After years of playing fantasy baseball, I locked in my first mega-deal over the weekend.
In order to improve my struggling lineup, I traded away one of the best pitchers in the game for one of the hottest hitters. Since my staff is up near the top of the league, I figured this would help more than it would hurt.
Here is the deal: I got Lance Berkman and Jeff Francoeur in exchange for Josh Johnson and Jason Bay.
I know what you are thinking: How could I possibly give up Johnson? Trust me, with the slow starts of Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford, I was in desperate need of some offense. If it were a keeper league, I never would have made the deal.
Maybe my luck is starting to turn, as Johnson had to leave last night's game after getting struck by a Carlos Beltran one-hopper up the middle.
Tonight will be the first night Berkman is in my lineup, and fittingly, he will face off against the Phillies and his old teammate Roy Oswalt.
Oswalt, who will be making his first start since April 26, said he thinks it will be "interesting."
If you are playing in one of today's FanDuel competitions, the $5,000 MLB Strikeout or the $1,500 MLB Hit & Run, I would shy away from Oswalt. There is a good chance that he is not 100%. Couple that with the fact that he hasn't made a rehab appearance, and it could be a short night for Oswalt.
Still need convincing? Here is a look at how current Cardinals have hit Oswalt throughout their careers:
On the other hand, I really like playing Berkman tonight, especially since his career numbers are much better from the left side:
Career batting LH vs. RHP - .308 AVG; 14.98 AB/HR; 4.78 AB/RBI
2011 batting LH vs. RHP - .363 AVG; 11.38 AB/HR; 3.73 AB/RBI
Career batting RH vs. LHP - .261 AVG; 30.04 AB/HR; 6.53 AB/RBI
2011 batting RH vs. LHP - .290 AVG; 10.33 AB/HR; 4.42 AB/RBI
Looking at those numbers, it's not even close...
Aroldis Chapman was put on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury and won't be back until at least early June.
David Wright is expected to be placed on the 15-day DL after injuring his back. If that is the case he will be until at least early June.
Chase Utley (knee) and Jose Contreras (elbow) look like they could be returning to the Phillies' lineup soon. Utley is already on a rehab assignment with A Clearwater Threshers and Contreras could begin his assignment as early as tomorrow. The Contreras news is significant because he could return to the closer role once he gets back, although Ryan Madson has done a great job filling in.
Orlando Hudson (hamstring) is expected to return to the Padres lineup on Thursday when they take on the Brewers.
Nelson Cruz (quadriceps) could return on Friday when the Rangers take on the Phillies.
JOSE BAUTISTA REVISITED
Yesterday, I wrote about Jose Bautista and the staggering increase in his power numbers. I forgot, however, to point out the fact that Bautista made a significant change to his swing in 2009.
As some of the commenters pointed out, that was the reason for new-found power. I understand that, but as someone who played baseball (although not nearly on the same level), it often takes time to get used to such a change, and an increase of 40+ home runs is almost too big to ignore. I just want to make it clear that I am not accusing Bautista of using steroids. I have no evidence to prove that to be the case. I am, however, just pointing out that fact that it is a possibility.
I hope, and believe, that isn't the case.
Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin