It has been an extremely busy week, with a few trades (Tom Gorzelanny, Vernon Wells), a few big signings (Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon) and a lot in between.

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


Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Re-signed P Aaron Heilman. On the surface this may look like an odd move. Heilman was the best of the worst in Arizona’s 2010 bullpen, posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. In fact, his WHIP is his best from the past three seasons (his best ERA over that span is 4.11 in 2009). The thing is, reports are that Heilman will get a chance to earn a spot in the rotation, something that he has always coveted. It’s hard to imagine him cracking the top five however, and with his struggles of late, he can safely be ignored in all formats.
  • Signed INF Cody Ransom. He’s shown power in the minor leagues (183 HR, 655 RBI) but has never put it together in the major leagues. In 304 AB he has hit .227 with nine HR and 39 RBI. With Melvin Mora slotted at 3B, there’s a chance he competes for the job, so keep an eye on him. It’s a long shot, but you never know.


Atlanta Braves

  • None


Baltimore Orioles

  • None


Boston Red Sox

  • None


Chicago Cubs

  • Acquired OF Michael Burgess, P A.J. Morris and P Graham Hicks from the Washington Nationals for P Tom Gorzelanny. The Cubs add three prospects to help restock what they gave up to acquire Matt Garza. None of the three are particularly highly regarded, however. Burgess hit .265 with 18 HR in 460 AB across two levels before struggling in the AFL (.246, two HR in 65 AB). Morris is a righty who split time between starting and relieving in 2010, posting a 3.77 ERA in 27 appearances (16 starts) with 71 K in 86.0 innings. Hicks posted a 5.27 ERA over 66.2 innings in the South Atlantic League (Single-A). None of the three figure to make a major impact in the near future.


Chicago White Sox

  • Claimed P Phil Humber off waivers. Once highly touted, Humber has become waiver wire fodder for major league franchises (the A’s had claimed him not too long ago, only to designate him for assignment). There’s no fantasy appeal here in the least.


Cincinnati Reds

  • None


Cleveland Indians

  • None


Colorado Rockies

  • Re-signed 1B Jason Giambi. He had only 222 plate appearances in 2010 being used as a pinch hitter and reserve first baseman. With Ty Wigginton potentially being used as the main backup first baseman, Giambi could be an exclusive pinch hitter in 2011. There’s no fantasy value here.
  • Signed 3B Joe Crede to a minor league contract. Health concerns are always going to hang over him, as they have for the last few years. He was out of the majors in 2010 and is a long shot to make the team.


Detroit Tigers

  • None


Florida Marlins

  • None


Houston Astros

  • None


Kansas City Royals

  • Re-signed P Bruce Chen. He posted decent enough numbers for the Royals in 2010, with a 4.17 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. Of course, he struck out just 98 over 140.1 innings. The Royals needed able bodies, so Chen makes sense, but from a fantasy appeal there is nothing there. I discussed him as a player to avoid back in October, so for more on Chen, click here.


Los Angeles Angels

  • Traded C/1B Mike Napoli and OF Juan Rivera to the Toronto Blue Jays for OF Vernon Wells. The deal gives Hank Conger a better chance of opening the year in the major leagues, but he could get a similar treatment that Napoli did from Mike Scioscia, who always prefers defense to offense. I wouldn’t bump Conger up too much, if at all. As for Wells, he should join Torii Hunter and Peter Bourjos in the outfield, with Bobby Abreu becoming the DH. However, a lot of his success in 2010 came from playing in Toronto (.321, 20 HR, 54 RBI at home), so taking him out of that environment hurts his value. I would drop him down your rankings due to the deal. For more on the deal, click here.


Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Signed OF Gabe Kapler to a minor league contract. He hasn’t had more than 315 AB in a season since 2001. Even with concerns in LF, he’s got no potential fantasy appeal.
  • Signed OF Marcus Thames. He figures to be the platoon option for Jay Gibbons to open the season, as well as some major pop off the bench. However, the Dodgers have two prospects who could assert themselves as the everyday left fielder by midseason in Jerry Sands and Trayvon Robinson, so proceed with caution. Thames could eventually be nothing more than a pinch hitter.


Milwaukee Brewers

  • None


Minnesota Twins

  • Re-signed P Carl Pavano. It was the right move for all involved. Given Pavano’s history, having found a place where he could excel, it just never made sense to leave it. He posted a 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP and offers tremendous control (a BB/9 below 2.00 in five of the past six seasons). He unfortunately offers little in the strikeout department (5.72 career K/9), and can we really expect him to repeat a 17-win performance? He’s a low-end option, at best, and I wouldn’t pay too much to acquire him.


New York Mets

  • Signed P Chris Young. Numerous arm problems later, Young lands in Citi Field in an effort to rebuild his value. It’s been a long time since he was able to stay healthy (173.0 innings in 2007), so you have to proceed with caution. If he can stay on the field, a fly ball pitcher in a pitcher’s ballpark could be a huge recipe for success. A late-round flier is worth it at this point.
  • Signed OF Scott Hairston to a minor league contract. He can play all three outfield positions and will battle for a reserve role in spring training. There’s no fantasy value there unless an injury opens up regular playing time.
  • Signed P Tim Byrdak to a minor league contract. He’ll compete for a role in the bullpen as a lefty specialist. There’s no fantasy value.


