August 4, 2005

A very depressing season was made much shoddier by these five Klayman Katastrophe Award nominees…

Tony Womack

In the beginning of July, I was all set to cut Womack. He was starting to cement himself on the Yankees bench, was hitting .240, and except for the occasional steal, had almost no fantasy value.

But then I made the mistake of reading a few columns that said Womack could get dealt to another team. If he wound up in the right situation, he could steal 30 bases in the second half with all his speed. Since I was mid-pack in steals, and only 20 or so from the top of the category, I stashed him away on my bench for most of July, hoping he’d wind up as some other club’s leadoff hitter.

For the next few weeks, whenever I was looking to add an arm or a new bat, I would consider cutting Womack, think about it for a minute or two, then decide against it — all because of the potential 20-30 steals down the road. I missed grabbing guys like Zach Duke, Jeff Francoeur and Fernando Rodney, and instead got zilch out of a player who had a meager two at-bats between July 6-28.

So last Friday I decided I just couldn’t take Womack anymore. I already had one bench spot clogged up by minor leaguer Corey Patterson, and couldn’t afford to wait any longer for a trade to actually happen.

Frank Catalanotto was sitting on our league’s waiver wire, despite hitting close to .400 in July. Since I was last in batting average, I grabbed him and sent Womack to waiverland, four weeks after the thought initially entered my mind.

Then something very unusual happened on Friday night in the Bronx — Womack was actually in the starting lineup for the first time in 24 days. Out of nowhere, Joe Torre decided it was time to give him another shot. It’s as if the fantasy gods came down and whispered in his ear "Hey Joe, Klayman just dropped Womack this morning. Time to start playing him again."

Womack went 1-for-4 on Friday, including his first extra-base hit since May 13. But that wasn’t nearly as bad as what I had to endure on Saturday afternoon. After stealing a base in both the second and fourth innings, Womack walked to lead off the ninth with the Yankees down 7-5. With New York trailing by a deuce, there was no way Womack was going to try to steal second, or at least that’s what I thought. On a 1-1 pitch, Womack got a terrible jump, but still beat Josh Paul’s throw to pick up his third base swipe of the game.

The following day, Womack knocked in the game-winning run in the 11th inning — his first RBI in 29 days. Simply amazing. Catalanotto, of course, has gone 1-for-12 with no power, speed or RBIs since the move.

Torii Hunter, Larry Walker and Trot Nixon

As if the Womack situation wasn’t bad enough last week, I had to deal with losing three of my outfielders to the DL in the span of 72 hours. First it was Walker (neck) on Tuesday, and then Nixon joined him a day later with an oblique tear. But the real killer came on Friday when Torii Hunter fractured his ankle while trying to make another amazing catch.

After all three injuries, and my drop of Womack, my outfield is now Magglio-Cameron-Sizemore-Catalanotto-Hairston-Duffy. That’s 36 combined home runs from six guys — four fewer than Andruw Jones’ total this season.

John Smoltz

How can a guy who’s won eight straight make this list, you ask? When his fantasy manager (that would be me) forgets to put him in the starting lineup and instead leaves in five starters who aren’t even pitching.

There are few feelings worse than going online to check your stats in the morning and seeing that you were dumb enough to leave a Hall of Fame pitcher who won his eighth straight game on your bench.

Joe Blanton

Blanton was one of my better pickups of the season, but after a pair of not-so-great starts in mid-July, I decided to cut him loose.

Great move on my part. In his next two outings after being dumped, he has pitched 14 innings, allowed five hits, two earned runs and six walks, while striking out 11 and picking up a win.

Chris Carpenter

Flashback: It’s March 28, it’s the 11th round of my fantasy draft, and I’m looking to add a fourth starter. The top two remaining names on my list are Zack Greinke and Chris Carpenter. I think about if for a second and decide that Carpenter is a better bet than a second-year arm. But right as I’m about to pick, I remember that Carpenter was having arm trouble at the end of 2004 (biceps tendinitis). Since injuries had forced him to miss a good part of 2002 and all of 2003, he seemed like a bigger risk all of a sudden. I end up going with Greinke, and a few picks later Carpenter is off the board as well.

Four months into the 2005 season, and this is looking like one of the worst decisions anyone has ever made. The numbers tell the whole story:

Carpenter: 16-4, 2.26 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 151 K

Greinke: 3-13, 6.14 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 72 K

I dropped Greinke a month or so ago, never getting a single win when he was in my lineup. If I add in Carpenter’s 16 wins, I jump from 10th to first in my league in W’s. Throw in 80 more Ks and I’m in second instead of fifth in strikeouts. I also figure my ERA would be about 0.20 better and my WHIP 0.05 — helping me jump five points in each of those categories. That’s a 22-point difference because of one 11th-round decision.

And this week’s Klayman Katastrophe Award winner is…

It’s a close call between Womack and Carpenter, but when I also factor in that I drafted Womack ahead of Brian Roberts, I think the Yankee pinch-runner edges out the All-Star hurler.

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