RBTN: Chad Gaudin and Carl Pavano Have Fantasy Value!

Craig RondinoneCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 27:  Carl Pavano #44 of the Cleveland Indians walks back to the dugout after giving up three back-to-back home runs in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on July 27, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Chad Gaudin is 4-10 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. Carl Pavano is 9-8 with a 5.37 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and is, well, Carl Pavano.

These two pitchers cannot possibly help fantasy baseball teams down the stretch, right?

Actually, they can. With Gaudin getting traded to the New York Yankees, and Pavano being sent to the Minnesota Twins, both of these fifth starters have gone from sorry bottom-feeding teams to playoff contenders.

Decent starting pitching is harder to find in fantasy leagues right now than healthy players on the New York Mets, and thanks to their high ERAs and WHIPs, Gaudin and Pavano are probably available on many, if not most, fantasy league’s waiver wires.

You know the longstanding fantasy rule I have echoed over and over in this column: when a player gets traded it normally increases his fantasy value.

Will Gaudin and Pavano actually be worth picking up in fantasy leagues just because they are on new teams? Let’s take a look.


Chad Gaudin, Yankees:

Gaudin has been your typical spot-starter/long reliever during his seven-year career. His lifetime 32-35 record, 4.58 ERA, and 1.52 WHIP would lend you to believe he has pitched many times at Coors Field, but that is not the case.

As you can tell by his oversized WHIP, allowing too many runners to reach base has been Gaudin’s tragic flaw. He allows more than a hit per inning, but it is his walks that have ruined some of his seasons over the years. 2009 is a prime example. Gaudin has walked 56 batters in 105 innings. Mitch Williams can tell you that is way too much.

But Gaudin has also struck out 105 batters in those 105 innings. There are not many pitchers with 5.00 ERAs that can still boast a K-per-inning ratio, so that counts for something. The fact is Gaudin has solid stuff, and as long as he hits his spots instead of the dirt or the bats of opponents, he can win games and rack up strikeouts.

If Sergio Mitre can win a game for the Yankees, anyone can. Gaudin is better than Mitre, and should supplant Mitre in the rotation as soon as he dons his pinstripes—although it sounds as if Mitre will be given one more start before being ushered out of the way for the new guy.

Unless Mitre pulls off a miracle and throws a perfect game ala Mark Buehrle, I would assume Gaudin becomes the Yanks fifth starter within the next two weeks. Gaudin might also be "Joba Chamberlain insurance."

Chamberlain has an innings limit that he is quickly closing in on, and he could be limited in September...so that could lead to more starts for Gaudin.

If you need wins and strikeouts, especially in AL-only leagues, Gaudin would be a good, cheap choice. Your fantasy team’s ERA and WHIP might take hits during his high-scoring, poorly-pitched, 11-6 victories, but it could be worth it depending on where you stand in those categories.

Bottom line—pitching for the Yanks is a lot better for Gaudin’s fantasy value than pitching for the Padres.


Carl Pavano, Twins:

Pitchers known more for their interesting ways of getting injured (broke his ribs riding in a cab, also bruised his buttocks once) and celebrity girlfriends (his ex is Alyssa Milano) do not usually last long on fantasy rosters.

I can guarantee that Pavano went undrafted in 90-percent of fantasy leagues this year, even ones where only Cleveland Indians players were used. Yet the guy has managed to stay off the disabled list and stay on the mound up to this point.

I wouldn’t say Pavano is a top candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year award, but he has at least proven he can still get major-league hitters out when he isn’t tearing a toenail or spraining a pinky.

Pavano did have a winning record on a hapless Indians team, even though that had more to do with timely run-support and less to do with him pitching like Cy Young.

Going to Minnesota means Pavano will be pitching for a team that has Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau driving in runs for him. It also means he will have a much better defense behind him than he had in Cleveland.

Maybe hurling for a team with playoff chances instead of a team of sad sacks will cause Pavano to pitch better. I know he never delivered in big spots for the New York Yankees, but people forget he did pitch well in some crucial games for the Florida Marlins when they won their last World Series.

Minnesota’s starting rotation is loaded with crafty pitchers that get just enough outs to win games. Just watch Nick Blackburn and Glen Perkins pitch. Pavano fits right in. He can make batters put balls in play, and as long as those balls do not fly out of the Homerdome, they most likely will end up in somebody’s glove.

Look for Pavano to be slightly over .500 with a 4.50 ERA for the remainder of the campaign. Nothing too special, but worthy of a waiver pick in your fantasy league if you need a two-start pitcher, a fill-in that is facing the Kansas City Royals, etc.