« Rules of Advancement | Main | Transaction »

August 13, 2005

ESPN Column

What Is Gary Matthews Eating?
GARY MATTHEWS is easily the hottest Ranger right now, batting .342/.425/.631 with seven homers since the All-Star Break. I haven’t touted him because his career line is a far more modest .253/.330/.402, and I expected him to slide back toward those numbers sooner rather than later. Yet, not only is Matthews staying hot, he’s batting .400 and slugging .700 in August. His ownership in mixed league has reached what must be a lifetime high of 36%. He is the only legitimate center fielder on the team and is virtually guaranteed to play every game. Advice? Sure. I still wouldn’t bother with him in eight-team mixed leagues and probably not ten. Recall that he batted .250/.285/.415 in about 200 pre-ASB plate appearances and was barely worth owning even in AL-only leagues.

Acquiring him in mixed leagues won’t hurt you, but you’ll need to keep him on a short leash and scan the waiver wire for a potential upgrade. I just don’t think Matthews is someone who’ll stay hot over the last six weeks and give you a ride to a championship. As for his field mates: RICHARD HIDALGO is progressing slowly from his strained wrist tendon. Even if he suddenly heals, Texas would be wise to delay his return until rosters expand in September. Expect very little from him the rest of the way. DALID DELLUCCI’s starting status hasn’t changed (all righties, no lefties), but now he plays left field instead of DH. KEVIN MENCH has moved to right. He’s hit poorly since the break, but you have no reason to remove him from your lineup.

What Phil Nevin Can Do For You
So far, not much. The new everyday DH has batted .220 with one homer and four RBI in twelve games as a Ranger, and his OPS trails what he posted in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Those in AL-only leagues have no choice but to keep him and hope for improvement, but mixed-leaguers have a decision to make. Those in smaller mixed leagues ought to cut bait. In twelve-team leagues, give him another week, then reassess, but if you see someone decent in the free-agent pool, make a move now. I predicted “middling? production from him two weeks ago, and that’s what he ought to provide. Nevin has a sub-.300 OBP and sub-.400 slugging percentage in 85 games. He’s highly unlikely to revert to his 2001 form.

Rogers Returns
KENNY ROGERS returned from his all-too-brief suspension and promptly allowed five runs in five innings to a formidable Boston lineup. Rogers took a comebacker off of his already broken glove hand in the first inning but remained in the game. He won’t miss any time and should start Tuesday at Cleveland followed by Sunday at Tampa Bay. RICARDO RODRIGUEZ hit the DL with a contusion in his arm caused by yet another comebacker. He shouldn’t miss over the minimum, though he isn’t fantasy-worthy in anything but a large AL-only league.

What’s Wrong With Cordero?
FRANCISCO CORDERO hasn’t saved a game since July 30th. Texas is 3-11 since then, and the smallest margin in any of them has been six runs. Cordero is fine. Don’t trade him for Tanyon Sturtze or someone silly like that.

September Morn
Though I approve of the Park-for-Nevin trade, Nevin’s presence combined with the Rangers’ post-Break collapse creates some unfavorable roster issues in September. Texas ought to be creating room for both 1B ADRIAN GONZALEZ and OF JASON BOTTS , but where to play them? Assuming Nevin will start most of the time, Gonzalez is blocked by him and Teixeira at first. Botts likewise can’t DH and would have to supplant Mench or Dellucci in the outfield (he can’t play center). For that matter, the retention of ALFONSO SORIANO blocks prospect IAN KINSLER. Unless Texas finds a post-waiver trading partner for Nevin (who is doing nothing to create interest), they may find themselves in a position of needing to build for 2006 yet having nowhere to fit the youngsters.

Posted by Lucas at August 13, 2005 12:31 AM