Chris Berman was so awesome back in the day. The entertaining style and passion that he exuded made watching highlights so much more enjoyable. “Rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin…..tick, tick tick, tick, tick tick….he could go all….the…way,” were staples for football. For baseball? Outside of the bevy of nicknames he coined for players, he’s best known for “back, back, back, back….gone!” for every home run hit. Now, it was cool for the first hundred times, but after the 10,000th one, I wanted to cut off my ears. Home Run Derby? Where I had to listen to it every few seconds on repeat for over an hour? I’d rather listen to my kids whine and cry in one ear, while the other would have a track of fingernails scratching a blackboard. In a nutshell, I wish it was back, back, back, back….gone for real. Now, it took me a long time to get over back to school sales and Baby Got Back, but I’m older and more mature now, so I’m open to things coming back. Which is a good thing because there are two players that will be coming back to baseball after being gone for a long time and could be worth your time.
Robinson Cano (36.8% owned – increase of 14.6%) was suspended 80 games back in May for testing positive for a banned substance. Now, he won’t be back for another three weeks, but owners are starting to scoop him up now. If you have the bench spot, he’s a no-brainer pick up, but is he worth it for shallow leagues? PEDs or not, Cano has always been a good hitter and exhibited excellent control of the strike zone. The strikeout rate has been over 15% only once in his 14-year career. He’s never had a double-digit swinging strike rate and has a career 93.4% contact rate in the strike zone. He also has a career .304 batting average. Power numbers and physical recovery are where things get dicey because there’s just no way to know. All one can look at is the numbers. He’s had 5 years of less than 20 homers, 6 years of homers in the 20s, and 2 seasons with over 30. He’s played at least 150 games for 11 straight seasons, with 6 of those logging at least 160 games. The two most recent examples that I can think of when prominent hitters got suspended during the season for PEDs were Starling Marte in 2017 and Ryan Braun back in 2013. Braun’s suspension caused him to miss the rest of the season, so the situation is different than Cano’s. With that said, the following year, Braun had the lowest batting average of his career up to that point. He has also failed to play over 140 games in a season for four seasons after the suspension, after playing at least 150 games in 5 straight seasons before the suspension. Marte’s case is more similar to Cano’s, as he got suspended a few weeks into the season and returned in mid-July. He struggled out of the gate, which is to be expected, but slowly got better as the season progressed and looked to be the Marte of old by season’s end. So, we are looking at an end-of-August return for Cano, which would leave a little over a month’s worth of production. There’s definitely a chance he’s en fuego out of the gate, but I have serious reservations of that happening. Like with Marte, it’s going to take time for Cano to get his timing down. It took around a month for Marte. The timing just doesn’t fit well for Cano. TRASH
Roberto Osuna (31.3% owned – increase of 6.5%) is eligible to return August 5th after being suspended 75 games for violating MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse policy. SAGNOF right? Not so fast. Even before the suspension, Osuna saved 9 games, but the K/9 was only 7.63 and swinging strike rate was a career-low 11.7%. While the ERA was 2.93, the xFIP was 3.43. Granted, that’s from a sample size of 15.1 innings, so those numbers could regress back to career norms. All the projection systems have him down for an over 10 K/9. Here’s my issue, though. There are rumors that the Blue Jays are shopping Osuna ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. It doesn’t sound like they have plans to slot him right back into the closer’s role. If he gets traded, he will likely just be a setup guy if anything. Saves ain’t got no face, but there have to be saves in the equation for us to even care. TRASH
Heyo Son, Hope your weekend has been going well. Really appreciated your column as usual.
A. After jettisonning Posey, I have to play catcher roulette. Who do you like among Lucroy, Hedges, Hicks, Joseph, and Kiner-Falefa (KF has stirred some interest because of his potential to play more games than the other options since he’s doing backup catcher duty)? Should I just be riding the hot hand and swapping guys out as I go? It’d be nice to just stick with one for a while obviously.
B. What’s your outlook on K. Tucker? I’m thinking to cut him loose since he’s not only cold but not playing every day. If I do drop him, which one or two do you like out of G. Polanco, Bauers, Calhoun, Kepler, Odor, Chapman, Margot, and Kinsler? Who are the real deals and who are the schmotatos (perhaps all, haha)?
