Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove - NL
There's optimism that the Friars have signed a cheap fill-in at first base since Adrian Gonzalez is now with the Boston Red Sox, Kyle Blanks (elbow) probably won't be ready until midseason, and Anthony Rizzo is a year away. A couple of injuries subtracted from Hawpe's ability, and the Colorado Rockies were clearly pushing him out. In SD, he'll surely play - first, which could be unfortunate but is TBD.
How much of the decline in distance of his home runs was attributable to the maladies? Much is made of his lack of ability versus southpaws, but Hawpe has been improving against them. PETCO Park is going to quell hopes of a serious bounce-back, but he probably isn't as bad as he was in 2010. Still, Colorado is shrewd; there were signs of decline in Hawpe's game prior to 2010, too.
Speaking of corner men who dive-bombed after leaving Colorado, there'd seem to be little hope for a player who has tanked while playing at both Coors Field and Camden Yards. At best, Atkins, who joins up with Clint Hurdle once again, platoons at first with Lyle Overbay if he beats out a few other younger players with similar minor league deals.
Saito is going to lose some ground in the K/9 department, thanks in part to slowly eroding velocity, but the right-hander is nonetheless effective - when he's healthy. A minor shoulder problem ended his 2010 regular season in mid-September, and serious elbow problems destroyed his 2008 campaign.
This year, Saito will set up the inexperienced and wild (though nasty) John Axford, however, and not Billy Wagner. That makes the soon-to-be 41-year-old a more intriguing speculative candidate, despite mild concerns about his decline.
Lindstrom moves from a situation in which he was a clear candidate for save opps to one in which he's just another setup man for Huston Street. His zinger is hard but too straight to allow him to perform as OK as he has at other stops without continuing to improve (more rapidly) his grounder rate.
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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