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Fantasy Baseball Advice: Beckett, Wood, Jenks

July is a busy time for baseball, with new opportunities opening up and teams realizing their role as buyer or seller.  The Roto Authority will help clear up all of the latest MLB trade rumors and manager comments.

Josh Beckett came back last night with a vengeance.  Many comparisons are drawn between Beckett and Kerry Wood, but Wood has been subject of more detrimental injuries involving his shoulder and elbow.  Beckett's main problem is blisters, so continue gambling on him and one day the blister problem will be overcome.  Wood is still an excellent but fragile pitcher, but you're likely to overpay for him in a trade so wait and see his auction price for this spring.      

Edwin Encarnacion is only 22, but the Joe Randa trade has opened up a full-time job for the rookie.  Encarnacion followed up a solid 2004 in AA with an equally impressive performance with Louisville.  He was given 19 part-time at-bats with the Reds earlier this year, a nice example of how not to bring all your 22 year-old prospect.  But the Reds finally seem to have gotten it right, and Encarnacion makes a solid pickup if you have an eye toward 2006.  He could be outhitting Randa in '06 and at the Eric Chavez level in 2007.

Bobby Jenks is the latest name to know in baseball's ever-changing rotation of fringe closers.  Jenks can throw over 100 mph on the radar gun, but is subject to bouts of wildness.  Why is he relevant in fantasy baseball?  Because Ozzie Guillen is crazy enough to use him at closer.  Managers love hard throwers, so Jenks is being thrown into the mix with Cliff Politte and Damaso Marte if Dustin Hermanson's back troubles continue.  Don't ignore the possibility that Hermanson stays healthy but simply stops being effective.  Politte is the man you want from the replacement trio, but Marte has picked up saves in the past and Ozzie Guillen can be unpredictable.  Be mindful of Jenks and Ozzie's whims.

A.J. Burnett's status is still up in the air, but the Red Sox and the White Sox seem to be the most likely destinations.  The implications for Burnett have been discussed in previous posts but keep an eye on Baltimore.  The O's won't be sitting still this July.  Adding Phil Nevin gives his fantasy value a small boost, but the Roto Authority would be surprised to see the deadline pass without the Os adding a pitcher (Kip Wells, Jeff Weaver, or Mark Redman?)


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