One of the great misconceptions of fantasy baseball is that a player is destined for a monster season simply because it happens to be his walk year. Theoretically, if a player has a slow start in a contract year, he may be pressing, and just needs time to get his game together.

The beauty of a 162-game schedule is that even the most frustrated players have enough time from this point forward to turn their season around. If a big contract is at stake, a player destined for free agency in 2010 will play hurt, and is likely to be a model citizen.

That said, it’s not usually not a good thing when a player hides an injury or ailment from his coaches and medical staff in order to stay in the lineup and boost his stats. Eventually, his (as well as your team’s) production will suffer.

I’m not suggesting you avoid players in the last year of their deal, but take the contract year hoopla with a grain of salt. Here are some buy-low players with upside who are in their contract year to make a trade for, as well as some sell-high candidates who you may want to unload in spite of their expiring contract.

Finally, I have enclosed some soon-to-be free agents that you might be tempted to invest in, but should avoid at all costs.

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