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Dear RotoRob: I Need Goaltending Help

December 25, 2006 | By RotoRob | comment on this post


Happy holidays to all our readers. As a special Christmas Day treat, we’re going to dig through our ever growing backlog of mail (we’re trying, people, but it’s a busy time of year for all) and bring you the latest Dear RotoRob installment.

Here’s one for Mike Chen, the hockey expert:

Dear Mike,

I’ve got a hockey question for you.

Here is my team:

Obviously, I am in deep, deep trouble with goaltending. I drafted Alex Auld and Martin Gerber. Yikes! Click on the league page to see the standings. I am well off in everything else.

I was offered:

Cam Ward
Simon Gagne
Kevin Beirksa


Thomas Vanek
Jason Spezza
Mike Commodore

Obviously, I turned that down in a heartbeat.

He countered by changing Ward with Martin Brodeur, keeping the rest of the deal the same.

Anyways, I came back with Jaromir Jagr, Spezza or Vanek for Brodeur straight up.

He countered by offering two of those three for Gagne and Broduer.

I may take that. So after rambling on, I was wondering your thoughts on the last offer. I think it might be okay even if Peter Forsberg is hurt and Gagne is without any playmaker.


Hope your day is going well.


Hi Todd,

So the deal in question is:



Two of Vanek, Jagr or Spezza.

I’m assuming this is not a keeper league and you’re just in it for this season.

Unfortunately, your goaltending situation has forced you into a predicament where you will have to give up one of your top guys. Never fear, though, getting Brodeur means that you will get between above-average to spectacular goaltending stats — stats that will lift your goalie scores out of the black hole they’re currently in.

Picking Vanek is the easy part. Now’s the decision — Jagr or Spezza?

If this was a keeper league, I’d say keep Spezza hands down — his youth and skill are hard to duplicate. But since this is just for this season, let’s look at it this way:

Jagr – 47, Spezza – 43

Jagr – 144, Spezza – 87

Jagr +17, Spezza +5

Special teams points:
Jagr – 22, Spezza – 19

In every statistical category, Jagr is having a better year than Spezza. Sure, the Rangers are in a small funk right now, but the Sens have been on-again, off-again all season. In the end, these two teams shouldn’t have a total collapse like the Kings did last season, so it really comes down to individuals.

Obviously, Gagne’s not going to have Forsberg at his side for who knows how long. Gagne’s stats have indeed taken a dip in games that Forsberg has been out (just look at the December game log); the good news is that Gagne plays special teams and has a few shorties, along with a good chunk of power play points. In addition, Gagne likes to shoot and already has more shots (125) than Spezza.

In essence, you can look at this in two transactions: Vanek for Gagne and Spezza or Jagr for Brodeur. Because youth is not a consideration and Jagr has a lot of extra categories in so solidly in his favor (shots, +/-), I’d include Spezza in the deal and keep Jagr. I’d really hate giving up either of them, especially for someone on an awful Philly team, but your goaltending kind of has you cornered and you definitely need something to get you some points from the crease.

You could try to counter-offer, too. Looking at your roster, I’d try throwing out Jagr/Erik Cole for Gagne/Brodeur and see what happens.


Dear RotoRob,

Taking a shot at the Pirates’ asking price for maybe the next killer closer was a bit out of line.’Yes, the Pirates are often a joke, but they are not a 100 per cent joke.’The Pirates play without anyone in MLB paying attention.’What would you think the Yankees or anyone else would pay for a cheap up and coming best closer?

FYI regarding the Yankees and other big spending teams, I must have been mistaken. I thought baseball was a game and each team needs the others.’It seems the goal now is to kill the other teams and bankrupt them.’Whatever happened to being for the good of the game? I am sure glad their great minds or MLB are showing how foolish the NFL is.’ I guess next week the NFL will go bankrupt.

Next contract MLB and the union work on they need to put guns on the table to remind them that it is’a partnership and game, a very profitable one at that.’

Sorry, you just said the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Take Care and Merry Christmas

Al for you know Pittsburgh

Hi Mr53rdST,

Does this mean I don’t have a place to stay next time I’m in the Steel City?

I certainly meant no disrespect to either the Buccos or Mike Gonzalez (a pitcher, in fact, I’ve been touting since he was a Boston farmhand), but maybe my bias against closers (and not just lefty closers) was showing there. Top hitting catchers like Victor Martinez don’t come around that often, but hot shot closers come and go every year. Is Gonzalez a flash in the pan? No way. But is he as valuable as Martinez? I don’t think it’s close, especially in fantasy terms. My philosophy has always been that solid closing candidates are available every year in my pre-season draft. Big-hitting catchers? Not likely.

Gonzalez is an excellent pitcher and that’s why plenty of teams are after him. But even in a market where middle relievers are commanding multi-year deals, I still don’t place that high a premium on a closer with control problems who’s had exactly one season experience at the job, and even that one year was cut short by injury.

And no, the Pirates aren’t a joke, but after setting an American sports record with their 14th straight losing season, they aren’t exactly the model organization either. Look, I would love nothing more than to see the Pirates return to prominence. And every time I think they’re headed in the right direction, they go and do something like deal away Aramis Ramirez for nothing. There’s no reason that under proper management Pittsburgh can’t again be a big-market team, especially if its great young pitchers would stop getting hurt.

Anyways, thanks for your input and may I just say to you: Go Penguins!

Dear RotoRob,

I’ve asked Matthew for some help before and he pulled through nicely, so I wanted to see what you thought this time. I am in a Diamond Mind league where I have picks two, three and 15 overall. Needless to say, my team is pretty bad. Let me give you the roster (sorry, but I am desperate):

C: Brian McCann
1B: Conor Jackson, Lyle Overbay
2B: Adam Kennedy
3B: Shea Hillenbrand, Corey Koskie
SS: Yuniesky Betancourt
LF: Matt Murton, Shannon Stewart, Bobby Kielty
RF: Austin Kearns
CF: Willy Taveras, Shane Victorino

SP: C.C. Sabathia, Wilfredo Ledezma, Brad Halsey, Joe Saunders, Elizardo Ramirez, Tony Armas Jr., Jorge Sosa and Wandy Rodriguez

RP: Ambiorix Burgos, Brad Thompson, Brandon Medders, Jonathan Broxton, Eric Gagne, Rick White and Eddie Guardado

Now, that being said, some players are depth and others are junk. The league has 24 teams with a 40-man roster (25 active). My starting pitching, second base and third base are my main concerns. I was thinking of going Howie Kendrick/Josh Barfield/B.J. Upton or either Jered Weaver/Anibal Sanchez/Cole Hamels/Chad Billingsley with picks two and three and hoping that I can snag some young pitching at 15 also.

Diamond Mind has its own ratings and stuff, but I am rebuilding and think young hitting is always going to pan out more than young pitching. Looking at a future standpoint and knowing the team and its strengths and weaknesses, what would be your second and third pick of the draft when Delmon Young is gone No. 1? And, can you give me three names of some young sleepers that should come around but aren’t as well known?

Thanks for any help you can give me in this long drawn out question of mine.

James Morris
US Army
Fantasy Dork

Hi James,

Yes, your team definitely has some needs, but you’ve got a couple of solid building blocks in McCann, Jackson, Kearns and even Victorino (who I’m a big fan of).

If you can snag Kendrick with your first pick (without knowing who else would be available) that would be a solid choice. Instead of taking Hamels or Weaver at No. 3 (it sounds like you’d prefer to lean away from taking young pitching as opposed to young hitting), perhaps you should try to get a third baseman (Alex Gordon?) with the No. 3 and aim for Billingsley at No. 15.

Without seeing the rosters of the other teams, I’ll throw some names at you that may be available and are worth consideration as “sleepers”:

  • Kelly Johnson will fly under the radar but has a chance to be the Braves’ second baseman this year.
  • Gerald Laird will be inexpensive, but is a fantastic option as a keeper at catcher.
  • I liked James Loney as a sleeper a lot more before Nomar re-signed with the Dodgers, but…
  • Dana Eveland, if he gets a chance in Arizona, could be a solid pitcher.
  • Tom Gorzelanny might be available and will be a good one for the Pirates.
  • I suppose Rich Hill has been protected? Guaranteed job in Chicago and I love what I saw down the stretch from him.
  • If the Jays can’t land another starter, Shaun Marcum could be worth a look.
  • Carlos Villanueva will totally surprise people this year in Milwaukee.

Anyways, I hope this helps.

Dear RotoRob,

You can help me… who would you rather cut… Mo Pete or Hedo Turkoglu? I have Pau Gasol off the IR…someone must go.


