Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL
Paulino will have to serve the final eight games of a 50-game suspension for violation of MLB's steroid policy last season. Other than that, he doesn't appear to be a bad low-end target in two-catcher NL leagues.
Paulino was hitting about .300 in more than 200 plate appearances before July rolled around. He does most of his damage against lefties. Sandy Alderson seemed enthusiastic about the signing and has been slow to commit to Josh Thole, who has questionable defensive ability and offers empty batting average.
Fittingly, Navarro returns LA to help replace Russell Martin, another young backstop whose hitting skills have plummeted in the past two years. He's expected to battle A.J. Ellis for the right to back up Rod Barajas.
Positives: a move to the NL Central and from the AL East; Wrigley Field's friendlier confines to left-handed homer hitters; it's a one-year deal and a fresh start; and he should be past the plantar fasciitis of 2010.
Negatives: a .196 batting average in 2010; continually declining batting average components; a club whose offense is worse than the one with which Pena is used to hitting; and the fact that nothing works out for the Cubs.
Poor health probably affected Pena a great deal last year, but you're still surrendering a big chunk in BA.
Overbay rebounded from a miserable first month of 2010 to reach 20 homers and approach .250. How much will the move from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Steel City affect his outlook? It's not encouraging. He pushes Garrett Jones to the outfield, where he'll likely platoon with Matt Diaz.
So, which Phillies pitcher will you target? Lee went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 8.36 K/9 in 12 starts for Philly in 2009. He's coming off a historic 2010 performance in terms of BB/9 and K/BB. The left-hander will probably give up a few more ding dongs than he did in either of the past two seasons, but let's not nitpick. Will this fantasy ace provide better bang for the buck than Roy Halladay?
Sherrill is expected to be a lefty specialist for the Bravos. The vet is confident that he's past mechanical problems he believes contributed to his atrocious 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. If he's right, he could theoretically enter the saves picture, but it wouldn't be early enough to draft him. Craig Kimbrel and Johnny Venters will vie for those opps.
The left-hander will compete for Houston's No. 5 rotation spot in spring training. He stands a chance - just like the other handful of no-names, plus prospect Jordan Lyles, in the mix. With the Seattle Mariners, Rowland-Smith was solid as a swingman for a couple of years before last season's debacle.
His heater has serious juice and good sink. He's in serious need of a move to the bullpen. Just be mindful of the talented but extremely raw Cleto, down the road.
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. Follow @NicholasMinnix
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