May 08, 2009

News:Manny Ramirez takes a vacation

Views: Obviously, he's gone for 50 games. No appeals or reversals on the way. Ramirez will return on July 3, and at that point he'll be safe to get back in your lineup. Now, I'm not a psychologist, but I did enjoy Bill Murray's turn as Dr. Raleigh St. Clair in The Royal Tenenbaums. So in that spirit I'll make the claim that Manny will be just fine when he returns. He has never seemed to have that need for fan approval (not that the home fans won't cheer his return), and guys like Barry Bonds never suffered from being the villain. In the meantime, Juan Pierre gets to start over the next 50 games. He's the same Juan Pierre he's always been -- no power and poor on-base skills, but a decent average and lots of speed.

Verdict: This is the equivalent of an eight-week injury for Ramirez, except that you won't have to worry about lingering effects when he returns. Pierre belongs on a roster in just about every league, and anyone desperate for steals should have picked him up yesterday.

News:Marlins sticking by Maybin

Views: Maybin's top prospect status was due in part to his defensive skills, inflating his value in the eyes of many a fantasy owner. His bat may be decent enough one day, but right now he's not. Maybin's biggest asset is his speed, but he only has one steal. These things happen when you have a .280 on-base percentage. He's on pace to strike out about 170 times, so the .202 average isn't a fluke. The only reason he's still in the lineup is because Florida has no one in the organization to step into that centerfield spot.

Verdict: This guy should have been out of your lineup long, long ago. He just turned 22 in April, so keeper leaguers can hang on, but Maybin has no place in re-draft leagues. If you have bench space and want to hang onto him, because you're an immediate family member or something, fine. But there's no point in carrying that batting average in your lineup in the hope that he steals 20 more bases.

News:Mo Rivera dealing with "tired shoulder," gopheritis

Views:Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria went back-to-back against Rivera Thursday night, leading Joe Girardi to reveal that his closer has been dealing with some issues in his surgically repaired shoulder. While Thursday wasn't Rivera's finest moment, we should all be so lucky to have shoulder problems like this. Despite a slight dip in velocity this season, Rivera has struck out 17 (without walking a batter) in 11.1 innings. It seems unlikely that the Yankees would shut him down, considering Girardi was willing to pitch an ailing Rivera in the meaningless 2008 season finale. If they do, Joba Chamberlain could be the most likely contingency plan, especially with Chien-Ming Wang pitching well in extended spring training, Damaso Marte and Brian Bruney both on the DL, and the Yankees' willingness to mismanage Chamberlain's career at every step.

Verdict: Rivera doesn't carry any more risk than he did entering 2009 as a 39-year-old closer coming off shoulder surgery. His owners shouldn't be worried. And even if you are, Joba's not available in your league, so there's nothing you can do about it.

News:Alexei Ramirez heads to the bench

Views: Well, you'd like to think the Jayson Nix Experience won't have staying power. But if there's any manager in baseball who would stick with the light-hitting Nix, playing out of position at shortstop, it's Guillen. (As a quick aside, my favorite line of the Tribune story is when it mentions Nix "has impressed Guillen with a .429 batting average." The dude's 3-for-7 on the season. You might as well say he's been a .500 hitter over his last two at-bats.) I'm not a big Alexei Ramirez believer (I think his power is more of the 12-15 home run variety). But he got off to an absurdly slow start last season -- he was hitting .125 with no home runs and one steal as of May 8 a year ago -- and he's still far and away their best option at shortstop.

Verdict: The worst thing that could happen is the White Sox stringing together a couple of wins, even if it's in spite of Nix's play at shortstop. But more likely, they'll wallow in mediocrity and Nix will struggle. Ramirez is worth hanging onto, especially with the prospect that he'll heat up like he did last season. It would be an upset if he weren't playing everyday again by June 1.

You May Like