Time To Get Your Fantasy Cleats Out Of The Closet

RECENT FANTASY PLAYER NOTES-  CATCHERS

Recent Player Notes

(Oak – SP)NAPlayer notes
  • Thu, Feb 9
    • Harden will miss the entire 2012 season after undergoing shoulder surgery last week, Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports.
      Recommendation: The procedure will repair a torn capsule in Harden’s shoulder and hopefully put an end to the injury issues that have plagued him for the last five seasons. Harden is determined to make it back to the majors, but he will have to wait until 2013 to have another chance, and it remains to be seen what type of pitcher he will be after several years of injury issues and a full season away.

      (Rotowire.com)

(Bal – RP)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • The Orioles signed Ayala to a one-year deal Friday, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports.
      Recommendation: The 34-year-old right hander had a strong 2.09 ERA in 56.0 innings with the Yankees last season. He struck out 39, but walked 20, so control is a bit of an issue. He has a career ERA of 3.47, so expect something closer to that this season with the Orioles.

      (Rotowire.com)

    • RHP Luis Ayala agreed to a major league contract with the Orioles, according to MASNsports.com. The veteran is likely to appear in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings in Baltimore. Ayala, 34, appeared in 52 games with the Yankees in 2011, posting a 2.09 ERA. The Baltimore Sun reported that Ayala will make $925,000 with a $100,000 buyout on a 2013 club option for $1 million. He has a career ERA of 3.47 with six teams.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(StL – C)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • C Yadier Molina said he loved St. Louis but the Albert Pujols off-season departure showed him a different side of baseball. “We’ve been through a lot of the same things together,” said Molina, an early reportee at Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Fla. “When you see a guy like Albert leave the club, you have to know this is business.” The Cardinals picked up the $7 million option on the 2012 contract for the 29-year-old Molina, a four-time Gold Glover.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES-  STARTING PITCHERS

(Sea – SP)Player notes
  • Mon, Feb 13
    • Iwakuma, who’s expected to be the third starter in the rotation this year, won’t pitch in the Mariners’ two-game season-opening series in Japan against the A’s, the Seattle Times reports.
      Recommendation: There had been some speculation the Mariners would start Iwakuma in the second game in Japan after Felix Hernandez opens the season. But manager Eric Wedge told Iwakuma on the first day of camp Sunday that No. 2 starter Jason Vargas would indeed make the start. In addition to adjusting to major-league ball, Iawkuma needs to show in spring training that the arm troubles he experienced last season are no longer an issue.

      (Rotowire.com)

(Min – SP)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • RHP Scott Baker said the Twins’ woeful performance last season allowed him to get entirely healthy before the offseason. The Twins’ best starter last season — he had a 3.14 ERA in 21 starts — was limited to 134.1 innings by elbow problems. He was shut down for much of August and September before coming back to pitch twice in relief. “I think I would probably have treated it a little bit differently if we would have been playing competitive baseball at the time, shooting for the playoffs,” Baker said. “I think that second time, I really attempted to let it go properly, really do a proper rehab as far as one, letting it calm down completely and then building back up. It was kind of a long process to throw two or three innings, but it was something that I probably didn’t have to do — that I wanted to do just for the peace of mind going into the offseason.”

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Det – SP)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • RHP Justin Verlander wants to open Spring Training at 235 pounds, some 10-15 more than he typically begins a spring. He’s loading up on high-calorie foods to do so. “I don’t eat healthy, but I’m not worried about it,” Verlander said. “I’m trying to put on weight.” Verlander wants the extra weight because he typically drops that amount between the first day of camp and the opening of the season. “During spring training, I usually drop 10-15 pounds,” Verlander said, “and I’d like to play around 220-225.”

