Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What to do with Upton, Big Z?

I like B.J. Upton's upside. Always have. But this weekend may have tarnished his image, not just in baseball, but in fantasy circles as well.

How many times can a player dog it, before getting called out? Whatever that number, Evan Longoria felt lighting had struck twice and not in a good way. Longoria dialed up Upton's number in the dugout, unleashing a good old-fashion tongue-lashing for not hustling on two plays in a recent Rays game.

Good for Longoria. Nothing's worse than seeing a guy not hustle. Here's the chewing-out session.

Fantasy spin: This may finally shake Upton to be the player everyone though he would be. But I doubt it. Generally, guys are hustlers or they're not. Upton's history of going less than full-speed has been well-documented and Joe Madden may want to end this experiment with an off-season (or trade deadline) deal, depending on if they can resign Crawford. Any system short of the Angels would mean a decrease in Upton's steals. But that aside, Upton's average has been hovering around the Pena, er, Mendoza Line for too long now to take him serious as a fantasy star anymore. If you can get a Top 75 value for him, it's probably worth it.

Zambrano suspended after blowup

A unremarkable Cubs season unraveled on Saturday as Carlos Zambrano blew a major circuit with Meltdown No. 78 over his Cubs career.

If the Cubs unofficial mantra is "Wait 'til Next Year," most Cubs fans would settle for "Wait 'til Big Z is traded."

Zambrano's big beef was that Derek Lee, playing with a bad back, didn't dive on a ball down the line hit by the White Sox's Juan Pierre. Lee had little to no shot at the ball, but Big Z thought otherwise and went all John McEnroe in the dugout before being separated from Lee.

If you've been living under a rock, here's some video footage:

This seems to be the last straw for Jim Hendry and the Cubs, who suspended Zambrano and are ordering evaluation and anger-management treatment. And when Big Z returns, sometime after the All-Star break, it will be in the bullpen.

It's also the final verse for most Cubs fans, who find themselves humming "Go, Carlos, Go."

But how do the Cubs get rid of a loose-cannon such as Zambrano? If this was football, he would be on careerbuilder.com by now. But his 5-year, $91.5 million contract signed in August of 2007 makes waiving him about as improbable as Harry Caray making it to the 7th-inning stretch without a cold Bud.

The Cubs will try to quickly rehabilitate his image and hopefully Milton Bradley Zambrano, as in trading him to any taker out there for an equally bad contract. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a contract in the same stratosphere as Zambrano's, now that Vernon Wells has revived his career from the dead. Maybe for Carlos Lee perhaps? The Yanks' Kei Igawa?

All the so-called experts say the Cubs need to blow this team up, if not now, after the season and start from scratch.

Whoooooooooo dere. Not so fast. This is MLB not slowpitch softball.

How in the name of Bob Brenly will the Cubs be able to find takers for guys like Alfonso Soriano ($72 million, 4 years left) and Aramis Ramirez (owed a minimum $16.5 million for one more year)? Not to mention Zambrano.

This is Hendry's mess and he's gotta find a way out of it and his job might depend on it. But this is far worse than the Milton Bradley catastrophe of 2009. This is multiple players with bloated salaries who are not living up to expectations.

Good luck with that.

Or as Cub fans might be thinking: "Wait 'til 2014."

Fantasy Spin: Most owners have ridded themselves of Big Z (only 33 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues) and those who still have him might be either on vacation or asleep. Once a top-tier SP option, Big Z will be in the bullpen for likely the rest of the year. His value is almost zero. As for Soriano, Ramirez, Lee, etc., there seems to be little life left in the Cubs' well right now. A momentary surge on Sunday was met with a 2-1 loss to the juggernaut Pirates. Harumph. Best thing to do is try to limit the number of Cubs as possible. The trio of Lee, Ramirez and Soriano are all borderline droppable in very shallow mixers, but I can't recommend that. Not yet anyway. Too much track record to go cold turkey.


Luczywo1 said...

You think Kerry Wood's got anything left in the tank, or is he a lost cause. And who's this Strasburg guy everyone is talking about?