Thanks a ton!
@The Shoe: Thanks Shoe! Hope all is well for you too.
1) Do you have daily moves? I’d just stream the matchups if you can. If you can’t, Hicks.
2) I’m not sure on Tucker. May want to consult Ralph. There are some decent options there, so steaming shouldn’t be a problem. I think I like Bauers and Polanco the best.
That would work except not in this league because there are no reserves and once he’s on the roster his permanent until DL or sent down. That is why I can take advantage of dumping him if you think he’s done for the season I can pick up Suarez from San Francisco or maybe wait until the weekend and hope that a lights out middle reliever comes up that can help In ERA and Whip while sacrificing k s and possibly Ws
@Luvdarooks: Ahh, gotcha. I’d look for a middle reliever with the best WHIP and K numbers. Get multiple innings every few games and could luck into a few wins
IS WEAVER trash or not in my 5×5 compared to Suarez (SF ) or Lucchessi …
I need WHIP K ERA W. In that order .
Should I hold onto to weaver or grab one of the above.
THERE IS NO STASH RESERVE
Weaver is a streamer
@Grey: Agree with Grey. Stream the matchups
“And He Could Go All the Way” was one Berman may not of coined but it is who I think of. Or maybe he was ripping off Howard Cosell. Maybe one of your real old readers could tell us. I’m old but a 41 year old… anyway is Marcel Ozuna skating on Trash Watch yet. Or is he just showcasing his floor
@Dnut Eastwood: Never thought about that but you may be right. I’m slightly older than you but have chemically induced Alzheimer’s. Hopefully one of the true ogs can set us straight.
As for Ozuna, I feel your pain. I lean towards the showcasing the floor perspective.
@Son: Thanks Son, keep up the nice notes
@Dnut Eastwood: No prob. Thanks Eastwood!
My Brantley and Maeda for his Flaherty and Marco Gonzales. I need steady ratios, Ks, and have a glut of OFs (plus I think the Indians start resting him down the stretch).
My pitchers: Verlander, Cole, Maeda, Heaney, Cahill, Wacha (DL)
Yates, Boxberger, Seranthony, Romo, Brach, Givens, Hildenberger
Or I can just drop Hildenberger for Musgrove…
@Sabo Knows Sabo: In a vacuum, I’m not doing that trade, but it’s all about team context. It makes sense from that perspective. I’d see if I could replace Maeda with Heaney or Cahill though.
@Son: yeah, makes sense. It’s a 12 team mixed redraft, and my OF options are:
Blackmon, Ozuna, Brantley, Soto, C Santana, K Tucker, Happ
Plus Nick Williams, Margot, Almora, Grichuk, and G Parra are on the WW. I can’t help but feel like I can get similar production from the wire. I’ll counter with Heaney and see what happens.
@Sabo Knows Sabo: Yeah, your move makes sense
Several of your statements about Osuna strike me as questionable.
1) “There are rumors that the Blue Jays are shopping Osuna ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.” Do you have a link to any rumors? I have been stringently following rumors and there have been tons of them about other players the past few weeks, but I have not heard anything about Osuna other than very vague rumbles several weeks ago.
2) “If he gets traded, he will likely just be a setup guy if anything.” I am skeptical about that. Osuna is coming off a long suspension for domestic violence, and the criminal case is not resolved. That makes it unlikely he will be traded because of the PR hit an acquiring team would take. Any team that does acquire him would only be willing to take that hit if they were desperately needy for a true closer – it would just not be worth it for a setup guy.
3) “It doesn’t sound like they have plans to slot him right back into the closer’s role.” Do you have a link for any information about that? Because that is the exact opposite of what I have seen. The Blue Jays GM, Ross Atkins, said in late June that “We’ll be adding a closer on August 5 … Roberto is our closer”. That seems pretty clear. In addition, Osuna has already made 4 minor league appearances on his rehab assignment, pitching an inning each time (no runs allowed, 4 hits, 1 BB, 3 Ks). The first three appearances, he started the game and pitched an inning, and and in the last appearance he pitched the final inning – that seems perfectly consistent with grooming a guy to slot back into the closer role.
My rotation in a 14 team roto mixer…trash or treasure?
@Mike Honcho: Depends on the day. Lot of high upside:low floor guys.