Fantasy Notes: We Spoke Too Soon
February 2, 2008 | | comment on this post
The BoSox made a liar out of us, adding Sean Casey a day after we talked about them doing next to nothing. Oh, wait, the addition of Casey means next to nothing as well.
With Spring Training just around the corner, it’s time to kick up baseball coverage a notch, so let’s check in with some fantasy notes.
- Apparently, all we had to do was moan a bit. After talking just yesterday about the lack of moves from Boston this offseason, the news came out late last night that Boston signed Sean Casey to a one-year deal worth $700,000. He’ll essentially take the place of free agent Eric Hinske, offering the Sox an option when they want to rest either Kevin Youkilis or Mike Lowell.
- Tony Clark was another player Boston was looking at, and his power bat would have been nice, but the signing of Casey leaves Clark still seeking work. When we last checked in on the veteran slugger, it appeared Minnesota was interested in using him as its DH. San Francisco is looking like the best bet now for Clark, however.
- Joey Votto, recently signed to a one-year deal by the Reds, will battle Scott Hatteberg for the first base job in Cincy. If he loses the gig, he’ll head back to Triple-A. Before all is said and done this season, however, Votto, who’s going in the 14th round of recent mock expert drafts will be heard from. Mark my words.
- The latest word suggests that Paul Konerko, the subject of recent trade rumours, will not be dealt this offseason. There’s been talk that Konerko could be headed to the Halos, but the deal didn’t make a lot of sense from the Angels’ perspective. It’s good news for Konerko owners, as the Cell is a much better home run ballpark than Angel Stadium, so look for him to have a better chance of rebounding from somewhat of a down season.
- The talk that there’s animosity building between Ryan Howard and the Phillies is not accurate says GM Pat Gillick. The 2005 NL ROY, 2006 NL MVP and MLB ‘08 The Show cover boy is looking for a multi-year deal similar to what the Phils gave Chase Utley. At the very least, he wants $10 million in 2008, but the Phils original offer was for $7 million. Gillick says the team is considering increasing that offer and is open to discussions about a long-term deal. Philly desperately needs to avoid another Scott Rolen type of situation here. If you’re in a league that tracks strikeouts, be careful of drafting Howard.
- Carlos Pena’s magical season, recognized by us in a RotoRob 2007 Award as Comeback Player of the Year, has been rewarded for his amazing season by the D-Rays with a three-year, $24.125 million deal. Should you pay him the same kind of money? Well, don’t go expecting a repeat of 2007, but it’s clear that Pena has turned the corner and is definitely a valuable commodity. Just don’t overpay expecting a run at 50 homers and a strong batting average in 2008.
- The only Red still eligible for arbitration is Brandon Phillips. He’s asked for $4.2 million and Cincy is offering $2.7 million. Phillips was denied a spot on the NL All-Star team, but he certainly deserved it during a season he stayed healthy and put up career numbers. I’m expecting a reduction in his BA this season, but the power spike could be legitimate as he nears his prime.
- He’ll be given every chance to win the job, but should Felix Pie prove unable to stick in the majors, former second baseman Eric Patterson has a chance to take over as the Cubs’ centerfielder. Patterson was talked about in some trade rumours this winter but it looks like he’ll battle with Sam Fuld and Josh Kroeger for a roster spot in Chicago. Patterson had a productive season in Triple-A last year and held his own during a brief audition with the Cubs. Ronny Cedeno also has a chance to emerge as the centerfielder.
- A broken left hand will keep Omar Infante out until late March, meaning he could very well begin the season on the DL. Moving to the NL could increase Infante’s value because he’s quite versatile. He’ll fill a utility role in Atlanta this season after getting dealt twice this offseason.
- The O’s have come to terms with infielder Brandon Fahey. He showed some promise as a utility player in 2006, but Fahey was horrible in very limited action with Baltimore in 2007 and he wasn’t much better at Triple-A. If he were a better basestealer, he might have more of a chance of sticking.
- It looks like Juan Uribe will be reduced to a utility role this season, and manager Ozzie Guillen is worried that Uribe may not be motivated. Apparently, firearms are a language Uribe understands; perhaps Guillen should try that. Uribe has been in free fall as an everyday player for years; you definitely don’t want to touch him as a reserve.
- Now that the Mets have added Johan Santana, I wonder if Jimmy Rollins will have another declaration of how the Phils are the team to beat in the NL East, as he did last season. Rollins, recently honoured as the Philadelphia Sportswriters’ Association professional athlete of the year, is part of the dream infield with Howard, Utley and Pedro Feliz. That’s a lot of mashing ability.
- Casey Blake just avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $6.1 million with the Tribe. Not bad for a .270 hitter with poor base stealing skills and modest power.
- Former Angel prospect Dallas McPherson has wound up in Florida, signing a one-year deal with the Fish. McPherson was going to be next Glaus, but constant back woes, including an operation that cost him all of last season, have been his undoing.
- The Yankees have signed third baseman Morgan Ensberg to a minor league deal. He could find himself in the mix for the first base job in the Bronx. In fact, after spending his entire career at the hot corner, he agreed to make the switch just for the chance to wear Pinstripes. This looks to be an interesting Spring Training position battle to watch as Ensberg will have to beat out Shelley Duncan, Jason Giambi, Wilson Betemit and Jason Lane for the job.
- Could Hank Blalock finally be ready to return to fantasy prominence? His elbow is reportedly healthy and he’s been given the thumbs up from the Rangers’ trainers that he no longer has to undergo therapy. If Blalock can drive the ball, look out. Sleeper alert.