Fantasy baseball mailbag

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Hanley Ramirez got traded straight up for Starlin Castro in my league. This is veto-able, correct?-- @Dorman06

I hate vetoing deals. The reason is that sometimes a team would benefit from picking up a "lesser" player in a deal. If you need steals maybe it makes sense to trade Justin Upton for Michael Bourn, even if, straight up, the players aren't equal. However, deals are never done in a vacuum, so unless the deal is horrifically one-sided the best course of action is usually to just let people make bad decisions and live with them.

In terms of this deal, though, I'm going to completely reverse course. This is one of those deals that simply must be vetoed. Wind back the clock four weeks. Ramirez didn't fall out of the top-5 in any draft, no matter what the format, and Castro was lucky if he was being taken in the top-100. In each of the last four seasons Ramirez has been one of the top-10 fantasy performers in the game, averaging a 5x5 line of .319-27-83-111-36. Even if Castro were to maintain his current pace (.357-1-11-16-3) over 150 games this season he would end up with a 5x5 line of .357-7-75-109-20. Castro will never hit .357, but even if he does he isn't on pace to match a "normal" effort from Ramirez.

Closers. Pick two to keep and one to shop around -- Brian Wilson, Jonathan Broxton, Francisco Cordero. Thoughts?-- @alistairjhogg

The problem with questions like this is the following -- almost always the player or players you should keep are the ones that will bring the most value in a deal. Therefore, do you trade the "best" guy because he will bring the most in return or do you trade the inferior guys and get lesser players in return?

Wilson is the arm you have to keep. His 9.82 ERA is a total fluke in three poor outings. Wilson still has five saves in six chances and a strikeout per inning on the young season. He's still working his way back to full health after being slowed by a side issue in spring, but you don't trade the majors saves leader from the past three years (127, five more than K-Rod), unless you get a huge return.

Cordero gets saves -- he's had at least 34 in each of the past four years -- but his K-rate continues to plummet. After posting a 12.22 mark in 2007 we've seen it dip to 9.98, 7.83, 7.31 and 7.00 this season. Given that he's walking 4.00 batters per nine this year, which would be a fourth straight year of least four, you need to realize that the end is coming. Sooner or later a pitching line like that will catch up to you.

Broxton has struggled. His fastball is three mph down from where it was in '09 (97.8), and that is a big concern. Even more concerning is his current 6.97 K/9 mark. I have to think that is a sample size thing though -- he's never been below 10.54 per nine in his career. Even more disconcerting is his 6.10 BB/9 mark. Unless you're Carlos Marmol you cannot have success issuing that many free passes. At the same time Broxton is still generating a solid 1.56 GB/FB mark, and there is no way in the world that batters will continue to square him up this well all year (he's allowing a 34.3 percent line drive).

Keep Wilson and Broxton. If you tried to trade the Dodger right now you likely wouldn't get much for him anyway as people would be fixated on his ERA (4.35) and WHIP (1.84).

Should I drop Ervin Santana for Scott Baker?-- @zaktraut

It's so funny. It's like people have all of a sudden discovered Baker as I'm literally getting 20 questions a day about him on Twitter. Just to prove that I'm not Johnny Come Lately with Baker, I'd point you to a piece I wrote last year in October titled Pitchers: Not as Bad as You Thought in which I suggested that everyone keep an eye on Baker in 2011. Baker has always had the skills to be an elite level performer, but he has never been able to put it all together. Will he be able to this year? That remains to be seen, but it cannot be argued that he is off to a fantastic start (3.24 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 8.64 K/9, 3.00 K/BB ).

Santana has been one of those every other performers (look at his win totals the last five years -- 16, 7, 16, 8, 17). However, he posted a four year low in his K/9 rate (6.83) last year, continued to give up his fair share of long balls (1.09 per nine) and was hit pretty hard with a 22.1 percent line drive rate. This year he's upped the K-rate to 7.71 while dropping his walk rate way down to 2.20 per nine, but the outward results are poor (he's 0-3 with a 5.51 ERA). Clearly he has pitched better than the results this season. Let's compare the two righties by looking at their career numbers.

S. Baker: 4.29 ERA,, 1.27 WHIP, 7.12 K/9, 3.36 K/BB, 0.76 GB/FB, 1.19 HR/9Santana: 4.43 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7.22 K/9, 2.53 K/BB, 0.86 GB/FB, 1.15 HR/9

I want Baker even with the career numbers showing the matchup to be a toss up. I've said it before. One of these years it's all going to come together for Baker and when it does, watch out

Would you drop Matt Thornton or Sean Burnett for Ryan Franklin?-- @JSam85

Give me skills over role and eventually I'll come out ahead. With the massive changes we've already witnessed in the ninth inning this year, I wrote about this situation in The Closer Conundrum, it's never been more obvious to me that my position is the right one. It may not always result in saves or me winning a league, but in the long run I'll come out ahead more times than not, especially since we have no idea what managers will do in the ninth inning.

ROLE: Right now the pitcher to own would appear to be Burnett. Drew Storen is coming hard and appears to have pretty much locked down the ninth inning job with the Nationals, but Burnett figures to at least get some work in the ninth. Thornton was so bad early on that he's likely nowhere near the ninth for the Sox, and with Mitchell Boggs looking strong, I wouldn't expect to see Franklin closing games any time soon.

SKILLS: You may not want to hear it given his horrible start, but the best pitcher of this group in terms of skills is Thornton, and it's not even up for an argument. Let's look at each hurlers numbers since the start of the '09 season.

Burnett: 7.68 K/9, 2.31 K/BB, 6.78 H/9, 10.38 BR/9Franklin: 5.98 K/9, 2.41 K/BB, 7.86 H/9, 10.75 BR/9Thornton: 11.28 K/9, 3.98 K/BB, 7.15 H/9, 10.18 BR/9

Are you going to let 6.2 innings of poor work from Thornton wipe out three fantastic seasons (from '07-10, among hurlers who tossed 200 innings Thornton was second in base runners per nine innings, fourth in K/9, sixth in ERA and ninth in K/BB)? I'm not. As to who will be the most valuable fantasy performer, the answer to that depends on whether or not each hurler's manager allows them to pitch the ninth inning, so give me the pitcher with the best skill set -- Thornton, and leave Ryan Franklin alone.

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