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.
• Fantasy owners who reaped the rewards of Kenley Jansen’s strong season as the Dodgers’ closer likely knew about the 24-year-old’s history with an irregular heartbeat problem, but couldn’t turn down the 25 saves and 13.7 K/9 rate. But the problem, which has cost Jansen significant playing time over the past two seasons, has popped up again, and there’s a chance Jansen could miss the rest of the season. We’ll see if he pitches again in 2012, but prudent owners might want to start taking a look at Ronald Belisario and Brandon League, each of whom could pick up save opportunities the rest of the way (for the moment, however, Belisario looks like he has the edge).
• Rafael Furcal is done for the season after injuring the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last week. Role player Daniel Descalso will likely take things over at shortstop for the redbirds the rest of the way.
• A shoulder injury has knocked Denard Span to the disabled list, and he could be done for the season.
• Speaking of guys at risk of being lost for the season, David Ortiz remains on the DL due to a right Achilles injury.
Bumps and bruises
• Mark Teixeira has missed the last several games with a sore calf, and believes he’ll be ready to return on Thursday.
• Lower back tightness ruined Neil Walker’s usefulness in week 22, and he probably won’t be able to produce much this week.
• Just back from the DL after a fractured bone in his right leg, Jeff Niemann could be out of action after leaving Saturday’s start with right arm tightness. We’ll know in a few days the extent of the injury’s seriousness, but at the very least, Alex Cobb’s job security has increased in the starting rotation.
• Chris Tillman is scheduled to have an MRI on his right elbow today after leaving Sunday’s start against the Yankees early.
• It took long enough, but now that we’ve reached September, we can officially call Andrew Bailey the closer of the Red Sox. He’s yet to earn a save since taking over the job from Alfredo Aceves, but he’s worth an add in all leagues that reward saves, since his velocity appears to be back to normal upon his return.
• After an up-and-down (mostly down) year in Triple-A, Cardinals’ starter Shelby Miller has been called up to the show, though it’s unclear when he’ll make his first major league start. Miller, 21, comes to the majors with mediocre stats this year (11-10, 4.74 ERA, 1.376 WHIP), but pitched in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and was 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA from July 14 onward. With a solid offense backing him up, Miller could be an intriguing spot starter down the stretch for fantasy owners.
• Jurickson Profar wowed the world with a home run in his first major league at-bat over the weekend, but he’s trying to break into a crowded infield that already features Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Ian Kinsler at second base. Profar is worth adding in all keeper leagues, but it’s not yet clear whether he’ll hold any value in 2012.
• All along, we knew the Nationals were thinking about shutting down Stephen Strasburg, but with the team contending to go deep into the playoffs, one couldn’t be positive that we’d actually see Washington’s ace voluntarily lost for the year. Well, now we have our answer: Strasburg will get two more starts this year, with his last coming on Sept. 12 against the Mets. Obviously, this hurts fantasy owners big time, so plan ahead.
• There’s no firm cutoff date for Jeff Samardzija, but the Cubs’ big right-hander and 2012 breakout hurler will also be shut down later this month, so keep an eye out.
Road to recovery
• Alex Rodriguez is back in action after missing nearly six weeks with a broken left hand.
• The Padres’ Andrew Cashner has returned to San Diego’s starting rotation, and the team will likely use six starters now that he’s back.
• Troy Tulowitzki has begun a minor league rehab assignment, but it doesn’t appear as if he’s close to returning.