Showing posts with label Pablo Sandoval. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pablo Sandoval. Show all posts

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Hot Stove Junkie: The Pre-Winter Meetings Version

Obviously this should have been published a couple of weeks back. Things got busy for me and production slowed dramatically when I accidently deleted half what I had written. But this is not about the news that happened but rather what the impact to our fantasy teams might be. So I hope you'll still find some value in this. There are two more reports being published very quickly after this one appears. 

Peace and good trading - 


The New York Yankees Trade For Didi Gregorious and Sign Andrew Miller 

Didi Gregorious makes good contact, has a decent eye at the plate and is willing to take walks. He has solid power for a middle infielder and his fly ball trends are a good fit in Yankee Stadium. He has
good speed but has not been inclined to steal many bases so far in his career. GM Brian Cashman is saying that (initially at least) Brendan Ryan will get most of the at-bats against lefties.I believe this is at least partially a way to lessen the pressure on Gregorious. I like him as an infield option at 10-12 dollars in keeper leagues, a little less in re-draft leagues.

Andrew Miller will need to shave his big bushy beard but this is a great signing for the Yankees bullpen. Miller could potentially close since Robertson did not re-sign, but he is also comfortable as a set-up man. This is especially important if the Yankees push Dellin Betances into the closer role. The Yankees could still add a solid closer option which would be a good idea. The Yankees rotation is thin and loaded with injury issues and anything that allows them to shorten the game is a good idea. Miller's K-rate has steadily improved to massively dominant over the last three years. The control did not come until 2014 and it is difficult to believe that walk rate will not rise at least a bit back towards his career rates. However, as long as his strikeout rate is maintained he should be a very valuable piece of your fantasy bullpen even without the closer role. He is probably approaching a ten dollar player in any case but if you see saves in his future I could see approaching 15 in keeper leagues.

I think it is interesting that the Houston Astros actually made the biggest offer to Miller. The Astros were willing to give him ten million per season. Miller apparently turned them down for a better opportunity to compete and reach the playoffs. The Astros could seek revenge by signing David Robertson (that didn't happen). They are also rumored to have reached out to Sergio Romo and Luke Gregorson (more on that in the next reports) in an attempt to improve their major league bullpen. The Astros have money to spend and someone out there is going to get a crap load of it.

The Detroit Tigers Get Shane Greene in the Deal

The Tigers get Shane Greene in the deal and he could be a surprising strong long-term addition to their starting rotation. Although he was never a top tier prospect he has good stuff and three solid pitches. He didn't seem to put it all together until Double-A which is part of the reason he has not been hyped much. But Cashman always liked him and referred to him as an underrated prospect after his Double-A season. I would not go crazy bidding on him but I like him in keeper leagues and would be willing to spend 8-10 dollars on him. I see a decent profit built into a price like that.

The Diamondbacks get lefty starter Robbie Ray (who the Tigers so famously traded Doug Fister to acquire) and infield prospect Domingo Leyba. 
The Diamondbacks were offered their pick of the Tigers' young, close-to-big-league-ready starters — right-handers Buck Farmer and Drew VerHagen, and left-handers Kyle Lobstein and Kyle Ryan — and it wasn't a surprise to Dombrowski when Arizona's first-year general manager Dave Stewart opted for Ray.
Judging by his performance in 2014 Ray needs some more time in the minor leagues. I would not invest in a re-draft league but I might use a minor league pick on him in a deep draft. I see his upside as mid-rotation starter or strong reliever. He pitched 28 inning in the majors last year and was pretty bad. He also was not good at Triple-A. He certainly has potential if he can find his control again and get back to the level of his 2013 performance. Maybe the D'Backs can draw it out of him. I would avoid investing on Ray at this point.

Domingo Leyba is a long way from the major leagues. He looks like a decent defensive middle infielder with some speed and could develop some pop. He's probably worth a minor league pick if you can afford to wait four years, other wise I'd avoid him. 

Did the Tiger Give Up on Ray Too Soon?

