Rotisserie by the Numbers: Deal Heath Bell, Adrian Gonzalez, and Raul Ibanez Now

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Rotisserie by the Numbers: Deal Heath Bell, Adrian Gonzalez, and Raul Ibanez Now
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Buy low, sell high.

The philosophy works in the stock market, real estate, and fantasy baseball.

This column is all about the sell-high part.

There are plenty of players out there who have provided fantasy owners more bang for their buck than an item on the McDonald’s dollar menu. But past performances and common sense dictate that these players are due to die (fantasy-wise, not literally).

Thus, before these guys drain your team’s chances of winning a fantasy championship with their sure summer slumps, you should move them now when their values are at their highest points and you can get truckloads in return for them.

Here are three players who should probably be traded before they tail off.

 

Heath Bell, Padres

Who knew San Diego would even win games this year, let alone set up their closer with enough save situations that he could lead the majors in saves?

The Padres are perfect for closers, though, because they are a low-scoring team that never blows opponents out and almost always wins by three runs or fewer. So, Bell has been the fortunate recipient of more save opportunities than Spiderman.

Bell has transformed himself from a castoff middle reliever into one of the best closers in baseball. He has converted 17 of 18 save chances, posted microscopic ERA (1.42) and WHIP (0.99) numbers, struck out 31 batters in 25.1 innings, and has won two games to boot.

The only way fantasy owners could love Bell more is if he found the cure for cancer and solved the world’s economic crisis.

But will San Diego keep hooking Bell up with these save opportunities?

The team will get progressively worse as the months drag on when the team falls out of contention and sheds payroll by trading Jake Peavy, Brian Giles, and other veterans making more than minimum wage.

Bell is also no lock to be Rollie Fingers from here on out. He has a decent history as a middle man, but the jury is out on whether he can close consistently for an entire season.

Bell could bring you back some serious pieces if you dealt him right now.

 

Adrian Gonzalez, Padres

I hate singling out San Diego players, but 2009's home run leader has nowhere to go but down.

A-Gon has been the one and only shining light in a dull Padres batting order. Un-phenomenal phenom Chase Headley has looked lost all season long, yet he is second on the team with 23 RBI. Giles is arguably the most overpriced player in baseball this season, making multi-millions while batting .195.

Kevin Kouzmanoff’s five homers, .220 batting average, and .268 on-base percentage wouldn’t be so sad if he weren’t batting in the middle of the order everyday.

This is why Gonzalez has a realistic chance to hit 45 homers and still drive in fewer than 100 runs.

Gonzalez has been one of the most underrated players in fantasy baseball in the past couple years. He has also been one of the streakiest, and this season he has not had a bad streak yet.

Trust me, it will come.

He gets into three-week ruts where he swings like Tony Pena Jr. just to prove he is human. There is no way his power production will continue at this alarming rate.

Pitchers barely pitch to Gonzalez now.

It is amazing he has put up the power numbers he has when the guys in front of him never get on base and the guys behind him offer about as much protection as a blind bodyguard.

So, how much worse could it get later in the campaign, when San Diego dumps its decent guys and Gonzalez is surrounded by minor leaguers?

Expect more solo homers and more box score lines where he goes 0-for-1 with three walks, no runs, and no RBI.

Trade Gonzo now and maybe you can land yourself Albert Pujols, Johan Santana, or a package of two or three very good productive fantasy players.

 

Raul Ibanez, Phillies

Take a look at yourself in the mirror and be honest.

Forget about everything that has happened up to this juncture.

Forget that the person in question is on your team.

Just ask yourself this simple question—do you honestly believe Raul Ibanez is going to end up with 55 home runs and 150 runs batted in?

That’s the superhuman pace Ibanez is on, but in the best year of his career he had 33 homers and 123 RBI. Other than that, Ibanez is more of a 23-HR, 100-RBI type.

Sure, nowadays he plays half his games in an arcade where broken-bat bunts fly out for homers, and he has Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins giving him more scoring opportunities than any batter could ever dream of—but while Ibanez is a solid, professional hitter, he is not the second coming of Babe Ruth.

That means a big comedown is in the cards.

I know it will be hard to trade Ibanez when he seemingly hits homers and knocks in runs every night, but Jorge Cantu and Ryan Zimmerman owners probably thought the same way a few weeks ago when those two were the hottest hitters in the NL, and look at that pair now.

Cantu has two homers and a .233 average since May 1, while Zimmerman has gone homerless in 14 games and watched 48 points get shaved off his average.

Trade Ibanez before he gets snagged in an 0-for-20 patch and his trade value takes a hit.

 

I know starting pitchers with 2-6 records and 9.00 ERAs are normally not the ones to pick up on the fantasy waiver wire, but Florida’s Ricky Nolasco is an exception.

He had mechanical problems early on that messed up his command (and in turn his ERA and WHIP), but he seems to have worked out the kinks in the minors (2.40 ERA in 15 innings) and looked much better in his return-to-the-rotation start this past weekend against San Francisco (two ER in seven innings). 

Nolasco might stop being a fiasco and have another sick run like he did after the All-Star break last year if he is back to normal.

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