      (Yahoo! Sports)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES-  RELIEF PITCHERS

(KC – RP)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • RHP Jeremy Jeffress opened the 2011 season in the Royals’ bullpen, but was demoted May 19 after walking 11 in 15 1/3 innings. While Jeffress has a 100 mph fastball, he needs to throw more strikes to make the team out of spring training this year.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Was – RP)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • RHP Henry Rodriguez could help a deep Nationals’ bullpen be even better if he continues to pitch well. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 70 in 65 2/3 innings last year and was very effective at times. This could be a break-out year for him.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Cin – RP)New player notes
  • Tue, Feb 14Recent News
    • Chapman (arm) is already in Arizona and has started throwing, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
      Recommendation: The Reds still plan to stretch Chapman out as a starter. “He’s healthy and feels good,” GM Walt Jocketty said.

      (Rotowire.com)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES-  PITCHERS

(Phi – SP)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • RHP Joe Blanton will have a spot in the Phillies’ rotation, as long as his right arm doesn’t hold up his ability to pitch. Blanton, who missed the majority of the 2011 season because of a right elbow ailment, pitched in five games last September, sporting a 2.57 ERA. “I guess you have to consider (Blanton’s health) a question mark because he pitched so little last year, but at the same time, he threw at the end of the year last year, and that was a good sign,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We expect him to be in our rotation this year. Hopefully he can get through it in a healthy way.”

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(KC – RP)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • RHP Blake Wood was good at Kauffman Stadium, going 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA in 27 relief appearances. On the road Wood struggled, going 3-3 with a 5.66 ERA in 28 outings.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Bos – SP,RP)NAPlayer notes
  • Sat, Feb 11
    • RHP Tim Wakefield has a decision to make. Still available on the free agent market, the 45-year-old knuckleballer is close to a verdict on whether he will pitch this season, his agent told the Boston Herald. “We’re discussing the options — and he has some options — and over the next few days, we’re going to try to figure it out,” agent Barry Meister said. “These next few days is just a period of introspection, where he’s trying to decide what to do, whether to play, who to play for.” Wakefield has stated his preference for pitching one more season for the Red Sox, but the team hasn’t reciprocated with as much enthusiasm. He has 200 career wins, 186 with the Red Sox. The club record of 192 wins is shared by Cy Young and Roger Clemens. A few months ago, Meister said Wakefield might benefit from pitching in the National League if an opportunity with the Red Sox doesn’t present itself. Last week, he told the Herald that Wakefield hasn’t ruled anything out, including possibly coming to camp with a team as a non-roster invitee.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES-  1st BASEMAN


(LAA – 1B,OF)Player notes
  • Wed, Feb 8
    • Trumbo (right foot) was cleared for baseball activities by his doctor, the Angels’ official site reports.
      Recommendation: Trumbo is recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot. He was left without a position after Albert Pujols signed with the Angels and likely will play the corner spots and DH this season as a utility man.

      (Rotowire.com)

(NYY – 1B)NAPlayer notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • 1B/DH Russell Branyan was signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training and figures to compete for a bench role if he can shake off a poor 2011. Branyan has shown remarkable power at the new Yankee Stadium, hitting eight home runs in 14 games there, including the first ball to reach the fourth deck in right field and the first one to hit the glass of a sports bar beyond center field.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Cle – 1B)NAPlayer notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • 1B Nick Johnson signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training, according to MASNsports.com. Johnson, 33, didn’t play in the majors in 2011, but could contend for playing time at first base and designated hitter, or provide depth for the Orioles at Class-AAA Norfolk.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

  • Thu, Feb 9
    • The Orioles have signed Johnson to a minor league deal, Orioles.com reports.
      Recommendation: The oft-injured first baseman will get a Spring Training invite, but is a long-shot to make any significant contribution at the big league level in 2012.

      (Rotowire.com)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES- 2nd BASEMEN

(StL – 2B,3B,SS)Player notes
  • Thu, Feb 9
    • The Cardinals plan for Descalso, Skip Schumaker, and Tyler Greene to battle for the second base job this spring, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
      Recommendation: Descalso might be needed to back up oft-injured David Freese at third base, but in the meantime, he probably has the edge over Schumaker and Greene for the starting job at second.

