C. Harris: Byrd's value receives slight bump

August, 12, 2008
Paul Byrd goes to the Red Sox. You'll forgive fantasy baseball players for yawning.

Boston's rotation is in flux. Tim Wakefield just went on the DL with a sore shoulder, the same malady that limited him at the end of the '07 regular season and throughout the playoffs. In fact, career minor leaguer and knuckleballer Charlie Zink is starting in Wakefield's place for the Sox tonight against the Rangers. In addition, Clay Buchholz has been extremely ineffective of late: Since returning from the DL on July 11, he has a 7.42 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP. Considering these moving parts, the Red Sox clearly believed they needed some insurance.

That insurance comes in the form of Byrd. Now, don't get me wrong: He's been pretty good lately. In his past four starts, he has allowed four earned runs, and has won all four games with a WHIP around 1.10. Whatever fantasy value he had in Cleveland gets bumped up a little in Boston, with a winning team. But don't go crazy. If Wakefield comes back after the minimum two weeks and Buchholz gets another chance and winds up being effective, Byrd won't even have value in AL-only leagues because he won't be a starting pitcher.

In Cleveland, Aaron Laffey is likely to inherit Byrd's rotation spot, and he could be worth an AL-only look if you're desperate, though he was erratic in his 16 big league starts earlier this season. Like Byrd, Laffey is a soft-tosser who won't strike out many batters, so he needs to be extremely fine to be effective. When he's not, look out.



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