Contreras conundrum 

June, 13, 2006
This morning I kept hearing/reading this statement on ESPN's many outlets -- TV, radio, columns, water cooler, whatever -- and it's hard to believe. I know we live in a bandwagon sports world, but still, there's no way Jose Contreras is "clearly the best pitcher in baseball."

Really? Contreras? But this is what a lot of people apparently think, so I'm going to discuss what fantasy baseball owners should think of this statement. I mean, if he's the best pitcher in the game, shouldn't he then, by definition, be more valuable than any other hurler? Why, because he's won 15 straight decisions? So that makes him better than Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez and, basically, everyone else as well?

Contreras has been very good this season, with a 7-0 record, 2.62 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, and I don't want to demean his achievements one bit, but if someone offers him to me in fantasy baseball for Curt Schilling, Brandon Webb or Carlos Zambrano, well, I'm saying no. And those guys aren't Johan or Pedro. Contreras won again on Monday night, which triggered this lovefest since he tied the White Sox record for consecutive wins and, of course, it wasn't a very busy night in the bigs.