      (Rotowire.com)

(Min – 2B,SS,OF)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • OF Trevor Plouffe is in the mix as the Twins fourth outfielder, but his ability to play in the infield will no doubt help. As the Twins proved last season, a major league team can never have too much flexibility. In 81 games last season, Plouffe hit .238 with eight homers and 38 RBI. At Rochester, he hit 15 homers and drove in 33 runs.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Min – 1B,2B,3B)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • Hughes will be sidelined three to four weeks after an MRI showed he has a strained shoulder, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. He hurt his shoulder in a home-plate collision while playing for the Perth Heat in the Australian winter league semifinals.
      Recommendation: Hughes may be limited at the start of spring training, which won’t help him try to win a utility job. Still, it doesn’t sound like a major injury concern.

      (Rotowire.com)

    • IF Luke Hughes has a minor strain in his right shoulder but should be able to participate in most of spring training. Hughes on Feb. 10 had a magnetic resonance imaging test taken of the shoulder, injured during an Australian Winter League game earlier this week. He was trying to avoid a tag at home plate when he was hurt. The Twins immediately flew him to the Twin Cities to be examined by a team doctor. General manager Terry Ryan said Hughes will fly to the team’s training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday and is expected to rehab the shoulder through the rest of February.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES- 3rd BASEMEN

(StL – 2B,3B,SS)Player notes
  • Thu, Feb 9
    • The Cardinals plan for Descalso, Skip Schumaker, and Tyler Greene to battle for the second base job this spring, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
      Recommendation: Descalso might be needed to back up oft-injured David Freese at third base, but in the meantime, he probably has the edge over Schumaker and Greene for the starting job at second.

      (Rotowire.com)

(TB – 3B)Player notes
  • Sun, Feb 12
    • Longoria underwent foot surgery this offseason to fix a painful condition called “Morton’s neuroma,” The Tampa Bay Times reports.
      Recommendation: The surgery is not expected to significantly alter Longoria’s offseason plans, and he should be 100% by spring training. Longoria hit 31 home runs in just 133 games last season, and could be primed for a huge year in 2012. This might also explain his lack of stolen bases last year.

      (Rotowire.com)

  • Fri, Feb 10
    • 3B Evan Longoria feels he best serves his team when he’s on the field every day. So in an effort to avoid muscle injuries (hamstring, quadriceps, oblique) that knocked him out of the lineup the last two seasons, Longoria changed his offseason routine to put more of an emphasis on being flexible than being bulked up. He will come into camp 10-15 pounds lighter than last spring, and feeling good about it. “I feel great, so I hope it pays off,” he said.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Was – 3B)New player notes
  • Tue, Feb 14Recent News
    • Zimmerman maintains that he will not negotiate a contract extension once spring training has begun, the Washington Post reports.
      Recommendation: His current deal expires at the end of 2013, and while both he and the Nats have expressed the desire to keep him in a Washington uniform there’s been little apparent progress so far on an extension. The drafting of Anthony Rendon also gives the organization some leverage in terms of a ready replacement at third base if Zimmerman leaves when his contract is up. If nothing gets done before spring training, this could become a big distraction going forward.

      (Rotowire.com)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES- SHORTSTOP

(Ari – SS)Player notes
  • Mon, Feb 13
    • Drew (ankle) has been jogging, hitting, throwing and performing agility drills in his workouts to this point in the offseason, the Arizona Republic reports.
      Recommendation: “I’m optimistic,” Drew said. “Hopefully I will start Opening Day, but I don’t know. I’m not going to sit here and lie to your face and be like, ‘I’ll be ready for Opening Day.’ I can’t tell you that right now. It takes time. How much time? I don’t know. I know one thing, I’ll be playing this year at some point. I wish I knew that answer. I can’t see the future.” His biggest hurdles will almost certainly be lateral movement in the field and running the bases and full speed. Keep an eye on him to see where he’s at when spring training begins as it sounds like his rehab could take a bit longer than previously anticipated despite Drew’s optimism and recent progress.

