ASK ROTOMAN: Rime or Reason of the Right-handed Mariner

Q: I need starting pitching (Sale, Cobb, Roberto Hernandez, Wade Davis, and Esmil Rogers) and have a pretty balanced team offensively. I was offered Hisashi Iwakuma for either Alexei Ramirez or Shane Victorino. I’m inclined to do Ramirez even though I don’t have a ton of speed. The only thing holding me back is Iwakuma’s last bunch of starts in which he’s been giving up a lot of home runs. Would you do this in an AL 5×5 league?

A:: Iwakuma is on pace for a $30+ year, while both Ramirez and Victorino are clocking less than $20. On pure value I think you should make the deal. There is always the chance that a pitcher is going to run out of gas, and Iwakuma has now pitched more innings this year than he did last year. He’s not a stone lock to dominate the rest of the way.

But the fact of the matter is that the homers Iwakuma has allowed this month were to Adrian Beltre (2) in Texas, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mark Trumbo. Those are three tough offensive teams and some tough hitters. I think you can cut him some slack on that one.

And a guy who has pitched as well as Iwakuma has the last 400 days or so (maybe the best pitcher in baseball over that span) can’t usually be had for Alexei Ramirez or Shane Victorino. So, I think you have to do it if you need pitching and can afford to give up the steals (maybe even dump the category). There’s no guarantee, but there’s not enough evidence against him to ignore how effective he’s been (and even if he falls off a fair amount he’ll be worth more than those guys).

If you trade Ramirez, Victoryno should be yours.