ASK ROTOMAN: Time To Give Up On Salazar?


Is it worth giving up Danny Salazar in a 5×5 keeper league where I need some power in order to get Matt Adams?  I already have Madison Bumgarner, Adam Wainwright, Robbie Erlin, Yordano Ventura, Tyson Ross, and Jeff Samardzjia for SP’s plus a couple others. What do you think?  The other offer was Bumgarner for Mark Trumbo, but I think thats too spendy.

“A Bridge Too Salazar?”

Dear Bridge,

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. You are pretty rich in pitching and need a power hitter. On draft day Salazar and Adams probably cost a similar amount, and it sounds like in hindsight if you could have taken Adams instead of Salazar you would have. So this deal is obviously to the good for you.

And I agree about Bumgarner and Trumbo. The former was a $24-25 player in NL leagues, while Trumbo was a $22-23 player. If that was your only way to add power you might do it, but it isn’t as square a deal as Salazar for Adams.

It might have a bigger impact, since Trumbo is a more significant hitter than Adams, and Bumgarner is a more significant pitcher than Salazar, but sometimes it’s better to play it safer and smaller, which is what Salazar for Adams does.

That’s because we know quite a bit about Adams. He’s a very solid power hitter against right-handed pitchers (and not so good against lefties). He may lose some at bats versus lefties at some point, especially given the Cardinals’ plethora of hitters in the bigs and the minors, but he’s been weak enough against lefties (.588 OPS in limited time the last three seasons) that you probably want to see him sit against them. He’s still a solid power hitter even when missing those at bats.

We don’t know quite a bit about Salazar. He took the AL by storm late last year, in 52 IP, and was quickly elevated to stud status  by many despite the lack of experience. I warned about that during the preseason, because regardless of a young pitcher’s obvious gifts (he throws very hard, missed lots of bats with good control, etc.), we simply don’t know how well and quickly he’s going to be able to adjust as hitters adjust to him and his workload increases. Salazar has not been good thus far this year. His velocity is down, he’s walking guys, and throwing homers. It’s early, just three starts, but things are not right right now.

So make the trade. Getting out from under the struggling Salazar is really just a slim advantage. Odds are Salazar is going to work things out, and once he’s in a groove he’ll throw plenty of strikeouts, but he’s not in that place now, and if you can fix your team by dealing a struggling cipher, you have to do it.