Monday, March 12, 2012
This week in (fantasy) baseball 3/5-3/11Posted by Karl de Vries at 5:10am
It’s hard enough following one’s own fantasy team without having to keep track of an entire sport’s daily transactions. To assist you, here’s a column dedicated to recapping the most notable trades, signings, promotions, demotions and role changes across the majors over the past week as they relate to fantasy. We'll do this on a regular basis. If you feel I've missed anything important, please don't hesitate to keep the conversation going in the comments below.
Yanks' Robertson hurt while taking out recyclables
The good news is the Yankees’ most valuable setup man suffered only a bone bruise while taking out the recyclables last week, not a ligament tear, bone fracture or the dreaded Lisfranc sprain that torpedoed Chien-Ming Wang’s career in the Bronx. The bad news is the right-hander, who turns 27 in early April, is wearing a protective boot and is on crutches and will lose significant spring action as he gets ready for the 2012 season.
The team will understandably be cautious with the pitcher considered the front-runner to succeed Mariano Rivera, who has hinted at retiring after this season. In the meantime, Rafael Soriano will assume the role of eighth-inning man until Robertson’s return, which could be in time for Opening Day.
Robertson’s injury could have a profound impact on Phil Hughes’ fantasy value, as the Yankees could consider moving the 25-year-old (former?) phenom to the bullpen if more manpower is needed in the late innings. The Yankees, after all, have four rotation spots locked down in the forms of CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia has looked good so far in early spring action.
After reporting to camp out of shape last year, a noticeably trimmer Hughes arrived in Florida early this year, and reached 93 on the radar gun multiple times during his one-and-two-thirds-inning appearance last week.
Certainly, a healthy Hughes would be the favorite to crack the Yankees’ rotation, with Garcia then moving to long relief. And it goes without saying that any starting pitcher on the mighty Yankees carries significant fantasy value, as Hughes did in 2010, when a pedestrian ERA and WHIP didn’t stop him from compiling 18 wins.
But his fate, along with Garcia’s, resides with Robertson’s recovery. Let’s see how long it takes for one of baseball’s top setup men to recover, and for the Yankees to rush one of their most valuable players back into major league action.
Hart recovering well from knee surgery
Manager Ron Roenicke told Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Saturday that Corey Hart is walking around without crutches, which is an encouraging sign considering the right-fielder underwent surgery last week to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee.
Hart, who turns 30 later this month, is expected to miss a month after the surgery, though he still has an outside shot to be ready for Opening Day. In his absence, Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez could pick up additional playing time, while Mat Gamel is now seeing at-bats from the fifth spot in the batting order.
Sore shoulder shuts down Marcum
Shaun Marcum is dealing with shoulder stiffness, which forced Milwaukee to shut down the right-hander early last week. Roenicke refused to rule out the possibility that Marcum, 30, will return to the rotation by Opening Day, though it remains to be seen how much playing time he’ll miss in March.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because Marcum was bothered by a sore shoulder during last year’s spring training as well, except he was able to recover well enough to go 6-2 with a 2.80 ERA and 1.047 WHIP over 2011’s first two months. As fantasy owners keep an eye on Marcum’s progress, backup plans include Marco Estrada, who went 3-2 with a 3.70 ERA in seven starts last year, along with prospects Wily Peralta and Michael Fiers.
Towel turmoil cuts Price start short
Who knew toweling off between innings could carry such physical risk? In what has to be regarded as one of the strangest spring training injuries of all time, David Price strained his neck Wednesday as he mopped off sweat during his first start of the spring, forcing him to cut short his appearance. Fortunately, the injury doesn’t seem all that serious, and Price isn’t projected to miss his next start.
Chris Carpenter sidelined with neck issue
As the Cardinals welcomed Adam Wainwright’s two scoreless innings on Friday, his first start in more than a year since undergoing Tommy John surgery, the team revealed that co-ace Chris Carpenter is suffering from a bulging cervical disc that will force him to miss his debut start. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Carpenter’s spring schedule has not yet been set by the team.
For Cardinals fans, the good news is the injury is less severe than a nerve issue, which the team feared given Carpenter’s injury history. But it will be interesting to see if the news has any impact on the 36-year-old starter’s fantasy value among anxious owners.
Karl de Vries is a New Jersey-based writer and journalist who prefers following fantasy baseball to watching his hapless Mets embarrass themselves on TV every night. He can be reached at karl[dot]rotodiamond[at]gmail.com or followed on Twitter at @Karl_de_Vries.