Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Contracts, Same Fantasy Baseball Spot Starters - Robertson Resigns With Detroit, Lieber To The Cubs

Nate Robertson and Jon Lieber sealed their 2008 fates today. Robertson resigned with the Tigers to the tune of 3 years 21.25 million while Lieber agreed to a 1 year 3.5 million dollar deal with the Cubs. Neither pitcher had a big impact on the fantasy baseball landscape in 2007 and that should continue to be the case in 2008.

Nate Robertson

Robertson went 9-13 with a 4.76 ERA in 2007, dropping off considerably after generating some waiver wire buzz early in the season after a hot start in April (2-1 2.43 ERA). Robertson battled a tired arm for much of June then struggled mightily upon his return in July and August before finishing the season with a respectable 3.76 ERA in 6 September starts. 

With the addition of Dontrelle Willis from Florida earlier this winter, Robertson will be the Tigers' 5th starter entering the season rounding out a rotation that features Justin Verlander, D-Train, Jeremy Bonderman and Kenny Rogers.

Jon Lieber

Lieber returns to the northside of Chicago where he won 20 games back in 2001. The veteran righty, who will be 38 come April 2nd, hasn't enjoyed anything close to that kind of success lately compiling a 12-17 mark in 39 starts over the last two seasons with the Phillies. He has also missed a good number of starts over that time with a variety of ailments. 

Lieber has reportedly been guaranteed a rotation spot and currently would slot in as the team's fourth or fifth starter in a rotation that is headed by Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Jeff Suppan. The signing of Lieber leaves one open spot in the Cubs' starting rotation and three candidates - Ryan Dempster, Jason Marquis and Sean Marshall. My educated guess would be that Ryan Dempster returns to the bullpen while the promising Sean Marshall assumes the final rotation spot. Jason Marquis is a candidate to be traded although the Cubs will have to eat some money in any potential deal. 

Fantasy Impact

Both Robertson and Lieber will be backed by potent offenses. However, they are nothing more than spot starters to be used in favorable matchups against weaker opponents or (if your feeling saucy) teams they've had past success against. Out of the two, Robertson is the guy with greater potential given the park he plays in and his age. But until he shows some consistency, his fantasy value remains limited.

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