Before I get into some Hot Stove rumors, make sure you come back on Monday morning for the kickoff of the Fake Teams 2013 Fantasy Baseball Position Rankings, where we will be talking about the Catcher position all week long. The Fake Teams fantasy baseball writers have teamed up to bring you 20 different articles discussing the catcher position with four different articles each day beginning on Monday at 7am and ending on Friday at 3pm. We will discuss our 2013 fantasy catcher rankings, our 2013 fantasy catching prospect rankings, catchers to target, catchers to avoid, AL-only catching sleepers, NL-only catching sleepers, and some player spotlight pieces on major league catchers along with some catching prospects as well.
Late last evening, after completing my player profiles for the top 13 fantasy catchers for 2013, I caught up on some Hot Stove news and was shocked to see that the Dodgers were "aggressively pursuing" former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter. This news only make sense if the Dodgers are, in fact, looking to deal outfielder Andre Ethier. The team signed Ethier to a 5 year, $85 million deal last summer, so dealing him now comes as a surprise, but as a Dodgers fan, I would be on board with that decision. I think Ethier is limited in the power category, and certainly does not deserve the contract they signed him to.
Pursuing Hunter could also mean that Matt Kemp's recovering from his offseason shoulder surgery may take longer than we have been told. That would be huge if true. Or, it could mean that Hunter will be the right handed platoon for Ethier when a lefty is on the mound. Or, it could mean that Carl Crawford may not be ready for the start of the season. Finally, it could mean that the Dodgers don't care how much they spend, they just want to win a World Series. Of course, having the largest payroll does not guarantee anything.
The Dodgers are also looking at signing one of the top three free agent starting pitchers amongst Zack Greinke, Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez. The upside to signing either Greinke or Sanchez is that they were traded midseason and teams signing them do not have to give up a first round pick as compensation. The downside of signing either of them is it will be expensive. Greinke is on the verge of becoming the highest paid right handed starter in baseball. Possibly. And Sanchez reportedly is looking for a contract in the neighborhood of $90 million.
The upside to signing Kuroda, for any team, is he is not looking for a long term deal. He will probably get a one-two year deal this offseason. The downside is that the team that signs him will have to give up their first round pick as compensation to the Yankees.
A few days ago, Padres young catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for taking testosterone. His suspension will hurt his value on draft day, but he is a nice guy to draft and stash on your roster for when he returns in late May, early June of 2013. He was ranked in our Top 25 fantasy catchers for 2013, but the news came out after we had completed our rankings, so that will be noted when you review our rankings next week.
ESPN's Buster Olney reported that MLB is very concerned with the growth in the use of PEDs and testosterone by big league players, and there seems to be a Miami connection to some of the recent players suspended for testing positive for PED use. He reported that Ryan Braun and Grandal both have Miami connections as they played college baseball at the University of Miami. Here is the excerpt:
There is also increasing speculation in the sport about the possible connection for so many busted players to the Miami area, in the way that the Bay Area was the home to BALCO, from Cabrera to Grandal.
Olney also wrote about why so many players are using testosterone as their PED of choice:
The strong appeal of testosterone, players say privately, is how quickly traces of it flee the human body, often within a couple of days. A cheating player takes some testosterone on a Monday, and by Wednesday he can smile in the face of a drug tester.
Remember when Braun tested positive last offseason? There were reports that once he was told he tested positive, he immediately volunteered to take another test. Now we know why.