Struggling veterans beware: It is the season of the axe. Fantasy owners, you should be wielding the same iron.
With the sudden call-ups of impact phenoms Bryce Harper, 19, and Mike Trout, 20, the Nationals and Angels have announced the closing of one month of baseball. Four weeks is plenty of time to give players to come around. If they haven't, it is time to break out the old: "The organization has decided to make a change."
Sure, Harper and Trout are probably coming to the majors a bit too early -- likely briefly -- and we should fully expect them to struggle, at least initially.
But like their major league teams decided: We might as well shake things up as the calendar turns to May. That struggling mid-round pick, trade him or even cut him. Only your early round picks should be given more than one month's rope.
The Nationals started it off with the call-up of Harper, because -- without Mike Morse for what could be until the All-Star break -- Nationals left fielders were hitting .093 with zero homers, nine RBI and ranked last in the NL with a .320 OPS.
Harper doubled off the center-field wall in his first game. If he can sustain this, this short-term call-up can become a long-term one.
In the case of Trout, the Angels said they wouldn't make the move until there was a full-time role for their 20-year-old phenom. Room or not, they are looking for a spark. Trout was hitting a robust .403 with 21 runs scored and 10 extra-base hits (four doubles, five triples and a home run).
"We want to get Mike into the lineup, see if we can add a little energy, get some spice," Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said. "He's off to a great start. Just looking to shake things up a little bit is probably the best way to put it."
While these moves reek of temporary (largely unsuccessful) ones because they are being rushed to the majors, Trout, too, can stay as long as he produces. One month in, the time is now to make the call and make a move.