Nick Markakis Signs With the Atlanta Braves 

The Braves were apparently aware that Nick Markakis may require surgery on his neck before the season which makes this signing if not questionable at least a little odd for a team in a re-structuring mode. The problem with a herniated disk in his spine is the reason some are giving for the Orioles lukewarm interest in re-signing their veteran free-agent.But according to Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Markakis is indicating he could have the surgery soon (he just did) so that he can be ready for the regular season. Long-term, Markakis will probably be fine if he has the procedure done but it could impact his start to the 2015 season. If he does not have the procedure that may be a reason to avoid him, as pain and stiffness in the area could impact his power and swing even if he manages to make it on to the field everyday. The injury has supposedly been an issue for the last two years. Markakis has usually been a 15-20 dollar player but the surgery, change to the National League and the change from Camden Yards (128 HR factor for lefty batters) to Turner Field (97 HR factor for lefties) is enough to ensure I will only draft him at a heavy discount.

Jim Johnson Also Signs With the Braves

Without a shot at saves, Jim Johnson does not collect enough strikeouts to contribute to most fantasy rosters as a reliever. I suppose if Craig Kimbrel went down with an injury he might be capable of stepping in but that seems like a long shot.I am not worried about his performance. Most of last year's badness looks like just bad luck and the usual fluctuation in reliever performance. You can probably get him for a buck and the chance at the occasional save probably makes that a solid investment. 

Nelson Cruz Signs With the Seattle Mariners

Cruz has the power to regularly hit the ball out of any park. Still, Safeco Field (88 HR Factor for righties - Camden Yards was neutral for right-handed batters) probably isn't the ideal landing spot as far as his fantasy stats are concerned. Everything went right for Cruz with Baltimore in 2014 and it seems unlikely to go the same way in 2015. Even if the park factors don't slow him much you can probably count on at least some regression towards his career numbers. I would pay 20-25 for Cruz and expect 25-30 homers with a decent batting average. The Mariners lineup is improving so the runs and RBI totals should still be strong.

The Blue Jays Acquire Michael Saunders

The Mariners basically dumped Michael Saunders over their war of words. Seattle's GM had some negative things to say publicly about Saunder's conditioning and preparation. He could probably use the change of scenery anyway. Saunders should play regularly for the Blue Jays and he has 20-20 potential if he can stay healthy and on the field. He goes from Safeco (a smidgen above neutral power for left-handed batters) to Toronto's Rogers Centre (which has a 125 HR factor for left-handed batters). He isn't a great player but he works well for fantasy purposes. Even in his injury-shortened seasons he has been a 10-12 dollar player. I would try to buy him in the 10-15 dollar area (plenty of room for profit there), assuming the Blue Jays do not upgrade any further.  

The Oakland Athletics Trade Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays

I was just as stunned as everyone else when this trade was announced. It seems like an obvious move for the Blue Jays. They upgrade their lineup and get a more consistently healthy player to boot. Josh Donaldson should see a small boost to his stats playing in the AL East parks but I would not go nuts about that possibility. Still a move from Oakland Coliseum (87 HR factor for right-handed batters) to the Rogers Centre (129 HR factor for righties) is drool inducing. He was already a  30-35 dollar player and is probably worth the extra buck or two in AL-Only leagues.

The A's also picked up Ike Davis From the Pirates

Ike Davis still has that power but it becomes more and more unlikely every season. However, again, the Athletics have a knack for coaxing a strong performance out of older prospects. Even so, I would not spend more than a buck or two on Davis. 

