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Di Fino: The art of buying low

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Fortunes have been made on being able to figure out when it's just the right time to buy something low.

Cars, stocks and bread are just a few examples. Of course, each comes with its own set of risks: the car could be a lemon, the stock could plummet further, and that day-old bread could be really stale. Still, the upside of each makes the gamble worth it; it's mainly just a case of doing some research and nosing around to see what, exactly, these things will cost you. And, since this is a Fantasy baseball column, you know what's coming next: The same can be said for [insert player's name here]!.

Look, the "buy low" column isn't a novel Fantasy concept. At all. But there is a fun science in determining which players to target. Let's just pretend I threw a couple more pop culture references in here (go see Cabin in the Woods! How about that Kate Upton baseball card? OMG guys -- Sarah Phillips!), and instead move on to the players who can help you make that push from fifth place to first.

Most Traded Players (as of 5/4)
Player # of trades
1. Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels 620
2. Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants 385
3. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins 360
4. Jose Reyes, SS, Marlins 321
5. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees 311
6. Jon Lester, SP, Red Sox 300
7. Josh Johnson, SP, Marlins 294
8. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates 287
9. Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers 280
10. Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals 278

1. Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees
Ownership: 100 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: Teixeira is hitting a frustratingly-low .226, with just three home runs through 23 games this season. He has two hits, one run scored and one RBI in his last six games.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Mark Reynolds and Victor Martinez; David Ortiz and Omar Infante; Andrew McCutchen; Bryce Harper and Mike Trout; Shane Victorino
How This Could Work Brilliantly: In his career, Teixeira has hit .239 in April; his May average rises to .286. Furthermore, his OPS jumps from .767 to .903. In 2010, he hit .136 in April, with a .559 OPS. He finished the season with 33 home runs and 108 RBI. In 2009, his OPS leapt from .738 in April to 1.138 in May. The slow April and powerful May has become an almost yearly Teixeira tradition.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: Defenses seem to be loving the shift when Teixeira is at bat, and Joe Girardi has said that his strategy for Teixeira is this: "swing the bat and hit balls hard and things will work out." So the power will likely continue, but his batting average, which has declined every year since 2008, will likely continue to suffer as a result. A career .280 hitter, Teixeira hasn't hit over .256 since 2009.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Man, I didn't realize Teixeira is already 32 years old!"

2. Huston Street, RP, Padres
Ownership: 77 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: Street has just four saves on the season so far, and has been riddled with injuries throughout his career.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Nick Markakis; Ty Wigginton; in a package deal with Pablo Sandoval for Kyle Lohse; Martin Prado
How This Could Work Brilliantly: Street pitches in a forgiving park for a team that has scored the fourth-fewest runs in all of baseball, which makes for plenty of save opportunities in close games. Street also has a 37-save season under his belt and has double-digit saves in all of his eight major league seasons -- he's averaged 28 saves over the last three years. And if San Diego's low run-scoring output frightens you, consider this: Heath Bell had three straight seasons of 40-plus saves from 2009 to 2011 as the Padres closer. In 2009, they scored the second-fewest amount of runs; in 2010, the ninth-fewest; and, in 2011, the third-fewest. Scoring the fourth-fewest runs in MLB is a bit of a luxury for the team.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: Street has the skill to be an effective closer, he just doesn't always have the health -- he hasn't pitched 65 innings in a season since 2008.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Andrew Cashner is averaging 98.3 mph on his fastball this year?"

3. Erik Bedard, SP, Pirates
Ownership: 55 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: He's won one game in five starts so far this year.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Cameron Maybin; Paul Goldschmidt; in a package deal with Justin Morneau for Vance Worley; Todd Helton
How This Could Work Brilliantly: Bedard's problem has always been with injuries -- since 2004, he's thrown over 100 innings just five times. But a healthy Bedard is an effective one: he has a 3.66 career ERA and has produced a sub-1.20 WHIP in two seasons. His trade to Boston -- and subsequent poor performance -- masked a stellar half-season in Seattle last year, where he had a 1.17 WHIP in 91 1/3 innings before the deal. On top of it all, Bedard is usually good for a strikeout per inning.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: With Bedard, there is always a chance he can get hurt. And before his start on April 28 against the Braves, the Pirates had given him a whopping .75 runs of support per game.
But ...: The Pirates have scored seven or more runs in two of their last three games.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Ugh. 1-4 but I need a pitcher bad!"

