(1) Stephen Strasburg headed to DL on Thursday with strained flexor tendon.
(2) Giants awarded Cody Ross. You can also read more about the Giaints’ outfield situation at GoldenGateGiants.com.
(3) Johnny Damon awarded to the Red Sox.
(4) Manny Ramirez likely to be placed on waivers this week.
(5) Ricky Nolasco (knee) might be done for the year.
By Ray Flowers
It’s been a long week. I’ve been busy as hell with work trying to get all my ducks in a row so I can head off to Las Vegas next week for the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, and I seem to have pulled a muscle in my chest while I was maxing out my bench press (I think I had two 10 lbs plates on both sides). I know, it’s a tough life I lead isn’t it? If the biggest worries I have are about whether or not I can do 10 reps or 12 on the bench, or whether or not I can finish that massive margarita from Paris Las Vegas (that thing is like two feet tall in the shape of the Eiffel Tower), then life isn’t all bad. I know that drink doesn’t sound too masculine by the way, but who wouldn’t want to get bombed on $20 – am I right?
Some sports related thoughts after that random opening stanza.
* So much for Lance Berkman’s knee being OK. Turns out he will need minor knee surgery which could keep him out of action for 2-4 weeks, though Berkman still insists he can make opening day. “I don’t anticipate having any lingering effects from it. They said it’s about a three-to-four-week recovery period, so I’m hoping it’s closer to three weeks and I will be ready for Opening Day.” By the way, one of my expert league teams that was drafted last week has Berkman, Brian Roberts and Russell Martin – all injured – on it. Gotta love those early preseason drafts don’t you?
** I have nothing to say about Jesse Carlson. I just loved the picture so much that I had to find a way to bring up his name. What is that, My Little Pony?
* The hype machine continues to motor along in overdrive with Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban fireballer of the Reds. He struck out two in two scoreless innings again the Dodgers on Friday, and his fastball was once again recorded at 100 mph. As they say you can’t teach heat, and with each solid outing the temptation grows for the club to open the year with him on the roster. I think it would make sense for him to start in the minors if for no other reason than to allow him time to acclimatize himself to the American way of life, but here is a very important comparison that I haven’t seen listed anywhere – Chapman is actually 19 days older than the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw.
* Bobby Jenks gave up five runs while recording two outs on Friday running his spring performance to seven runs in 1.2 innings. He’s lost weight and changed his outlook to improve his life, but let’s hope he didn’t leave his focus somewhere in the offseason.
* The Mets are a disaster. Contradictory news on the health of Carlos Beltran in the offseason followed up by the latest setback with Jose Reyes are but two of the biggest issues the club is dealing with. I’m no doctor and I know they often rule things out 1-by-1 cause they themselves don’t really know what’s going on sometimes, but the club from New York certainly seems to be having an inordinate number of issues with the diagnosis of injuries and the dissemination of the results.
* Mike Napoli hit his fourth homer on Friday. The guy can rake. Problem is his defense is only so-so which has limited his ability to be in the lineup every day (Jeff Mathis has the exact opposite issue, he can field but he ain’t so good with a bat in his hands). It’s probably sheer folly, but if Napoli were to garner 400 at-bats this season, while maintaining his career levels, he would produce a season of about .256-24-66. You know how many catchers reached all three of those levels last season? The answer is one – Joe Mauer.
Here are links to some of the recent stories that I have penned for those of you who need a little something to read over the weekend.
Is there anything to the belief that 27 year old players blow up merely because of their age? I give my thoughts in two pieces.
These two articles give my thoughts on why you should pass on some of the guys being taken early in draft since you can likely find similar production much later on.
By Ray Flowers
(1) Chien-Ming Wang signs with Nationals: 1-year, $2 million ($3M in incentives).
(2) Chase Utley getting faster on the bases?
(3) Russell Branyan to Indians?
(4) Johnny Damon still talking with Tigers.
(5) Geovany Soto loses 40 lbs., stops junk food.
(6) Jose Reyes back at practice, looks good.
(7) Cody Ross wins arbitration case with Marlins, will make $4.45 million in 2010.
By Ray Flowers
Did you catch the Nick Swisher pitching outing on Monday? It was a classic. Besides working a scoreless inning in the Yankees debacle (they lost 15-5), he was the only one of the five Yankees who threw a pitch and didn’t allow a run, Swisher also went deep at the plate. As a result, he currently leads the Yankees in batting average (.450), home runs (three), RBI (10) and ERA (0.00). Asked about his outing on the mound in which he threw “fastballs” ranging from 71-80 mph, Swisher had this to say. “I felt that I wanted to go out there and get three outs. I had fun with it. I mean, when am I ever going to have the chance to do that again? Probably never.” The best part of the whole deal? After striking out Gabe Kapler, Swisher asked to keep the ball. Whatever you think of the guy, there isn’t a “looser” guy in the game. Gotta love that attitude.
At the other end of the spectrum as far as personality goes is Lastings Milledge. I was going to do a big expose on the meat head, but Ted Carlson beat me to it with Gut Punch . I’m not giving up on Milledge yet, and it might be a great time to try and get him on the cheap from his undoubtedly frustrated current owner.
Melvin Mora appears likely to be headed to the DL due to continued issues with his hamstring. If that is the case, Ty Wigginton will become the immediate third baseman and must be owned in all fantasy formats. Ty has averaged 23 home runs the past three seasons despite only picking up an average of 459 AB a season, and only needs a spot in the everyday lineup to be a valuable fantasy option. Don’t forget he is also eligible at third base and the outfield giving him even more value. As for Mora, he shouldn’t be out long-term, but if Wigginton impresses, Mora may not so easily recapture his daily spot in the lineup. Ah who am I kidding, when he is healthy he will be out there.
The White Sox are down to Brian Anderson in centerfield now that DeWayne Wise has been placed on the DL due to the shoulder injury he suffered which will keep him out 6-8 weeks. Think they wished they had held on to Nick Swisher now? As for Anderson, well, the Sox clearly have to upgrade the position if they are serious about contending in 2009, and by that we don’t mean calling up Jerry Owens, which they did, or signing Scott Podsednik, which they did. In 603 career ABs, Anderson has gone deep 18 times with 62 RBI while he has also stolen 12 bags. While that sounds like decent production for a centerfielder, the rest of his line is embarrassing for a guy who thinks he deserves a shot at a full season of at-bats: .221/.278/.376. Speaking of Podsednik, he should be worth a look in AL-only leagues as he is clearly a better option than Owens with his ability to get on base (.337 to .321) and steals bags (40 as recently as 2006 for the White Sox).
Milton Bradley already on the shelf for 3-5. What a shock.
Cody Ross is just 2-for-22 this season (.091). He has struck out five times without a walk, a terribly slow start for a guy who hit 22 bombs with 73 RBI last season in 461 AB. Look for him to rebound, though we probably saw the upside he has to offer last year.
Rickie Weeks is a man. He took an Edinson Volquez up and in fastball off his chin and said he is fine. Week’s wasn’t in the lineup on Tuesday, the team chose to give him a day off after he has played every game so far, but he should be back for the team’s next game. He is off to a solid start hitting .276/.364/.448 with four RBI, seven runs and a steal in seven games.