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February 13, 1998

Fantasy Mailbag

What to do with Mike Sweeney?

by Keith Law

Subject: Keeper Quandary
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 09:22:16 -0800
To: roto@baseballprospectus.com
    What's your opinion on Mike Sweeney? I've been high on him for 2-3 years, but he's only shown flashes of his potential. Now, I've got to make a decision whether to sign him for one more year at 5$, or cut him loose and risk being able to pick him back up in this year's auction for about the same amount, but with a new contract. Do you think the latter is too much of a risk, or will most owners let him slide for, say, $3-6 rotodollars.

    Same goes for Shawn Green at $13, Johnny Damon at $14, and Dean Palmer at $23. Do you sign them for one more year at the same salary, extend them for 2 years at +$5, or cut them loose and try to slide them by in the auction for slightly higher, but with a new contract?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated,

    Keeper Quandary

Dear Quandary:

As for Sweeney, I like him, but I wouldn't go bonkers for 4x4 roto. He's never projected to be a rotostud, and they never give him the job full-time. That's because they're the Royals, and they're actually not that bright. Oakland's AJ Hinch has a better expected reward if you can stomach a little more risk.

As for the other 2 guys, if I understand the contracts correctly, you're asking what you should choose of Shawn Green at $13 vs. Green at $18/3 years vs. release and re-acquire.

Let's examine the last 2 options: If you release Green and get him at $18 in the auction, you're only obligated to pay him for one season, whereas extending his contract for $18 gives you the same deal this year PLUS a $36 obligation. Do you really think he'll go for more than $18 this year? I doubt it. So the long-term deal is a bad choice.

As for Green at $13, I think that the departure of Le Cito bodes well for Green's playing time, and he appeared to make up a lot of lost ground after June 1 last year. That's a fine price to keep him, but if he busts out like we suspect, you'll end up with squat (assuming this is his option year for you). I'd drop him and try to get him back, even if it costs you a few bucks.

Palmer at $23 is a no-brainer - drop him and get him for less at auction. Sure, he'll get some numbers back this year, but why pay for it as if it's a sure thing?

Damon at $14 is a similar situation to Green, but had a lousy roto year last year and should go for less in the auction. I'd drop him as well.


You can send email to Keith at roto@baseballprospectus.com.

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