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People get hurt.  It’s one of the downsides of life – like a Katherine Heigl movie or the script for Season 4 of The Walking Dead.  Like all of God’s creatures, baseball players will also get hurt (they’re people, too, right?).  So unless you can put in a Cal Ripken “max health” cheat code into your fantasy baseball players’ bodies, dealing with injuries is something you’ll have to stomach for the next five months.

In each of the past two weeks I’ve covered some of the top players to stash on your team’s DL.  That route can be pretty cut and dry.  All fantasy owners should continue that process, but there are other ways to maximize injury potential.  It may sound a little grim, but targeting injured or injury-prone players in trades, or players that you may want to give up in a trade, is a savvy strategy that could net you a nice return.

To succeed in fantasy baseball you can’t be complacent.  Opposing owners often get frustrated with players who are constantly on the trainer’s table, and that’s always a good time to buy low.  It’s also a smart move to trade away a player who may be healthy now, but who’s been known to have worse luck than a cast member in one of the Final Destination flicks.

It’s a dirty business, but gambling on a player’s health can be profitable…

HITTERS TO BUY:

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: He’s the biggie here.  The reigning two-time MVP has started 2014 with a thud, slashing .232/.306/.375 with just one home run and seven RBI.  Miggy had offseason groin surgery (ouch) and has rightly come out of the gate at a snail’s pace.  Depending on your league, he was probably drafted either first or second, so the price could be steep, but there’s no better time than now to buy low on the Tigers’ 31-year-old first baseman.  A top pitcher and a No. 2 outfielder could pry him away from an impatient owner.

Chase Headley, Padres: Okay, Headley may be a little of a reach here, but I still think he can have a productive season.  He’s off to a bad start, batting .182 with a 22.4% K-rate and just three walks, but the potential is there.  He hits in the middle of the Padres’ lineup, and while the Padres stink like moldy cheese, batting in the heart of any lineup has fantasy appeal.  Dioner Navarro hit .343 with 4 HR and 13 RBI while operating out of the No. 3 and 4 spots for the Cubs last season!  Headley has sat out three games over the past week with a biceps injury, which could very well be the source of his early season hitting woes.  He is only 70 percent owned in ESPN leagues, which makes him an easy target to trade for in deeper leagues where he’s still rostered.  An important thing to note here is that he is set to become a free agent this winter, which gives him lots of incentive to put on a show in the coming months.

Josh Hamilton, Angels: HamBone had surgery on April 11 to fix a torn UCL in his thumb and isn’t supposed to begin baseball activities till the beginning of May.  The coming days represent a great time to trade for the Angels slugger.  He was off to a great start, slashing .444/.545/.741 with two homers, seven runs scored and six RBI, but as the days go by, many owners will forget those first two weeks of the season and could be willing to part with him.  He won’t likely be at full strength until June, but you could probably nab him for a decent pitcher if your trade partner’s rotation has been hurt by the recent slew of injuries to hurlers.  Once Hamilton comes back, he could easily hit 20 homers the rest of the way.

Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox: Since his rookie campaign, Middlebrooks has thoroughly disappointed.  His poor season last year even got him sent down to Triple-A.  He put on muscle this offseason and was looking to make things right again, but a calf strain landed him on the DL.  The Red Sox have been going with Brock Holt, Jonathan Herrera and the recently released Ryan Roberts in his stead – not the most ideal of options.  At one point this spring there were murmurs of Scott Bor – err – Stephen Drew re-signing with Boston and Middlebrooks getting cast aside, but the third base job is Middlebrooks’ to lose for now, or at least until Garin Cecchini is ready.  The average won’t be there, but 20-homer potential out of the hot corner could be a valuable commodity in fantasy leagues come August.

