The 2014 Free Agent class is starting to take a little more shape, as we had three relatively prominent moves on Monday.
- Move 1: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
- Move 2: Jon Heyman, CBS Sports
- Move 3: Bob Nightengale, USA Today
What do these mean for the 2014 fantasy baseball season? Well, let’s take a quick look.
Carlos Ruiz to the Phillies
The logical thought here is that there’s not much question as to what Carlos Ruiz will do as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies because, he’s been on the team for years. It’s the sports equivalent of voting for the incumbent in an election.
The big question in the offseason will be just what the Phillies do. They’re certainly not the powerful offensive team that they were from 2007-2011, and need to put talent around him. Personally, I think the potential for Ruiz’s fantasy value would have been better with a few other teams (Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies), but he would’ve been in more danger of losing at-bats there.
As for his fantasy value now? I don’t think he’s much better than someone to have in deep leagues, or if you have an injury. The catcher position is loaded with guys who can hit for power, and Ruiz has only topped 10 once. He’s also only a .274 career hitter, so he doesn’t bring much to the table for your fantasy team. Classic “better real player than fantasy player” type of guy.
Tim Hudson to the Giants
Generally, a pitcher going to the San Francisco Giants is a good thing, especially if we’re talking about a guy who pitches to contact, like Tim Hudson. AT&T Park is a pitcher’s haven and pitchers can generally get away with a lot more with the spacious outfield gaps. I’m not going to say it’s a bad thing now, but Hudson’s home parks have been Oakland and Atlanta, which are both spacious, pitcher’s parks.
The big question for Hudson will be whether or not he can stay healthy. He suffered a gruesome injury that ended his 2013 season, and will turn 39 in July. On the other hand, this is what he’s done since since the start of the 2010 season.
The numbers are good. Unfortunately for his fantasy value, he doesn’t strike out a lot of guys, so you need to know that he’ll get you around 175 or more innings. His numbers may be a little bit better in San Francisco because it’s a better park, but it’s hard to see a huge leap from what he’s done. Other than maybe wins, it’s hard to predict a big regression, but it all comes down to how many innings Huddy will get.
LaTroy Hawkins to the Rockies
Based on what Troy Renck of the Denver Post said, this one has probably the biggest overall impact on fantasy baseball.
Interesting news, for sure. For most of the offseason, I was looking at Rex Brothers as a pretty good closing option for my teams next year. But if he’s not closing games, there’s no value there unless your league counts hold. The MRI strategy is fine and dandy, but not with pitchers who play at Coors Field with a BB/9 rate of just under 5.
The one thing I would advise is that if you don’t quite get the closers you want in the draft, keep a close eye on Hawkins throughout the year. If you have a deeper bench, I may even sign Brothers. LaTroy Hawkins had a great season in 2013, will be 41 next season and hasn’t always been a model of consistency in his career. If he struggles and they have something of a known option waiting in the wings in Brothers, don’t be shocked if the Rockies turn to him to close. If they do and you’re lacking closers, that’s a guy you’ll want to have.