Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove

by Tim Heaney on January 23, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove archive

KFFL delivers the fantasy baseball spin on each Major League Baseball Hot Stove deal that matters in your fantasy baseball league. Check back for frequent updates.

Henry Blanco, C, San Diego Padres

Blanco helped mentor Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto as a backup last year, and the Fathers expect him to do the same with Nick Hundley, 25, who hit .237 in 2008 but is the expected Pads starter this year. Blanco did well in limited time last year (.292 in 120 at-bats) and should suffice if you need a bottom-barrel No. 2 catcher in deep NL-only leagues, especially if Hundley ever carries a prolonged slump.

Brad Ausmus, C, Los Angeles Dodgers

While a solid signing for the Bums, Ausmus has long lost his fantasy relevance outside of two-catcher, NL-centric universes. Even in these setups, focus on options with offensive potential instead of settling for the defensive-minded Ausmus.

Omar Vizquel, SS, Texas Rangers

A tiny blip on the offensive fantasy radar, the defensive whiz was brought aboard to mentor young shortstop Elvis Andrus and serve as a utility infielder. Coming off knee surgery last year, the soon-to-be 42-year-old may even start on opening day if Texas doesn't think the 20-year-old Andrus can hack it. Be mindful of Vizquel as a bench player in AL-only leagues, though expecting tons of offense is a mistake.

Freddy Garcia, SP, New York Mets

After stumbling in his return at the end of last season, Garcia inked a minor league deal with a chance to make the big club out of camp as he has sufficiently healed from his shoulder problems. The rear of the Mets' rotation needs serious stability, and it wouldn't be surprising if the former 18-game winner makes the trip to Queens sooner rather than later. He may be a bit overvalued, but he has upside in the final round or two of deep mixed drafts, and he'll probably be grabbed in the late portion of NL-only drafts.

David Pauley, P, Baltimore Orioles

The midrange prospect spent most of last season at Triple-A Pawtucket in the Boston Red Sox tree and finished 14-4 with 103 K's in 147 frames. The back end of the Orioles rotation remains a cluster with even more in-house cases of upside without results. Pauley has a 9.53 ERA in nine major league appearances (five starts), and he should be relegated to an in-season pickup in AL-only games.

Juan Rincon, RP, Detroit Tigers

The righty has fallen off the map after serving as a solid setup man for the Minnesota Twins. The Tigs need all the 'pen help they can find. There's no sense in worrying about Rincon in any league that doesn't value multiple non-closer relievers; even then, the shaky Rincon (5.86 ERA with the Twins and Cleveland Indians last year) should be left alone.

Also see: Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove archive

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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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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