Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For veterans of many fantasy leagues, six games into a 162-game marathon baseball season is not the time to make a trade out of panic.
On the other hand, it just might be the perfect time to make an offer to an inexperienced owner who is showing early signs of stress if some of his players have gotten off to an unusually slow start.
If you have spotted one of these novice owners, don't be afraid to make him a below-market-value offer. Listed below you will find nine players off to very slow starts and our expectations for the remainder of the season:
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pittsburgh (.091 batting average/.182 OPS)
Alvarez, who hit 30 homers in 2012, did most of his damage last year from June through August so a slow start, shouldn't change your opinion of him. If his panicky owner is ready to give him away for a discounted price, you should "help" him out with a low-ball offer.
Aaron Hicks, CF, Minnesota - (.077/.220)
The talented Hick is the reason the Twins were willing to trade Denard Span to Washington and Ben Revere to Philadelphia in the offseason. Ignore his .370/1.051 averages in spring training, Hicks is there to play great defense and steal 25-30 bases at most. His current fantasy value is limited to helping in just the one category.
Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox - (.100/.293)
At 37 years old and working on his 17th major league season, Konerko has a lot of miles on his body and we could see significant drops in production at any time. The .300 hitter we have seen over the past three seasons may finally turn back into the career .282 hitter we have known for a much longer period of time. Trading for him is a high-risk venture, but if the price is right, then you might still be able to squeeze one more year of decent production out of him.
Ichiro Suzuki, OF, New York Yankees - (.111/.302)
It wasn't that many years ago that Ichiro was still stringing together 200-hit, 100-run and 40-steal seasons. With the Yankees' crippled lineup, he's going to be hard-pressed to stay on pace for any of those statistics. However, when Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira return, Ichiro could become a solid option. If you can afford to wait until June for his production to jump, then it might be worth making a trade offer for him.
Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees - (.130/.330)
When you are accustomed to seeing good pitches because of the protection behind you in the batting order and then suddenly there is none, it can certainly effect you statistically. Add in that Cano is normally a slow starter and inexperienced fantasy owners who spent a lot on the best second baseman in the game could be starting to sweat. If that's happening in your league, don't hesitate to make him an offer. Cano is a fantasy stud, and if you can get him even slightly below market value, you must jump at the chance.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland - (.136/.364)
In his first full season, Kipnis put up top-five second baseman numbers, hitting 14 homers with 76 RBI and 31 stolen bases. An ugly 3-for-22 start may have his fantasy owners wondering whether he's a candidate for the sophomore jinx. Here at The Sports Network, we think he is going to duplicate those numbers, so we still have confidence that this is just a slow start which will eventually end in another solid season.
Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs - (.174/.382)
Soriano experienced a renaissance last season after changing to a lighter bat in May. Over the final 131 games, he hit 32 home runs and knocked in 97 runs. However, after 14 seasons and 7,500 plate appearances, we are not so sure he can do it again. Be wary of offering too much in any trade.
Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia - (.167/.397)
Howard is a perfect example of why spring training statistics should mean almost nothing to fantasy owners. He batted a sparkling .322 with seven homers in 87 at-bats in Florida, but is struggling out of the gate. Batting just .167 with zero homers and three RBI, he's looked bad on almost every breaking pitch thrown his way. After his injury-filled season of a year ago, it would be a huge gamble to trade for him until he proves he's the 40-homer guy of the past and not the 14-home run hitter of last season.
Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers - (.100/.408)
Kemp is historically a fast starter who over his career has averaged .335 with a 1.003 OPS in April. Therefore his ugly first 20 at-bats might be a little concerning to any fantasy owner given that he is recovering from left shoulder surgery. Kemp is capable of being a 40-40 guy, but until we see some power out of him, he's a high-risk in any trade deal because you will have to offer quality talent to get him. Our recommendation is to wait-and-see if he's really 100 percent healthy.