How/When do you decide to pick up a free agent and dump a slumping player vs. letting the player ride out his slump? Same question applies when you’re making daily roster adjustments swapping a bench guy for a guy you play daily.
With veteran guys, I am more inclined to let them ride the slump out. If Albert Pujols is going through a down week or two, you stick it out. He’s proven time and time again that he is bankable for big numbers. Pujols may be an extreme example, but if you’re dealing with a consistent veteran player, you can trust that he’ll have a year like the ones you see in the numbers on the back of his card.
Let me give you a more realistic example. A season ago, I had Dan Uggla, who got off to a horrendous start. By the end of the year his average was still an awful .233, but he had 36 homers and 82 batted in. Not bad at the second base position.
So, to answer the question, I like to give them a month early. Later in the year if you’re in races and have a better idea of what your needs are, cut that in half.
Younger players are a little different, as are players who tend to vary between good and bad seasons (Aubrey Huff would be a great example). If someone has a limited sample size of success and or consistency, I give them two weeks. Hopefully you’re in a league with a big bench, but you certainly don’t wait until the All Star Break before realizing that someone is a dud.
There are always good free agents available at this time of the year, like Lance Berkman was in 2011. Even if the dropped player bounces back, you can replace him with comparable numbers right now. This is especially true at some of the deeper positions.
If someone had a great year out of nowhere one year, you can bring him to your team the next year, but don’t be too patient with him. That’s a good sign that the league has adjusted to his strengths. With those guys, I am looking at about two to three weeks, depending on the rest of your team.
Benching these guys is much easier. Give it about a week and if your stud is slumping while a bench guy is hot, let the hot streak ride. Don’t leave stats on the bench, especially when the person you’re playing isn’t doing anything for you.