Saturday, March 8, 2008

Spring Training News and Notes: Cubs Closer Race, Dodgers 3B Injuries, Alfonso Soriano, Bartolo Colon, Jim Edmonds


Lou Piniella said he will decide who the Cubs closer will be during the third week of spring training. The much publicized and speculated spot has three main contenders, Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol and Bob Howry.

Fantasy Impact

We have said here we like Bob Howry to land the closer's gig, despite his struggles in spring training thus far. Howry is a veteran and he knows how to get ready for a season, so his early numbers are not indicative of what he'll do during the season. Marmol and Wood both have much better stuff than Howry and Wood has drawn rave reviews based on his last appearance in spring training, as he consistently peppered the high 90's on the radar gun. The only problem is Wood is too injury prone for Piniella to be able to trust him with the closers role and he really has no experience closing. Marmol is young and has electric stuff and is the favorite of many to land the closer's job. His drawback is that he also has no major league closing experience and really showed his value last season was in setting up and getting the ball to the closer.

All of the speculation will soon mean nothing as Piniella will hand down the HUGE decision this week. If your draft is in the next couple weeks, keep a close eye on this situation to see what develops. You don't want to draft a guy who won't be getting saves and waste a draft pick.

Dodgers 3B Dinged Up

The competition for the Dodgers 3B position just took a big hit. Andy LaRoche tore a ligament in his right thumb and will need surgery that will sideline him for eight to ten weeks. Not to be outdone Nomar Garciaparra proceeded to take a pitch off his right wrist and had to be taken for X-rays. Results were negative but Nomar is listed as day to day.

Fantasy Impact

Avoid both payers come draft time. LaRoche is still young and has some learning to do at the Major League level, and Nomar is well past his prime. The Dodgers might want to take a look at Brandon Inge over in Detroit and see if they can make a swap of relievers for him.

Not so Sore-iano

After breaking his finger earlier in the week, Alfonso Soriano is scheduled to play in a spring training game Saturday. Manager Lou Piniella said that Soriano had taken BP on Friday and that the finger felt fine. The only draw back is a slight pain Soiano feels when he throws.

Fantasy Impact

Good thing Throwing isn't a stat in fantasy. The headlines from earlier in the week were scarier than they the injury actually was. Based on the news at the time, Soriano's right on target in coming back fro the injury and should be drafted like non of this ever happened. People might avoid him in the draft, and they are foolish for doing so. Soriano is fine and this injury is not a big deal at all.

Colon Cleansing

Bartolo Colon continues to draw positive reviews from Red Sox officials at spring training, following another successful bullpen session. He is tentatively scheduled to throw his first game March 15.

Fantasy Impact

I still don't like Colon. He looked good throwing a bullpen session. Seriously, when do guys look bad throwing a bullpen session. There are no batters! Of course they are going to look good. Keep an eye on the March 15 start against the Reds, that is the barometer I would use to see where Colon is at. The Reds can hit, and if Colon can hold them in check, or shows decent velocity on the gun, then I might get antsy about finding a potential sleeper. Until then avoid Colon, he is not the dominant Cy Young winner he once was.

Jim Edmonds

News Flash: Jim Edmonds is hurt! Edmonds strained a calf and could be out two to three weeks. This should have him coming back around the start of the regular season, so he will probably need some extended spring training to work in some at bats. Look for Edmonds to miss the first week or so of the season, while he works himself back into game shape.

Fantasy Impact

If you were thinking of drafting Edmonds, you deserve to lose.

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