Pitchers and Catchers report this month – happy times are here again!!! Fantasy drafts might soon start happening more and more this month, but hopefully your league commissioners push them off as late into March as possible. A rash of signings happened this week in MLB, with teams and players avoiding arbitration in most places and some still picking off free agents to fill gaps in their rosters. Nothing major or earth-shattering in the fantasy world to report though, just everyday stuff, PED accusations involving ARod and other cheaters, and former players going to jail. Let’s get it!
Some News This Past Week from the NL:
- Chase Headley and the Padres have avoided salary arbitration, agreeing on an $8,575,000, one-year contract that gives the San Diego third baseman a $5.1 million raise following his huge 2012 season. Headley broke out with 31 home runs and an NL-best 115 RBIs last season and hit .276 after being regarded as a future star for the last few years. Headley should continue to provide solid production at the hot corner in 2013, but I suspect his power numbers will drop slightly too, maybe 25 HRs and 95 RBIs to go with a .275 BA. Don’t over draft based on 2012, even if he will be a free agent after 2013, as he still strikes out at a rate of 150 times a year and guys like Zimmerman, Lawrie and Freese will have equal or likely better overall numbers.
- Martin Prado signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension with Arizona Thursday as expected after the D-Backs dealt Justin Upton to Atlanta. At 29 years old, Prado gets some contract security with his new team and should plug into the hot corner in 2013, but can play SS and 2B as well as a corner OF spot, if needed. Depending on his eligibility in specific leagues his value will fluctuate a little, but overall he is a decent middle round pick (current ADP is around 135) and should put up a 2013 line near .300-80-10-70-15.
- Shaun Marcum signed a one-year contract with the Mets Wednesday. He will earn $4 million in salary and can earn $2.25 million in performance bonuses and $1.75 million in roster bonuses. Marcum had 21 starts for Milwaukee last year and he was 7-4 with a 3.71 ERA. He missed two months last season with Milwaukee because of more elbow trouble, but says he is now fully healthy. Approach him with caution come draft time as the Mets aren’t very good and Marcum doesn’t seem to have much to offer just yet in the fantasy world. He might be a SP4 at best right now as he is going as the 80th starter off the board with an ADP of 235 so far in early drafts, but there is much better value found in many pitchers who are going later in drafts.
- Neil Walker and James McDonald both inked one-year deals with the Pirates – Walker gets $3.3 million and McDonald $3.025 million in deals that were completed Thursday to avoid arbitration. Both are on everyone’s fantasy draft sheets going into 2013 even though they both had some issues in 2012 – Walker with a balky back and McDonald with struggles in the second half. Both should repeat their numbers from last year making McDonald a decent late round SP4 candidate with 10-12 wins, 150K and a 4.00 ERA and Walker likely a top 12 guy at 2B good for .280-75-13-80-10 line if he plays 140+ games.
- Freddy Garcia was signed by the Padres this past week to a minor league deal. In 2012 Garcia was 5-7 with a 5.20 ERA for Yankees and he will carry pretty much zero fantasy value in 2013.
- Daniel Murphy signed a $2.925 million one-year deal with the Mets this past week. Murphy will start the season as the Mets full-time 2B and will carry some basic backup/utility value in mixed leagues, slightly more in NL only leagues, mostly due to his multi-position eligibility in most leagues – he is the 18th 2B off the board overall and 9th of the board for the NL to date in early mock drafts. Don’t expect much more then .300-10-65-65-10 in 2013, but don’t expect much less either.
- Jhoulys Chacin and the Colorado Rockies avoided arbitration by finalizing a $6.5 million, two-year contract on Tuesday. The Rockies expect their starter to be a staff leader as he owns the lowest career ERA of anyone on the staff with 3.88 (minimum 50 starts). I guess we can set the bar low in COL and hope to exceed it? Expecting much more than 10 wins and an ERA below 4.00 is a stretch here.
Rants and Ramblings:
Former Arizona Diamondbacks television analyst Mark Grace has been sentenced to four months in jail under a work-release program. Grace was arrested last August in Scottsdale - his second drunken driving arrest in 15 months - and could have faced more than three years in prison. He had pleaded not guilty in October to four felony counts of aggravated DUI and was scheduled to go on trial March 19. The Diamondbacks fired him as their analyst after the August arrest, but later invited him to participate in a fantasy camp. I fondly remember having Grace at 1B on fantasy teams a decade ago, along with guys like Richard Hidalgo, Daren Erstad, Jeff Kent, Edgar Martinez, Juan Gonzalez and one of my all-time favourites, Larry Walker… ah, the good ole days, before steroids and PEDs became words intertwined with baseball every other week. Seriously though, Vlad Guerrero in his prime and a healthy and young Todd Helton were something to watch!
With spring training almost here, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still trying their best to work out a deal with Francisco Liriano. The roadblock appears to be that the Pirates want to sign Liriano to a minor-league deal (great idea by PIT) with an invitation to major league Spring Training and a real good chance to make the rotation for 2013. Liriano thought wants at least one guaranteed year with an option for 2014. The sides agreed to terms on a two-year, $12.75 million contract on Dec. 22, but shortly after, Liriano suffered a broken right (non-throwing) arm, reportedly in a fall in his bathroom in the Dominican Republic. The Pirates then backed away from the deal. Either way Liriano is what he is right now – a broken down former young budding star derailed by injuries. I will avoid come draft time.
Another PED scandal that includes ARod is on fire in the media again…”whoopdy-do-basel what does it all mean?!” The Miami New Times said Tuesday that the three-time AL MVP bought human-growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., near Rodriguez's offseason home. Also implicated were convicted cheater Melky Cabrera, Nationals young starter Gio Gonzalez, Rangers OF Nelson Cruz and Oakland A’s starter Bartolo Colon. Bosch's lawyer, Susy Ribero-Ayala, said in a statement to the New Times that the report ''is filled with inaccuracies, innuendo and misstatements of fact.'' ''Mr. Bosch vehemently denies the assertions that MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were treated by or associated with him,'' she added. Hearing that guys like ARod, Colon and Melky are linked to this are not shockers, but Gio Gonzalez? (I don’t really buy it).
Don’t forget – Dobber Baseball fantasy guide for 2013 is almost here!!!!
Catch me on twitter @CanuckHoppy