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Friday 18th Aug 2017

What are the odds that in a span of one week, two of my all-time favorite fantasy targets make Hot Stove news? I owned Brian McCann in Tout Wars this past season but no, he’s not the guy. Jhonny Peralta? Yeah, I owned him in Tout as well, that is until early-August and that whole PED mess. But no, he’s not the guy either. I’m talking about a pair of hurlers.

What do Dan Haren and Ricky Nolasco have in common? Who am I kidding? Haren has been a household name for quite some time now while Nolasco has been the model of inconsistency. But check this out:

                                                                ERA  WHIP  K/9    K/BB  HR/9   H/9

Dan Haren Career Stats

3.74

1.19

7.64

4.08

1.09

8.80

Ricky Nolasco Career Stats

4.37

1.29

7.38

3.52

1.05

9.50

Haren has undoubtedly been the more successful pitcher, but this was closer than I expected.

Anyway, both have ranked among the league leaders in K/BB ratio throughout their careers. I tend to like those types of pitchers. After all, a strikeout means that the ball is not put into play, and walking batters is simply inexcusable. I can live with hits. Walks? Not so much.

My continued admiration for Haren usually paid off over the years, as he rose to fantasy ace status in 2007, his final season with the A’s, and mostly remained at that level until a shaky 2012 campaign that, thanks to some health woes, marked the first time he failed to pitch 200 innings since becoming a full-time starter. So the Nationals took a chance on him last off-season on a one-year deal and I followed suit, drafting him as my ultra-cheap ace in my NL-only league. On the whole, things didn’t quite work out, though a strong second half (6-4, 3.52 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .226 BAA) is a promising sign for us Haren believers. I’ll be drafting Haren in at least one of my 2014 leagues. Bank on it. Playing on another one-year deal for a good team in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, what’s not to like? Even though the Dodgers are shelling out 10 million bucks for a pitcher who is coming off two straight sub-par seasons, the key here is that it’s a one-year contract, and at 33, it’s not like Haren is ancient.

Unlike the Dodgers, the Twins are desperate for starting pitching help, which explains why they overpaid for Nolasco. Four years for 49 million plus a player option for 2018 that will vest as long as he stays relatively healthy in 2016 and 2017? Come on!

Alright, here’s some Minnesota Twins trivia. Name the player who received the largest contract given to a free agent in franchise history. Yup, the answer is Ricky Nolasco, who prior to last year, had registered an ERA below 4.00 in just one of his first seven big league seasons. I know that Target Field is kind to pitchers, but the bottom line is that Nolasco, a career-long National Leaguer, is moving to the Junior Circuit, and that’s never a good thing. Maybe I’m being unfair here. Maybe I have a personal vendetta against Ricky because he’s let me down time and time again. Maybe the 30-year-old has finally figured out the recipe for consistency. Of course, I didn’t own Nolasco in any league last year for the first time since 2008, so maybe I’m letting my bitterness cloud my judgment.

Whatever. The Nolasco contract will turn out to be a disaster for the small-market Twins, who can’t afford too many disaster contracts. And I won’t be drafting him in any leagues this year. I’m done with him. I’m sure of it.

Well, I am 99.9 percent sure.

Ok, 95 percent sure.

90 percent sure?

 

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