Jurickson Profar, Rangers: The Rangers are starting to get back some of their previously injured players.  Colby Lewis already made his return and Matt Harrison is expected to join the big club this week.  Adrian Beltre is due back this weekend, too.  There has also been some good news coming from the Jurickson Profar front.  The team announced Sunday that their young second baseman, who tore a muscle in is shoulder during spring training, could be back by early June.  While he is owned in just 30 percent of ESPN leagues, more competitive owners have likely stashed him.  Now might be a good time to try and pry him away from them.  Unlike Hamilton, or even Middlebrooks, Profar hasn’t shown much offensive prowess in the majors yet, but hitting in a potent Rangers’ lineup has tremendous upside.  Teams in redraft leagues with holes to fill could easily part with him for a back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.  If that pitcher is nothing but a streamer to you, why not offer him to the Profar owner in your league before you drop him?

HITTERS TO SELL:

Jose Reyes, Blue Jays: When Reyes is on the field, he’s an explosive fantasy force.  The problem is, you never know when his next injury may pop up.  Hamstring issues have plagued the Jays’ shortstop for a good portion of his career, and playing half his games on the hard, unforgiving turf in Toronto won’t aid in keeping him off the sidelines.  Wait for Reyes to heat up (and put together a string of consecutive games played) and deal him to the Canadian owner in your league, or at least one looking for middle infield help or speed.

Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: Pedroia is a fantasy darling – always gets you a .290+ BA, 15 HR and 70 or so RBI.  Steals 20 bases, too.  A wrist injury may be the cause of his terrible start to begin 2014 (.274 wOBA, 0 HR, 1 SB), but there’s more to it than that.  He’s now playing in his age 30 season, and while it may be slight, Pedroia seems to be declining.  A HR/FB rate of 11.4% led to a career-high 21 HR in 2011.  That number dropped to 8.5% in 2012 and 5.6% in 2013, so it’s not a coincidence that his home run numbers also dropped to 15 and 9 in those two years, respectively.  His stolen base numbers have also gone downhill, peaking at 26 in 2011, and then falling to 20 in ’12 and 17 last season.  He had thumb surgery last year and his wrist has been bothering him enough that he’s needed cortisone injections.  His apprehension on the base paths could be directly related to the thumb (not wanting to slide headfirst into a bag) and the wrist will be a problem all season unless he gets some extended time off.  Even with his struggles, the “Pedroia” name alone could be worth a nice haul in return if you should choose to trade him.  It’s a move that is worth exploring if you’re an owner looking ahead to the summer months.

Manny Machado, Orioles: What makes Machado different than my first two “sell” guys, is that he is still on the DL — but that could give him some interesting appeal to a possible trade partner.  Because he’s yet to play, owners can only go off his stats from previous years – which were pretty damn good.  Machado led the AL with 51 doubles last year and had 14 HR, 71 RBI and 88 runs scored to boot.  For the most part, you know what you’re getting with the young third baseman, and there’s no guarantee his surgically repaired knee holds up.  Selling him for even two-thirds of his value is a smart move, especially if you didn’t have to make a huge investment on him during your draft.  Third base is very deep this season and it’s likely you already have someone performing well in his absence.  It’s really a no-risk situation that could net you a decent return.

Other Injury Notes:

Kole Calhoun, Angels: A sprained ankle will sideline Calhoun for the next 3-5 weeks, which means he may not return till late May at the earliest.  He’s definitely worth stashing if you have a DL spot, but if you are in shallower leagues, dropping him for a hot free agent is not unreasonable.  The other “Angels in the Outfield” – J.B. Shuck and Colin Cowgill – are AL-only fodder, if that.  I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is less Cowgill.

Matt Harrison, Rangers: As mentioned above, Harrison is set to return to the Rangers rotation this week.  He was initially expected to require one or two more rehab starts, but following Saturday’s eight shutout innings, it looks like he’s good to go.  Nick Martinez was set to start for the injured Tanner Scheppers on Tuesday, but that could be up in the air with Harrison returning.  Harrison won’t pitch Tuesday because he will have had only two days rest, but Ron Washington may opt to push everyone back a start, which would put Yu Darvish’s two-start week in jeopardy.  Damn YU!