Some Say Beane and Donaldson were Feuding

Various Reactions to the Donaldson Deal

The Prospects in the Deal Evaluated

For the Blue Jays The Time is Now

Yasmany Tomas Signs With Arizona Diamondbacks

I was surprised to hear that Yasmany Tomas signed with the Diamondbacks. However, I was not surprised that the contract did not reach the lofty heights speculated by the mainstream media. Tomas has awesome power potential but he is not necessarily a fully developed player. He is not as field ready as Jose Abreu or Rusney Castillo (who also seems a bit overrated). I would not be at all shocked to see him spend some time in the minors during the 2015 season. From the little bit of video I have seen of him I don't his swing much. As a fantasy owner I would be willing to make a fairly serious investment in dynasty leagues but in the typical NL-Only keeper league. I would not want to go too far past 10-12 dollars. HQ has him with a 16 dollar projection, that is probably closer to a 20 projection in most keeper leagues. I recognize that I am unlikely to own him in most leagues. The hype around Cuban and other international free-agents has exploded to ridiculous levels. Fantasy owners should be careful not to get too caught up in the hype and forget to keep their bids for Tomas relative to his projected performance.

BTBS on the Tomas Signing and the Future of the Diamondbacks

The SnakePit Does Some Projections

The Boston Red Sox Sign Both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval

This move was stunning to me. I expected the Red Sox to sign of these players. I thought they were targeting Pablo Sandoval with Hanley Ramirez as a back-up plan. This is primarily because even with Ramirez's newly stated flexibility as to what position he plays I did not think that a team with a outfield log jam would add yet another body to the mix. Hanley Ramirez is probably the best hitter of the bunch, at least in the short term. And I am certain the Red Sox will be trading some outfield assets to improve their rotation.

At this point you know who Hanley Ramirez is as a player. He has good solid power, steals some bases (not as many as in his youth) and has a tendency to suffer nagging injuries that drag down his plate appearances and to some degree his production. He takes walks, makes decent contact and hits the ball hard. He can be counted on for a solid if not spectacular batting average and is always a threat for a 20/20 season when he stays relatively healthy. Dodger Stadium gives a small boost to right-handed power hitters (115 HR factor) but is a drag on all other offense. Fenway Park is close to neutral for right-handed power but provides a boost to almost everything else. You might look for a slightly better batting average with a slight but not significant dip in HR numbers. You can bid 20-25 with confidence especially in keeper leagues, more than that and you're ignoring the injury factor which is a risky maneuver as far as roster building goes.

I knew the interest in Pablo Sandoval was going to be strong. He is younger than most six-year free agents and has been a productive batter and defender at a tough position for a World Series winner. Still, I thought the San Francisco would re-sign him as they typically over pay to keep the players they develop that hit free agency and are really loyal to players that serve them well. I think this is a good move by the Red Sox, they get his prime and should be out before he hits a massive decline. Sandoval hits the ball hard but is not a huge homerun hitter. He makes good contact from both sides of the plate and takes the occasional walk. He is not great against lefties and his production against them has sunk three years running, though it is not disastrous at this point. San Francisco's AT&T Park is fairly neutral for most offensive categories for left-handed batters but trashes homerun production from both sides of the plate.

AT&T Park Factors from


Fenway Park Factors from


Looking at those factors you could be forgiven for the optimistic view that Sandoval's numbers may rebound a bit from the right side of the plate and even hit hit a few more homeruns. He should also be in a better lineup and see a boost to his runs and RBI stats. He has been a 15-20 player most years and closer to 20 in keeper leagues. I think 20-25 is a fair price. I would not pay much more than that and expect a profit.

