Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Chase Utley, Miguel Cabrera, Joakim Soria and Others

This slide couldn't have helped Utley's knees.

Yesterday brought news that Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is set to visit a knee specialist to see what he can do for his ailing knee. Matt Gelb from the Philadelphia Inquirer had this to say about Utley, with quotes from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.:

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. categorized Utley as "doubtful" for opening day and effectively anointed 22-year-old Freddy Galvis as the starting second baseman. When asked if he was worried about Utley's career, Amaro could not answer definitively.

"I worry about Chase because it's a chronic knee problem," Amaro said. "About his career? I don't know."

Amaro revealed that both knees are bothering Utley, 33, and that the second baseman recently told him his left knee hurts more than the right. The Phillies had hoped a different conditioning and stretching regimen would allow Utley to manage the pain of decreased cartilage in both knees. When he arrived at camp, he found the stress of doing infield work to be too great.

This is terrible news for Phillies fans and Utley owners. A friend of mine heard a reporter on Comcast Sports Network speculate that Utley's career may be over, but again, that is just speculation. With that said, the fact that Utley is visiting a different knee specialist says this may be a last ditch effort to figure out how to relieve the pain he is experiencing. We may not see the old Chase Utley even if he does manage to get on the field later this season. He will begin the season on the DL.

More fantasy baseball thoughts after the jump:

Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera took a ground ball to the face, just under his right eye, requiring stitches. He went to have x-rays taken, and we should have the results sometime today. If you want to see video of the ground ball, check out this link. I wonder if the Tigers will scrap plans for Miggy to play third base this year?

Speaking of results, I did not hear what the results were of the reevaluation of Robinson Cano's hand injury were. Anyone?

The Royals got some terrible news yesterday, as an MRI on the elbow of closer Joakim Soria revealed damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL. Soria is expected to visit Dr. Lewis Yocum today, so we should hear more on his injury as well. If he should miss some time, and it appears he will, the Royals could turn to Jonathan Broxton or Greg Holland, with the latter reliever the guy I would focus on in drafts. Broxton may get the job to start the season, but I don't see him holding it. Fantasy owners should monitor how manager Ned Yost uses them toward the end of spring training.

In one of my NL-only keeper leagues, I am pondering grabbing a $53 Ryan Braun in our waiver draft, which allows each owner with less than 10 keepers, to grab a player that was dropped by another owner. Braun is by far the best hitter available in the auction, but I already have Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Alfonso Soriano, Chris Young and Corey Hart in my outfield. Braun would be my utility guy. Should I grab him, I would be left with about $40 on draft day for 13 players. Ok, maybe that's too crazy. Instead, I might grab a $29 Ryan Zimmerman, as David Wright is the only decent third base option in the draft. See what Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder leaving to the AL does to owners? Then again, I have always been one to zig when others zag.

If you're looking for a sleeper in NL-only leagues, make sure you read this article by Patrick Reddington over at Federal Baseball. It appears infielder Steve Lombardozzi is turning heads in camp.

The Oakland A's made some noise yesterday as they announced that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will open the year in the big leagues, so those of you who were looking to grab him in the minor league portion of your draft, you are out of luck.

The A's also announced that they had sent pitching prospect Jarrod Parker to AAA, but that he could still win the 5th starter spot in their rotation. Apparently, the A's don't need a 5th starter till mid-April sometime, so the fact that he is being sent to the minors, doesn't mean he will be down there long.

I found this interesting tweet from Rockies beat writers Troy Renck last evening regarding top prospect Nolan Arenado:

Troy Renck, Rockies ‏ @TroyRenck

Nope but should be up by june RT @Axellent33 Nolan Arenado, will he make the team? @TroyRenck

Arenado up by June? Is this the same guy who hasn't had an at bat above High A?

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