Clearing The Bases
What shall we talk about tonight? So many things going on in the world of fantasy baseball that I feel we need a news and notes column to go over each team. We’ll do the American League first, followed by the National League on Thursday. As always, these teams are in no particular order.
New York Yankees: Received good and bad news this week. The good, RP David Robertson should return from the disabled list in time for this weekend’s series versus Washington. He will likely be a setup man to Rafael Soriano, but Soriano did blow the save on Sunday and missed the game Monday with a blister, so anything is possible. The bad, OF Brett Gardner had yet another setback in his rehab from an elbow injury and it’s now anyone’s guess as to when he will return. He doesn’t seem to have ligament damage in the elbow, but there isn’t a solid diagnosis or timetable for his return. The Yanks may be forced to shop for an outfielder at the trade deadline if Gardner can’t make it back this season.
Tampa Bay Rays: 3B Evan Longoria is taking batting practice with the team and should be able to return to the team no later than next week from his hamstring tear. The Rays have played better than expected without him, a tribute to their stellar pitching staff. RP Kyle Farnsworth could also return to the team by month’s end, but he has about as much chance of regaining the closer’s role over Fernando Rodney as I do, and I tore my labrum many years ago.
Boston Red Sox: Where do we start with the Red Sox? We all know by now that the Sox have a logjam at the CI positions with Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, and Will Middlebrooks. Would seem to be best that they deal Youkilis and stop playing Gonzalez in the outfield, that just can’t be a good thing especially since teams are realizing that they can run on Adrian. 2B Dustin Pedroia admitted this week that he is no longer wearing the brace to protect his thumb as he couldn’t grip the bat comfortably. Have to believe the Sox would’ve been better off just putting Pedroia on the DL and getting him back to 100% in 3-4 weeks rather than have him playing at 75% for two months. Outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury are both rehabbing and should be back in action sometime around the All-Star break. As for the pitching staff, if Jon Lester and Josh Beckett don’t go back to being top tier starters, than it won’t matter much what the remainder of the Sox team does.
Baltimore Orioles: Whether or not you are an O’s fan, you have to feel good about the return of 2B Brian Roberts. He has been out so long with concussion symptoms that one had to wonder if he would ever play again. Fantasy wise he probably doesn’t have a place in a 10 team league, but in deeper leagues he could be worth a flier. After yet another horrible performance, SP Jake Arrieta was dropped from the rotation. Zach Britton will take his spot as soon as he’s ready to come back from his rehab stint at AAA. Nick Markakis had the stitches removed from his wrist today and should be ready to rejoin the lineup in about 10 days.
Toronto Blue Jays: Huge loss for both the Jays and fantasy owners when SP Brendan Morrow had to leave his start Monday after hurting his oblique. Morrow is headed for the DL, and one has to wonder if this could be a long stint. These types of injuries are not easy to come back from. Quite a shame since Morrow was having a great season. Have to wonder if an injury like forces the Jays to make a deal, can you say Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster? Padres OF Carlos Quentin has also been mentioned as a candidate to be traded up north.
Chicago White Sox: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say DH Adam Dunn is going to win Comeback Player of the Year. I know, really putting myself out there. Now I thought Dunn would have a descent season, but not like this. Going to lose a bet with my brother as I thought Angels DH Kendrys Morales would have a better comeback season than Dunn, oops. Speaking of comebacks, 2B Gordon Beckham is becoming a useful player once again. Had much love for him when he first came up, hopefully he has figured this hitting thing out. Outfielder Dayan Viciedo may miss most of the interleague games played on the road as Dunn will give it a go in the outfield.
Detroit Tigers: What is wrong with the Tigers. I, like everyone else outside of fans in Cleveland, Chicago, and Kansas City (sorry Minnesota, even you knew your team was terrible), thought the Tigers would win their division by 10+ games. We knew their defense would be sieve, and their pitching staff outside of Justin Verlander would be questionable at best, but what has happened to the offense. Can they really miss C Victor Martinez this much? You would’ve thought the addition of 1B Prince Fielder would’ve been enough to offset that loss, apparently not. Good news is that SP Doug Fister is slated to return from the DL Wednesday versus the Cubs.
Cleveland Indians: Can we talk about Cleveland without mentioning OF Grady Sizemore? Apparently not. He’s had a setback and now the best case scenario is after the ASB. 2B Jason Kipnis seems to be the real deal and could find himself in the 2nd tier of second basemen next year. Sin-Soo Choo is having a better year than last, but still not what we were hoping for.
Kansas City Royals: The Royals may give up the experiment of having Billy Butler play 1B and Eric Hosmer play RF during the rest of interleague road games, both made misplays over the weekend, and the team may just decide to play it safe the rest of the way. SP Jonathan Sanchez is set to return from the DL sometime this week. Start him if you’re desperate. Salvadore Perez could help those owners who need help at catcher in the very near future also. Keep on the lookout for SP Jake Odorizzi.
Minnesota Twins: Breaking news, this is a bad team. Still have to believe if the Twins get a good offer for closer Matt Capps, they will ship him. Might ship just about anyone on the roster. I know SP Francisco Liriano has pitched well of late, but I still don’t trust him as far as I can throw him.
Texas Rangers: In my mind the Rangers are the best team in MLB, not far and away the best, but don’t have any obvious holes. That being said, it looks like they are playing baseball now, like they’re bored. Like the playoffs are a foregone conclusion and they want the playoffs to begin. Really not a fan of the Roy Oswalt signing. Pitching in the American League, in that ballpark, good luck. Would only start him in extremely deep leagues. The Rangers depth is getting tested now with the injuries to pitchers Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando.
Los Angeles Angels: Angels have awoken from their early season slumber to remind everyone that this is a pretty talented team. Mike Trout has energized the entire team and some believe he will be the best player in baseball in a year or two which of course would make him a 1st round pick in fantasy leagues during that time period. Jered Weaver should return to the rotation this weekend. Dan Haren looks to be over whatever arm ailment (dead arm) was bothering him. Along with CJ Wilson, this is a front three no one wants to face. The other side of that coin is that Ervin Santana could lose his starting job once Weaver does return.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez missed his last start with a back injury but is healthy and back in action. Still worried about his lack of velocity this season however. Brandon League is going to get his closing role back, if only because that would make his trade value higher.
Oakland Athletics: As I said above about League could easily apply to Brian Fuentes and/or Grant Balfour as well. Jarrod Parker is the real deal, and that’s about all I have to say about this team.
You can reach me on twitter, @georgekurtz.