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Like any stereotypical rock band or movie franchise, I’m going to try to repeat success by sticking with the same formula. I’m referring to last week’s post about The Next Chris Davis, which led to a number of great suggestions for next year’s breakout players. This week, while I still have your attention, I want to focus on the other side: players who you expect to take a step (or two, or three) backwards in 2014. I titled this post after Josh Hamilton’s 2013 performance, but it really could have been named after any number of disappointing performances. So, who do you expect to be a bust next year? And while you’re at it, can you think of any bands with a second album that was better than their debut or a movie franchise that had a better sequel than the original? I’m looking forward to all of your thoughts, which will provide me with some topics to endure the cold, winter months that some call the offseason…

I think that busts generally come from two areas: 1) Players who performed better than they usually do during the previous season and are falling back to their normal level of production, and 2) Players who have had their skills erode due to injuries or age and finally see their numbers take a hit. Mr. Hamilton fits both of these areas. Despite having his healthiest season in ages, his current .245/.301/.431 line pales in comparison to his past several years. A 200 point drop in OPS from the previous season is quite dramatic and, I’ll admit, more than I expected. It felt like one of those years where you wait for what seems like an inevitable hot streak that never comes. I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure Waiting for Godot was written to predict Hamilton’s 2013 season. Samuel Beckett, Fantasy Baseball Soothsayer? Anyway, I’ll have a tough time projecting Hamilton for much more than an .800 OPS in the future. Sadly, the same could be said for his teammate, Albert Pujols.

Hopefully this leads to a good list of and discussion about guys to avoid next season. And, while I’m mostly looking for busts in 2014, feel free to name the busts of 2013. You know who I’m talking about: the guys who completely ruined your team. This is a safe space, or at least that’s what I’ve been told, so vent to your heart’s content. I won’t mind and I might even be entertained. Who knows? Maybe – just maybe – some of the 2013 busts could end up being 2014 values…

Tom Jacks is sporadically on Twitter @votetomjacks

From Around The Web

  1. Jim says:
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    “or a movie franchise that had a better sequel than the original?”
    Well, contenders could be The Godfather II and The Empire Strikes Back……and Star Trek II….

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Jim: Good suggestions. I think it’s debatable for them, which at least shows that they weren’t a clear step down.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Tom Jacks: STP’s Purple was better than Core.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @goodfold2: They’re about the same for me, but I could see that. Definitely a strong second album.

  2. Grant says:
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    The next Josh Hamilton is going to be Chris Davis. I don’t think he will do terrible, but he is going to be drafted extemely early and people are going to expect to much of him.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Grant: Yeah, I could see people way overdrafting him. I bet many drafts will have people taking him with a first or second round pick.

    • Blue says:
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      @Grant:

      This.

  3. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    Segura

  4. neogonzo_mourning says:
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    the shoe has to drop on Edwin Encarnacion sometime… doesn’t it?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @neogonzo_mourning: You’d think so. Even if his skills remain roughly the same, the cumulative effect of his various injuries and age worries me.

  5. @CaliforniaJag says:
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    I have Carlos Gomez in my keeper league and I love Carlos Gomez, but I think it will be Carlos Gomez.

    CARLOS GOMEZ

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @@CaliforniaJag: He’s one that I’m torn about. I’ll be taking a long look at him in the offseason.

  6. Kevin says:
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    I’m going with Matt Carpenter. Impressive season, but I’m tired of mediocre Cardinals players sneaking on to my fantasy roster and then failing. Yea…hi David Freese.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Kevin: Haha that’s an interesting pick. I hadn’t thought of him, but he could fit since expectations for him will be higher than ever.

      • Skinny Pete says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Carpenter is here to stay. Great on base skills, great approach and hit tool. My bet would be Chris Davis. He’ll be drafted in the top ten and disappoint. A thirty homerun season would be a huge disappointment after what he did this year.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Skinny Pete: I agree that Davis would be much more likely. I’m thinking that Edwin Encarnacion could be a comparable player to Chris Davis for next year. Thoughts?

          • Skinny Pete says:
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            @Tom Jacks: E5 strikes me as more of a health risk than a straight drop off in the skills department.

            • Tom Jacks

              Tom Jacks says:
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              @Skinny Pete: That’s true. I just meant in terms of their bat. Like a 30-35 homer, .260 average year…

              • goodfold2 says:
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                @Tom Jacks: matt carpenter is like sidney crosby in that his whole life is baseball. dude shows up at the park everyday at like 7 am. GM even had to tell him he can’t come in ahead of him, it’ll make him look bad. you also could’ve gotten carp way lower than freese.

