Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - AL

by Nicholas Minnix on November 11, 2009 @ 19:00:00 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL

KFFL delivers the fantasy baseball spin on each Major League Baseball Hot Stove deal that matters in your fantasy baseball league. Check back for frequent updates to the Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove!

Catchers

Victor Martinez, Boston Red Sox (exercised option)

He returned to top-three backstop status in 2009, and there are far fewer questions about the BoSox's offense than there were with Cleveland's. V-Mart will be 31, making him a risky long-term keeper.

Boston Red Sox C Victor Martinez
More trips to V-Mart for BoSox

Jason Varitek, Boston Red Sox (exercised option)

'Tek is apparently ready to accept a backup role. His average has been a liability, but the 37-year-old's power has spiked slightly. The trend suggests he can still be a contributor in AL two-catcher formats.

First basemen

Reynaldo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox (signed)

He was the ROY of the Golden Baseball League, but the Red Sox acknowledge that Rodriguez isn't a natural first baseman. We'll need to see more.

Second basemen

Chris Getz, Kansas City Royals (traded from Chicago White Sox)

KC seemed to have found its solution at the keystone in Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo can play short, but not as well, and he could be trade bait. Getz goes to a worse team with, for now, a less clear PT picture. Consider him a bottom-of-the-barrel option because he should receive at-bats and throw up 20-plus steals. Willie Bloomquist had surgery on both knees.

Third basemen

Mark Teahen, Chicago White Sox (traded from Kansas City Royals)

Teahen: Value on the rise. Gordon Beckham (in a curious move) is expected to play second base. That kills Jayson Nix's speculative value at the moment, but it should make him a cheaper gamble. If Teahen gets 500 at-bats on the South Side (at the hot corner, in the outfield, etc.), he could put up 20 homers easily.

Josh Fields, Kansas City Royals (traded from Chicago White Sox)

The Royals have reaffirmed their commitment to Alex Gordon. Fields is (sort of) insurance - in left field, too. He's merely a hopeful end-game choice for now. We know he has power.

Shortstops

J.J. Hardy, Minnesota Twins (traded from Milwaukee Brewers)

The Twins haven't ended up winners in many trades recently. Hardy's propensity to whiff has only worsened in the past two seasons, and his line-drive rate can't get much lower. However, if the Twins help him remember how to go the other way, perhaps he'll bounce back. He should be a fairly low-risk option.

The Twins gave up outfielder Carlos Gomez; Milwaukee also gained an opening for shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Minnesota Twins SS J.J. Hardy
Hardy gets fresh start with Twins

Adam Frost, Kansas City Royals (signed)

Baseball America considered Frost the second-best prospect in an independent league. Don't be in a rush to find out what that means.

Outfielders

Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays (exercised option)

He re-established his high-dollar value and may have set the bar higher. The Rays could still shop him.

Bobby Abreu, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (re-signed)

The Halos gave him a two-year deal this time. Abreu's seeming rejuvenation may have been partly in reaction to the wakeup call he received in free agency last offseason. Will he relax again? Also, 36-year-olds (he'll be one) don't get faster. His 30 steals were probably more a result of team philosophy. His body type suggests slow decline.

Jeremy Hermida, Boston Red Sox (traded from Florida Marlins)

Fenway Park should help him improve his average, and he probably needed a change of scenery. Hermida hits to all fields, so the Monster will be a welcome sight after he dealt with the left-center valley in Miami. Perhaps Boston's influence moves him closer to his minor league walk rate, but where has the power been going? He'll be subject to a platoon split, and if Jason Bay re-signs, Hermida is an end-gamer.

Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins (exercised option)

The option is actually for 2011, but it gives keeper owners perhaps the slightest bit more certainty about Cuddyer's future.

Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners (re-signed)

Good PR move. He says he's open to any role. The M's have a couple of young outfielders they probably wouldn't mind seeing take the reins, but Griffey, 40, will get most of his at-bats at DH anyway. Griff can probably still serve as a No. 5 fantasy outfielder in AL leagues if he has eligibility in your league. You'll be able to use him in a utility spot only in leagues with 20-game eligibility.

Gabe Kapler, Tampa Bay Rays (re-signed)

AL players will be thrilled to see this solid platoon outfielder back in Tampa. He's merely a reserve pick in AL formats.

Mark Kotsay, Chicago White Sox (re-signed)

Manager Ozzie Guillen was a Kotsay fan. The soon-to-be 34-year-old was solid in spot duty (at first, too) and could be a decent sixth or seventh AL outfielder.

Starting pitchers

Freddy Garcia, Chicago White Sox (exercised option)

The White Sox must have been pleased with Garcia's nine-start stint (4.34 ERA); they didn't wait long to kick it in for 2010. Garcia is learning how to pitch with declining velocity, and his control was superb. The flyball rate is a concern for those at the Cell, though. The likely No. 5 is roster filler with extremely mild upside, much downside.

Tim Wakefield, Boston Red Sox (exercised option)

He's a knuckleballer, so his age (43) is irrelevant. His injury history is long, so he's now riskier. Wakefield should be a cheap end-gamer again. He's depth, and the Red Sox can phase him out of the rotation at any time.

Yusmeiro Petit, Seattle Mariners (claimed off waivers)

He's a borderline No. 5 starter capable of occasional brilliance. Petit's flyball tendencies will play better at Safeco Field. He's a marginal deep sleeper in AL games.

Relief pitchers

Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox (exercised option)

A no-brainer. Thornton is excellent Bobby Jenks insurance in-season - and more so, if the ChiSox decide to deal their sensitive closer. The South Siders' southpaw is a setup man on which to spend. His gradual increase in innings isn't a concern yet; hopefully it has hit a plateau.

Jesse Chavez, Tampa Bay Rays (traded from Pittsburgh Pirates)

Perhaps a dark-as-night horse at closer? Chavez, 26, throws in the mid-90s and had major issues with his control in his first stint in the bigs (2008). He's certainly nothing special, but folks said the same about Grant Balfour before the Rays made him useful for a season.

With Akinori Iwamura gone, power-utility sensation Ben Zobrist can play second every day. Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez provide depth.

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.


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