Free Agent Friday | Fresh Milk | 04.13.12

The season is still fresh and new. If you bought some milk on Opening Day last week, it likely hasn’t passed its expiration date yet. So, making any big free agent moves at this point in time should be done cautiously. While there are decent options of guys to pick up out there, they are on the waiver wire for a reason and the guys on your team were drafted with good reason as well. So, before you drop anyone, take a deep breath and maybe go for a walk and think about it. I’m going to note some good options for possible pickups for this week but you shouldn’t drop one of your potential sleepers just because they’re struggling and Barry Zito pitched one good game. In other words, be very wary of who you drop at this point.

Good Pickups

Adam LaRoche (1B, WAS) – Ah, yes, good ol’ Adam LaRoche. In a full year of play, he’s pretty consistent in what he’ll give you and it’s usually a .270 AVG with 25 HR’s. But, when Michael Morse returns, the question will be whether LaRoche stays at 1B. The answer is most likely “yes” as Morse can play OF and Washington has holes there that he could fill. You know what you’re going to get with LaRoche and it’s pretty good.

Lance Lynn (SP, STL) – You may remember Lynn as the guy who was tabbed to fill in as a starter (instead of Roy Oswalt) while Chris Carpenter heals himself. In his first start, he mystified a strong Brewers offense with 8 K’s, 2 H and 1 BB. It was a phenomenal start and he has the potential to deliver good results in this role. I wouldn’t expect the strikeouts to continue at that rate based on his minor league numbers but he should be a sub-4.00 ERA pitcher with decent control. That’s certainly ownable in deeper leagues but be careful who you drop for him as he’s likely a temporary solution.

Danny Duffy (SP, KC) – Danny Duffy had shown promise in his minor league career of becoming a low ERA, high strikeout pitcher who may struggle with control here and there (but as so bad like an Edinson Volquez, for instance). Last year, he started 20 games as a rookie and the results were not pretty. But, this year, in his first start, he looked more like the guy he was projected to become. He has the potential to have a big year with high strikeout totals and low ERA. For that reason, it’s likely worth stashing him if your roster is deep enough and you have someone expendable to cut.

Kyle Seager (3B, SEA) – ZiPS had projected Seager to hit .267 with 8 HR and 11 SB in a full season of work. That’s not very attractive in fantasy leagues. However, that is a fairly conservative projection as Seager hit .328 over his minor league career so has the potential to hit for high average. He doesn’t have a ton of power or speed but any player hitting over .300 has pretty good value. His role with the Mariners is questionable but he could be a super-utility player once their team gets healthy. He’s worth stashing if you need a boost in AVG.

Others I’ve Written About RecentlyChris Parmelee

Could Be Good Pickups

Hector Santiago (RP, CHW) – First, a disclaimer when it comes to any closer – they’re all worth owning in roto leagues as long as they’re getting saves. But, is Santiago a good long-term solution? That’s harder to say. He was a Single-A pitcher for years until making the jump to Double-A last year and then he is now suddenly a major league closer. As a result, we don’t have a ton of history to evaluate here; he’s a wild card in that respect. The major concern here is that his job is not 100% secure and any potential hiccups will cause people to call for Addison Reed or Matt Thornton who both seem to be made to close games. Because of that uncertainty, he remains a somewhat risky option to rely on.

Fernando Rodney (RP, TB) – Unless Rodney is unstoppable over the next few weeks, he is just holding down the fort until Kyle Farnsworth gets back. Control has been a problem for Rodney as he’s always struggled with letting up walks. But, regardless, he is the closer for the time being and that’s a valuable thing. If he blows a save or two (which seems inevitable based on past history) then the team might go back to throwing one of their many other options into the role until Farnsworth comes back. But, for the time being, Rodney is worth owning in roto leagues.

Chone Figgins (3B, SEA) – Let me start by saying that his .330 AVG in 2007 was obviously a fluke but also say that his .188 AVG in 2011 was very much a fluke too (his career .281 AVG is likely where his talent level lies). His role is muddled with him playing LF as Kyle Seager plays 3B while Mike Carp is out but he’s leading off and doing it well for the time being. I wouldn’t drop a great player for Chone but if you have someone expendable then it’s worth looking at Figgins as a potential .280 hitter with 30-40 SB.

Let Someone Else Pick Them Up

Barry Zito (SP, SF) – Hey, look, Barry Zito had a good game. We’ve seen Zito pitch over 2,000 innings in his career so to expect him to be a different pitcher based off of one good game is foolish. He’s still a 4.50-ish ERA pitcher with 1.40-ish WHIP and unexciting strikeout totals. Pass.

Jordan Schafer (OF, HOU) – In half a season, Schafer stole 22 bases last year while only hitting .242. He already had a 3 SB game this year that has people jumping to him on the waiver wire. If Schafer could hit for decent AVG, he could likely steal a ton of bases on the year. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to expect him to hit for anything much higher than .245 or so despite his hot start this year. His current totals seem to be more about small sample sizes rather than a potential breakout.

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