Fantasy baseball players in the news

by KFFL Staff on January 14, 2011 @ 10:43:10 PDT


First Baseman

1B | Justin Morneau | Minnesota Twins | Injury, Fantasy
Minnesota Twins 1B Justin Morneau (concussion) started working out this week, but will not begin baseball activities yet, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Joe Christensen. "Started full workouts this week (in the gym), and probably won't do any hitting or baseball activities until after TwinsFest (which runs Jan. 28-30), as there is no rush to be ready for Feb. 1st," Morneau said.

1B | Brandon Allen | Arizona Diamondbacks | Fantasy
The Arizona Diamondbacks starting five pitchers are expected to be Ps Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy, Dan Hudson, Zach Duke and Barry Enright, according to The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro. OF Cole Gillespie, IF Ryan Roberts, 1B Brandon Allen and IF Tony Abreu are expected to battle it out for the last spot on the roster.

Second Baseman

2B | Matt Kata | Texas Rangers | Transaction, Free Agents
The Texas Rangers signed free-agent IF Matt Kata (Astros) to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports.

2B | Jeff Baker | Chicago Cubs | Fantasy
Updating a previous item, Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade is willing to keep his mind open about the team's leadoff hitter, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer. Quade is willing to run with a leadoff-by-committee approach that could include 2B Jeff Baker, 2B Blake DeWitt and OF Kosuke Fukudome. "There's a chance of that, for sure," Quade said. "I think anytime you don't have somebody who specifically fits the role and I think if you look at this club, at least I do right now, and you say, 'Who's a perennial leadoff guy? Who's a prototypical leadoff guy? Do we have one?' And I would say I don't think so when the answer is 'I don't think so,' then you do it by committee, mix and match, or maybe somebody this spring asserts themselves as this guy."

2B | Eric Sogard | Oakland Athletics | Injury
Oakland Athletics IF Adam Rosales (foot) will miss the start of the regular season after undergoing surgery on his right foot, according to's Jane Lee. Rosales had debris around his navicular bone cleaned out and two screws were inserted to help the healing process, which is expected to last three to four months. He is currently in a boot and using crutches. "We thought that would completely heal it, just being off of it for that long," Rosales said. "We tried to do everything we could to make it heal on its own because it's best if it heals on its own. Knowing I had to have the surgery was pretty devastating, but, like I said, I'm learning a lot." IFs Steven Tolleson and Eric Sogard are candidates to make the team in a utility role with Rosales sidelined.

2B | Ray Olmedo | Tampa Bay Rays | Transaction
The Tampa Bay Rays signed free-agent 2B Ray Olmedo (Brewers) to a minor league deal Thursday, Jan. 13, according to


SS | Cliff Pennington | Oakland Athletics | Injury, Fantasy
Oakland Athletics SS Cliff Pennington (shoulder) is still recovering from shoulder surgery and is not expected to return to the field until mid March, according to's Jane Lee.

SS | Jerry Hairston Jr. | free agent | Free Agents
The Washington Nationals are interested in signing free-agent IF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr. (Padres), according to's Bill Ladson.

Third Baseman

3B | Eric Chavez | free agent | Free Agents
Free-agent 3B Eric Chavez (Athletics) worked out for the Toronto Blue Jays recently, according to's Bailey Stephens. Chavez has been working out for clubs in Arizona over the last several weeks. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners are also interested.

3B | Kevin Youkilis | Boston Red Sox | Injury, Fantasy
Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis (thumb) said he is completely healthy and ready for the 2011 season, according to's Ian Browne. "Basically, he got back to the point where he was swinging the bat really well and comfortable and considers himself back," general manager Theo Epstein said. "He's just working hard and getting ready for the season."


C | Orlando Mercado | Los Angeles Dodgers | Transaction, Free Agents
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed free-agent C Orlando Mercado (Braves) to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports.

C | Gregg Zaun | free agent | Free Agents
The San Diego Padres are close to signing free-agent C Gregg Zaun (Brewers), according to The San Diego Union-Tribune's Bill Center. Zaun would compete with Cs Rob Johnson and Guillermo Quiroz for the backup job.


OF | Johnny Damon | free agent | Free Agents
Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Coletti said the Dodgers aren't interested in free-agent OF Johnny Damon (Tigers), the Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck reports.

OF | Lance Berkman | St. Louis Cardinals | Fantasy
St. Louis Cardinals OF Lance Berkman has dropped 20 pounds and reduced his body fat from 19.5 percent to 12 percent this offseason, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss reports. He weighs around 210 pounds now.

OF | Brad Nelson | Texas Rangers | Transaction, Free Agents
The Texas Rangers signed free-agent OF Brad Nelson (Mariners) to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports.

OF | Grady Sizemore | Cleveland Indians | Injury, Fantasy
Cleveland Indians OF Grady Sizemore (knee) started hitting off a tee this week and is looking forward to Spring Training, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Sizemore is expected to be ready for Opening Day.

OF | Matt Kemp | Los Angeles Dodgers | Fantasy
Los Angeles Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes said he plans on having the team run often on the base paths this year, according to's Ken Gurnick. "My forte is to be aggressive on the basepaths," said Lopes. "If you're not aggressive, you'll have a tough time playing for this manager." The team hopes Lopes can get OF Matt Kemp back to the base-stealing threat that the team hoped he would be.

OF | Marcus Thames | free agent | Free Agents, Fantasy
The Los Angeles Dodgers currently have free-agent OF Marcus Thames (Yankees) at the top of their wish list, according to's Tony Jackson.

