Are you ready to trade Howard too?

Ryan Howard went 0-4 with two strikeouts in the Phils' season opener.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We are one game into the 2009 MLB fantasy baseball season and I'm ready to trade Ryan Howard away because he went 0-4 with two strikeouts in the Sunday night season opener.

Ok, I'm exaggerating, but for a point.

Don't put too much emphasis on the first couple of weeks of baseball.

First of all, a player like Howard, is known to get off to slow starts. Would you really want to trade a guy who has proven in the past that even with a bad start can contribute 40+ HRs and 125+ RBIs? Further, the last time Howard had a spring training in which he hit double figure home runs (he hit 10 this year), he went on to a 58 HR, 149 RBI campaign.

Second, with so many off days over the first few weeks, teams will get to use their "ace" pitchers for an inordinate percentage of their team's starts. Wait until we get into the everyday grind before making any major decisions.

Third, in regards to offense, it always perks up when the warmer weather arrives. If you have ever swung a bat in cold weather...you'll know why.

There are, however, some evaluations you can make, although you probably still want to wait three weeks to a month before pulling the trigger on any big deals.

Ask yourself, where are my team's weaknesses? My strengths? Where do I have an overabundance of talent which I can use as trade material to shore up my weaker areas?

Evaluate your opponents in the same way. Where are his strengths and his weaknesses? Do they fit with my own so that a deal could be worked out in the future?

If you have found a couple of possible trading partners, track the players you are interested in obtaining. Has he been consistently hitting or pitching well? Early in the season one big offensive game, or one bad outing for a pitcher can skew the statistics to make him look better or worse than he actually is.

And most important...don't panic!

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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