Danny Espinosa, Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman is hurt again.  This is nothing new to fantasy owners.  After being cast aside for two seasons, Danny Espinosa has a prominent role in the Nats’ offense once again.  He hit his first homer of the season on Saturday and could provide a nice source of power and speed from the 2B spot.  He strikes out a ton, but the former LBSU Dirtbag hit 38 HR and stole 37 bases between 2011-12.  He’s still just 26 years old.  Ride him as long as Zimmerman remains sidelined.

Shane Victorino, Red Sox: The Flyin’ Hawaiian made a rehab start on Saturday and could be ready to play in Boston by mid-week.  He was dropped in 11 percent of ESPN leagues, so make sure to check your wire to see if yours was one of them.  Leading off for the Sox will give him a ton of fantasy value.

Joe Kelly, Cardinals: Kelly hit the DL with a hamstring injury, but not before he posted a 1-1 record with a sparkling 0.59 ERA.  The Cards will start Tyler Lyons in his place, but he’s not the long-term option.  Carlos Martinez should have that rotation spot sewn up, but Mike Matheny seems content with him in a set-up role.  As long as C-Mart doesn’t get the promotion, Kelly had been pitching well enough that he should slide back into to rotation once he returns.  Grab and stash if you have the open DL spot.

 

Follow SethDaSportsMan on Twitter at, you guessed it, @SethDaSportsMan, for quality fantasy sports advice and the deepest veneration of all things Nicolas Cage 

  1. Darnell says:
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    Would you rather stash Profar or Baez for 2nd half SS? Both currently available in my league but likely not for long…

  2. SethDaSportsMan

    SethDaSportsMan says:
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    As long as it’s not gonna hurt your roster flexibility, I’d rather have Baez

  3. M-Bizz says:
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    I was a hater last week, but good article this week. I’ll admit it – I was wrong.

  4. J-FOH says:
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    I grabbed Shuck immediately when Hamilton went down and have loved his two home runs and him batting atop the Angels lineup….sometimes.Therefore I challenge your AL only stance….I demand satisfaction. The batting average should come up

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @J-FOH: Damn, you’re needy! … I just don’t see it with Shuck. 2 HR are a fluke. He has 8 career HR in over 2000 minor league AB and hasn’t hit over .300 in any season past Single-A. In a roto league with a games played limit, I’d have a hard time throwing him out there every day

  5. MacK says:
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    If I were to trade Pedroia away, who should I target to fill that second base slot? Second is looking pretty weak…

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @MacK: I would target a team with a decent 2B (Daniel Murphy, Kendrick, Prado etc.), but that is looking to upgrade, and then try to pry away another bat or pitcher from them as well (2-for-1)

      • Colin says:
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        @SethDaSportsMan: I am in a similar situation but picked up Gordon from free agency. Do you think we will be able to keep up some production to fill that hole?

        • SethDaSportsMan

          SethDaSportsMan says:
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          @Colin: I think Gordon has a legitimate chance of leading the NL (or coming in second behind Billy Hamilton) in SB. BUT…I dont think the BA or SLG stays where it is. I think he’s a fine fill-in for now. Hopefully the Dodgers can start scoring some more runs

  6. spm7189 says:
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    I’d like to pry away Miggy from his owner but I’m not sure if I’ve got the right package for it. I moved my top pitcher (along with David Ortiz) to bring in Crush Davis and right now my team looks like:
    C – Devin Mesoraco
    1B – Paul Goldschmidt
    2B – Chase Utley
    3B – Todd Frazier
    SS – Jonathan Villar
    OF – Carlos Gomez
    OF – Shin-Soo Choo
    OF – George Springer
    OF – Marcell Ozuna
    UTIL – Chris Davis
    UTIL – Mark Trumbo
    BN – Kyle Seager
    BN – Kolten Wong
    BN – Adam Eaton
    BN – Will Venable