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4. Ian Stewart, 3B, Cubs
Ownership: 18 percent of leagues.
Why He's A Buy Low: Stewart is currently batting .173, with two home runs and 18 strikeouts.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Todd Helton; Chris Parmelee; Scott Rolen; Alex Presley; as a package deal with Drew Stubbs for Desmond Jennings
How This Could Work Brilliantly: Stewart's defense has been praised by Cubs manager Dale Sveum, and while that won't directly help your Fantasy stats, it will keep him in the lineup regularly, which will give him steady at-bats. And those at-bats should be getting a little better; Stewart insists that he is hitting balls well -- they're just going into the gloves of the opposing teams. The numbers actually bear this out; Stewart's batting average on balls in play is .197, and his line drive percentage is at 21 percent, implying that he's been a victim of bad luck. For a Fantasy team looking to replace an injured Evan Longoria, for instance, Stewart could be a very deep gamble that might pay off in a big way once the balls start going where the fielders aren't.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: All that being said, Stewart has a career batting average of .232 and has just one season of 20 or more home runs.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Blech. .173. I'm desperate without Longoria, though. I guess I'll relieve you of your Ian Stewart anchor. LOLCATZ."

5. Delmon Young, OF, Tigers
Ownership: 61 percent of leagues
Why He's A Buy Low: After a drunken incident in New York, Young was suspended by MLB for seven days.
Who People Are Trading For Him: Tim Hudson; Adam Lind; Colby Rasmus; as a package deal with Jacoby Ellsbury for Shane Victorino
How This Could Work Brilliantly: A former number one overall pick, Young had a bit of a breakthrough last year after being traded to the Tigers, hitting .274 with eight home runs in 168 at- bats. He has hit as many as 21 home runs and stolen as many as 14 bases in a season. Over seven MLB seasons, he has a .287 average. And this latest transgression could force him to focus on the field and explode when he returns.
How this Could Blow Up In Your Face: It's not an exact science, but the last time Young found himself in trouble -- in 2006, after throwing a bat in the direction of an umpire -- he hit just 11 home runs. And even though the 21-homer and 14-steal seasons are nice, they didn't come in the same year, and the next-highest were 13 home runs and 10 steals.
What You Should Write In The "Comment" Line When Proposing The Trade: "Man! Remember when he threw the bat at the umpire, too?? What next??"

The Strange Case of Adam Lind ...

This came up in a podcast this week, and it's worth investigating here in the column: Adam Lind has become everyone's favorite throw-in to sweeten -- or, at least, even out -- a lot of trades. He's one of the top-10 traded players on CBSSports.com. Currently batting .203 with one home run, Lind is as tantalizing a nugget as any player in Fantasy Baseball: He could hit 35 home runs. He could bat .300. He could steal three bases. But he hasn't batted over .265 since 2009. And he only once went over 30 home runs, in the same year. The gap between his own percentage and his start percentage (74 percent owned; 45 percent started) further emphasizes Lind as a complementary piece to both teams and trades -- cast in the proverbial, "I have him on my bench, and I'll start him when he gets hot, at which point I can trade Prince Fielder for a pitcher ... or I just cut him for Bruce Chen if he stinks," role.

So here's your Fun Fact: In the last two days, trades involving Adam Lind have had an average of 4.41 players.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsi.com .

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Player News
Red Sox designate Juan Francisco for assignment
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:24 pm ET) To make room on the roster after the signing of Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox third baseman Juan Francisco was designated for assignment Tuesday, according to the team's website.

The Red Sox recently claimed Francisco off waivers from the Blue Jays. In 2014, he hit .220 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI.


Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish cleared to begin throwing
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:11 pm ET) An MRI revealed Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish suffered no damage to his right elbow and has been cleared to begin his normal throwing routine. The Rangers expect Darvish to begin throwing in early December.

Darvish was placed on the DL in August with right elbow inflammation and was later shut down for the season. Before being placed on the DL, Darvish went 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 22 starts.


Report: Cubs have made 'significant offer' to Jon Lester
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:34 pm ET) The Cubs have made a substantial offer to free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester, according to CSNChicago.com.

"What I'm hearing is the Chicago Cubs have made a significant offer -- significant north of $135 million," David Kaplan of CSN said Tuesday during his "Kap and Haugh" radio show. Kaplan added the Cubs' offer is a six-year deal.

CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported Tuesday five clubs are seriously interested in signing the veteran left-handed pitcher. They are the Red Sox, Braves, Cubs, Giants and Cardinals. Lester is expected to make his decision sometime after Thanksgiving.


Free agent Chris Capuano considering playing in Japan in 2015
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:54 pm ET) Free agent pitcher Chris Capuano confirmed the rumors of his interest to play in Japan during the 2015 season, reports MLB Network Radio.

“There’s a lot of truth to it,” Capuano said, per MLB Network Radio. “It piqued my interest back in 06. We’re considering it.”

In 2014, Capuano went 3-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 12 starts for the Red Sox and Yankees.


Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman back to full strength
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he is back to full strength after being hobbled late in the season due to a Grade 3 hamstring strain, according to The Washington Post.

"It doesn’t hurt golfing or laying around the house," he said. "It’s good. I always have to continually change things because you have to evolve as you get older. It’s one thing I’ve realized. I’ll change some things up but I’ll be good to go."


Phillies invite five to spring training as non-roster players
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:30 pm ET) The Phillies announced Tuesday they signed pitcher Paul Clemens, catcher Rene Garcia, catcher Koyie Hill, infielder Chris Nelson and infielder Cord Phelps to minor-league contracts. All five players received invites to spring training as non-roster invitees.

Farrell confident Red Sox are 'making every attempt' to sign Lester
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) Red Sox manager John Farrell said Tuesday that Boston remains in the mix to bring back starting pitcher Jon Lester, even though the Red Sox just agreed to big free-agent deals with Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.

"Like everyone else in the free-agent market, that’s to be determined. He’s earned the right to get to this point in his career," Farrell said, per WEEI.com. "I’m sure there’s a lot of teams that have a lot of interest in him and deservedly so. Confident that we’re making every attempt internally here and the hope would be to get him back here. We’ll get a better read on that in the coming weeks. … We’re probably a quarter or a third of the way through the offseason so there’s time and a lot of options still available to us and it will be interesting to see what ends up on our roster."


Padres VP of scouting: Reports on Grandal 'were all good'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:09 pm ET) Padres vice president of scouting operations Don Welke said he heard good things about catcher Yasmani Grandal, who hit .328 with a .469 on-base percentage in the Dominican winter league. He also had seven doubles, two homers and 14 RBI in 19 games, while totaling 18 walks against 15 strikeouts.

"The reports were all good on Grandal," Welke said, per MLB.com. "He looked sharper offensively and defensively. You know he's doing good when quite a few teams express interest in him. I think he's got a chance to have a lot of impact."


Twins pitcher Anthony Swarzak outrighted to Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:00 pm ET) The Twins announced Tuesday they have outrighted pitcher Anthony Swarzak to Triple-A Rochester. He went 3-2 with a 4.60 ERA in 50 appearances (four starts) in 2014.

White Sox's Ventura expects Alexei Ramirez to remain with team
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:31 pm ET) White Sox manager Robin Ventura appears to be very confident shortstop Alexei Ramirez will be back with the team in 2015, despite Ramirez being mentioned heavily in trade rumors.

"I don't expect Alexei to go anywhere. I expect him to be my shortstop," Ventura said, per the Chicago Sun-Times.


 
 
 
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