Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: Clayton Kershaw's foot, performance in danger?

by Tim Heaney on June 5, 2012 @ 18:05:44 PDT's Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market gives you candid reviews and ratings of fantasy baseball players making MLB news in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball leagues. Are they trade bait or worth your FAAB dollars in your fantasy baseball games?


Those looking for a culprit for Clayton Kershaw's less-than-stellar flashes of late might have found one. Don Mattingly said the Los Angeles Dodgers' left-hander has been receiving treatment for plantar fasciitis, the inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of a foot, for "at least a week."

The staff has tried fixing it with night-time solutions (whatever those are) and trying different tape types, among other things. The high-priced pitcher is, per skip, affected by the ailment only when running, not when he's on the mound.

Most baseball fans with a brain find that hard to believe. Regardless of what Donnie Baseball says, the ailment that's digging at Kershaw can linger for a long time if at a severe level. Ask any MLB or NFL player who's suffered it.

Plus, when Mattingly says "at least a week," that leaves open the notion that the injury could've been hindering him for much of the season. Kershaw's performance has been a notch below his usual output over the first two-plus months of his 2012 campaign. Despite posting ace-like figures, "The Claw" needs sharpening. Starkest in decline are his K/9 and HR/9.

OK, it's hard to argue with "only" a post-April 3.00 ERA and 2.12 free-pass rate, but if he's getting hit hard in the zone thanks to faulty precision, he and his owners might have more to worry about soon. He allowed 15 taters for all of 2011 yet has already surrendered seven - not an exponential trend overall, but its rapid escalation is worth examining.

Los Angeles Dodgers SP Nathan Eovaldi
Stay of execution?

For a starting pitcher, the impact might be tempered, at least in his ability to suit up. But whether it's his landing foot or push-off paw - reports haven't yet specified - some aspect of his delivery, as well as fielding his position, will remind him of the pain. Any awkward spot in his motion can throw off location and velocity, though he hasn't shown weakness in the latter just yet. Missing spots could explain the homer explosion, though.

The Blue were burned in trying to active Matt Kemp (hamstring) too soon. If their No. 1 keeps complaining and the ding increasingly hampers his performance, don't rule out them pulling a DL trigger, especially since they have so much time to endure in keeping their division lead.

Any extensive absence would probably extend the MLB shelf life of Nathan Eovaldi, who was already worth a deep-league addition following his call-up to replace Ted Lilly (left shoulder inflammation).

A quick turnaround would ease what may be mounting concerns, and don't go selling Kershaw because of this, but don't ignore the hints that something could be wrong, at least more so than LA is addressing. This malady isn't the type to vanish in a blink once inflicted, so plan ahead for the off-chance you'll have to shelf your stud for a bit.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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