Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove: Marco Scutaro, Mike Aviles, Kevin Slowey, more
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.
Boston dumps salary - sounds odd - to chase another free agent (Roy Oswalt?). Scutaro will start at second base for the Rox, clearing up a giant mess that could've again tossed Eric Young Jr., Jonathan Herrera and Chris Nelson into the fire.
One of the best contact hitters in the bigs, Scute should love his new digs. Though it isn't his typical style, he has flirted with high fly-ball frequencies throughout his career. A home slate at Coors Field should help the 36-year-old defy his age and boost his double-digit-homer cred.
This move could, of course, prompt draft inflation, especially in NL-onlys, because of his place atop a strong lineup and eventual eligibility at both middle infield spots. At-bats are usually worth a single-universe surcharge, though.
Mortensen could compete for a rotation spot this spring; he best profiles, most likely, as a long reliever who could start in a pinch. The righty, who turns 27 in April, relies on a two-seamer, slider and changeup; he doesn't yield many K's, though that could see a small uptick if he's coming out of the 'pen. He'll likely throw some form of worthy AL-only innings this season.
Unless the BoSox make another move, they'll go with a time split of Mike Aviles and the glove-first Nick Punto at the 6. Focus your attention on the former, who thrived after being traded by the Kansas City Royals at last year's deadline. Aviles went .317-2-8 in 101 at-bats with Beantown, filling numerous lineup gaps.
Like Scutaro, Aviles, who'll turn 31 in March, is a contact maven with the pieces to hit .300 consistently. Those components, including fluctuating performance versus righty arms, remain scattered, though, and it's safer to expect something around .270. That's acceptable, especially when combined with a homers-steals combo that could blossom with a stable role. The Green Monstah supports his pull-heavy style.
He'll be eligible at second base and third base; league settings will determine whether he qualifies at shortstop and outfield. Mark him as a moderate-upside middle infielder in the waning deep mixed rounds, but prepare for what could be a tiny bidding war for his services in AL-only drafts; there's potential for stellar numbers here, but as he has proven, he's hardly stable.
Slowey moves again - this time to a more favorable home park, especially against right-handers, for his fly-ball style. Still, his makeup keeps him risky regardless of park. Though he could have more offensive backing this time around, his return to AL-only leagues should be met with the same low-end valuation that he deserved in his Minnesota Twins stint.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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