    SP – Homer Bailey
    SP – Alex Wood
    SP – Sonny Gray
    SP – Chris Archer
    SP – Shelby Miller
    RP – Frankie Rodriguez
    RP – Sergio Romo
    P – Carlos Martinez
    P – Travis Wood
    BN – Nate Eovaldi
    BN – Jesse Chavez
    DL – Taijuan Walker
    DL – Hisashi Iwakuma

    I was thinking something along the lines of Choo and Frazier but I don’t think that’ll be enough and I’m hesitant to move Choo anyways because our 6 batting categories are H, HR, RBI, R, SB, and BB and his walk rate is always outstanding. What kind of package do I throw together? My pitching is weak enough as is I’d rather not have to move any of the leftovers I do have. What kind of package could I throw together for Miggy (without moving Au Shizz and Crush)?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @spm7189: Trumbo and Gomez might get it done

      • spm7189 says:
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        @SethDaSportsMan:@SethDaSportsMan: Honestly knowing the person I’d be sending to that trade would be pretty close to a guaranteed accept especially the way his offense has struggled recently. I like the idea of adding Miggy to this team I’m just a little nervous about what I’d have to give up. There’s a good balance here and I’m worried about upsetting it. Let’s say this was your team and you knew (or felt very strongly) that CarGo2 will give you .280 with 25 HR and 40 SB and 100 R and you know Trumbo will give you .250 with 40 HR and 110 RBI. If I’m keeping Frazier in at 3B let’s say he does .250 with 25 HR and maybe 10SB and an 80/80 split with RBI and R. I move Gomez and Trumbo for Miggy who let’s say after his weak start goes .310 with 36 HR 120 RBI and 100 R and probably as many or more BB than Gomez and Trumbo combined. He’s plugged in as my everyday starter at 3B so we take Frazier’s #s mostly out of my lineup along with Trumbo and Gomez (he’ll still get some spot starts at UTIL and 3B). Adam Eaton moves into a regular role in my OF. There might be a hot schmotato or two I pick up along the way as well for the open spot. It’s your team, do you make that trade?

        • SethDaSportsMan

          SethDaSportsMan says:
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          @spm7189: Yeah, I still think I’d make that trade. The opportunity to have Miggy, Goldy and Crush in the same lineup every day would be huge. I like Gomez, but I think expecting .250 from Trumbo is asking a lot. He’s beginning to turn into Mark Reynolds 2.0. A .225-.230 BA might be more along the lines of where he’ll stand.

  7. Matt B says:
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    Who would you rather have?

    Aramis Ramirez & Elvis Andrus

    OR

    Starlin Castro, Matt Carpenter & Jordan Zimmermann

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Matt B: The second one

      • Matt B says:
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        @SethDaSportsMan: thanks Seth. One more question: trading Gomez and Johnny Cueto (or Lester) for Miggy is a no brainer, right?

  8. Moronymous Lohse says:
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    I tried trading Masterson and an injured Middlebrooks for the injured Alex Cobb. Why? I hate Masterson and have four 3Bs. Was kinda surprised the Cobb owner turned it down.

  9. Mike says:
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    how would you rank streaming pitchers for 4/22?

    Milone, Salazar and Erasmo?

    SON ranks Milone quite high but i’m not entire convinced. am i paranoid?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Mike: Erasmo’s been bad, but tough not to stream against the Astros

      • Balmy Tundrastein says:
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        @SethDaSportsMan: where is salazar a streamer? this guy was ranked pretty highly by yahoo/espn. i’d sit him thought he looks good.

  10. smegma says:
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    Thoughts on buying Cargo and his recurring knee issue? Would you try JUpton for him or stay away?

    • Hawk says:
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      @smegma:

      If there was such a thing as a Hall of Fame for greatest potential crushed by injury, CarGo would be a first ballot inductee.

      He’s a frustrating nightmare to own. One of the best players in the game when healthy; never healthy.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @smegma: I’d stay away if possible, and def not for Upton.