                • goodfold2 says:
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                  @goodfold2: crosby’s whole life is obv not baseball, but hockey.

                • Tom Jacks

                  Tom Jacks says:
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                  @goodfold2: Interesting, I didn’t know that about him…

  7. papajeansegura says:
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    Bad Boys 2

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @papajeansegura: That’s so random, it’s perfect.

  8. Chicken Dinner says:
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    Adrian Beltre.

    Even better, Longoria!

    • Spyre says:
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      @Chicken Dinner: Longoria’s been surprisingly mediocre the past two years… I’m debating whether hes worth keeping for next year myself as a rd 6 pick.

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Spyre: I think he’s still worth a round 6 pick, but I guess it depends on whether there are other keeper rules in your league.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Chicken Dinner: I could easily see either guy fitting that description.

  9. Dingbat says:
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    Prince Fielder’s already entered his decline phase. He could linger as a decent RBI producer, or he could drop off a cliff in a year or two.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Dingbat: He could actually continue do both too – have less homers and a lower average, but maintain above average RBI totals. What would that make him? A rich man’s Adam LaRoche?

  10. Shawn of the livid says:
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    Are we only talking hitters? I have a couple pitchers

    Patrick Corbin
    Jason Grilli

    and for my hitter I say, Alfonso Soriano, with 101RBI’s and 34HRs this year I think he’s prime for a 2014 nosedive. Hope not though, I like Soriano

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Shawn of the livid: Yeah, I definitely see him being overrated.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Shawn of the livid: I’m open to hearing pitchers too, and those two make sense.

      Soriano is one of those guys who could be overrated and underrated, depending on who you talk to. I’m curious to see how he’s ranked next year. If I remember correctly, he was on available on waivers in many leagues this year.

      • Shawn of the livid says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Yeah, he had a great year but some people give him zero credit for it. I’ve followed him since he was a Yankee and he definitely has had an up and down career.

        Makes sense calling him both overrated and underrated.

        What do you call a player who is both overrated and underrated?

        A hermaphrohitter? I like it, and I nominate it to be inducted into the Glossary!

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Tom Jacks: if i didn’t trade him for a pitcher a few months ago in a 14 teamer i was about to drop him. This team i had him on (soriano) was one of the best offensive teams i’ve ever seen.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @goodfold2: Yeah I feel like he has a few very hot weeks every year and is on waivers otherwise.

    • RG3 Needs A Knee says:
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      @Shawn of the livid: not really see how a closer and a rookie pitcher who had a good season would qualify. Dickey from last year to this yes but Grilli has been injured most of the season and Corbin had a great SP 2 season thus far. If either were Cy Young contenders then yes.

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @RG3 Needs A Knee: I think he was just referring to guys who he expects to take a step back, not necessarily the biggest busts out there.

  11. RJ says:
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    Tulowitski
    Hanley Ramirez
    R. Zimmerman
    King Felix
    David Wright
    Ellsbury

    ….first names that come to mind

    • Shawn of the livid says:
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      @RJ: Can’t say I agree with any of those. Cust Kayin’

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @RJ: Aside from Felix, I could see injuries (again) taking away their value. I think people have wised to Tulo at this point, but Ellsbury and maybe even Hanley seem to have regained trust from fantasy owners.

  12. RG3 Needs A Knee says:
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    Looks like Machado might have just torn his ACL…..Grey is not going to be happy

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @RG3 Needs A Knee: Wow. I’ll send Grey a sympathy card.

  13. K RoC says:
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    Brandon Phillips

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @K RoC: That’s a good one. He’s not getting any younger and his RBI total was way above what it usually is.

  14. The Strolg says:
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    The Southern and Harmony Musical Companion by the Black Crowes

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @The Strolg: Interesting pick – thanks.

  15. SwaggerJackers says:
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    David Ortiz
    Hunter Pence
    Alex Rios
    Adrian Beltre
    Starling Marte

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @SwaggerJackers: Those all seem fitting. As much as it pains me, Ortiz has to decline one of these years, doesn’t he?

      • Gregorius Chant says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Totally agree with Ortiz, to bad, he has been a mainstay on my roster for years…

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Gregorius Chant: Yeah, and ironically the persistent fear that he would collapse kept his price low and made him a strong value.