New York Yankees

  • Signed OF Andruw Jones. He comes to New York not as an everyday player, but as someone who will spell Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner from time to time (especially against tough lefties), as well as see an occasional day at DH. He showed he still had some pop in 2010, hitting 19 HR in 278 AB, though he hasn’t hit above .250 since 2006. He could hold value in AL-only formats, but otherwise I wouldn’t anticipate enough at-bats to make him worthwhile.


Oakland Athletics

  • None


Philadelphia Phillies

  • None


Pittsburgh Pirates

  • None


Seattle Mariners

  • Signed OF Jody Gerut to a minor league contract. He provides depth for the Mariners in the outfield, but that’s about it.
  • Signed P Nate Robertson to a minor league contract. He has one career year with an ERA under 4.48. There’s no reason to get excited.


St. Louis Cardinals

  • None


San Diego Padres

  • Signed C Gregg Zaun to a minor league contract. It’s organizational depth and protection for Nick Hundley. There’s no fantasy appeal.
  • Signed P Chad Qualls. He’s looking for a chance to rebuild his value, but he’s not going to sniff the ninth inning with Heath Bell in town. Only consider him if you are in a league that values middle relievers.


San Francisco Giants

  • Signed P Jeff Suppan to a minor league contract. Since 2008 his best ERA is 4.96. Who’s excited now? If he even makes the team, it’ll be in the bullpen. Don’t bother.


Tampa Bay Rays

  • Signed OF Johnny Damon. His presence will have a two-fold effect on the Rays lineup. First of all, it likely means that Desmond Jennings will open the year in Triple-A. Secondly, coupled with the Manny signing that we will discuss momentarily, it could leave Matt Joyce as a reserve (unless they opt to move Ben Zobrist to 1B, leaving Dan Johnson on the bench). Regardless, it seems surprising that the Rays would cause such a stir to the lineup for a player who may not be an upgrade. He hit .271 with eight HR and 11 SB in 2010 and has just 23 SB total over the past two years. We knew his 2009 power surge (24 HR) was due in large part to Yankee Stadium, so expecting a huge rebound would be foolish. We are talking about a potential 10/10 player, at best, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him reduced to a part-time role by the end of July, at the latest.
  • Signed OF Manny Ramirez. He is going to be the full-time designated hitter, which helps to throw the Rays lineup into a deeper question mark. Dan Johnson was expected to see time at DH but now could settle into the full-time 1B role (though Ben Zobrist, among others, could also see time). He returns to the AL East with a lot to prove, especially considering that he will get just $2 million for 2011. If he wants to extend his career, he is going to have to show up to the ballpark and deliver. Look for him to play with a chip on his shoulder, making him worth considering in all formats.


Texas Rangers

  • None


Toronto Blue Jays

  • Signed P Jon Rauch. With their bullpen depleted via free agency, the Blue Jays first brought in Octavio Dotel and now Rauch. It could be an open competition between those two and Jason Frasor for the closer’s role in spring training. While my money would be on Dotel to open the year as the closer, any one of the three could emerge before long. That makes them all worth monitoring.
  • Traded OF Vernon Wells to the Los Angeles Angels for C/1B Mike Napoli and OF Juan Rivera. Shocking, to say the least. We covered this deal in detail when it went down (click here to view), so I’ll just give a quick recap here. You have to wonder about the fallout in regards to J.P. Arencibia, who was supposed to be the full-time catcher. Of course, Napoli could play 1B (along with Adam Lind) and DH, which would likely leave Edwin Encarnacion on the bench (probably the best option). Time will tell. As for Rivera, his role will depend on how the Blue Jays decide to use Jose Bautista. If he plays third, Rivera will be a full-time player. If he is in the outfield, Rivera is a reserve.


Washington Nationals

  • Acquired P Tom Gorzelanny from the Chicago Cubs for OF Michael Burgess, P A.J. Morris and P Graham Hicks. Gorzelanny should finally get an opportunity to start every five days, as the Nationals have been searching for starting pitching all winter long. He posted a 4.09 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in ’10 but actually pitched better than the numbers (.320 BABIP didn’t help). He has control problems at times, which helps to keep him from posting a solid WHIP, but does bring some strikeout potential. In deeper formats, he should be on your radar.
  • Signed INF Alex Cora. He’s a reserve and nothing more.
  • Signed U Jerry Hairston Jr. He’ll be a utility infielder, giving the Nationals a little security should Ian Desmond or Danny Espinosa struggle. He also could see some time in the outfield but doesn’t figure to get enough at-bats to be viable.
  • Signed P Todd Coffey. In his six-year career he has posted an ERA under 4.00 twice. With a career 1.45 WHIP, is anyone getting excited? He’ll work the middle innings, and that’s about it.

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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