Kemp for Lincecum?

Matt Kemp played 159 games last year, showing durability.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Here is one of the fun facets of playing in fantasy leagues with your co-workers. Two days ago, we're on a lunch break and one of the league's other owners walks up to me and says out of the blue, "I'll trade you Matt Kemp for Tim Lincecum."

Now this is not one of those guys who throws out names "willy-nilly" and doesn't mean it. He's also not the kind of owner who throws out unbalanced trade offers to everyone in sight in hopes of catching someone not paying attention.

So, despite there having been no previous discussion between the two of us, I'm 99% sure that if I accept the trade, there will be a deal. With the deal on the table, the ball is in my court. What should I do?

The offer brings up the age-old question about whether its better to have an everyday player or a starting pitcher. Many a fantasy writer has pontificated on wanting the everyday player over the every fifth day player.

Still, we're talking about the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner. A man who won 15 games last year (18 the previous season), while striking out 261 batters in 225.1 innings. A man who had a microscopic ERA of 2.48 and an equally impressive WHIP of 1.05.

Of course, the other guy is giving up a pretty good player too.

Matt Kemp has always been athletic, a young five-tool guy (he came up to the Dodgers in 2006 at 21-years-old) who was learning the game as he played it at the major league level.

In 2008, his first full-time opportunity, Kemp was solid, but unspectacular season batting .290 with 18 HRs, 76 RBI and 35 SB. It's last year that the Dodgers centerfielder blossomed into a star. Kemp played 159 games last year (showing durability) and scored 97 runs, blasted 26 HR, stole 34 bases and batted .291 with an OPS of .842. Those are solid numbers, although the OPS ranks him just 17th among outfielders.

He also batted all over the lineup in 2009, starting in all nine positions in the order. It appears that in 2010, however, he'll start in the second spot between Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier. Not a bad position, but I'd prefer the third, fourth or fifth "hole" for more RBI opportunities.

If I believe that Kemp's 2009 was an indicator of better things to come, then 2010 could be a spectacular season and I should make the trade. On the other hand, if that was a "career" year then I'd be overpaying.

Evaluating the two players in a trade, however, is only the beginning of the process to decide whether to pull the trigger or sit tight. The remainder of the decision is based on what the rest of your roster looks like and the price of each player, which in this case is identical ($20).

Though the draft doesn't take place until Saturday, each owner has five keepers and mine are Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Tommy Hanson and Ryan Braun.

As you can see, I'm in a great position as far as starting pitching with three proven stars and a pretty good looking No.4 starter in the Braves' Hanson who went 11-4 in his rookie campaign with 116 K's in 127.2 innings an ERA of 2.89 and a WHIP of 1.18.

So with all that knowledge, it's time to make a decision. I've decided to make the deal! I'll report back in October how this trade worked out.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at
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