  16. Shawnuel says:
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    Everth Cabrera
    The Two Towers
    Shrek II
    Nevermind.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Shawnuel: I never saw Shrek II, but I’ll take your word for it. I also thought of Nevermind after writing this post.

  17. Joel says:
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    Thanks for all your help this year. I’m in championship week. Guy I am playing just dropped Segura for a streaming arm. I know segura was good all year. Regressed. But our league locks
    Anyone else from making transactions when eliminated from playoffs. (Dumb I know, especially in keeper leagues) my question…should I just pick up Segura as he will only cost me
    A 12th round pick next year?

    Thanks again for all your help!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Joel: No problem! Yes, I’d definitely want Segura if it only cost a 12th rounder.

  18. English says:
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    Starling Marte or Will Venable.

    Also, The Bends by Radiohead. Best second album ever. So good people don’t realise it wasn’t their debut.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @English: I could easily see either of those guys taking a step back next year.

      I love The Bends, probably one of my favorite albums ever. As you said, I always forget it wasn’t their debut.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Tom Jacks: bends is still their best album. hail to the thief/ok computer rule too.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @goodfold2: Nice. I’d say bends is my fav, then ok computer a not too distant second.

  19. Joe says:
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    Siamese Dream
    Dirt

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Joe: Excellent ones. Siamese Dream is one of my favorite albums ever.

  20. TheNewGuy says:
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    Busts this year? Thats easy, had loads of em!

    C SABATHIA, J Kipnis (since I traded for him), D Freeze, E Hosmer (until I dropped him), Moose, Tex (more due to injury), J-ROLL, YOGA (caps for bigger busts to really shame them), KENNEDY, KEMP(!!!!!!), oh yeah Hamilton too!

    FB is loaded with busts each year, how you manage your teams in season determines whether you win!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @TheNewGuy: Rough year, but it helps that you really shamed them haha. Agree that managing it makes all the difference.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Funny thing is I’ve got quite a lot of them in my keeper, and im making this mad late charge for 3rd and a money position!

        Desperately needing power in it, so would you play Ramos over Yadi short term (bench not cut Yadi)? And Callaspo or Dozier for power?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @TheNewGuy: Hopefully that properly embarrasses the other guys in your league!

          Since you’re desperate for power, I don’t object to playing Ramos over Yadier. I’d also go with Dozier.

  21. TheNewGuy says:
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    As for players falling off a cliff I have to agree with Segura too even though i own him, just hasnt been the same guy in the 2nd half. Keeping him for only 6 bucks though so don’t think theres too much risk attached.

    Agree with Davis somewhat too. But don’t agree with Pence and Rios like some said, why would they decline next year?

    One out of left field to throw out, always felt Matt Holiday could rapidly decline soon. Not happened this year, but could age start to catch up with him next year?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @TheNewGuy: Yeah 6 bucks is still a good value for Segura.

      At the very least, I don’t expect either guy to maintain a career-high in steals.

      I could see Holliday. I thought he would have already declined by now, but he’s been fine. His age will come up to him at some point…

  22. TheNewGuy says:
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    One other question Tom, mentioned I got Kipnis in a keeper above. Well at the time I traded E5 for him and both are great keepers.

    Now I’ve got a very sour taste in my mouth from what Kipnis has given me the 2nd half, so I don’t want to act impulsively. Im tempted to offer the trade reverse in the offseason to get EE back, wanna see if you think it’s worth doing.

    Who would you rather have: EE signed through 2014 at $8, or Kipnis able to be signed this offseason for 1 year ($9), 2 yrs ($12) or 3 yrs ($14)? Flexibility with Kipnis, better price and player for 1 year with E5, tough one isn’t it!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @TheNewGuy: Hmmm… Assuming position matters, I’d rather have Kipnis because I worry that Edwin’s injuries and/or age will really affect him at some point. Depending on your other keepers, I’d either lock him up for 2 or 3 years.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Tom Jacks: You not worried about these 2nd half slides then, what you make of them? I thought last year was an abnormaly so when I had a chance to get him after his great 1st half I thought gotta go for it….then same thing happened again.

        Don’t know many players who consistently wear down badly in the 2nd half to make it a norm. I guess if it is the norm for him, I can always bench him 2nd half! Not worried about him for next year then?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @TheNewGuy: I’m not sure what to think of it, but I like that he’s been able to maintain his power numbers for the second year in a row. Like you said, it could be with stamina. Or it could be something else, I guess. In this case, I’m just going to enjoy his year overall.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @TheNewGuy: are you the main one that was saying grey was crazy for saying kipnis was gonna do this again back in july?

