Fantasy baseball: Regrets and regression like death and taxes

Published: Saturday, May 18, 2013 12:28 a.m. CDT

Anyone who says they’ve never regretted anything has never played fantasy baseball. Or they’re not playing it right.

On the flip side, maybe they’re perfect. Lord knows I’m not. This year, regret’s name is David Hernandez.

About 2 weeks ago, the perennial closer in waiting in Arizona gave up a three-run jack to Brandon Belt. In one fell swoop, Hernandez a) blew a win for my starter, Brandon McCarthy, b) blew a hold and c) picked up his second loss.

It also boosted his ERA to 4.61 but, more importantly in my eyes, his WHIP to nearly 2.00. At that point, he was 4-for-7 in hold situations and putting guys on at a Marmolian rate.

I swore. Several times. As my tantrum subsided, I uttered, “Never again Mr. Hernandez” and dropped him.

I couldn’t have been more right. Since then, he’s never given up a run while earning a win, three holds and a save in six appearances.

So why was this different from the past 2 years, in which Kenley Jansen had multiple nightmarish relief appearances in the first couple of weeks? I stood by him. The difference is, as Crash Davis might say, when Kenley was a baby, the gods reached down and turned his right arm into a thunderbolt.

Hernandez has good stuff, but not Jansen stuff.

The real difference? The same way that I’ve put on the sympathy pounds during our first pregnancy, I’m also sympathetically hormonal. Thus, as many times I’ve told you not to overreact, I’ve gone ahead and flown off the handle.

Who’s to say Hernandez will become the closer in the desert, anyway? Well ... J.J. Putz (on the DL), Heath Bell (doesn’t resemble himself circa 2008) and Matt Reynolds (lefty closers are crazy rare). That’s who says, most likely.

Even if Hernandez doesn’t close, if he keeps pitching like he has since I scrapped him, I’m out a couple dozen holds.

Regrettable moves happen to all of us, and they tend to come out in the wash. For instance, the guy who pounced on Hernandez with a waiver claim had dropped Marco Scutaro 3 days before I dumped Hernandez.

All the top-10 second baseman in 2012 has done since I scooped him up is go on a 15-game hitting streak, complete with 11 multi-hit games and a boost from a .215 batting average to .318.

If you’re like me, there’s a little voice urging you to re-acquire your regret. That voice isn’t your friend. Eyes here. I’m your friend. Let the player go, because his new owner knows you’re willing to overpay to fix your mistake.

While I’m offering sub-par advice, here’s some swooners you’ll want to hold onto, lest you regret parting ways. These could also be read as some bonus buy-low candidates.

Paul Konerko, White Sox 1B: With no homers and a solitary RBI in his last 10 games, you might be worried if the late-2012 version is who Konerko is now. With Dayan Viciedo back in the lineup and Adam Dunn hotter than a $2 pistol, Paulie’s gonna start seeing better pitches.

Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics OF: Oakland’s cavernous ballpark couldn’t keep him from hitting 23 bombs in 129 games in 2012, even though he was hitting a mere .236 with five homers through May. When the weather heats up, Cespedes will, too.

Yovani Gallardo, Brewers SP: He’s the ace of the most mercurial team in baseball, and one that’s faced a brutal schedule so far. Let me reassure you and myself in saying things are going to get better. You can drop John Axford, though. He’s broken.

The Hot Corner

This week’s topic: We’re a quarter of the way through the season. Who’s going to win it all and why?

Last week’s banter: What’s your favorite moment in baseball history?

Adam Davis (Rochelle): Boston rallies from 0-3 series deficit.

Colby Anderson (Byron): White Xox 11-1 in the postseason with three complete games in a row and walk off HR by Pods in the World Series!!!

Kent Schwab (Rock Falls): White Sox winning the World Series in 2005!!!

Pitch the Commish: The commish selects Paul Konerko, White Sox. Pick from one of these four slumping first basemen and, if he rates higher, you’re in the SVM league next season:

Ike Davis, Mets (slugging .167 in May)

Eric Hosmer, Royals (1 HR, 11 RBI in 124 ABs)

Mike Napoli, Angels (hitless in half of his games in May)

Lance Berkman, Rangers (.234 avg. in May)

Market Survey

Buy low: Adam LaRoche, Nationals 1B: WARNING: Your time is running out. I’ve been prophesying his turnaround for weeks. Act now or miss out.

Sell high: Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks P: He’s good, but hasn’t thrown more than 107 MLB innings in a season. In that ballpark, he’ll hit a wall – and some bad luck – all in due time.

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