Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove: Carl Crawford, Victor Martinez, Pablo Sandoval

by Nicholas Minnix on January 18, 2012 @ 14:16:22 PDT


Your fantasy baseball draft isn't far off.'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.

Boston Red Sox OF Carl Crawford undergoes surgery

Just when Crawford's fantasy baseball forecast for 2012 couldn't look any worse, the BoSox reveal that their 2011 free-agent flop needed to have arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist because he experienced soreness in the joint while hitting earlier this month. Ay yi yi.

San Francisco Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval
Sandoval entrenched at hot corner?

GM Ben Cherington described the procedure as pretty "routine," and he expects the left fielder to be available for "the bulk of the season." That's good news, although many roto owners may not greet it that way. That puts those who try to capitalize on market lulls in an interesting position.

Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez has torn ACL

Scratch V-Mart off your redraft cheat sheets. Keeper leaguers may face a quandary, however: Place him on the taxi squad for a year, or throw him back?

A lot factors into a choice like that, and that's without wondering what his condition will be in his age-34 season. How much room do you have on your taxi squad? Do you pay a fee to put him there? How close are your other catching prospects?

You need better questions. Will he retain catcher eligibility in your league next year? Probably not. What would he go for in your auction this spring? Probably less than the price at which you have him. The choice is easy.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for how los Tigres address the loss of such a valuable bat. They can play it any number of ways. Eno Sarris, of Fangraphs, eyes what would seem to be quite the cost-effective and attractive solution.

3B Pablo Sandoval avoids arbitration with San Francisco Giants

He didn't avoid arbitration in just any ol' manner, though; the Kung Fu Panda agreed to a three-year contract. It sets an interesting example for those in dynasty formats. Follow suit, and lock him up on the cheap, or retain him at his current (perhaps escalated) rate and let his "deal" run its course?

Third base has earned its evaluation as a burgeoning wasteland of roto talent. Sandoval proved to be a knight in shining armor in 2011. This offseason, he appears to have avoided complacency by dedicating himself to a program similar to the one that helped him come to camp last year in much better shape.

The Panda still missed a bit of time last year, however. He's a quality hitter, but he's unlikely to offer elite numbers - the kind that truly separate him from the mid-tier options - at least while he's in a Giants uni. There are a few up-and-coming men at the hot corner - Mike Moustakas, Lonnie Chisenhall, a possibly rebounding Pedro Alvarez - who offer hope at the position and could be available at an attractive rate now. Miguel Sano and Zack Cox are among a pool of youngsters who should intrigue. And don't forget, Hanley Ramirez will likely dig in at the position for a while.

A long-term rotisserie deal for Sandoval could pay off, but by how much? And then, is it worth sacrificing some maneuverability and a shot at a player who could have a higher ceiling?

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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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