Your fantasy baseball draft isn't far off. KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove surveys free agency, trades, salary arbitration and injuries that will affect your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. You're cleared for your MLB offseason program: The Arizona Fall League, Baseball Winter Meetings, Rule 5 draft and more will shape your fantasy baseball rankings.
Milwaukee Brewers send 3B Casey McGehee to Pittsburgh Pirates for RP Jose Veras
So McGehee, 29, won't be a "Prince Fielder walks" contingency plan. He'll instead be an "in case Pedro Alvarez flops" contingency plan. The corner infielder will probably also be a right-handed complement to Garrett Jones at first base. As noted on Monday, there are no obvious signs that point to a McGehee turnaround, and a move to the 'Burgh certainly doesn't change that.
In NL leagues, McGehee shouldn't cost much. It's conceivable that he turns some profit - Alvarez has quite a bit to prove - but drafting him shouldn't be a cornerstone of your strategy.
Last week, the Bucs were reportedly on the lookout for a possible Plan B at the hot corner. In 2011, Alvarez proved that his poor rate of contact (roughly 70 percent) is indeed more of a problem than his 2010 MLB results suggested to many owners.
Alvarez, who'll be 25 next season, remains a superb power threat capable of delivering a sizable roto payoff. His questionable work ethic and vulnerability in the batter's box, particularly against left-handers, make him a volatile commodity, however. Early indications are that his cost will be low, which makes him worth consideration, but there's a fair chance that he simply takes up roster space.
The Brewers appear to be ready to give Mat Gamel the first shot at replacing Fielder. In 194 big-league plate appearances in three separate seasons, he's accumulated a .222/.309/.374 slash line. Before 2011, he hadn't delivered on the power prophecy, and his impressive farm batting averages have never held up in the majors because his rate of contact makes Alvarez look like Ichiro.
This past season, one in which Gamel turned 26, he batted .310 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs in 493 at-bats for Triple-A Nashville. That line at his age isn't much of an accomplishment, but he fanned in only 15.4 percent of his plate appearances, a vast improvement.
The Brewers haven't given Gamel much of a shot, so 2012 will probably make or break him. One thing is for sure: He hits the ball hard. If his approach has indeed improved quite a bit, the 2005 fourth-rounder will prove to be quite a bargain. The odds aren't necessarily in his favor, but he's not a risky prop.
Veras, 31, has no fantasy baseball value, but his arrival subverts Milwaukee's desire to re-sign Takashi Saito, or at least softens the blow of his move to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Baltimore Orioles sign Japanese SP Tsuyoshi Wada for two years
The Orioles were unsuccessful in making good on their agreement with Korean reliever Chong Tae-Hyon, after all. Wada, however, is expected to fill a spot in the rotation. According to The Baltimore Sun, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound lefty has drawn comparisons to Jamie Moyer. His delivery employs deception, enabling him to succeed with a heater that sits in the mid- to high 80s.
In the Japan Pacific League, Wada, who turns 31 not long after the opening of spring training, has recorded respectable marks, although his 1.53 ERA in 2011 was by far his best in five campaigns. His lifetime 8.24 K/9 and 2.27 BB/9 are impressive, but it's unlikely that those rates will translate favorably to MLB.
Wada will probably generate only AL league draft interest. The bids probably won't go very high, but his upside may be pretty limited. Roto players will get to know him as spring training approaches and have a bit better feel for his value by then, but there'll still be a great deal of uncertainty.
Houston Astros C Jason Castro has surgery on left foot
Castro suffered a torn ACL this past spring. He injured his foot at the tail end of this year's Arizona Fall League, where he was getting his first competitive action since knee surgery. The prospect will need about three months to recover from this latest procedure; there's a chance that he's ready by opening day.
In his MLB debut, in 2010, Castro, 24, batted .205 with two round-trippers and 26 runs scored in 217 plate appearances. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder has little power, no speed and perhaps slightly above-average BA skills. He doesn't have much offensive upside. In the backstop's first campaign after sustaining multiple lower-half injuries, his outlook won't improve. Only his PT has a chance to be an asset.
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.