Fantasy baseball is at its best when it comes closest to mimicking real baseball and puts the fantasy player in the shoes of the MLB general manager. And the further you get away from a Yahoo!-type free waiver wire league, the closer you get to experiencing the constant pressure on
Let's take a look through the major leagues and see what teams are motivated to make a move for starting pitching and which are selling dollar beers to put fans in the seats. Remember, starting pitching relies on team effort, so the health and movement of a pitcher's team (even if the pitcher isn't mentioned below) dictates how the rest of the year will play out for him.
The Arizona Diamondbacks arguably have the best top three starters in
The Yankees, um, Boston Red Sox, are always buyers and with the whole
The Chicago Cubs are definitely buyers, but what do they need? Perhaps another reliever, but their rotation is set (even though
The Chicago White Sox are leading the AL Central, and could probably use another starter to make them feel comfortable about the back end of their rotation (
The Detroit Tigers have created a new position in baseball: the "blow-ser." That's the relief specialist they bring in late in the game with a lead who lets the other team win. Having perfected the position, they now need to replace it with a true closer (let me be the first to say
The Florida Marlins are hanging tough with the Phillies and Mets, and find themselves buyers this season. Like the Cardinals, the Marlins are hoping their rehabbing starters can contribute (since I mentioned him last week,
Do the Houston Astros really think they have a chance in arguably baseball's toughest division? That's the only way to explain trading for
The Los Angeles Dodgers have two starters --
While the dogfights are going on in the AL East, NL East and NL Central, the Los Angeles Angels are quietly sailing through as the best team in baseball (and the best 1-5 rotation as well). And perhaps with the exception of a healthy catcher, the Angels don't need anything. Their only concern is signing their free agents in their outfield and rotation, and World Series rings have a tendency to make that happen.
Like the Dodgers the Milwaukee Brewers have two pitchers who could walk after the season's over, but they're going to ride
The Minnesota Twins are in the race, but as I pointed out last week, and their rotation is good but not great. Millions of fantasy players are screaming for the Twins to call up
I was going to say the New York Mets were on the market for offense until I saw
Right now, the New York Yankees are trotting
The Philadelphia Phillies appear to have gotten the starter they needed by picking up
The St. Louis Cardinals are buyers, and would love to have a starter who isn't hurt.
As is usual with this time of year, the Tampa Bay Rays are ... buyers? Up is down, left is right. Dogs lying with cats. Yes, it's a sign of the apocalypse when we can say with a straight face, "The Rays will be big players at the trade deadline, looking to shore up their team for the pennant run." The Rays need a few things: a righty bat, a lefty reliever, and a starting pitcher. Looking at the potential '09 free agents in the NL, the only two names that make sense for the Rays are
The Atlanta Braves have been wildly inconsistent, scoring either seven or zero runs a game. They don't have the firepower this year to keep up with the Phillies, Mets and Marlins, and will unload some talent. Don't waste your time with
Once again the Baltimore Orioles are sellers, but seeing how they much they got in return for
The Cincinnati Reds are once again sellers, but this year they at least have some parts that resemble talent to build around. Hopefully you sold high on
The Kansas City Royals' win-loss record suggests they are sellers but there's really no reason to trade any of their young pitching talent. For once it's nice to see them not simply function as a farm team for the AL East.
The Oakland A's are always sellers who make such great deals that they're secretly buyers. They know talent, and more important, they know other teams' talent. They might do a sell high on
The Pittsburgh Pirates are always sellers in July, and could unload
Has there been a bigger disappointment in the NL than the San Diego Padres? Sure, they collapsed in the 163rd game last year, but that was only supposed to make them stronger, especially with some young talent coming up. They also got
The San Francisco Giants have a wonderful nucleus of young starting pitchers in
What goes around comes around for the Seattle Mariners. A few years back the Diamondbacks mortgaged their future for
I was going to write about how the Texas Rangers were the Pirates of the AL, but then I watched them just lose Michael Young for a couple of months, and ouch, they're more like the AL's San Diego. Actually, they'll continue to score runs, but they'll also give up more than they score. They are definitely sellers, and keep an eye on
Ah, to be the Toronto Blue Jays and annually fight for third place. The Jays are sellers, and in a big way. We all know that A.J. Burnett is on the block, but there's also been talk of
The Washington Nationals have some decent young pitchers (wait, do I have to explicitly state the Nats are sellers?) but they're all cheap and they are the nucleus the team should be built around. Odalis Perez is the only starter likely to be traded, but leave him alone. No matter what the uniform, it's still Odalis Perez underneath (and an anagram for his name is Erase Old Zip, which can't be a good sign). However, if
I would have thought the Cleveland Indians were purely sellers, but they bought
The Colorado Rockies are the quintessential bubble team. They play in a relatively weak division, have shown signs of strength in pitching and hitting, but are still far enough back to question if they can make a stretch run. As such, they've dangled some talent on the market, but have also inquired about getting talent. Heck, I was just at Safeway and they tried to trade me
Now let's see how this really plays out over the next few days. I'll be refreshing my browser all day Thursday, just like you. Until next week, keep taking the bump.