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It’s very rare that a player of Big Papi’s caliber falls into this bad of a slump. Maybe burying that David Ortiz jersey had an adverse effect? Let’s look at some things we know. Ortiz bats third in arguably the best lineup in baseball. He pats his hands together before every pitch like he’s making arepas. He still knows how to take a walk. What we don’t know? His actual age. He’s supposedly 33 years old, but he’s Latin so I’d say he’s anywhere from 35 to 47 (which makes him anywhere from two to twelve years older than Pujols). For the purposes of this, we’re going to assume last year was a harbinger of things to come — that Papi’s best years are behind him. Let’s look at last year, he hit 116/35/117/.332. If that’s a sign of trouble, then I’d like to fill up my team with guys whose jerseys are buried under Yankee Stadium. But, wait, could his knee be bothering him? Sure, but it was bothering him last year and look again at those numbers. So he’s in the worst slump of his career, he’s hobbling around Fenway like a drunk Bea Arthur, yet I’m telling you this is the absolute best time to buy David Ortiz. That’s right, trade for Ortiz — steal him away from your opponents because his stock won’t be low for long. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday:

Evan Longoria – He looks really solid. I still don’t think you should sell your dead nana’s jewelry to acquire him.  Remember Braun’s ’07 was the exception not the rule. Longoria hit a fastball in the seats. Off speed pitches are usually the bump in the rookie ride.

Nick Markakis – He has four steals already. If he gets to 30 homers (which he should eventually), you’re gonna wish you had him.

Carlos Gomez – In your box score it shows a K in the first inning. He struckout trying to bunt with two strikes. You’re thinking, “Well, that shows how committed he was to moving the guy over.” Dude, he was leading off the game! I really don’t think you want CarGo on your team right now. He doesn’t know what’s coming or going with pitch selection.

Alexis Rios – Sweet stroke meet Sherrill’s fastball.

Pat Neshek – I love middle men, there I said it. But when they’re struggling — ugh. I dropped Neshek for Dotel in one league I had him.

Zach Greinke – He should’ve got out of the third without giving up any runs. Did he crawl into a ball and start weeping? No. He handled it very well. He’s passed the mental health check so far. Unfortunately, he’s not striking out men like he should be. Am I worried? His ERA went up after giving up only one run in 9 innings. Of course, I’m not worried.

Adam Jones – He looked really solid. I still wouldn’t touch him.

Rafael Betancourt – It’s got to be a matter of time. Borowski cannot get people out. How long can the Indians let a guy who you wouldn’t trust in the seventh inning keep getting the ball in the ninth? I don’t think very long. If you have Borowski without Betancourt on your team, I would try and get Betancourt in a trade quick-fast.

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  1. Steve says:
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    Naturally I had Rios on the bench when I saw he wasn’t starting. I lead the league in dingers hit from the bench (Posada and Kelly Johnson have already hit one from there for me this season).

    And not a good day for those going Relievers-only – especially those starting Neshek and Saito…

    Would you still drop Neshek in a league that counts Holds?

  2. Russ says:
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    I have to disagree about Gomez. He beat out two should-have-been double play balls last night, giving him the opportunity for more steals (which he took advantage of once).

    In a roto league, he’s money for steals. His BA will obviously fluctuate, but he’s been scoring runs as well, hitting in front of Mauer and Morneau. Every time he gets on base, he’s nearly guaranteed to be in scoring position within two pitches.

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Russ — Did you see his first at-bat? He didn’t even wait to see if a strike was coming on two strikes. He just threw his bat out there and tried to bunt. I think the negative in average is going to get to be too much at some point. His speed is unquestionable, and will help in steals and runs, as long as he gets on base; just don’t know if he will get on base.

    Steve — No, if the league counted holds, I wouldn’t drop him just yet.

  4. 2&Fro says:
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    I agree that Borowski must be removed from the closer, but Betancourt doesn’t look right either. He is still striking guys out without walking anyone, so hopefully these early struggles are a bit of a mirage. He definitely has to be next in line.

    Right now Jensen Lewis is the only guy in the bullpen who has been any good. Seems like every other year the Tribe pen is really bad. Hopefully that trend doesn’t continue as they are quite awesome last season and we need another quality bullpen if we want to compete late into October.

    2&Fro’s last blog post..Hooray for Cliff Lee

  5. SevenX says:
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    Off topic: In my league I’m doing horribly in AVG and R (second to last in those two). I’m thinking of trading Smoltz for Jeter. I hesitate though because of the injury. Should I do it?

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SevenX — No, I wouldn’t do that. Plus, it’s very early to assess average and runs.

  7. scott says:
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    Grey,
    Victorino just hit the waiver wire in my league…thinking of dropping D. Eveland to pick him up with no. 3 waiver slot….i’m kinda already set in OF w/ Sizemore, Rios and J. Hamilton and M. Bradley alternating with Thome and Kotchman in Utility spot. However, I know how much you love the guy and I guess it would be nice to have the SB’s when Bradley inevitably goes on the DL….you standing by your man the Flying Hawaiian (I couldn’t find the trademark sign, sorry)?

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    I kinda love your whole outfield, you’ve been paying attention, huh? Yeah, dropping Eveland for Victorino is a great move. I’m still keen-o on Shane Victorino.

  9. Russ says:
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    Grey-

    I’ve seen nearly all of his at bats. What you’re saying about him not getting on base enough doesn’t jive with reality. He beat out two double plays last night, stuff that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. Hitting where he is, he is a money 5th OF in a roto league.

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    .271 OBP — 14 Ks to 2 BBs

  11. scott says:
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    @ Grey — thanks for the OF love…yes I have been paying attention…you def know what you’re doing…the humor is an added bonus…will p/u Victorino with the waiver claim that i was hoping to use for J. Cueto…maybe things happen for a reason, huh?

  12. Russ says:
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    he’s stolen a base 37% of the time he’s reached base and scored a run 43% of the time he’s reached base. i’d much rather have Carlos gomez hitting .240, stealing bases, and scoring runs than Jack Cust hitting .114 with his 1 HR.

    No one is looking for Gomez to be a top 3 OF (in a 5 OF league) but as far as 4th or 5th OF’s go, he’s an exciting option. If he gets on base 150 times, he’s almost a lock for 50 steals. Plus, he’s a career .278 minor league hitter who’s 22 years old playing in the majors. I’m looking at the stuff that’s there to stay: his SB %, the lineup he’s leading off for. He strikes out a lot. You know who else strikes out a lot? Curtis Granderson.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Everyone had Granderson much higher than me b/c of the Ks. I wouldn’t draft Cust on any team. I’ve said repeatedly on this site I like Gomez for steals.

    http://razzball.com/kelly-johnson-loses-playing-time/
    http://razzball.com/drops-adds-and-holds-2/
    http://razzball.com/drops-adds-and-holds/

    I’ve been watching him for two weeks. If he bats .240 over 500 at-bats, you’re sacrificing a lot for those 50 steals. But you’re right, he does have a place on certain teams, you just need to know what you’re doing, because on the wrong team, he can kill you. Right now he reminds me of Alex Sanchez. I’m watching him, because cheap steals are a wonderful thing.

  14. Russ says:
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    @Grey: since we’re using small sample sizes, I hope you’ve been watching tonight’s game.

    ;)

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