RotoWire: MLB suspensions fantasy impact
After waiting months, weeks, days and hours for the other shoe to drop in the Biogenesis case, all of the shoes fell Monday morning. There were no huge surprises in MLB's official announcement of the 13 suspended players. Fortunately for fantasy owners, players like Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera have already served their punishment and only a few of the suspended players had been contributors in 2013. Gio Gonzalez owners can also breathe a sigh of relief as he was cleared of any potential wrongdoing and subsequently, did not receive a suspension. Here's a look at how the fallout will impact depth charts around the league.
Nelson Cruz started in right field for 102 of the Rangers' first 112 games, so his absence should be felt immediately. His absence may finally put an end to the Craig Gentry/Lenoys Martin platoon in center, with Martin shifting over to cover the vacany in right. Another interesting ripple that could result from Cruz's absence would be if Jurickson Profar started to see more time in the outfield. Time in the middle infield has been scarce with Ian Kinsler's body and Elvis Andrus' bat healthy, so Profar may get the opportunity to expand upon his 34 innings in the outfield. If the Rangers are serious about their playoff aspirations (as they seem to be), then it would not surprise if they pulled off a waiver trade in the coming days.
The Tigers insured themselves against Jhonny Perlata's suspension by acquiring Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox just before the trade deadline. Sure Peralta's offense has come down to earth lately (he hit .256/.301/.301 over his final 133 at-bats for the Red Sox), but the Tigers will not ask him to be much more than a glove. Ramon Santiago is the only other man on the roster to have played shortstop this season.
Pedro Ciriaco served as Padres shortstop when Everth Cabrera was on the disabled list earlier in the season, but he is now playing for the Royals' Triple-A squad. That means the only player on the 25-man roster with shortstop experience this season is center-fielder Alexi Amarista, who entered play Monday with 7.2 innings of action there this season and 83.2 innings there in his MLB career. Logan Forsythe started a few games at short last season, and he worked out there a bit before the season, so he may see time in the middle infield as well. Neither Amarista nor Forsythe will come close to matching Cabrera's prowess on the basepaths. Ronny Cedeno, who the Padres signed to a minor league deal over the weekend, should be up in the majors soon to help defensively.
Antonio Bastardo: After Mike Adams hit the DL, Bastardo was arguably the Phillies' most important reliever not named Jonathan Papelbon, leading the team in both appearances (48) and strikeout rate (26.3 percent). His departure may prevent the Phillies from holding some leads for their starters, and may make for a rockier road to Papelbon. Justin De Fratus could take on a more significant setup role.
Francisco Cervelli: Cervelli will serve his suspension while on the disabled list, as he remains out of action after breaking his right hand in late April. It is unclear if he would have returned this season, but the suspension ensures Chris Stewart and Austin Romine will continue to constitute half of the Yankees' battery.
Jordany Valdespin: He played five different defensive positions over a 66-game stretch for the Mets before they demoted him to Triple-A Las Vegas in mid-July. Valdespin had gone 25-for-53 (.472!) for Las Vegas since the demotion, but he only had 25 hits in his 66 games with the Mets (good for a .188 average). The suspension ends any sort of significant late-season reunion with the Mets.
Jesus Montero: Unlike Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero's season went into an even deeper hole after his demotion to Triple-A Tacoma in late May. He tore the meniscus in his knee shortly after arriving in Tacoma, and he had only recently resumed his conversion from catcher to first base. He hit five extra-base hits in 45 at-bats for Tacoma since July 18, but he also had 15 strikeouts over that stretch. His 50-game absence should not affect his transition to first base too greatly, but it should dampen his status in Mariners camp come 2014.
Fernando Martinez: The former Mets prospect hit .325/.393/.554 in 22 games at Triple-A since joining the Yankees organization, but he struggled with the Astros at the MLB level earlier in the year. Even if he were a September callup, he probably would have seen scant time behind the likes of Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner and others.
Cesar Puello: Puello had started to come on this season, with 16 home runs, 24 steals and a .405 OBP at Double-A Binghamton. Provided his breakout was not aided too much by the Biogenesis substances, then the suspension should not derail his path to Triple-A by next season.
Fautino De Los Santos: De Los Santos has been searching for employment since the Padres organization released him in mid-May. A 50-game suspension is not exactly a resume booster.
Sergio Escalona: He was last seen at the Astros' Double-A affiliate as he continued to recover from Tommy John surgery. He's another player whose future employment prospects may not be great after this news.
Jordan Norberto: Norberto was both released and underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this summer. Add a 50-game suspension to those other two actions, and his chances at another MLB job in 2014 or 2015 appear bleak.
THE WILD CARD
Alex Rodriguez: Rodriguez is the only player to appeal his suspension, and it looks like the process could be drawn out over several months. Many pixels have been dedicated to Rodriguez and his drama with MLB and the Yankees over the last few weeks, and I would not hazard a guess as to whether he will be successful in overturning his 1.5-season ban. However, after being activated off the disabled list Monday, he immediately fills a hole at DH with Travis Hafner out of commission. If the Yankees leave him in limbo, then they could use that free spot to drop surplus outfielders like Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano.
The Angels recalled Chris Nelson from Triple-A Salt Lake after they dealt Alberto Callaspo to the A's, and now the former is the main man at third base on the depth chart. In fact, he is the only guy on the depth chart. He struggled with three major league teams earlier this season, but he had a .906 OPS in 34 games with Triple-A Salt Lake prior to his most recent callup.
David Wright, the last real offensive presence in the Mets lineup, will be out of the next three-to-five weeks with a hamstring injury. The injury could mean a short-term boon in playing time for Josh Satin, who has ceded first base back to Ike Davis. It will also be interesting to monitor Wilmer Flores, who has played three games in a row at third base after spending much of his campaign at Triple-A Las Vegas at second. Las Vegas is known to inflate offensive numbers, but a .532 slugging percentage as a 21-year-old is definitely interesting.
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