      (Rotowire.com)

  • Fri, Feb 10
    • SS Stephen Drew (fractured right ankle, ligament damage) is working out in the Phoenix area but is not expected to report to spring training when the pitchers and catchers report Feb. 20. Major league Baseball permits injured position players to report early if they so choose.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Hou – 3B,SS)Player notes
  • Wed, Feb 8
    • Lowrie and the Astros have agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.15 million contract, avoiding arbitration, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
      Recommendation: Lowrie, acquired in the Mark Melancon trade this winter, is expected to take over at shortstop for the Astros. Although the Astros are taking a bit of a gamble given Lowrie’s questionable glove and injury history, if he pans out as his hot prospect potential and impressive 2010 season (.907 OPS in 197 plate appearances) indicated, he’ll be a huge bargain for the Astros in their rebuilding process.

      (Rotowire.com)

(Phi – SS)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • SS Jimmy Rollins signed a three-year, $33 million contract with the Phillies earlier this offseason that includes an $8 million club option for a fourth season. If that club option is not exercised, Rollins has a player option to return for $5 million. But more details of that fourth year emerged this week. According to MLB.com, a club option for $11 million for the fourth season automatically kicks in if Rollins has 600 plate appearances in 2014 or a total of 1,100 plate appearances in 2013-14 (as long as he’s not on the disabled list at the end of the ’14 season). If he does happen to be on the disabled list at that time, the option can still kick in if a doctor gives both sides the OK that Rollins would be ready for Opening Day 2015.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES- OUTFIELDER

(Was – OF)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • RF Bryce Harper’s situation will be one of the most interesting in spring training. He’s only 19 and has but 452 at-bats over about 1 1/2 seasons in the minors, but some of the powers that be want him to start the season with the Nationals. However, many questions remain about Harper, starting with his maturity.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(StL – 2B,OF)Player notes
  • Thu, Feb 9
    • The Cardinals plan for Schumaker, Daniel Descalso, and Tyler Greene to battle for the second base job this spring, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
      Recommendation: Schumaker signed a big deal in December and is the incumbent, but with manager Tony La Russa no longer the skipper, he may have lost his champion. So far Descalso probably has the edge, but obviously a lot can happen in camp.

      (Rotowire.com)

(CWS – OF)New player notes
  • Tue, Feb 14Recent News
    • Fukudome has to come to a one-year, $1 million deal with a 2013 club option with the White Sox, the Chicago Tribune reports.
      Recommendation: Fukudome will most likely serve as the backup at all three outfield positions. He could chance into more playing time if either Alejandro De Aza or Dayan Viciedo, both first-time starters, struggles.

      (Rotowire.com)

    • OF Kosuke Fukudome returned to Chicago on Tuesday, signing a one-year deal with the White Sox. Fukudome, who spent the first 3 1/2 years of his career with the Cubs, will earn $500,000 in 2012, and the White Sox have a $3.5 million option for 2013, or a $500,000 buyout. “Kosuke adds to our outfield depth and gives Robin (Ventura) another left-handed bat to mix into the lineup based on matchups,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox vice president/assistant general manager, in a statement. “He can play center field and right and provides flexibility to our roster.”

      (Yahoo! Sports)

FANTASY PLAYER NOTES- UTILITY

(Tex – C,1B)Player notes
  • Mon, Feb 13
    • C Mike Napoli avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal, according to a report. Napoli will make $9.4 million, sources told ESPNDallas.com. The Rangers, who re-signed Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus earlier in the week, have not had a player go to arbitration since 2000. Napoli, 30, posted career highs with a .320 average, 30 homers and 75 RBI in 2011.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

  • Sat, Feb 11
    • Napoli and the Rangers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $9.4 million deal Saturday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
      Recommendation: Napoli hit .320 with 30 home runs in just 369 at-bats in 2011. It’ll be interesting to see if the Rangers commit to getting him more at-bats in 2012.