OF | Tony Gwynn Jr. | Los Angeles Dodgers | Fantasy
Los Angeles Dodgers general manger Ned Colletti said OF Tony Gwynn Jr. could force his way into the everyday lineup this year, according to's Tony Jackson. Gwynn could start in center field, with OF Matt Kemp to right and OF Andre Ethier to left. "A couple of years ago, he hit pretty well," Colletti said of Gwynn, who batted a career-high .270 for the San Diego Padres in 2009. "He is a very good defensive player who has speed. His playing time at this point will be dictated by how well he hits. If he can get on base enough and hit enough, he could give us added flexibility because he can play all three spots, including center field." Gwynn will make $675,000 this season.

OF | Willie Harris | free agent | Free Agents
Free-agent OF Willie Harris (Nationals) has received two offers from other teams besides the Washington Nationals, and they have not been in contact with him, according to The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. A team source is saying that there is "no chance" the Nationals re-sign Harris. He could make his decision within the next few days.

OF | Ryan Raburn | Detroit Tigers | Fantasy
Detroit Tigers OF Ryan Raburn will make $1.3 million this year and $2.1 million in 2012, according to The Detroit News' Tom Gage.

OF | Fred Lewis | Cincinnati Reds | Fantasy
Cincinnati Reds OF Fred Lewis is looking to steal more bases this season, according to's Mark Sheldon. "You can look for me to steal a lot more bases," said Lewis, who had a career-high 21 steals in 2008. "I'm working a lot on my speed. I'm doing drills in the sand to make me faster. I'm improving with age. Every year, I find something to work on. I'm capable of stealing 30-plus bases every year. I really want 30 or more this year."

Starting Pitcher

SP | Jeff Francis | Kansas City Royals | Fantasy
Kansas City Royals SP Jeff Francis can earn up to $2 million in incentives based on starts and innings pitched, according to's Jerry Crasnick.

SP | Pedro Martinez | free agent | Free Agents
Free-agent SP Pedro Martinez (Phillies) is still weighing the option of pitching in 2011 after not pitching at all in 2010, the Boston Herald's Mike Silverman reports.

SP | Stephen Strasburg | Washington Nationals | Injury, Fantasy
Washington Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg (elbow) said he expects to resume throwing in three or four weeks and is currently in the best shape of his life, according to "I'm definitely in the best shape of my life," Strasburg said. "Once you start throwing, it's gonna be a long process just getting your strength back, but I feel great about it and I have a really good feeling that I'm gonna come back at 100 percent. The surgery's down to a science, and you've just got to do what the doctors tell you."

SP | Bruce Chen | free agent | Free Agents, Fantasy
The Cleveland Indians are rumored to be interested in free-agent SPs Kevin Millwood (Orioles) and Bruce Chen (Royals), according to However, both players would likely receive minor league deals.

SP | John Maine | free agent | Free Agents, Fantasy
Free-agent SP John Maine (Mets) has reportedly drawn interest from 15 teams, according to The Philadelphia Phillies are one of those teams, but are unlikely to sign him unless they trade SP Joe Blanton.

Relief Pitcher

RP | Grant Balfour | Oakland Athletics | Transaction
The Oakland Athletics agreed to a two-year, $8.1 million deal with free-agent RP Grant Balfour (Rays) Friday, Jan. 14, according to's Jayson Stark. The deal includes a team option for the 2013 season. The Athletics will lose a second-round pick for signing Balfour, since he was a Type A free agent. The team also agreed not to offer him arbitration at the end of his contract, meaning another team can sign Balfour without surrendering a compensation pick.

RP | Joel Zumaya | Detroit Tigers | Transaction
The Detroit Tigers avoided arbitration with RP Joel Zumaya Friday, Jan. 14, by agreeing to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, according to The Associated Press.

RP | Eric Junge | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Transaction, Free Agents
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim re-signed free-agent P Eric Junge to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports.

RP | Sean Watson | Florida Marlins | Transaction, Free Agents
The Florida Marlins signed free-agent P Sean Watson (Reds) to a minor league contract, Baseball America's Matt Eddy reports.

RP | Jon Rauch | free agent | Free Agents
The Tampa Bay Rays are interested in free-agent RP Jon Rauch (Twins),'s Jon Heyman reports.

RP | Jason Berken | Baltimore Orioles | Fantasy
Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not ready to cement RP Kevin Gregg into the team's closer role, according to The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "I was pretty adamant with (president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail) and Gregg that I don't want anything said or promised to get this guy to sign with us," Showalter said. "(Gregg) knows exactly what the deal is. Obviously, he's going to be in the bullpen. Last time I looked, he's the only guy on the club that saved 37 games in the AL East. But I also know how Koji pitched the last couple of months. If Koji is healthy, it's tough not to give him an opportunity to pick up where he left off. I don't look at it as a problem. It's a good situation to have." RPs Mike Gonzalez, Jeremy Accardo, Jim Johnson and Jason Berken could also be in the mix for some save opportunities.

RP | Rafael Soriano | New York Yankees | Fantasy
New York Yankees RP Rafael Soriano can opt of his new deal "after either one year or two years," according to's Doug Miller. Soriano could replace RP Mariano Rivera as the team's closer when Rivera decides to retire. Soriano is expected to serve as the eighth-inning setup this year.

RP | Chad Qualls | free agent | Free Agents
The San Diego Padres are close to signing free-agent RP Chad Qualls (Rays) to a one-year deal, according to's Jon Paul Morosi. The contract is expected to be worth roughly $2 million for one year, with a team option for the second season.

RP | J.P. Howell | Tampa Bay Rays | Fantasy
Tampa Bay Rays RP J.P. Howell has added 20 to 25 pounds of muscle during the offseason, according to the St. Petersburg Times' Marc Topkin.

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