News & Views: Wieters ready for debut; Dodgers-Gagne talk is nuts

News:Lord Wieters set for Friday debut

Views: Ask anyone in Baltimore and Matt Wieters is approximately 20 times better than Joe Mauer, Johnny Bench, Josh Gibson, Mike Piazza, and the Incredible Hulk combined. The fact is, the switch-hitting catcher is pretty close to can't-miss in the long run. His 2009 numbers weren't quite eye-popping in the relatively pitcher-friendly International League (.305 average, .890 OPS, .199 IsoP over 39 games), but he turned 23 last week and his bat was major league-ready coming into the season. It's reasonable to expect him to be a borderline top 10 catcher at worse, though his upside has him just a tier below the Mauer/Victor Martinez class.

Verdict: He should be long gone in every league, but if he's on your waiver wire, go get him.


News: Mike Scioscia says Ervin Santana's elbow is fine

Views: And he's right. This is injury alarmism in its finest form. The artist formerly known as Johan essentially lost spring training and is coming off a major injury for the first time in his career. "Velocity down" is being thrown around, but there's nothing wrong with a guy in Santana's situation going from a 95 mph fastball to 92. Because of the injury, he's in early-April form right now. He'll be fine in a few weeks.

Verdict: Yes, Monday's shelling was tough to swallow, but Santana owners should sit tight. But if you don't have him, this is a perfect time to steal him away from any dolt who might be down on him.


News: Hip surgery for Brett Myers?

Views: Obviously, terrible news for Myers owners. He really turned it on midseason last year, and he seemed to be rounding into form after a shaky April. He'll exhaust his options before going under the knife, but it looks like season-ending surgery is the most likely scenario. It would assure that J.A. Happ stays in the rotation for the foreseeable future (though despite his strong numbers, I'd rarely trust him in home games because of his flyball tendencies). It also moves the tremendously named lefty Antonio Bastardo a step closer to the bigs (though he has similar flyball issues), and could open a post-All-Star break spot for top prospect Carlos Carrasco if he turns it around at Lehigh Valley (0-6, 5.81 ERA, but strong 4.0 K-to-BB and 1.54 GB-to-FB ratios).

Verdict: Myers owners are obviously in trouble. Nothing you can do but cross your fingers. Happ is tempting because of his 2.60 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, a strong start at Yankee Stadium, but his flyball tendencies are a recipe for disaster in Citizens Bank Park. He's a mediocre option in NL-only leagues, shallow mixed leaguers can pass.


News: Cubs bring up Jake Fox

Views: What he was doing to Pacific Coast League pitchers should be a felony: .423 average, .503 on-base, .886 slugging, 17 homers, 50 RBIs in 40 games. As you might imagine, there was some luck involved in this line: No matter how well you're swinging it, a .442 batting average on balls in play isn't sustainable. But there's no doubt Fox could be an above average bat in any lineup. Of course, there's the problem. Fox can really only play first base, and he's blocked by Derrek Lee for the foreseeable future (yes, despite Lee's .735 OPS). He could see time in left field or third base in spot duty, but right now he looks like a pinch-hitter as long as Lee is healthy.

Verdict: Deeper leagues should take a flier on Fox and hope Lou Piniella finds a way to get him regular at-bats, but shallow mixed leagues can hold off unless there's a Lee injury.


News: Eric Gagne looking for return to Dodgers

Views: I just really enjoy the L.A. Times headline "Eric Gagne would welcome a return to the Dodgers." You think so? He's lucky to get a shot to pitch in Quebec. Gagne's 33, a Mitchell Report star, and coming off shoulder problems. I'd say the Brewers paid him $10 million to throw batting practice last season, but batting practice pitchers usually throw more strikes. Eighties era Twins shortstop Greg Gagne would make a better option in the Dodgers pen.

Verdict: Any fantasy or MLB franchise that has Gagne on their radar has some serious issues.

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