Fantasy baseball mailbag

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What do you think of this trade ... I give up Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Howard for Adrian Gonzalez? I'd be left with David Aardsma as my top RP.-- @The_Real-Hart

I know everyone is ga-ga over A-Gone with his move to the Red Sox, and he has been productive so far, hitting .297 with seven RBI in 10 games, but I'm a bit confused by this proposal. Howard has averaged 46 homers, 136 RBI and 99 runs the past five years. I know he is coming off his worst full season (31 homers, 108 RBI, 87 runs) and that he will almost certainly fail to match Gonzalez in terms of batting average (more on that below), but do you know how many times A-Gone has been able to match the worst effort of Howard's career (31-108-87)? Three. You can talk to me all you want about Petco Park, but the fact is Howard's run production isn't likely to fall too far behind the Sox's new slugger. Oh, and I bet it would shock most of you to learn that there is only a four-point advantage for Gonzalez in career batting average over the Phillies' slugger (.284 to .280).

If that paragraph didn't convince you to turn down the deal, this one should. You simply cannot leave your bullpen in the hands of only Aardsma -- that would be a huge mistake. Aardsma is working his way back from injury and looking good in doing it, but it's far from certain he will immediately start saving games for the Mariners. Even if we posit that he will, you'll still need a second closer to have any shot at a respectable finish in the saves category. The Braves have settled on Kimbrel as their man in the ninth, sorry Johnny Venters owners, and through 24.2 big league innings Kimbrel has a K/9 mark of 17.15 -- the best mark in the history of baseball (min 20 innings).

Turn this offer down.

What are your thoughts on an Aubrey Huff for Kendrys Morales trade?-- @jamesprussell

All preseason I warned to be wary of Justin Morneau and Morales, though I don't think most listened. Morneau has been healthy and on the field, which is great news, but he has looked bad at the dish (.258/.303/.355). However, at least he is playing. Morales still is on the sidelines, and the exciting news here is that he will try to run on Tuesday or Wednesday. Think about that. He isn't running without pain from an injury that occurred last May. Morales was great in 2009, but let's compare his numbers from that season to what Huff did last year for the Giants.

Morales: .306-34-1408-86-3 with a .924 OPSHuff: .290-26-86-100-7 with a .891 OPS

Huff is healthy, off to a a solid start (seven RBI in 10 games), and qualifies at first base and outfield. I see no reason why everyone wouldn't prefer to roster Huff over the still working his way back into game shape Morales.

Sam Fuld or Angel Pagan? -- @dekampanilya

I can't believe the love fast starters get (I tried, even though no one seems to be listening, to tell people to slow their roll when it comes to the fast start of Willie Bloomquist in 2011 Player Profile: Willie Bloomquist). Fuld could be an even dicier option than Bloomquist, who has at least had some success in the big leagues. Due to the retirement of Manny Ramirez there has been an opening for Fuld to pick up playing time, and that makes him someone of interest in an AL-only league. But in a mixed league there is no chance I would roster him, and there is about as much chance I would do so if I had to drop Pagan as there is of me being asked to marry Jessica Biel to help her to get over the loss of Justin Timberlake. If we remove Fuld's game on April 7 we are left with an outfielder who has four steals in 105 career games. Toss in a total of one homer and a .263 average and, well, blah. To compare, last season Pagan was a huge disappointment in the second half, and he hit .263 with five homers and 18 steals. Remember people, the amount of the 2011 baseball season that is over is akin to one game during the NFL's 16-game season. I implore you to exercise some patience.

I was offered Josh Beckett for Phil Hughes. Take it?-- @walterchase

Why in the world wouldn't you take the deal? Hughes is struggling with velocity , and though the word is that it's a mechanical thing, tell me you aren't concerned when you look at his pitching line and see that over his last 18 starts his ERA is 5.76, his hits per nine mark is 9.54, his WHIP is 1.43, his K/9 has dropped to 6.2 and his HR/9 mark is 1.89? Folks, that is awful work, and 18 starts and 20 appearances (100 innings) is a pretty good chunk of work to start drawing some conclusions. Think of it this way. As bad as Beckett was in 2010 his ERA was only 0.02 higher and his WHIP only 0.11 worse. On the flip side, Beckett's K/9 rate was a vast improvement over Hughes' mark of 8.18, and his HR/9 mark was lower at 1.41. As awful as Beckett was last year Hughes has been even worse over his last 20 appearances. Toss in the mph/mechanical concern, and the fact that Beckett wasn't nearly as bad last season as some would lead you to believe Is Josh Beckett Finished?) and this is clearly a deal you have to accept.

Zach Britton or Chris Narveson in deep H2H league? -- @ronscrafano

Everyone loves the hot young stud, don't they? Britton is a lefty who has burst onto the scene because of an injury to Brian Matusz. In two starts Britton has allowed just one run, going 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA. Britton has been groomed to be a top of the rotation starter, and his greatest asset is his ability to keep the ball on the ground. His control can be hit or miss at times, but for the most part he is a polished youngster who appears ready to take the ball every day. Of course, there are a few of caveats. (1) He pitches in a park that favors hitters. (2) He pitches in the tough AL East. (3) He could lose his starting rotation spot when Matusz/Justin Duchscherer return to action. (4) He's yet to throw 160 innings as a professional.

Narveson certainly doesn't have the pedigree of Britton, and it would be shocking if ended up with the better career. That doesn't necessarily mean he is the better fantasy option right now however. Over Narveson's last 16 starts he has posted a strong set of ratios (3.35 ERA, 1.15 WHIP), which have been reflective of his successful work on the hill as Narveson has also struck out an average of 7.7 batters per nine innings leading to a 2.86 K/BB mark. If Britton has a wildly successful rookie season he's not likely to be able to match the ERA, WHIP or K/9 rate that Narveson has flashed over his last 16 appearances. I'm not saying Narveson is going to be an elite option in 2011, but for my money he'd be the hurler I would roster out of this duo.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 211 and XM 147. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account. To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at