Non-roster invitees are swarming to spring training, but do these players ever pan out? Ben looks for an answer in the best of last season's NRI crop
"I’ve always said when it comes to a minor-league contract there’s no such thing as a bad one. There’s no guarantee from the club’s standpoint other than a flight to and from spring training."—Alex Anthopoulos, January 2012
While you’re busy celebrating Presidents Day in traditional American fashion—crossing the Delaware, roadtripping to Mt. Rushmore, trying to keep your anticipation for next week’s 87th Republican primary debate in check—pitchers and catchers will be reporting to training camps across Florida and Arizona. Not quite all of the pitchers and catchers or all of the camps—Mariners pitchers, catchers, and position players reported about a week before everyone else, so Mariners non-roster invitees have already been ostracizing members of their 40-man for days.
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How have recent deals and signing affected players' fantasy values?
Carlos Quentin | San Diego Padres | OF | Acquired via Trade Quentin was acquired earlier this week for minor-league talent and will slot into the middle of the order for San Diego. Unfortunately, while the Padres didn’t give up a whole lot to acquire him, he is a poor fit for the team, and his fantasy owners will not be made happy about the move. Going from one of the most favorable hitter’s parks in baseball to one of the least will destroy much of Quentin’s value. Because he hasn’t posted a batting average about .254 since 2008 (when he hit a healthy .288), power is all he has to offer, and now that may become scarce—think maybe 15 home runs this year, possibly 20 if he can manage to play an entire season healthily.
Perhaps more than anything else, though, this gives Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman an automatic “Go to bench, do not pass Go, do not collect $200” card. They’ll no longer be vying for playing time in left field in 2012, and right field is expected to be occupied by a Will Venable/Chris Denorfia platoon. That throws Blanks and Guzman back into the first-base mix. Yonder Alonso still has to be considered the favorite there, but this deal certainly doesn’t do him any favors either between Blanks, Guzman, and Anthony Rizzo nipping at his heels. The only guys actually gaining in all of this are the Padres number two and three hitters (Cameron Maybin? Chase Headley? Orlando Hudson?), who figure to score a few more runs with Quentin behind them.
With minimal payroll flexibility, the Padres need young players to improve quickly.
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview.
Though it looks like a two-horse race in the NL West, even those players on losing clubs have something to play for.
In Phoenix, the Diamondbacks have skidded into a five-game losing streak after riding the heroics of a succession of first basemen (Brandon Allen, Paul Goldschmidt, Lyle Overbay... perhaps it is time to put in a call for Travis Lee?). In San Francisco, the Giants struggle to stay healthy, a problem that dogs all old people, not just those who play baseball for Brian Sabean's geriatric club.
Deadline deals mean Michael drops one Value Pick and adds another one, while a third VP changes teams.
In fantasy baseball as in life, timing is everything. Sometimes we make fantasy moves a bit too soon, and sometimes we make them a bit too late. This week, I’ll look at both kinds of mistakes, although if either player means everything to your fantasy team, you may be beyond the help of even our crack Value Picks staff.