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @goodfold2: Never really said it, just hoped after I got him in a trade…

  23. Colonel Kustard says:
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    I dropped Segura as well heading into championship week. Did I make a mistake? I’m looking to keep the following 5: Wil Myers, Jose Fernandez, Chris Archer, Matt Adams, and Jason Castro/Wilson Ramos. If I were to pick Segura back up, who would you not keep? I really just don’t trust Segura going into next year.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Colonel Kustard: I don’t fully trust Archer, so I’ll say him. I’d rather have Segura than Archer.

      • Colonel Kustard says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Thank you.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Colonel Kustard: No problem – good luck in the championship!

  24. Tyler says:
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    Braun. I don’t think he’ll be Hamilton bad but I think he loses a step next year. Especially without the juice.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Tyler: Yeah, I’m very curious to see where people draft him. I think the first round would be a mistake with all the questions.

  25. I think the 100 million dollar contracts are about to go extinct. Here’s something I think GMs need to consider when they’re about to spend a 100 million on a guy:
    1. Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols have families now, kids, which means less time in the training arena during the offseason.
    2. They’re not proven guilty but we’re coming out of the steroid era and their numbers could be a reflection of the old steroid days.
    3.Brand named athletes sell jerseys and tickets, but don’t win championships. Billy Beans model wins championships, but doesn’t include big brand named players.
    4. Don’t spend 50 million for a guy that have an extra 10 home runs, than the average good player. Those 10-15 home runs and 15 points on the batting average aren’t worth it.

    Anyways, just had to vent.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Susan Murray: I really enjoyed your points. Thanks for the comments.
      1) The families and kids aspect is an intriguing point. Players over 30 generally decline, but maybe whether they have a family plays a large part of how quickly this occurs? I noticed quite a few times this year that players with a newborn had their stats immediately suffer for a couple weeks.
      2) Yes, and even if they don’t test positive for steroids, there are other PEDs that aren’t tested…
      3) Completely agree and am glad to see the A’s doing very well this year.
      4) Yes, it rarely (never?) makes sense from a financial efficiency standpoint to spend significant dollars for marginal upgrades.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Tom Jacks: i agree that bean’s strategy is good and will eventually wins championships but just how many has it won yet?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @goodfold2: Maybe we’ll see it this season…

  26. Shawnuel says:
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    Susan….you realize Billy Beane has never won a championship, Right? Usually gets beat in the first round of the play-offs.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Shawnuel: True, he hasn’t, but I think the playoffs have a lot of luck involved. An ace could have a bad day, a bench guy could hit a homer, etc.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Tom Jacks: the main point is he has a consistent chance with no money.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @goodfold2: Exactly

  27. harkrider says:
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    I am looking at trading for Tulo. I offered Heyward and Starlin Castro for Tulo. He asked for Heyward and Machado.

    I am high on Machado, but is that a fair trade or not? My current keepers are Goldy, Giancarlo, McCutchen, Machado and either (Rizzo, Heyward, Scherzer, Cain, Greinke, or Castro)

    thoughts, we get 5 keepers

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @harkrider: I think it’s a high, but fair price because you’ll have to overpay to an extent to upgrade a keeper when you can only keep a few. I’d rather have Tulo than Machado, and Heyward isn’t really an upgrade over your other options for the last keeper, so it makes sense to pull the trigger.

      • Harkrider says:
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        @Tom Jacks: I tried Castro or Heyward and Scherzer for Adam Jones, Cargo, Braun, or Tulo. The guy with Tulo came back with the counter. If I traded Machado and Heyward, who should my 5th keeper be. I assumed Machado as number 4 and I need one other. I’m trying to trade possible keepers that I’m not planning to keep to upgrade my 5th keeper. If I trade Machado, I’m not helping my number 5 slot, just increasing my 4th. Thoughts?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Harkrider: Are there any other 2 for 1 possibilities? Maybe you can still trade Castro and Scherzer for a stud hitter? Votto, Fielder, Longoria, Wright, and Beltre are all guys who come to mind…

          • Harkrider says:
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            @Tom Jacks: last year I traded Fielder for Votto and then flipped Votto for McCutxhen once I drafted Goldy. Longoria and Wright could be possibilities. I’ll check.

            • Tom Jacks

              Tom Jacks says:
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              @Harkrider: I like those moves you did. Hopefully you’re able to get one of those.

