Alas, for now the Rays are Price-less. (To recall a conversation I once had with my grandmother after she threw out my 1986 Sportsflic Jose Canseco rookie card, “That card was priceless!” “Yeah, because it wasn’t worth shit.”) Frankly, I’m surprised the Rays sent David Price down. I thought he would start in the bullpen then get starts by the end of April/beginning of May, accumulating 150 innings. Jason Hammel and Niemann! are far from reliable guys for a team that is supposed to be in the AL East race, but I underestimated the Rays’ thriftiness. Why are we serving Gulden’s when French’s is twenty-seven cents cheaper?! In the comments on the 2009 Rays fantasy baseball preview, Rudy said I was being too optimistic. Looks like I was. Guess that’s why I rock a ‘stache and Rudy has the much more with-it ‘fro. I’d hold Price in 10 team mixed leagues and deeper. My prediction is we see Price by mid-May in the majors and he makes a fantasy impact for his patient owners. If patience is the key, then show me the lock. Anyway, here’s what else has been going on in spring training for fantasy baseball:
Matt Wieters – I’ve been saying all along that he’s headed to the minors. So one out of two ain’t bad. Wieters will be flying into Norfolk International Airport sometime on Monday night. Looks like another financial decision. He should be back with the club by mid-May. If you drafted him, you have to wait on him. Well, I mean you don’t have to, but what was the point otherwise. When Gregg Zaun heard the news, he should have had this to say, “If getting demoted so I can start doesn’t kick you in the pants, nothing will.”
Daniel Murphy – I’ve been too lax in mentioning this guy. Word out of the foothills of St. Lucie is Murphy is batting 2nd. This is great news for a guy who rocks a solid OBP. He could be the Mets answer to Kelly Johnson. It’s more attractive at 2nd base, but there’s a place on some teams for that in the outfield.
Ervin Santana – Rudy told you 20 risky pitchers. Ervin was one. You didn’t wanna believe it. It’s the ‘fro, yo! (Easy, TCBY. That’s not fro-yo.)
Shawn Hill – Someone in the comments nicknamed him Baby Webb. I have no idea why, but Baby Webb is now on the Padres. Um, a pitcher I like pitching in Petco? Give me a pen and show me the X.
Kelvim Escobar – He made Rudy’s bounceback pitchers post. He says you’re welcome.
Tommy Hanson – Maybe he’ll be back in September. Cut him outside of keepers.
Rafael Soriano – Going to the DL. In other news, Chipper’s probably hurt too.
Carlos Marmol/Kevin Gregg – Lou will decide this weekend if the Cubs want to begin the year by giving up runs in the eighth or the ninth.
Todd Helton – Retire for the sake of the Rockies.
John Lackey – Forearm tightness. This is almost as surprising as the Soriano injury. I’d never expect more than 25 starts from Lackey.
Justin Duchscherer – To start season on the DL? No way! *Grey turns off faux shock*
Chris Davis – In spring, hitting bombs, striking out and taking names. And that’s what you should expect in the season, too.
Anderson Hernandez – Hurt. You can’t keep Ronnie Belliard down!
Felipe Lopez – Going to be leading off and he wants to steal a lot of bases. He’s already stolen 44 in a season. He’s eligible all over. I’m thinking of taking him 13 times in my next draft.
David Aardsma – I suppose he could win the closer job in Seattle, but… David Aardsma? Eh.
Ryan Braun – He’s hurting right now. He’s not saying anything because he’s a gamer, but he’s unable to swing a bat. Frankly, I’m a bit worried. It was one thing for him to have issues last September, but now they’re returning in April. I’d still draft him in the first round, but I’d expect a slow start.
Scott Lewis – Him and Anthony Reyes might deserve their own posts, but they’re not getting them just yet. Scott Lewis doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but then he put up numbers in the minors like he does. I’d prefer a NL fifth starter (think: Randy Wolf) over a guy with a mid-80s fastball pitching in the AL. Oh, and he gives up flyballs. Pass.
Anthony Reyes – I’m a bit of a sucker for a failed prospect making good on old promises (See continuing admiration for Alex Gordon). Don’t even get me started with my love for guys that iron their hat brim. So it comes with little shock, I like Reyes. I like him more than the aforementioned Lewis. Again, I prefer to go NL in mixed leagues when this deep into starters and I wouldn’t own Reyes in a ten team league yet, but he has good stuff. He’s an injury risk so don’t pay too much. Actually, don’t pay anything for either of these guys. You should be dropping lame bench hitters to take a chance on Reyes. I see Ryan Church. I dump Ryan Church for Anthony Reyes.
Micah Owings – You never know how these things turn out. Fifth starter on the Reds emerges? Could be. I’d own him before two other Reds starters.
George Sherrill – He’s choking on turkey bones so far this spring and this year he has Chris Ray to step in and resume closer duties. Chris Ray may be getting saves as soon as mid-April.
Brian Fuentes – Every year some closers come out of nowhere and erase any faith we had in them coming into the year. I think this year is Fuentes’s. His velocity is way down because of a bad back. Bad backs linger and velocity issues don’t just go away. With two quality replacements behind him, I think if you own Fuentes, you might want to start making other plans.
Dallas McPherson – Punt.
Adam Jones – Ty Wigginton, “Dude, you totally bogarted my whole box of Twinkies!” Adam Jones, “Mea culpa, my man. I was out stealing bags and hitting home runs this spring, and every time I looked up I would see Felix and Adam and I kept reading Pie Eaton.”