To answer your question straight off the bat: Yes, of course I'm panicking.
A mere three days into the 2010 baseball season, my Fantasy team has proven as ill-conceived as the last four Kardashians. My guys lack power, patience, speed, winning-ness, run-driving-in-itude and bat-missability. Their uniforms are devoid of grass stains; they don't slide headfirst into first base or exchange enthusiastic fist-bumps with their teammates after a successful bunt.
Say whatever you want about not reacting to small sample sizes, about having the patience and decency to wait at least 75 at-bats or 25 innings before starting to form a morsel of an opinion. But if I don't fix my team now, I'll regret it later. And so, with a tinkerer's attention to detail and the patience of a substitute teacher, here are the moves I plan to make in order to salvage my season.
|Starting 0 for 12? Mark Teixeira has played his way onto Team Dobrow's virtual bench. (Getty Images)|
At the same time, don't sleep on Casey Kotchman, who drove in four runs on opening day -- twice as many as Teixeira has plated all season. Do I have to draw you a diagram?
Perhaps Jones and Kotchman have been snatched up in your league by an equally plugged-in owner. If that's the case, you could always grab one of the guys I've dubbed the "Lineup Twins." There's Daric Barton, whose three opening-day walks in the two-hole would've paid off runs-wise if the A's employed able hitters in slots three through six. Up in Flushing, Mike Jacobs is batting cleanup, one spot ahead of Jason Bay. This means that he's one better, as I understand it.
Still, I think my offensive salve can mostly be found on the West Coast -- specifically, in San Francisco, where the Giants are averaging a hearty six runs per game. The last time Edgar Renteria notched five hits in a game, as he did on Wednesday, was in 2007. That's the same year he batted .332 -- or nearly .230 points more than the paltry average notched by my shortstop draftee, Elvis Andrus. The guy hasn't stolen a base yet, and it's already Thursday afternoon. Elvis has left my building!!!
I love the power exhibited by Mark DeRosa against the howitzer-armed Astros staff, but what I really love is his multi-position eligibility. This liberates me to drop my starters at third base (the flatlining Alex Rodriguez, almost certainly hobbled by an as-yet-unannounced complication from last year's hip surgery), left field (Jason Kubel, whose night-three benching tells us everything we need to know about his work ethic and nothing at all about the Twinkies' desire to defrost Jim Thome) or right field (Brad Hawpe, who has been sitting on a single extra-base hit since the start of the month).
DeRosa is the Swiss Army Knife of fantasy baseball. His multi-position moxie will allow me to find room on my roster for the pitch-recognition mastery of Carlos Gomez, whose first-game home run is a sign of things to come, not unlike the 95-degree temperatures in the Northeast on April 7.
Meanwhile, after dropping Shane Victorino -- with his .421 OPS, he has brought great shame to his homeland of Hawaii and quite possibly impacted its attractiveness as a tourist destination -- I filled the center-field void with Vernon Wells, whose four first-week home runs lead me to believe that his sluggish 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons were a fluke. If power were power tools, Wells would be a powerful power sander. The $107 million left on his contract now looks like a bargain, even if he doesn't have much protection in the lineup or play in a home stadium the size of a shot glass.
Wells' career revival stands in stark contrast to the current plights of LD staff aces Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia, both of whom showed signs on opening night of having been corrupted by their big-dollar deals. Now that they have the financial means to stock up on Faberge eggs and pie, Beckett and Sabathia have clearly chosen to concentrate on off-the-field pursuits (scowl modeling for the former, tattoo consulting for the latter). This is a shame, given the promise they once flashed afield.
Good thing I had the sense to back them up with a trio of aces: Shaun Marcum, who danced with Destiny -- the no-hitter kind, not the stripper one -- during his first 2010 start; Carl Pavano, whose Wednesday outing included neither walk nor innocently incurred catastrophic ligament injury; and Bronson "Brandon" Arroyo, he of the eight innings of one-run ball against a Cardinals lineup minus three of its regulars. Try replacing that in your lineup, or in your heart. And how about my boy Chris Young, whose fastball has returned following a three-year religious mission in East Timor?
Happily, I'm equally bulletproof in the bullpen, despite the struggles of one Mike Gonzalez (a lefty lawnmower allowing a big hit to a lefty hitter? For shame!). How, you ask? Two words: Trevor and Hoffman. Moments before I grabbed him off the wire, he made Carlos Gonzalez (Mike's younger brother, I think) look silly with a curveball, the first he had thrown since 1998.
In the wake of that little masterpiece of mound artistry, I now know you can teach an old dog new tricks. Thank you, Trevor, for making me believe again.