              I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it for a pitcher either, but it would be have to be somebody really elite, like Kershaw, Felix, Strasburg, Darvish, etc. Keep me posted…

              • Harkrider says:
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                @Tom Jacks: I might be able to get kershaw or Felix. Maybe even someone like E5. The guy with Wright traded for Beltre, so he has 2, 3B. But do I still keep Machado and have 2, 3B myself?

                • Tom Jacks

                  Tom Jacks says:
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                  @Harkrider: I’d rather have Tulo than Machado. I’m not convinced about Machado being a top hitter next year since he really slowed following his ridiculous start. I think he’ll be great, just not sure it will be next year. I’d also rather have Wright/Beltre/Kershaw/Felix than Machado or any of your potential fifth keepers.

                  • Tom Jacks

                    Tom Jacks says:
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                    @Tom Jacks: But I guess, since you really like Machado, I wouldn’t fault you for not trading him for Tulo. Having two 3Bs doesn’t bother me, as long as you have a CI spot.

                    • Harkrider says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: we have 2 UTIL spots. I normally don’t like keeping an SP, but I might be able to get this done. Felix and Tulo for Machado, Heyward, and Scherzer. Or change Heyward out and keep him instead of throwing in the pitchers

                      This team will lose the ability to keep Felix after next year and it would make my keepers Stanton, Goldy, McCutchen, Tulo, and Felix. Thoughts?

                    • harkrider says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: I also have Matt Carpenter, but I am not sure I see him as a top 5 keeper for me. Thoughts? Maybe I’m wrong. He has definitely been valuable this season

                    • Tom Jacks

                      Tom Jacks says:
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                      @Tom Jacks: I like it. Stanton, Goldy, McCutchen, Tulo, and Felix is an insanely good set of keepers. I like Matt Carpenter, but not enough to consider him above those guys. If you kept 7 (or had weaker keepers), I’d consider him.

  28. Shawnuel says:
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    I think the stench of Castro’s 2013 probably will keep his value down. I like Heyward. If he keeps healthy, I think he will be almost as valuable as Tulo. Scherzer will almost certainly be valued higher (maybe significantly) than he will perform next season. I would offer a package highlighted by Mr. Max.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Shawnuel: Yeah, that’s worth a shot.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Tom Jacks: same way i grabbed scherzer at great value this year he’s played himself completely out of it.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @goodfold2: Yeah, he could easily be overvalued next year…

  29. TheNewGuy says:
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    Want another sleeper Tom?

    AVIGAIL GARCIA. Next Miggy in the making!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @TheNewGuy: That’s a high expectation. I do like him and intend to take a closer look at him this offseason. What kind of stats do you think he can produce next year?

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Tom Jacks: I say Miggy because he looks like him and was compared to him at one point.

        A huge expectation for sure, but I like him especially in AVG (over OBP) leagues. Really targeting him because I think he’ll come cheap as he’s under the radar. In the launching pad of the cell, I could see 25HRs next year, a solid 280+ AVG and then counting numbers depending on how good (bad) the chisox are. I mean he could be their no 3 hitter next year once he gets on a roll!

        • TheNewGuy says:
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          @TheNewGuy: He steals a few bags too. Could chip in 10 steals then he’d be an awesome value pick.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @TheNewGuy: That seems like a completely reasonable projection. I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll come cheap.

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Tom Jacks: Man I love this time of year, been playing catch up all year in my money keeper but here Iam now tied 3rd and with a legit chance to nab 2nd!

            You gonna be posting many pieces during the offseason?

            • Tom Jacks

              Tom Jacks says:
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              @TheNewGuy: Wow, that’s great, especially in a money league.

              I hope to post at least once a month this offseason. I plan to have my next one up the week after next.

  30. Bojangles013 says:
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    Michael Cuddyer

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Bojangles013: Good one, especially after this year.

      • Bojangles013 says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Adrian Beltre, Matt Holliday, Jason Werth, Torii Hunter, Carlos Beltran? I wanted to say Dom Brown but I think you need to have more than 1 successful season to qualify for this list. Also can I throw Kershaws offensive season to this list? 10 RBI?! Crazy good!

        • Bojangles013 says:
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          @Bojangles013: this list is strictly based on age. Not that I think these guys will be unusable but the production has to slow down eventually…. Right?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Bojangles013: Haha nice with Kershaw. I’d hold off on Brown too, but the other guys all definitely seem due. Nice list.

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