Friends and Family Matters

The "Average Joes" may not be so average after all.

In the 12-team Yahoo! Friends and Family League, Craig Falzone and I rank second and fourth place in the standings, respectively.

Falzone's major key to success has been his Lance Berkman-led offense. His team ranks third-best or better in four of the five offensive categories.

I, on the other hand, have to give all the credit to the people. As stated in my last column, I'm not going at it alone in this league. My team isn't just mine – it also belongs to you, the reader. All season I will be welcoming your advice on how to improve our team in the quest of defeating all the experts.

The quest continues this week with three trade offers being presented to us.

The first comes from's Chris Liss. His offer is essentially a 3-for-1 where we give Alfonso Soriano and two players of our choosing for Derek Jeter, Kosuke Fukudome and Mike Cameron.

The second proposal comes from Andy Behrens, a Chicago resident who's also interested in Soriano. He has us trading the Cubs' slugger for Ryan Zimmerman and Jay Bruce.

The third and final offer is by Scott Pianowski. And get this: it doesn't involve Soriano. Laden with saves, Pianowski is willing to buy high on Cliff Lee and trade us Billy Wagner.

Something to always look at when considering trades is your team needs. As the standings show, our team ranks dead-last in both stolen bases and saves.

Our saves shortage makes the Wagner trade stand out, particularly if you're pessimistic about the future returns of Lee. Bruce, meanwhile, has godly talent, which I don't say about everybody. He alone makes Behrens' offer worth considering.

I don't know, what does everyone think? Should we make a trade, or should we stay put?

And in regards to our stolen bases problem, Matt Buser appears to be our answer – he's on pace to run away with the category. I've offered him Joba Chamberlain for Jacoby Ellsbury, but he probably won't accept it. He understandably wants to build a more sizeable advantage in the category before trading away one of his top speedsters. I think Chamberlain is our trade bait, but what player should we fish for?

"Average Joe" Nation
This section is devoted to all reader suggestions that have influenced a roster move in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League.

Thanks Mike for your invite to look at your team and maybe help you along the road to a championship. We Average Joe's must stick together. I looked on your league waiver wire and have seen what was there. Ryan Church is just sitting there, which I couldn't believe. Church was moved up in the Mets batting order to the number two slot. This makes him a great value for a number of reasons. He will hit behind the speedy Jose Reyes, will have the opportunity to drive in a lot of runs, and will have Wright hit behind him to bring him home. He will face more fastballs from pitchers and that will increase his HR totals. He is a guy you want on your team right now. – Homer, Wisconsin

Yo Mike, you have to drop Xavier Nady and pick up Ryan Church. Nady has tempted far too many fantasy owners with his hot Aprils, but you should not be fooled. Ryan Church fills a void for the Mets, not only in RF where the competition is guys named Brady, Endy and Angel, but also in the two-hole between an All-Star left side of the infield. Church showed what he could do with 500 ABs in RFK last season, he's into his prime, and with a team built to win now, I am betting on improvement. – Chin, Danville, CA

The move: You dropped Xavier Nady and added Ryan Church.

If this were my team, I would definitely be picking up Josh Willingham for Skip Schumaker. Willingham will get some SB's if you are more concerned about that with Soriano out. He will also provide more RBI and HR than Schumaker. Cliff Lee is available and should be picked up for either the struggling Phil Hughes or Todd Wellemeyer, who in my opinion is just off to a good start and will not progress much more. I wish Willingham was available in my league; the guy is a good overall fantasy player and is currently hitting well. – Kevin, Newport News, VA

Drop Todd Wellemeyer and pick up Cliff Lee as fast as you can. I think Lee is well on his way to equaling or surpassing his 2005 line. Lee has verbally stated that the horrendous year he had in 2007 has him motivated, and his stats in the first two games back that up. In the meantime, Wellemeyer has struggled in at least one start this year and in my humble opinion is going to end up on the north side of a 4.00 ERA. – John, Atlanta, GA

The moves: You dropped Skip Schumaker and Todd Wellemeyer and added Josh Willingham and Cliff Lee.

Split-Second Decisions
Timing can be everything in fantasy baseball. Whether it's beating everyone to the punch on a newly named closer or accepting a great trade offer before the other person has a change of heart, sometimes roster moves have to me made with a sense of urgency. These are those moves, which were made without the approval of the "Average Joe" Nation.

The move: I traded Carlos Zambrano and Brad Penny to Falzone for C.C. Sabathia and Brian Fuentes.
The reason: Falzone offered me this trade on May 4 at 7:55 a.m., and I accepted it at 7:57 a.m. There are a bunch of reasons why this trade works out perfectly for our team. First, we get some help in the saves department with Fuentes, which is huge. Secondly, Penny really kills owners in the strikeout category, which I underestimated when I drafted him. And lastly, Sabathia is just a flat-out stud on the mound. After his slow start, I had no doubt that he would revert to his AL Cy Young form, which he has. The funny thing about this deal is that in Penny's first start with Falzone, he allowed 10 earned runs with 10 hits and three walks in four innings. Shortly afterward, Falzone traded away Penny for Kaz Matsui.

The move: I dropped Guillermo Mota and added Max Scherzer with the No. 1 waiver priority.
The reason: I could have waited to use my waiver priority on Clayton Kershaw, the better pitching prospect, but the trouble with him is he just turned 20 years old in March. Scherzer, on the other hand, is almost 24, making him much more ready to make a prolonged impact in 2008. Also, Scherzer's stuff is well-suited for a closer role, so that could be an added bonus if the Arizona Diamondbacks need him there this season. (He would have SP eligibility, too.)

The move: I dropped Jeff Clement and added Dioner Navarro.
The reason: J.R. Towles was a draft-day bust for our team, so we needed to find a hitting catcher in his place. Once the Seattle Mariners called up Clement, I decided to pick him up and see what he could do. He couldn't do much, so I started looking at the free agency again, where sat Navarro. He had a great second half last season, and was starting to heat up again. I put two and two together, and voila, our team now has a catcher.

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