, so if I understand correctly, the options we have for Pujols are… trade, bench, or trade?

Ervin Santana
Guest
Ervin Santana

Why do people insist on making these comments, particularly when the author preempts it? The irony is that your comment is more platitudinous than Jeff’s original article. Way to go!

Poncho Villa
Member
Poncho Villa

Ya boy! That’s quite the clever comment!

yaboynate
Member
yaboynate

We do it for people like you. And the ladies.

Simon
Guest
Simon

I think you don’t understand correctly. Option 3 is to keep running him out there.

Simon
Guest
Simon

I would imagine so.

yaboynate
Member
yaboynate

Good thing I asked! Can you tell me what my options are for… Tulo? Can I also trade, bench, or play him?