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2010 Protected List – The Almost Automatics

Yesterday we started off our upcoming protected list preview with the 2010 No Doubters. There were only three, as for the first time since 2006 it didn’t include “Lincecum – $7”. Along with a new rule change that reduces the minimum amount of protectables from 9 to 5, the 2010 Roadrunners may be off to a shaky start. Here’s a look at the next group – the “Almost Automatics”. These guys would be No Doubters except for one or two chinks in the armor. Here’s the breakdown:

Johnny Cueto
1 Year – $5
11 Wins, 4.41 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 132 K’s
Cueto was acquired mid-year from Cover Zero, and shortly after that, the 23-year-old starter had a run-in with Dusty Baker’s School of Young Pitcher Fatigue. It was apparent to the entire world that he was either gassed, hurt, or both, but a 15-day DL stint for a sore hip seemed to cure all. According to most sources, his ERA and WHIP won’t be this bad, as he was lit up a bit in some of those aforementioned starts. Still plenty of potential here, for $5

Chris Iannetta
1 Year – $1
.228 Average, 41 Runs, 16 HR, 52 RBI, and 0 steals
Long-time Roadrunner Iannetta finally was given the starting gig for 2009, but his paltry average allowed Yorvit Torrealba to steal at-bats. Always a power threat, Iannetta suffered a May hamstring injury, and he just wasn’t the same after that. Last season he was a no-doubter, but this season, with the lousy average, and the signing of former Royals starter Miguel Olivo a threat to take more at-bats, Iannetta has some issues to be concerned about. He did sign a three-year, $8.35 million contract extension in early January, so at least he’ll be on the squad. Almost too much drama for $1.

Randy Wells
2 Years – $7
12 Wins, 3.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 104 K’s
Wells was picked up in May, and proceeded to surprise all, earning a sixth-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting (with one 2nd place vote). A converted catcher, Wells survived well in his second and third times through the league. While his ERA can’t possibly be as good, he should be a solid starter for 2010.