The MLB Rumor mill is alive and kicking, and the fantasy baseball movement is on with players such as Cliff Lee, and Jayson Werth leading the way in 2011’s headlines.
But these two fantasy studs aren’t the only players making noise in free agency this year, and there’s no better time to get your fantasy wheels turning then right now as we head into the cold months ahead.
Let’s take a quick little look at who’s who in the free agency right now, and what you can expect to happen.
2B – Dan Uggla – Florida Marlins: Uggla did exactly what I said he was going to do last year, coming up with a monster season for the futile Florida Marlins. Dan Uggla chimed in with a 287/.369/.508 line with 33 HR and 105 RBI, but is highly unlikely to return as a Florida Marlin.
Uggla will eventually land somewhere, but the question is, in what type of role? The Detroit Tigers have expressed interest in him, but Uggla has already turned down a 48 million dollar four-year proposal from Florida, which means he may be reaching for an over the top deal.
Either way, I do not expect him to put up the kind of numbers in 2011 that he did in 2010.
OF – Jayson Werth – Phillies: There have been so many rumors and different takes on what is going to happen to outfielder Jayson Werth; enough to make your head dizzy.
The bottom line is very simply though: The Phillies are focusing their energy on finding a left handed reliever, while the fans focus their attention on the Werth saga.
Werth has been a cogwheel in Charlie Manuel’s offense and defense; especially last year and the year before. And while “rookie” Domonic Brown is looming in the background, Brown will not replace Werth’s shoes as much as people expect—especially in fantasy.
The Phillies have a lot going on right now, but for some reason, I believe Werth will wind up staying in the City of Brotherly Love. Either way, he will be a solid early draft pick for owners looking for the total package.
SP – Andy Pettitte – Yankees: The latest rumor is Pettitte is “leaning” toward retirement as he enjoys the comfy confines of Deer Park, Texas right now.
I can’t believe that Pettitte will simply hang up the cleats after a banner year in which he went 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. What I can believe is that Pettitte will not duplicate those numbers in 2011—what he has also branded his “final” year if he does return—making him a back door draft pick when the time comes.
SP – Cliff Lee – Rangers: Not even Jorge De La Rosa can top the media buzz surrounding Cliff Lee, and many fantasy owners and MLB fans are just waiting on bated breath to find out where he does land.
Here is the current scenario:
There are three major teams interested in Lee (Texas, Washington and the Yankees) with some other teams kicking the tires (Red Sox and Angels). The reality of this situation comes down to Texas and New York.
The Rangers do not have the wallet circumference the Yankees do, so in order for the Rangers to sign him, they would have to—at the very least—expand their 90 million dollar payroll.
The Yankees can basically buy anyone they want, but Cliff Lee will inevitably look for a deal worth 6 years at 150 million or more; not the sort of deal the Yankees want to extend to a 34 year old pitcher.
Either way the fantasy value of Lee remains relatively the same, since both team can provide run support and mop things up with a solid pen, although Texas is slightly better. Lee will remain a top draft day prospect no matter where he lands.
3B – Edwin Encarnacion – A’s: If you’re looking for a team that could potentially give you several option towards the end of your draft then look no further than Oakland, especially with the recent signing of Edwin Encarnacion.
While Encarnacion isn’t what you would call top fantasy material, he is a nice bench player to consider especially now that he will play in Oakland’s affordable coliseum.
This will leave out odd man Kevin Kouzmanoff who will inevitably find a new home—another player to keep your eye on this year, remember I said that!
The Encarnacion mention is also suppose to get your wheels turning in regard to the growing list of players at the DH and OF position in Oakland right now, so keep the A’s in your forward focus as the months pass.
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