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 weekly basis. If you feel I’ve missed anything important, please don’t hesitate to keep the conversation going in the comments below.
• There’s nothing criminal about a 4-5 record with a sub-4.00 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP. But for Roy Halladay, that constitutes a sub-par season, which means his early exit from Sunday’s game is especially concerning. The immediate diagnosis is a sore shoulder, but Doc is expected to visit a specialist later today, so we’ll find out more then. Not to be pessimistic, but this doesn’t sound like great news.
• Here’s hoping Carlos Santana’s trip to the seven-day concussion DL is short-lived, since both the Indians and fantasy owners the world over need him back in their lineups. Santana, 26, was diagnosed with a mild concussion, so hopefully it’s not too bad, but then again, concussions are a tricky injury to forecast, so we’ll just have to monitor his progress. If you need a handcuff, backup catchers Lou Marson and Luke Carlin are minding the store in Santana’s absence, though neither have much in the way of fantasy value.
• What’s up with Freddie Freeman’s eyesight? He’s having trouble producing tears, which is causing blurry vision and prohibits the use of contact lenses. Specialized sports goggles should arrive this week for the Braves’ first baseman, but Lasik surgery could be a possibility for the 22-year-old, so keep tabs on how the goggles work out. In the meantime, Eric Hinske has picked up the slack at first base while Freeman has been unable to start.
• The good news for Lance Berkman is that he doesn’t have a torn ACL in his right knee. But a partially torn meniscus will keep him sidelined for at least the next two months. I’m guessing that by now, you’re familiar with Matt Adams, who’s the heir apparent at first base at least until Berkman returns.
• What is a navicular bone? I’m no doctor, but it sounds like something that’s painful to fracture, at least to the point where we won’t be seeing Cody Ross for at least six weeks while he heals from his left foot injury.
• Neftali Feliz will likely be sidelined for a month with elbow inflammation, which makes one wonder what his role will be when he returns from the disabled list. With Joe Nathan and Mike Adams, there’s little need to worry about the back end of the Rangers’ bullpen, so although we might not see a Chris Sale-like panic move to plug a hole, it’s questionable how long Feliz will remain a full-time starter in his first season in the role.
• Vernon Wells could miss up to the next two months with a torn ligament in his right thumb. Wells, 32, has produced a .244/.282/.422 line with six home runs and 12 RBIs in 142 plate appearances, and, of course, has yet to come anywhere close to living up to the monster money he’s still owed by the Angels. Peter Bourjos will inherit his playing time in the outfield, though he’s yet to find the groove that made him a useful fantasy player in 2011, as he’s put together a .205/.276/.282 line with just one steal in 91 plate appearances so far this season.
• Marco Estrada suffered a strained right quad running the bases last week, which will cost him three to four starts. Left-hander Manny Parra (0-1, 3.70 ERA, 1.356 WHIP in 24.1 relief innings) will take over for Estrada and is probably as good an option for the team barring a trade, since prospect Wily Peralta is getting hammered in Triple-A right now.
• Emilio Bonifacio’s sprained thumb is no minor issue, as he’s expected to miss up to the next month and a half with the injury he suffered two weeks ago.
• An abdomen issue will keep Austin Jackson out of the Tigers’ lineup until at least Friday, giving Quintin Berry, 27, an opportunity to see some playing time—and become the first Tiger since 1918 to hit safely in his first five major league games.
• A sore shoulder has forced John Danks (3-4, 5.70 ERA, 1.491 FIP, 5.0 K/9) to the disabled list, though neither Danks or manager Robin Ventura believe the injury will cause him to miss more than one start.
• There’s good news for those of you who picked Addison Reed in the White Sox closer sweepstakes during spring training—he’s officially the closer, or at least until it’s his turn to lose the job. Although I like Reed’s upside—and I’m not in a position to argue with a 11.9 K/9 rate so far this season—I’m not convinced he’s prime time closer material, at least not right now, though he did convert a one-run save Monday against the Rays. Regardless of my half-baked opinions, however, he’s still good enough to merit a roster spot in all leagues, and with the ChiSox surging right now, could make for a decent No. 2 closer.
• First there was 2011 all-star Jordan Walden. Then there was Scott Downs. Now, it appears, Ernesto Frieri might be the guy to pick up saves in Anaheim, though it seems as if manager Mike Scioscia is mixing Downs and Frieri as the closer depending on the situation. That’s fine, but Frieri will emerge as the closer soon enough if he continues pitching the way he has so far this season, as he’s yet to allow a run in 11 innings and is sporting a .727 WHIP and ridiculous 18.8 K/9 rate.
• Adios, Brandon League; your four blown saves finally caught up to you, and now, the Mariners’ closer job is up for grabs. The smart money is on Tom Wilhelmsen to snag the job, as he sports a 11.1 K/9 rate, and although his 2012 resume is besmirched with some mediocre stats so far (4.44 ERA, 1.397 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9), it’s worth remembering he has a 3.24 FIP and .338 BABIP, numbers which suggest he’ll stabilize and return to the form that made him an effective setup man last year. While you look at him, consider Steve Delabar (.917 WHIP, 11.3 K/9 in 24 innings) as another potential candidate.
• Another week, another mention of how Heath Bell has really, really sucked in 2012. After being pulled in the ninth inning on Friday and Saturday, manager Ozzie Guillen issued another vote of confidence in his beleaguered closer, who shut the door on the Nationals Monday afternoon. Bell is still Miami’s closer, but owners are begging the big guy to start showing something resembling consistency, nearly two months into the season.
• Ross Detwiler was money to start the season, but a couple of bad outings has led manager Davey Johnson to replace him in the rotation with Chien-Ming Wang, who missed the first two months of the season with a hamstring strain.
Other news and notes
• After he was released by the Padres earlier in the month, Orlando Hudson has joined the White Sox and has been the regular third baseman for roughly the past week, giving him some value in AL-only leagues.