Let’s take a look at all of the transactions from the past week (January 10-16) and determine which have fantasy value and which we can safely ignore.


Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Signed Util Willie Bloomquist: He has a touch of speed (25 SB in ’09), but he’s more of a utility player that isn’t going to see enough time in one spot to make any type of an impact. In 2010 he saw time at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B and OF (though the only position he spent more than 11 games at was OF). He’ll be a jack of all trades for Arizona, but one you can safely avoid.

Atlanta Braves

  • None

Baltimore Orioles

  • Signed P Kevin Gregg: Gregg joins the Orioles, where he will likely step into the closer’s role, supplanting Koji Uehara. He struggles with his control (over 4.29 BB/9 in three of the past four seasons) and could potentially struggle. He’s no lock to hold the job down all year long. Consider him a low-end closer option, but if you want to draft him, handcuffing him with Uehara would probably be a good idea.

Boston Red Sox

  • None

Chicago Cubs

  • Claimed C Max Ramirez off waivers from the Boston Red Sox: We all know he can hit, and he has an opportunity to win the backup catcher’s job to Geovany Soto. That would put him an injury away from making an impact, so those in two-catcher formats will want to pay attention.
  • Signed OF Reed Johnson: He’ll have the chance to get significant time in the OF with Jay Gibbons looking like the starting LF in LA, but it’s more likely that he is simply a fourth or fifth outfielder in Chicago. As it is, he hasn’t hit more than 10 HR in a year since 2006 and has never reached double-digit stolen bases. Even if he got playing time, he wouldn’t really be worth considering.

Chicago White Sox

  • Signed LHP Will Ohman: This move may seem benign on the surface, but it could have a much bigger impact than you think. Now with an extra LHP in the bullpen, it could make two things happen: 1) It could clear a spot for Chris Sale to move to the rotation, and 2) It could clear the way for Matt Thornton to take the closer’s role. While Ohman himself won’t have value, his presence will certainly have a snowball effect on the rest of the staff.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Signed SS Edgar Renteria: Paul Janish would have started at shortstop for the Reds, so the signing certainly makes sense. Neither will likely hold much fantasy appeal, however, no matter who starts.
  • Signed OF Fred Lewis: He spent a lot of time as the Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter in 2010, hitting .262 with eight HR, 36 RBI, 70 R and 17 SB. He’ll be a left-handed complement (along with Jeremy Hermida) to Drew Stubbs, Jonny Gomes and Chris Heisey. It’s hard to imagine him having much fantasy appeal, but if he can leapfrog Gomes, he certainly would. He’s worth monitoring off the waiver wire.

Cleveland Indians

  • None

Colorado Rockies

  • None

Detroit Tigers

  • Signed P Brad Penny: He was supposed to be a reclamation project for the Cardinals in 2010, but yet another injury cut his season short. When he was able to toe the rubber he looked good (3.23 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), but with less than 100 innings in two of the past three seasons, it is tough to depend on him. He is not a source of strikeouts (6.27 K/9 for his career, though he has been at 5.84 or lower each of the past four seasons) and moves to the AL for just the second time in his career. Yes, the ballpark could help him, but facing a DH on a regular basis will certainly make sledding a little bit more difficult. He’s a low-end option, at best, in mixed leagues.

Florida Marlins

  • None

Houston Astros

  • None

Kansas City Royals

  • Signed P Jeff Francis: We touched on this signing during the week (click here for Will’s thoughts), so this will be quick. He was never really impressive in Colorado (4.77 career ERA, 1.43 career WHIP), offers no real strikeout upside (6.15 career K/9) and moves to the AL, where things can be much more difficult. It just feels like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it?

Los Angeles Angels

  • None

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • None

Milwaukee Brewers

  • None

Minnesota Twins

  • Signed DH Jim Thome: A healthy Justin Morneau will likely limit the time Thome gets to play, but he proved in 2010 that he could still rake against right-handed pitching (.302, 19 HR, 45 RBI in 189 AB). The problem is that there really isn’t regular playing time available for him. He will split time at DH with Jason Kubel, which, when coupled with his lack of position eligibility (he’s only eligible at the U), causes him to only really have value in AL-only leagues or the deepest of mixed leagues. If he was guaranteed regular at-bats, things would be significantly different.

New York Mets

  • Signed P Taylor Tankersley to a minor league contract: He’ll compete to be the lefty replacement for the losses of Hisanori Takahashi and Pedro Feliciano in the Mets bullpen. However, he’s a middle reliever and nothing more.
  • Signed OF Willie Harris to a minor league contract: He’s going to be a fourth or fifth outfielder if he even makes the team. Sounds like an appealing fantasy option, right?

New York Yankees

  • Signed P Rafael Soriano: Clearly, it really was all about the money for Soriano. I discussed this signing earlier in the week (click here to view), so here’s a quick recap. He should have more value than the majority of setup men, as the Yankees could opt to give the 40-year-old Mariano Rivera a little additional time to rest. Still, for the majority of owners Soriano can now become an afterthought. The other ripple effect comes for Joba Chamberlain, who already has begun to have his name brought up in trade rumors for a starting pitcher.

Oakland Athletics

  • Signed P Grant Balfour: It’s a nice signing for the A’s, though Balfour is not going to have much fantasy appeal. He will likely be one of the key setup men for Andrew Bailey. With his strikeout rate (10.23 over 273.2 major league innings and 9.11 for ’10), he is worth using in all formats that value middle men.
  • Signed P Brian Fuentes: It didn’t take long for Balfour to go from the key setup man to seemingly the third in line. In the course of a few days the Athletics managed to turn their bullpen into one of the best in the league. Fuentes will be a great left-handed complement to Balfour, while also being the first in line if Andrew Bailey should get injured (187 career saves). He has some strikeout potential (career 9.82 K/9) and has had an ERA of 3.08 or lower in three of the past four years and four of the past six. If you are in a league that hordes closers, he’ll be worth owning as someone with potential to pick up some saves.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • None

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • None

Seattle Mariners

  • Signed 2B Adam Kennedy to a minor league contract: The Mariners will open with Brendan Ryan at 2B, so a little security makes sense. Kennedy offers a little speed (34 SB over the past two seasons) but very little power (only three years of at least 10 HR and a career high of 13). He’ll only have sleeper value with regular playing time, but with Dustin Ackley waiting in the wings, that seems like a long shot, even if Ryan falters.

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Signed P Ian Snell to a minor league contract: He’ll get an opportunity to win a rotation spot, and given the injury history of Kyle Lohse, there is reason to believe that he could get one before long. However, Snell is still living off his 2007 campaign that saw him post a 3.76 ERA and 1.33 WHIP (since then he has ERAs of 5.42, 4.84 and 6.41). Of course, we’ve all seen the miracles that the Cardinals have pulled with pitchers in the past, meaning Snell should be on everyone’s radars. He’s not really draftable but could become a solid waiver wire pick before long.
  • Signed P Miguel Batista to a minor league contract: If he makes the Cardinals (which is likely), he’ll be a swing man seeing time as a spot starter and long man out of the bullpen. There’s nothing to see here.

San Diego Padres

  • None

San Francisco Giants

  • None

Tampa Bay Rays

  • Signed P Kyle Farnsworth: He’s being brought in to set up and nothing more. He’s mediocre as it is and really isn’t worth considering in any format.

Texas Rangers

  • None

Toronto Blue Jays

  • None

Washington Nationals

  • None

What are your thoughts on all these moves? Which will have the biggest fantasy impact? Do any of them change your thinking for the upcoming year?

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