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A Martyr For My Love For You

It's the eternal dilemma that, without fail, plagues every fantasy owner, every season: Do I drop this slow-starter or slumper, or do I hold on under the premise that he'll turn it around?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer, of course. Each player, roster and league is unique.

Typically, I'm a hair-trigger type. I'm not especially tolerant of dead weight, although I promised myself I'd try to exercise more patience this year, having been burned by dumping useful players too soon in the past. So I've sat on strugglers like Jemile Weeks, Logan Morrison, Jaime Garcia and Mat Latos.

But we're now roughly one-third of the way through the season, and while hot streaks can begin at a moment's notice, it's not at all inappropriate to wonder whether these loathsome underperformers will ever catch fire -- or even turn it on enough just to be passable as bottom-of-the-roster contributors.

Here's a look at some duds, and whether you'll want to hold 'em or dump 'em.

Morrison, Marlins, 1B/OF: Lo-Mo gained the added bonus of some extra positional flexibility by being moved to first base when fellow underwhelmer Gaby Sanchez was demoted to Triple-A, but it's done little for his bottom line. The 12.2% walk rate sure is purdy, but it's beginning to look like that's the only tool in his shed, and I'm not especially optimistic that the .256 BABIP will come up much given last year's .265 figure. Add in the fact that the new Marlins Ballpark is playing like the next great pitcher's haven, and I'm resigned to dumping Morrison as soon as Brett Gardner is back from the DL. #Protip for Lo-Mo: Let's see fewer tweets and more hits.

Weeks, Athletics, 2B: While fellow middle-infield speedster Dee Gordon was getting far more pub than Weeks this spring, I targeted the latter with designs on leaning on him heavily for steals and making him my MI, which is a common use for the position. I'd become smitten with Rickie's little broseph after an impressive showing upon last year's callup. Like Morrison, however, Jemile has little else going for him aside from a respectable 10% walk rate. Last year's .350 BABIP seems like a cruel joke compared to this year's .262 mark, and he's looking like a decent but not great basestealer (10 on the year, 66% career success rate in MLB). ZiPS foresees a spike in BABIP but a regression in walk rate, which would roughly cancel each other out. I dumped Weeks last week, and he's not making me regret it so far.

Garcia, Cardinals, LHP: I thought I was getting a steal when Garcia slipped to me in the 20th round of the MLBTR League's draft, but it seems my leaguemates knew something I didn't. Every time I look at his nice peripherals, I think he should be better; the modest 6.9 K/9 seems especially wonky relative to his 11.4% swinging-strike rate. But the results really haven't been there this season, and now he's dealing with the prospect of an injury after first missing a start and then turning in a two-inning clunker vs. the Astros on Tuesday. So, it's Dump City for Garcia, and I find myself going back to the drawing board in relying too heavily on peripherals that don't sync up with what my eyes are telling me.

Latos, Reds, RHP: Latos was supposed to be my second-best pitcher -- after ace Roy Halladay. So ... yeah. Latos started slowly in both 2010 and 2011, which is mildly encouraging, but he seems to have been overcome by some general malaise as he adapts from San Diego to Cincinnati. He's tweaked his repertoire to add a cutter, and it ain't cuttin'. He's also altered his delivery, and of course there's the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room: Great American Ball Park, his new home digs, which has seen his HR/FB rate jump all the way up to 15%. The 4.91 ERA is misleading in light of a 3.90 SIERA, but that's still not what I paid for. That being said, Latos cannot be cut. If you're truly desperate to rid yourself of him, dangle him or package him a trade; you'll get pennies on the buck, but it's better than nothing. If you're stubborn, like me, hold on and hope talents trumps whatever's ailing Latos. It wouldn't be the first time he turned it around after an ugly start.


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