Fantasy baseball Trade Tips: Buy Schierholtz, sell Blanks, hold Ozuna
Sometimes, it pays to be polite. I recently discovered this firsthand when, after holding the door for the manager of a national doughnut shop, I was rewarded with a free baked good. (Since said shop has yet to offer to sponsor this column, I won't name names.) A door for a doughnut? Talk about a trade worth making. Trading a scuffling 22-year-old phenom, though? That's a far tougher call...
• OF Nate Schierholtz, Chicago Cubs: Not every Cub is a disappointment. Schierholtz fits well in Theo Epstein's Moneyball world, with solid on-base skills, low strikeouts and decent pop. Schierholtz won't win a week for those in head-to-head leagues, but he won't lose one, either. And, as CBS' Nando Di Fino points out, Schierholtz has yet to become a hot property. He may never reach that status, which makes him a high-value add.
• SP Eric Stults, San Diego Padres: Stults has quietly become the Padres' most reliable starter, having given up three earned runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts. While he certainly benefits from pitching in San Diego, his road numbers are also respectable; he's not just a pitcher owners start at home, like Tommy Milone. And while we'd never advocate acquiring a pitcher solely for stats he can't control, it's worth noting that the Padres have been feisty enough to help Stults earn six wins. The price for Stults will be low, but his potential return is high.
• OF Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox: Victorino just isn't the same guy who could once be counted on for double-digit homers and 20-plus steals. The power has been gone for a few seasons, and now the speed is waning. Sell his reputation as a stolen base threat and work on that Red Sox owner in your league -- there's always one who rips The Olde Towne Team but can't resist its players.
• 1B/OF Kyle Blanks, San Diego Padres: Long lauded by the fantasy community for his potential, Blanks has finally gotten the opportunity to play regularly with Yonder Alonso injured. Blanks has finally lived up to the hype, hitting .302 with five homers and 13 RBI in June. While the hasty fantasy owner is zigging, however, the savvy owner should zag: Before Alonso's injury, Blanks was still a platoon player for the Padres, so Blanks' long-term potential is still debatable. If the leash is short, a slump, the return of Alonso, or something else could make Blanks a part-time player again. Don't wait for that to happen. Deal now while his value is on the upswing, even for an underperforming but more settled regular. Your full season will thank you.
• OF Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins: Stuck in a 1-for-24 slump, the 22-year-old rookie has been on a few too many drop lists. What, you thought he was going to hit .330, like he did in May, every month of his career? Keep a few things in mind. First, he's a rookie playing in a dismal lineup, so the lack of protection coupled with adjustments from opposing pitchers was bound to catch up to him eventually. But Giancarlo Stanton is back, which should help Ozuna see a few more hittable pitches. Plus, with so few appealing options behind Ozuna on a weak Miami team, he's sure to get plenty of playing time. Bench him if you have a more consistent option available, but don't give up on a promising offensive talent before he rediscovers his useful fantasy form.