The Quick Stuff You May Want to Know But Not Necessarily Fantasy Relevant
  • Torii Hunter Returns to the Minnesota Twins as far less of a player than when he left but is still a solid player and fantasy option. The change in parks is not exciting however.
  • The Mariners Sign Kyle Seager to a Seven-Year Contract. A good move for the Mariners - locking up one of their better players. It could make top prospect DJ Peterson trade bait or force a position change.
  • The Royals Trade Aaron Crow to the Marlins. Crow is still young and has closer potential if he reaches his ceiling. The Marlins have been excellent at developing pitching talent. I'd invest a buck in endgame.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Acquired Juan Nicasio From the Colorado Rockies, and the Dodgers bullpen is looking a lot better and deeper than it was in 2014.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays traded utility man Sean Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named and cash. the Rays made room for reliever Ernesto Frieri. The Pirates will use Rodriguez in the utility role that Josh Harrison filled so capably last season. The Pirates designated Gabby Sanchez to make space on the roster. 
  • Ryan Dempster Retires and Joins the Cubs Front Office - I was a Dempster fan and wish him luck.
  • Kevin Cash is the new manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. He may have a Terry Francona style as he is often referred to as from the Francona management tree.
  • Jayson Werth will spend ten days in Jail for reckless driving.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka returns to Japan. I like Dice-K a lot and I think the Red Sox (in retrospect obviously) may not have been the best team for him to sign with. They spent all that money on him and then insisted on changing his workout routine and trying to change the way he pitched. In my opinion, you sign a guy like that and let him do his thing.
  • The Royals Re-Sign Luke Hochevar. If he is fully returned to health he should add quality to an already strong bullpen.

Other Links of Interest to Fantasy Owners

The Impact Moves Will Continue into December

Ryan Braun's Thumb Feels Great

Jayson Stark Suggest Hamels Trade Is Not the Best Idea for the Phillies

The Case for Allen Craig Rebounding

An Older Piece on the New Style MLB Manager

Making Hitters Better Through Science

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hanley Ramirez and Other Fantasy Baseball Injuries

Hanley Ramirez: Torn Ligament in Right Thumb

Hanley Ramirez tore a ligament in his right thumb during the final game of the World Baseball Classic. The Dodgers expect him to miss at least eight weeks. A mid-May return is probably the best we can expect for Ramirez who had been playing very well this spring. This obviously has a huge impact on his Draft Day cost and 2013 value. He loses nearly a third of his potential playing time. If you had him as a 40-45 dollar player he looks more like a 27-30 player.

The biggest playing time beneficiary should be last year's shortstop Dee Gordon. Gordon has had a impressive spring to date with an On-Base Percentage around .400 just as manager Don Mattingly requested. In a full season Gordon was already capable of a 50-steal season. If he maintains this level of patience (which isn't far off his minor league levels) over a full season he could easily swipe 70 bases. Few expect Luis Cruz to be successful as the starting Third Baseman so there is a natural roster development (Hanley Ramirez moving back to third base) if Gordon is playing well. In addition, Mark Ellis has been injury prone in the past and Gordon could quickly transition there as well. At Gordon's current ADP he must be considered an excellent sleeper source for steals from the shortstop position.

Tommy Hanson: Triceps Tightness in Right Arm

Tommy Hanson was pulled from Wednesday's start against the Cleveland Indians after complaining of triceps stiffness while warming up for the fourth inning. Hanson (as the Angels should be well aware) has a history of battling through injuries to pitch even to his long-term detriment. So, when catcher Chris Ianetta spotted Hanson shaking his arm he confronted him about it. Hanson insisted he was fine and prepared to pitch. He even said after the game that there was no chance he would miss his next start. Hanson had been pitching fairly well until his removal with four strikeouts to just one walk through three innings. His velocity was in his normal range. The Angels confirmed they pulled him just to be safe.

If something does develop right-handers Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams would be the leading candidates (neither can be recommended as more than a late/reserve rounds flyer) to replace Hanson in the rotation. Hanson has been a late round draft pick in most leagues and little more than that even in Al-Only. Hanson was very effective in the first half of the 2012 season before descending into wretchedness in the second half. No injury was reported. It is very possible that Hanson merely tired down the stretch after missing half of the 2011 season.

Pablo Sandoval: Right Elbow Ulnar Neuritis

As fantasy owners we crucify guys like Evan Longoria for being injury prone. Somehow Pablo Sandoval who is at least as bad if not much worse has escaped the label. Sandoval has had a bone spur in the same elbow the last few years (since 2009) but supposedly it has not been a problem only causing him to miss a few days during the 2009 season. The current injury has been diagnosed as Ulnar Neuritis which is of the Ulnar Nerve. Sandoval has been suspended indefinitely from all baseball activities. There is no schedule for his return but the Giants believe he will be ready to start the regular season.

