The Finch Files: Freddy Garcia looks strong

Welcome once again to the Finch Files. It's been another interesting week. Ace and I took a trip to Pittsburgh for a few days. It's a great city, and while I was there mostly for business, we did have a chance to enjoy the spring weather.

In between scouring stats and player news, I'm going to start my month off with a little more travel. I'll be packing up my laptop and fantasy baseball magazines to head to the Women's Health and Fitness Expo in New York, where I'll be speaking about the importance of softball, and sports in general, in my life. I'm excited to meet the other speaker, Kathrine Switzer. In 1967, she was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, and her actions helped usher in Title IX. She's a leader and a role model, and I'm honored to be part of something she's participating in. I'll let you know how it goes.
I'm happy to see May is here, since this is when things start to heat up -- and I don't just mean the weather in Arizona! While you may have to give pitchers a little more time, May's when we start to see what's what, particularly from hitters. It's a good time to look out for those guys you think are going to be hitting stars this month, especially those who started slow in April.

Meanwhile, keep your questions coming. I can't wait to see what you come up with this week!

Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, ... I have Randy Johnson! I waited for his return from the DL and he killed me tonight! what do I do w/ him? Jeff (Plano, TX)

Dear Jeff,

So, I know I've said this a few times already, but we're only four weeks into a season that lasts six months. Patience, my friend, patience. I'm going to stand by Randy. He looks healthy and he had good velocity. His fastball was touching 93-94 mph in his last start. Early on in the game, his slider had a sharp bite. Give him a little time.

I've been offered Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Zimmerman, and Andruw Jones for Michael Young and Garrett Atkins ... should I make the trade? I do have Jose Reyes at shortstop (I was playing Young at UTIL) and my only ace is Jake Peavy. Thoughts? Mike (Seattle, WA)

Dear Mike,

Are you kidding?! Make this trade before the offer is withdrawn. Zambrano will, over the course of the season, get to his usual numbers and the Cubs aren't a bad team -- they're going to turn it around. I think you can expect the same for Zimmerman and Jones, whose early season stats have been affected by horrible weather back east. Although Young and Atkins are good, you're being offered three all-stars in exchange for two. Go for it!

I have John Smoltz, Ben Sheets, Brandon Webb, John Lackey, Jason Schmidt, Tim Hudson and Daisuke Matsuzaka as my starters and Bob Wickman and Chris Ray as relievers., but I have an ERA of 4.00 in my league, should I try to make a trade or wait out to see how it plays out? Also do you think Josh Barfield will come around at second base? I do have B.J. Upton. Fizzy (Fresno)

Dear Fizzy,

Sheets has electric stuff, a great changeup, never walks anyone, but he's always injured I'd wait until Sheets has one good start and then trade him. That way you'll get good value for him. As for your other guys, other than Schmidt and Wickman's injuries, you've got a great pitching staff. It's easy to panic in April, but come June, July and August, you'll have the best staff in the league and an ERA well below 4.00. I'd be patient with Barfield, too. He's coming from San Diego, where it's warm, to Cleveland, which isn't (sometimes, a little understatement goes a long way) and a new league. He may be a little slow to come around, but he's with a great offensive team. He'll eventually start putting up the numbers you expect. He had 13 home runs last year, six of them in Petco Park, and best of all, he hit .319 on the road, so he could actually be better than he was now that he's out of one of the best pitcher's parks in baseball. This year I'd still expect him to put up 15-20 home runs with 20-25 steals.

Do you think Freddy Garcia is burned out or can he win 12-15 games for the Phillies this year? Dan Churchill

Dear Dan,

Garcia should be able to win 12-15 games, even with the time he's missed. Freddy has pitched well so far and has touched 93-94 mph. When Philadelphia starts hitting and the bullpen is settled, he may surprise you and win a few more than you expect? The only bit of caution would be that he does pitch at Citizens Bank Park, which is a hitter's ballpark, so his wins and strikeouts won't come without some risk to your ERA and WHIP.

Hello Jennie and good luck with softball but let's get to fantasy baseball. I am in a keeper league where I have Conor Jackson sitting on my bench because I have Ryan Howard at first base and David Ortiz at utility. Do you think I should cut Jackson to make room for Homer Bailey and wait until this young stud comes up? Mark (Tenafly)

Dear Mark,

With Howard and Ortiz, you can afford to cut Jackson, but I'd hold onto him for a little while. If he catches on fire, you're in a great position to make a trade. If he doesn't, then you can dump him later on. I don't think Bailey's going to be called up for a month or two, until injuries or performance force the Reds to make the move, kind of like the Yankees were forced to call up Phil Hughes. Baseball scouts rave about Bailey's stuff, saying it's as good as anyone's in the minors, so if you are going to dump a guy like Jackson, you've got the right idea wanting to get a jump on Homer Bailey.

Jennie - Congratulations on the Baby (Ace)! My first questions have nothing to do with Baseball. What the heck is going on with the firing of Roz? I sure hope Lute can win one more before he is done. Do you think the Cats can win another Softball World Series this year? When are you and your team going to be playing a game in the Chicago area? Finally my baseball question: What is up with Jered Weaver? I traded Ivan Rodriguez for Weaver a few weeks back and it is not looking good. Hold him or fold him? Thanks for taking my question. Go Cats! WildcatIke (Chicago)


Fellow Cat! Thanks for writing. I was so bummed to see Coach Roz go. He and Coach O go way back, so it was a real shocker. He's a great guy and an amazing coach, and I for one am sad to see him leave.

Yes, my softball Wildcats are looking good and peaking at the right time. If Mowatt can lead them on the mound and handle the work load they are ready to win another title. She is getting better and better and has a great offense led by Lowe and Fox. I am hoping for the repeat! Go Cats!

Now as for your baseball question, Weaver is going to be fine. The Angels look to be the class of the AL West. His numbers this year may not be as good as his rookie year, but even falling short of those, I'd hold onto him. He's still a talented pitcher capable of big strikeout games and he'll win his fair share. Since you had to trade Ivan Rodriguez for him, I doubt there's much better on your waiver wire to replace him, so why would you fold when you might have a winning hand?

That's all for this week. Thanks for all your great questions, and to those of you who wrote and I couldn't answer, keep trying. We'll do this all again next week!

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