  11. Joe G says:
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    Would you trade nelson cruz for mike minor? What aré your expectativos for mike minor?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Joe G: If Minor stays healthy, I think we could see a repeat in numbers from last season, but unless you’re desperate for pitching and have a plethora of hitting, I’d rather have Cruz at this point

  12. michael says:
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    would you buy on liriano and gyorko and sell with Utley?

    i have altuve as a regular 2b. We use have 7 offensive categories and slug and obp are 2 extra along with the 5 main ones.

    My team is
    C – McCann
    1b – Goldy
    2b – Altuve
    3b – Boegarts
    IF – Carlos Santana
    OF – Harper
    OF – Jones
    OF – Ellsbury
    Utility Utley

    Bench is Hart, Granderso,De Aza, Rasmus and Bourn

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @michael: Liriano and Gyorko for Utley? Do it!

  13. ElPortoDonkey says:
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    Do you see Profar producing enough to be an everyday 2B in a pretty deep 12-team H2H categories league (assuming he stays the course and comes back 100% healthy in early June)?

    I currently own Pedroia, and as you point, his age and what seem to be mounting injuries are somewhat concerning. Entertaining the thought of selling “high” on him (yes, even though he’s been struggling) while I still can- then eventually use Profar as my everyday 2B.

    Do you see this is a wise decision? And given his early season struggles, what caliber hitter or SP do you think I could I get in return for this trade?

  14. Joe G says:
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    Would you trade David wright and Carlos Beltrán for Carlos González?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Joe G: That might be a little too much. Beltran could have a huge season in NY this year

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Joe G: meant to also say that that is a fair trade, just prefer the two bats over the one

  15. Kramit says:
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    Sell high on Adrian Gonzalez? For Josh Hamilton?

    • Kramit says:
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      @Kramit: Seperate deal, Greinke and Billy Hamilton for CarGo?

      • SethDaSportsMan

        SethDaSportsMan says:
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        @Kramit: I’d rather have Gonzalez than Hamilton….

        I think the Cargo deal is a good one if you can swing that

  16. tom` says:
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    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO T’was wondering what will happen to Castro, once Baez gets the show call up?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @tom`: Most likely nothing. Baez will play 2B, which they’ve been having him practice at, and Darwin Barney will get the short straw

  17. The Muppet Maniac says:
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    I was offered Todd Fraizer for Kelly Johnson, pull the trigger?

  18. Hewhohesitates...is LOST. says:
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    I one of the impatient owners of Miggy. 16 team keeper league. I have Cabrera in the 1st of a 3 year contract.

    5 X 4 League: Usual categories, no WHIP so pitching is devalued. Weekly lineup.

    Am I being impatient? My team is slumping right now……

    Here is the offer:
    I send M. Cabrera DET, Belt SF (walk year) & Salazar CLE (own for 2 years cheap) plus a scrub

    I get McCutchen PIT (final year w/ matching rights), Headley SD(cheap, last year), Latos SD(final year), & Abreu CHW (own for 2 years cheap)

    Here is my line up ( I am deep because I had my full salary available & a ton of early picks due to trades last season):

    C: Gomes CLE
    1B: Belt SF
    2B: Utley PHI
    SS: H. Ramirez LAD
    3B: M. Cabrera Det
    UTL: Donaldson Oak
    OF (3): Choo Tex, Bruce Cin, & Marte Pit
    Bench: Simmons SS, Arcia CHW, Calhoun LAA, Hart Sea, Kenderick LAA, Baez CHC

    SPers (start 4): Bumgarner SF, Gray Oak, Fister Was, Minor ATL, Masterson CLE, Kluber CLE, Estrada Mil, Porcello Det, Walker Sea

    RPers (start 2): Romo SF & Reed Ari, Storen Was

    Again, does this trade make sense for my team? Cabrera loses a little value next year & the next after that because he is no longer a 3B. As for my current team, looks like I will get Minor back this week & Fister in another week, but I am not getting much production from my hitting lineup.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  19. Fish says:
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    It’s too bad for someone so hot, but being completely terrible and unwatchable.