The Giants do not really have a back-up plan if the Panda goes down to injury. They traded away their most advanced third base prospect - Conor Gillaspie. Marco Scutaro is locked in at second base. That leaves Joaquin Arias as the most likely replacement. Sandoval owners will want to draft the best possible reserve at third base as Sandoval could be in and out of the lineup all year.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

When the Noise Becomes Interesting...

You do not have to search far to find a fantasy baseball analyst warning against trusting the noise generated during Spring Training. "He's in the best shape of his life" and "I'm definitely going to steal 40 bases this season" are the phrases that make us drool but are probably best ignored. It is about ignoring the subjective and concentrating on the facts. Nothing wrong with that. But once in a while the objective case needs the subjective ideas to form a complete picture.

According an arrest affidavit, a deputy spotted a car [Miguel] Cabrera was driving, smoking on the side of Okeechobee Road in Ft. Pierce, about 100 miles southeast of the Tigers' spring-training base in Lakeland. Cabrera had an odor of alcohol on his breath, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was heavily slurred, according to the report.

In the arrest affidavit, deputies said Cabrera repeated, “Do you know who I am? You don’t know anything about my problems.” Cabrera then picked up a bottle of James Buchanan’s Scotch whiskey and started drinking, according to the report.
Miguel Cabrera has an alcohol problem. He is not willing to admit that at this point. The Tigers believed that they had nipped this problem in the bud after the 2009 incident. A stern talking to and a few apologies were never going to be enough to truly solve this problem. How do I know he has a problem with alcohol? If you get in trouble with the police because of your drinking, even if it is only once in every 365 nights you go drinking, you have a problem. But if you're paying attention you'll note that this is me applying my thoughts to to the facts about Cabrera. We are not supposed to do this.

If the Detroit Tigers think that a week of "rehab" is enough to address Cabrera's problems, they aren't taking his alcoholism seriously. The Tigers are now saying that he may make his Spring debut on Monday. 'Nuff said.

Now does that mean that Miguel Cabrera shouldn't be your first round pick? Tough to say. I have been criticized in the past for suggesting that I wouldn't draft Cabrera because of his untreated alcohol problems. In addition, I don't think he takes his position as the leader of the Tigers offense seriously. I don't believe he gives much consideration to conditioning. None of that makes him a bad person or even a bad player but in my opinion he is a serious risk to dash a fantasy team's championship hopes. It's 50/50, in the first round I want better odds.

At his long-awaited physical exam and official weigh-in Friday, [Pablo] Sandoval tipped the scales at 240 pounds, according to Ethan Banning of Triple Threat Performance, which coordinated his offseason conditioning regimen.

Sandoval weighed 278 pounds at the end of last season. He also reduced his body fat measurement from 30 percent to 19 percent, Banning said.

"That's not Mr. Universe, but it's a long way from where he was," Banning said.

Banning estimated that the 5-foot-11 Sandoval gained nearly seven pounds of muscle on the highly disciplined nutrition and training plan, so his total fat loss was closer to 45 pounds.
It is tough not to love Pablo Sandoval. Not only does he obviously love playing baseball, he looks like a lot of us. So when we hear that Kung-Fu Panda is in the best shape of his life, we cheer for him and then we ignore it. It won't improve his plate discipline after all.

I'm certain you'll let me know if any of the following subjective thoughts on Pablo Sandoval and his weight-loss/transformation stop making sense:
  1. His agility and ability to play defense is likely to improve, at least to the level it was in 2009. In case you missed it, Sandoval was benched last year because of his defense, not his bat. So, he'll get more at-bats.
  2. His endurance should improve. He should be stronger later in games and should require fewer late-inning substitutions. So, he'll get more at-bats.
  3. His confidence is soaring. As we know, half of baseball is 90 percent mental.
What is the most important thing a player needs to have for offensive success? That's right, tons of at-bats. Sandoval is an excellent contact hitter who has good power (maybe even better now after training with Barry Bonds' boys) who looks like he'll get a ton of bats. Not only do I think Sandoval being in the best shape of his life is significant, I think it is the primary reason we can expect a big bounce-back season.

