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Fantasy Fix: First-Half Follies

With the All-Star break approaching, we'll take a couple weeks off from recognizing fantasy finds, studs and duds, and instead look this week at some must-trade busts, and next week at potential second-half stars.

The end of the first half of the baseball season is a good time to finally let go of the dead weight that's been dragging down your fantasy team. Everyone has a few players they hold onto well into summer despite all the writing on the wall advising them against it. It's time to let go, which in some cases means trading them to any Gullible Gus in your league who still believes in them.

Here's a quick list of players to move, one way or another, before your fantasy league trading deadline:

Pablo Sandoval, 1B/3B, San Francisco: The Kung Fu Panda has hit a respectable .269, but he really needs to be way up above .300 to have any real value, since he isn't going to provide many home runs.

Ben Zobrist, SS, Tampa Bay: Like Sandoval, a player who broke into the pre-season top 40 with a great year last year that included 27 HRs. He has only five so far, and though 15 SBs helps, this Ray needs more cowbell to stay on your squad.

Carlos Zambrano, SP, Cubs: Not that you will get much of anything for him, but if you pitch a trade based on the potential for Zambrano to land on another team before season is done, you may get a half-warm body.

Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Cubs: He's back, but not all there. All the time off has him looking out of step. Ship him to someone who still believes he'll hit 20 HRs this year.

B.J. Upton, OF, Tampa Bay: The most valuable .228 hitter around, on account of 24 SBs, but there are so many more outfielders with better power, a higher batting average and at least enough speed to make things interesting.

Zack Greinke, SP, Kansas City: Sure, with a 3.94 ERA, he's supposedly got the stuff to be a winner on a better team if the Royals trade him this month, but with the hiring of pitcher-friendly manager Ned Yost, that looks doubtful.

Expert Wire
* Weekly Rundown says the newest young phenom may be an old young phenom - Matt LaPorta. He was a major piece of the trade that sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee, and apparently he's finally ripening.

* Bleacher Report has the bad news about Yovani Gallardo, the star-crossed Milwaukee starter who seems to get struck down by a freak injury whenever he really starts putting it all together.

* FakeTeams reports the latest on the once-and-future talented Erik Bedard. Looks like Bedard is ready for his latest half-season adventure - oh, wait, no he's not.

* USA Today has an update on Dexter Fowler, who made for an intriguing late-round pick with break-out potential this spring but faded quickly and was sent to the minors. He's baaack . . .

* CBS Sports has some acronyms, graphs and charts that show why Ubaldo Jimenez will not have a great second half. I don't get the new math, but I will tell you that after seeing him give up 17 earned runs in his last 17.2 innings, yeah, he may have a rough road ahead.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space (nearly) every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like it's about.

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