You’ve got to cut Turkoglu in this scenario. They are both 3-pointer specialists, but Peterson is much better at it and won’t hurt your overall scoring as much as Turkoglu. While I’m concerned with MoPete’s PT situation right now, I’m sure it’s only a temporary problem.

Besides, Turkoglu isn’t expected back until next week.

Dear RotoRob

Glad to hear from you once again.’Again, I have had hold out on this deal (Andrei Kirilenko for Rasheed Wallace) based on the same concerns as you have had (glad I think somehow just like you). Trading Wallace will hurt my 3-pointers since I don’t have too many shooters on my team.’

In addition, I still have Allen Iverson (don’t know if he will ever play again), and now Carmelo Anthony is going to be suspended for 15 games, therefore, I am really hurting right now.’I really don’t have any clues any more.’So Wallace might be worth keeping now.

Mind to give me some advice on Iverson and Anthony?



Hi Ace,

Oh man, A.I. and Melo? That hurts doubly bad because you lost A.I. for two weeks and now that he’s in Denver, he and Melo are bound to take some time to adjust to one another once Anthony’s suspension is over. Jeez, that’s a tough situation. How are they both going to get their touches?

On the one hand, you might want to try to deal one of them, but considering it’s going to be hard to get full value for either of them, maybe it would be better to wait until one of them gets hot and then make an offer.

Sorry man, that’s a tough situation you’re in.

Dear RotoRob,

I was just offered LeBron James for Joe Johnson and Big Al Jefferson.’Is this a no-brainer?


Hi Seth,

Yes! Regardless of who you’re adding to your side, you win this deal. The only concern I have here is the weakened FG percentage of your side, but if you pick up someone to fill the empty slot who is at least average at FG percentage, you’re laughing.

I especially love this deal now that King James is picking up his scoring. He showed what he can when he wants to put the team on his back, getting 19 in the fourth quarter Saturday to win the game.

Yeah, Johnson is an all-star, and Jefferson really turned it on (averaging 19 and 12 in six games) after he was rumoured to be heading to Philly for Iverson, but LeBron is still the man.

Merry Christmas!

Dear RotoRob,

I had this Q&A encounter with Steve on USA Today during lunch after doing a five-player deal where the big names had me getting Mike Bibby for Jamaal Tinsley. Please read and give me your feedback.

Reseda, CA:’You said in your Rotoworld column to sell high with Jamaal Tinsley, who I agree is an injury waiting to happen, and buy low with Mike Bibby, who will only get better as his wrist heals. Do you think Bibby is an upgrade from Jamaal in a H2H five-cat points league? I also read in your column you feel that a feud between Ron Artest and Bibby will buzzkill Bibby’s season… how? Surely Coach Musselman won’t bench Bibby just because a big whiny baby like Artest doesn’t dig him…

Steve Alexander:’I do…There is a big problem potentially brewing between Bibby and Artest, so it’s a little dangerous gambling that Bibby will eventually be “OK,” but let’s just hope that Ron Ron doesn’t destroy the fantasy beast that was once Bibby. But yeah, I’d rather have Bibby’s upside over JT.


Hi Si,

I prefer Bibby as well, but it’s really close. They are both sucking in FG percentage (especially Bibby), but at least Bibby won’t also hurt you in FT shooting the way Tinsley will. Tinsley has outperformed Bibby of late, but that injury will happen, regardless of how tough Tinsley is playing so far.

As for this feud between Artest and Bibby, I think that’s totally overblown. The need for it to be ‘someone’s team’ is just a media-driven concept. When the club is winning, as they were in the second half last year, everyone is happy. When they struggle, everything is magnified.

There’s also a possibility that Artest will be moved (for Corey Maggette?), which will eliminate the problem, regardless of how overstated it seems to be.

Dear RotoRob,

I’m in a 12 team, H2H, nine-cat league, daily roster changes. I’m currently in ninth and I finally have my whole team healthy. Question is, should I drop Damien Wilkins and pick up J.R. Smith, who was just dropped to the waiver wire, and stash him on my bench for a few weeks? Or, should I keep my full team and work on getting back to one of the top six (playoff) spots?


Hi Collier,

I think it’s early enough in the season that grabbing Smith now will help you more in the long run. Wilkens is back to the bench now that Ray Allen is back, and he really has failed to take the next step in his career. Smith’s a better bet even if you have to wait on him.

The other option would be to grab someone better than Wilkins for a week or two and then snatch Smith up. That’s a risk, but you know your league better than I do in terms of how many teams might try a similar tactic.

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