From the Process Report:
Bautista had a fantastic season and would have qualified for free agency at season’s end. Instead, the Jays essentially replace Vernon Wells’ dollars with a lone commitment and an equally risky one at that. There are no early opt-out or buyout opportunities involved here. Even if you just look at when Bautista got playing time and ignore that he couldn’t break into the lineup while playing for some extraordinarily poor teams, here’s what you’ll find:

Season (PA)/TAv/wOBA/OPS
2006 (469): .261/.326/.755
2007 (614): .269/.331/.753
2008 (424): .256/.311/.718
2009 (404): .272/.339/.757
2010 (683): .331/.422/.995

Bautista is an above average offensive player most years, but not by much. He appears to be a negative on defense, although his flexibility is a nice asset, and this is his 30-year-old season –leaving little doubt he will decline over the length of the deal. A replication of 2010 is highly unlikely, so being an above average player for the duration is the perfect world outcome. More likely? He earns some surplus on the front side and the Jays are ready to get rid of the deal by 2015.

When Jose Bautista signed his big new contract this week it was trashed by many of the smartest writers around. They look at the stats and see that Bautista's 2010 season sticks out like a sore thumb. It must be a fluke! How can a player go from slightly above average to suddenly great?

You won't always find the answer in the stats. Instead you need to look closer. Jose Bautista may have struggled to find a full-time role while with the Pittsburgh Pirates but think about that. The Pirates? They haven't won meaningful games in a decade and haven't done it two straight seasons in two decades. They are routinely trashed for making lousy personnel decisions. Until very recently they've struggled to develop major league talent despite having top picks in every draft of the last 20 years and certainly lacked the ability to coach them up. Even with the Pirates a closer look would have revealed a slightly flawed player with good power. The Blue Jays saw a decent player they could turn into a better one (the Red Sox did too, just sayin').

You can check out this detailed explanation by Frankie Piliere for the specifics. But the mechanical changes are very real and they matter. If he can maintain them there is no reason he can't remain at a new level of effectiveness. This isn't noise, these are facts.

I like that the Blue Jays signed Jose Bautista. Yes, it is a bit of a gamble but guys that can smack 50 homers a season are especially rare in the post-steroid era. If he has a strong follow-up season he would have gotten at least that and more. He can hit, hit for power and field two positions very well. This is not the next Vernon Wells contract.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hot Stove Update: The Dodgers Making Moves

Things are getting interesting around the ol' Hot Stove.

The Red Sox are Hot 'n Heavy for Carl Crawford.
This surprises me a little because I figured with Jacoby Ellsbury coming back they would be more interested in a power hitter. But only a little, Crawford is easily the best position player available and the Red Sox are one of the teams that have mounds of available cash and an outfield opening. Who plays center field? Ellsbury, I guess...

The Yankees and Derek Jeter are looking at each other funny. The Yankees are suddenly acting like cheapskates when it comes to the Captain. He deserves every penny he's asking for for being one of the few superstar players that did not let us down during the steroid era. He had a down 2010 season but he isn't done just yet. The Yankees may want to phase Jeter away from shortstop, and that's understandable, but they should not force Jeter to play for the Baltimore Orioles. The popularity hit they would take is a lot bigger than they seem to think.

Someone is flooding the internet with rumors of Zack Greinke and the Yankees being a better match than most have speculated. Greinke has suffered from anxiety and bouts of depression. Most think that the pressure of New York would be too much for him. I submit that the man was depressed playing for the Kansas City Royals, who wouldn't be? The Yankees are about as far from the Royals as an organization as you can get. Plus, the Yankees clubhouse is very protective of their younger players and Greinke would get a ton of support. That said, I still don't buy him coming to New York.

