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MLB Hot Stove Update: Robinson Chirinos, Daniel Hudson, Eric Thames, and more!

Heath examines the Hot Stove with a fantasy baseball slant.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Fantasy baseball is nigh! The game is afoot! Soon enough it won’t be Hot Stove updates anymore. Soon enough it will be time for positional weeks. Don’t miss our annual spend-an-entire-week-on-each-position-even-if-it’s-catchers extravaganza. Speaking of catchers...

Robinson Chirinos stays in Texas, switches teams

Chirinos joins Jeff Mathis and Jose Trevino to rejoin the Rangers. He’ll turn 36 next summer, but he’s in the driver’s seat for at-bats and should be a decent bet for around 15-20 homers. That’s going to come with a sinkhole of a batting average, though. He’s a low-end C2 option in my book.

Will Harris and Daniel Hudson sign with Washington

Harris signed a 3-year, $24 million deal. It’s a 2-year, $11 million deal for Hudson. To me it looks like Harris is the handcuff to Doolittle, and it makes sense to consider him given Doolittle’s injury history.

Jimmy Nelson signs with the Dodgers

The 30-year-old Nelson gets $1.25 million for one year, but could earn up to $13 million over two years if he returns to health. Given the top three for the Dodgers (Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda) it seems that Nelson will be challenging the likes of Dustin May, Ross Stripling, and Tony Gonsolin for one of the two final spots in the rotation. Nelson made an unsuccessful return to the MLB last season after missing the entirety of 2018 due to right shoulder surgery. Still, it’s always good to see a guy actually make it back the season before we might actually consider him. That said, you’d have to worry about the Dodgers managing his innings, too, after Nelson missed 2018 and only managed 22 innings in 2019. Nelson’s a risky bet for 2020, and his ADP of over 500 reflects such.

Eric Thames signs with the Nationals

The Nats have been busy! And they have to be out on Josh Donaldson, right? Why else would they be flinging all this money around? Anyway, Thames should be platooned. He’ll strike out plenty (30%) but he’ll post a double-digit walk rate and hit plenty of dingers, too. 23 of his 25 homers a year ago were against righties. Against righty pitching, Thames had a 122 wRC+ and .362 wOBA. For reference, against lefties those numbers plummet to a 84 wRC+ and .304 wOBA. Given that Thames will start—I mean, why sign him if not—does that mean that Howie Kendrick is now the infield utility bat? Or is Asdrubal Cabrera the primary utility guy? I’ll be even more concerned if the Nationals bring back Ryan Zimmerman, and really give us a roster crunch in the infield. As of right now I’m still fine taking Kendrick around pick 300 as a late-round dart throw...it’s a low enough price to take on his scorched earth production from a year ago and see if it continues. But the odds are longer on him now. And I haven’t even mentioned the possibility of Carter Kieboom arriving to further gum up the works.

Hector Rondon signs with the Diamondbacks

Rondon gives Arizona another late inning arm, and he’s a quality guy with mid-90s heat. It doesn’t appear to be a concern for incumbent closer Archie Bradley, but this is a solid real life add for the D-Backs. The concerning bit is this suggestion:

My money’s on Merrill Kelly being a long man ahead of Zac Gallen, but I suppose we’ll need to stay tuned.

Check the positional weeks schedule below! And enjoy this link to all of our recent fantasy baseball content.

2020 Positional Weeks Schedule

Position Week
Position Week
Catcher Jan 25 - Jan 29
First Base Feb 1 - Feb 5
Second Base Feb 8 - Feb 12
Third Base Feb 15 - Feb 19
Shortstop Feb 22 - Feb 26
Outfield Mar 1 - Mar 5
Starters Mar 8 to Mar 12
RPs/Draft Guide Mar 15 - Mar 19