      (Rotowire.com)

(NYY – 1B)NAPlayer notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • 1B/DH Russell Branyan was signed to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training and figures to compete for a bench role if he can shake off a poor 2011. Branyan has shown remarkable power at the new Yankee Stadium, hitting eight home runs in 14 games there, including the first ball to reach the fourth deck in right field and the first one to hit the glass of a sports bar beyond center field.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

(Phi – SS)Player notes
  • Fri, Feb 10
    • SS Jimmy Rollins signed a three-year, $33 million contract with the Phillies earlier this offseason that includes an $8 million club option for a fourth season. If that club option is not exercised, Rollins has a player option to return for $5 million. But more details of that fourth year emerged this week. According to MLB.com, a club option for $11 million for the fourth season automatically kicks in if Rollins has 600 plate appearances in 2014 or a total of 1,100 plate appearances in 2013-14 (as long as he’s not on the disabled list at the end of the ’14 season). If he does happen to be on the disabled list at that time, the option can still kick in if a doctor gives both sides the OK that Rollins would be ready for Opening Day 2015.

      (Yahoo! Sports)

MLB Roster Changes

ACTIVE

Date
Player
Change
Feb 10
(Min – OF)Player notes
Activated
Feb 10
(Bal – OF)NAPlayer notes
Deactivated
Feb 10
(Min – RP)NANew player notes
Deactivated
Feb 8
(Cin – RP)NANo new player Notes
Deactivated
Feb 8
(SF – OF)NANo new player Notes
Deactivated
Feb 7
(LAD – 1B,3B)NAPlayer notes
Deactivated
Feb 6
(ChC – 2B,SS)No new player Notes
Activated
Feb 6
(Sea – C)NANew player notes
Deactivated
Feb 6
(Sea – OF)NANo new player Notes
Deactivated
Feb 6
(ChC – 2B,3B,OF)NANo new player Notes
Deactivated

ADDED

Date
Player
Change
Feb 14
(Oak – OF)No new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(Bal – SP)No new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(StL – 2B)NANo new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(Bal – SS)NANo new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(Sea – SS)NANo new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(Tor – OF)NANo new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(Was – 3B)No new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(KC – OF)NANo new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(Bal – SS)NANo new player Notes
Added
Feb 9
(SD – 3B)NANo new player Notes
Added
Date
Player
Change
Feb 14
(CWS – OF)New player notes
Cle to CWS
Feb 14
(Cle – SP)NAPlayer notes
NL to AL
Feb 14
(Oak – OF)No new player Notes
to AL
Feb 14
(Cle – SP)NAPlayer notes
LAD to Cle
Feb 10
(Bal – RP)Player notes
NYY to Bal
Feb 10
(Min – OF)Player notes
Tor to Min
Feb 9
(Bal – SP)No new player Notes
to AL
Feb 9
(StL – 2B)NANo new player Notes
to NL
Feb 9
(Bal – SS)NANo new player Notes
to AL
Feb 9
(Sea – SS)NANo new player Notes
to AL
Date
Player
Change
Feb 14
(Oak – OF)No new player Notes
Added CF
Feb 9
(Bal – SP)No new player Notes
Added SP
Feb 9
(StL – 2B)NANo new player Notes
Added 2B
Feb 9
(Bal – SS)NANo new player Notes
Added SS
Feb 9
(Sea – SS)NANo new player Notes
Added SS
Feb 9
(Tor – OF)NANo new player Notes
Added CF
Feb 9
(Was – 3B)No new player Notes
Added 3B
Feb 9
(KC – OF)NANo new player Notes
Added LF
Feb 9
(Bal – SS)NANo new player Notes
Added SS
Feb 9
(SD – 3B)NANo new player Notes
Added 3B
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