What is Adrian Beltre looking for? He turned down $64 million from the Athletics. For certain, the Athletics are not the ideal team for Beltre but other than re-signing with the Red Sox (still a possibility) teams like the Angels and Orioles seem like bad fits as well. The Rangers would be nice but are they really looking to add an expensive third baseman with Michael Young on the roster?

The Giants are hoping they don't need to shop for a third baseman. Pablo Sandoval in an effort to re-gain the starting position he lost in the playoffs has begun a rigorous off-season program to lose weight and get in better shape. He has hooked up with Triple Threat Performance, the experts that are famous for working with major leaguers like Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. Hey! No steroid jokes about Kung-Fu Panda.

Major Free Agent Signings

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent infielder Juan Uribe.

The strangest thing about this signing is the report that Juan Uribe turned down essentially the same three-year, $21 million offer to stay with the World Series Champion, San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers plan to start Uribe at second base and to emphasize that plan they traded away infielder Ryan Theriot. It is not official yet, the Giants wasted no time signing Miguel Tejada to a one-year contract to be their starting shortstop in 2011. However, the Giants are supposedly still interested in acquiring Tampa Bay shortstop Jason Bartlett.

Uribe posted a career high walk rate and hit a career high 24 homers in 575 at-bats. Uribe has nice power for a shortstop. Although his BABIP was very low at .256 (career .282) fantasy owners should not expect much of a rebound in batting average. Uribe has a swing at everything approach that doesn't jive with his mediocre contact rates. He should continue to provide pretty much the same stats as a Dodger. Dodger Stadium is slightly better for homeruns but suppresses scoring at a rate similar to AT&T Park.

I find it interesting that the Dodgers have been fairly aggressive to start the off season. I guess I assumed that the divorce would be an impediment to progress. The Dodgers are one of the teams I want to root for to do well. Unfortunately they have lousy ownership and a GM in Ned Colletti that hasn't convinced me he knows what he's doing so far. So far so good for 2011.

Texas Rangers signed Japanese free agent right-hander, Yoshinori Tateyam.

The Rangers have signed Yoshinori Tateyam to a split contract that means he will be paid differently depending on whether or not he makes the major league club. Tateyam features a fastball that sits around 90 mph, a screwball that he features against left-handed batters and excellent control. He apparently has a very deceptive delivery that should at least make him effective the first time around the American League, assuming he makes the team. He isn't a threat to steal the closer job at this point so his fantasy value should be minimal.

The Trades

The Los Angeles Dodgers traded middle infielder Ryan Theriot to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-handed reliever, Blake Hawksworth.

The 2010 season was not a good one for Ryan Theriot. He pretty much had his worst season as a professional. He will play the 2011 season at age 31, so it isn't too hard to envision a bounce-back season. The Cardinals are apparently planning to move him back to shortstop, where Theriot claims he is more comfortable. What that means for the light-hitting Brendan Ryan is still a question to be answered.

Theriot usually provides a decent on-base percentage. His walk rate has been all over the place but his career 8.4 percent walk rate is probably about right for projecting. He has a good eye at the plate and a strong contact rate complemented by his above average speed on the bases. If his BABIP once again approaches his career level, Theriot should be able to hit for a batting average in the .275-.285 level and steal at least 20 bases. As a shortstop he has more fantasy value than some might expect.

Blake Hawksworth is a typical right-handed reliever. He had a very unfortunate 2010 season, but has the potential to be a solid middle reliever. His fantasy value should be minimal.

Other Significant Transactions

Texas Rangers signed free agent C Yorvit Torrealba.

Atlanta Braves signed free agent C Wilkin Castillo.

Pittsburgh Pirates outrighted Andy LaRoche to Indianapolis Indians.

LF Wilkin Ramirez assigned to Atlanta Braves.

St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent LHP Brian Tallet.

Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent RHP Fernando Nieve.

Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent 3B Andy Marte.

Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent C Dusty Brown.