Talking to reporters on Saturday, Mark Teixeira told Andrew Marchand that he will not be waiving his full no-trade clause, trying to put rumors to rest in the unlikely hood that Albert Pujols could end up a Yankee.
Analysis: “I’m not going anywhere,” Teixeira said as Yankees position players reported on Saturday. “I got that no-trade for a reason. I’m going to be buried in these pinstripes. You know what, I would be disappointed if the fans of New York weren’t looking to make our team better, but they’ve just got to know I’m not leaving.” While thats all fine and dandy, the real question is which Teixeira will appear during the first half of the season. As we all know, Teixeira put up horrible numbers and didn’t break out of the slump until around 2/3rd of the season was already over.
Projection: Tex is safe to draft in all formats, and his hamstring sounds like it won’t be a problem. Teixeria should put up some solid numbers for the Yankees in 2011 that we are used to seeing from him.
From a Fantasy perspective the contrasts between the NL West and the AL East, as well as those between spacious PETCO Park and the lefty-friendly Fens, make the Adrian Gonzalez move one of the most intriguing in recent years.
Analysis: The automatic assumption is that moving from a pitcher’s park to a place where talented lefties seem to pepper balls off of the Green Monster at will means a significant spike in Gonzalez’s slash line. After crunching the numbers and going over the evidence, I cannot argue with that premise. Most detractors to this theory pull out the “AL East argument” right away and, although A-Gone will be up against some pretty tough opponents in his new division, the NL West has sported some of the best arms in the game as of late. Keep in mind that Gonzalez has also spent the majority of his career in lineups that were nothing short of offensively anemic. Now surrounded by an impressive cast of characters and playing in front of one of the most passionate fan bases in all of baseball, Adrian is poised to take Beantown by storm.
Projection: All signs are positive for A-Gone in Boston. He may get off to a slow start in Spring Training, as he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. However, everyone in Boston (including Gonzalez) has been exuding confidence that he’ll be ready for Opening Day. He may also be the center of attention for a few more weeks for contract-related issues, but a multi-year extension seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. All that aside, Adrian and the Red Sox seem like the perfect marriage for Fantasy owners. He may lose a few line drive home runs due to the height of The Monstah, but those can be made up by taking advantage of some of Fenway’s other cozy dimensions. Besides, those lasers off of the wall will just pad his doubles total even more. Take into consideration that 107 of his 168 career dingers have come on the road, and it becomes evident that a change of home venue instantly puts Gonzalez in perennial MVP contention. Look for 40+ home runs, 125+ RBI, and an OBP in the .415-.430 range this season. This is a player with the potential to produce like a top 5 pick, but may be obtainable somewhere within the 10th-15th pick range in some leagues.
The flame throwing phenom enters Reds camp with a set position and a level of comfortability. Dusty Baker’s plan is to slot Chapman in a setup role behind closer Francisco Cordero, putting to rest any rumors of Aroldis entering the starting rotation or perhaps supplanting Cordero in 2011.
Analysis: The young Cuban defector set radar guns ablaze in his brief Major League stint in 2010, consistently cracking 100 MPH and peaking at a record-breaking 105 MPH in San Diego. This historical fastball, combined with an above average slider and decent changeup, gives Chapman an enviable arsenal and a potentially limitless future. The key word here for Fantasy owners is future, however, as the 6’4″ lefty’s current spot on the depth chart is the 8th inning and as a lefty specialist, a role he may even share with fellow southpaw Bill Bray.
Projection: While Fantasy owners drool over the prospect of Chapman starting games as he did at AAA, don’t expect it to happen this season. The Reds have no rush to transition their prized arm into the rotation, especially because of a balky back he first experienced last spring. They also have more of a need for him in the bullpen at this point, with the offseason departure of Arthur Rhodes leaving a significant hole. In addition, Baker has stated on more than one occasion that he’d like to limit Chapman to an inning per appearance. Unless Cordero hits the DL at some point this year, the most you can expect from Chapman are a respectable amount of holds and an above-average number of strikeouts for a setup man. Nevertheless, this is someone who will undoubtedly amass monster numbers one day, whether it be in the 9th inning or every fifth day.
The Tigers first baseman was arrested late last night in Fort Pierce, Florida, and charged with DUI. According to ESPN.com, Cabrera was also charged with resisting an officer without violence after he cursed at deputies and struggled with them during the arrest.
Analysis: This is bad news for Cabrera owners and Tigers fans alike, as many thought the prodigious slugger had quit drinking alcohol after a 2009 fiasco in which he was detained by police in Michigan after fighting with his wife while visibly drunk. At the time, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski picked up Miguel from the police station and vowed to help him out. Perhaps the worst part of that episode, from a baseball perspective, is the fact that the Tigers were fighting for the AL Central and had a key game the next day. The perennial All-Star spent most of that offseason in counseling, and emphatically told reporters last spring that he was done with booze. Eventually all was forgiven, and Miggy went on to compile a monster 2010 campaign in which he hit .328 with 38 homers while knocking in 126. It seemed like all was well, and that Cabrera was back to being one of the most feared hitters in the game. This latest incident, however, could have lasting ramifications both on the field and off. It remains to be seen if and how the Tigers and Major League Baseball plan to punish Cabrera for this disappointing arrest.
Projection: While we’ll have to wait and see if any disciplinary action will be taken against Cabrera, it is not a stretch to assume that he may miss a handful of games as a result of this incident. Even if he doesn’t miss any time, this distraction is not what Cabrera or the Tigers needed. Although he is one of baseball’s elite, a slip in production is not out of the realm of possibility. The flip side to that coin is that he is Miguel Cabrera, and based on raw talent alone he comes into camp as a legitimate MVP contender once again. Although your patience may be waning, you should still keep a tight grip on Cabrera if you own him. If you don’t, now may be a good time to propose a trade for the young slugger, as his perceived value is sure to take a major hit in the coming days.
It’s early in Yankees camp but reliever Joba Chamberlain’s weight is already a hot topic, with the 25-year-old righty showing up noticeably heavier than last season.
Analysis: It has been a rapid fall from grace for Chamberlain, who was considered to be one of the top young arms in the game just a few years ago. Projected to be nothing better than a 7th inning man in the Bronx this year, an out-of-shape Joba could cause his pecking order in the bullpen to slip even further. Chamberlain did have a rebuttal to the added weight controversy, telling reporters that the extra pounds are the result of an offseason workout regimen.
Projection: Fat or muscle, don’t expect Joba to offer fantasy owners more than a few holds and some mid-inning strikeouts this year. Barring an injury to Rafael Soriano or Mariano Rivera, even a revived Chamberlain will find it tough to get any statistically important opportunities out of the Yankees pen.