    Katherine Heigl, that is.
    …Who were you thinking of?

  20. Matt says:
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    in a league where frazier, c johnson, and middlebrooks are available — do i need to keep seager — he sucks

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Matt: I’ve got no issues with that

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Matt: no issues with dropping him**

  21. Colin says:
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    Just trying to figure out my 2B/ss situation. I picked up Gordon so I have one extra — Aaron Hill, Castro, and Pedroia being the others. 12 team H2H categories. I was thinking of trying to make a move for recently Dled Sale with Pedroia or Castro but I have some doubts about Gordon’s offensive longevity through the season. Any thoughts? The other team has no one good in the middle infield.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Colin: It’s a great time to buy low on Sale, but I have my reservations. All the tests came back clean, but “elbow soreness” is nothing to be taken lightly. He is the ace of their staff and I can easily see them doing the same thing the Dodgers did with Kershaw — which is ease him back….slowly

  22. Ryan says:
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    Just wondering how optimistic you are with Headley. i have longoria starting and frazier on my bench with Headley hitting waivers a few days ago. My utility is full and there isn’t a corner infield spot. Do you think you would release Frazier for Headley even though he’s been prEtty solid.Thanks

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Ryan: I’d rather stick with the hotter bat right now, which is Frazier.

  23. Russell James says:
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    Which prospect after Bradley do you see coming up first? Bryant, Baez, Polanco, Heany, Bundy or Stephenson? Which do you see having the most immediate impact if any?

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Russell James: I think Polanco comes up first, and that won’t likely be till after the Super 2 date passes in June. Baez could be up around same time, or in July. Bryant maybe in July, but likely not till September callups. I dont see any of the other 3 making any impact or even getting called up. Haney is still in A-ball and Bundy coming off Tommy John. No place in rotation for Stephenson as of now.

  24. Michael says:
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    I took the approach of drafting with best available and not so much on needs. I’m starting to regret that as I have Myers, Justin Upton, Choo, Myers, Harper, Matt Holiday, Encarnacion, and Hosmer. That’s 8 players for 6 positions (1b, 3of, 2u). I’m always making the wrong play; I had Upton on the bench during his explosion. I had Myers on the bench during the week he went off. I had Choo on the bench and he hits a homerun! Which one of these pieces would you look to move in order to improve Brad Miller (@SS), Dan Murphy, or Nick Castellanos? And who would you look to (was thinking Reyes).

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Michael: Looks like Choo may be out for a bit, but I def understand the predicament you’re in. Those are all good players, so you shouldnt have a hard time moving any of them. I wouldnt be selling E5 now cuz you’ll be selling too low. Same with Myers. Throw out some offers with Holliday. I think you could get a decent MI in return

  25. Travis says:
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    Was thinking of offering Matt Cain and Alexei Ramirez for Miguel Cabrera. Not sure if that would be enough for the owner to pull the trigger. Is there a different offer you would make? This is my team:

    Joe Mauer
    Joey Votto
    Ben Zobrist
    Emilio Bonifacio
    Alexei Ramirez
    Jay Bruce
    Carlos Gomez
    Andrew McCutchen
    Brandon Belt
    Carlos Santana
    Eric Hosmer
    Desmond Jennings

    Anibal Sanchez
    Dan Haren
    Tommy Hunter
    Francisco Rodriguez
    Matt Cain
    Danny Salazar
    Jose Fernandez
    Glen Perkins
    Mike Minor
    Hisashi Iwakuma

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Travis: I think any offer is worth a shot, although I dont know if he would take that. You seem to have an abundance of 1Bs, and would have even more if you acquired Miggy. What about offering Hosmer or Belt in that deal instead of Ramirez? Maybe switch Cain to Anibal. I like Cain more and you’d be upgrading the deal with Hosmer or Belt

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