Ubaldo Jimenez (SP, COL)
Cleveland Indians pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was suspended for plunking Troy Tulowitzki in a spring training game. There has been some back and forth between the two of them in the media over the past couple of months, which led baseball to believe the beaning was intentional. Jimenez has already appealed the suspension and will pitch the second game of the season for Cleveland. This kind of emotional instability is what has kept Jimenez from being a reliable fantasy ace. If he can ever just go out and pitch the way he is capable of, he can return to being a fantasy monster like he was the first half of 2010.
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Joey Votto (1B, CIN)
Votto got a contract extension for $225m over 10 years. I don’t understand this deal as Votto wasn’t scheduled to be a free agent until after 2013. Cincinnati joins the Tigers and Angels in extending huge contracts to a first baseman this offseason. I don’t remember the last time a player who signed this long of a contract was still worth it over the last few years. The Angels and the Tigers can make this kind of signing because they are both high payroll teams. Cincinnati is not, and I think this deal will come back to haunt them in a few years, unless Votto can lead them to a title before his skills start to decline. From a fantasy perspective, I don’t think this deal changes anything. I know that some players who sign lengthy contracts appear to “lose focus” (get lazy), but from all accounts Votto is extremely competitive and a hard worker. The only downside I can see is that there’s always a chance that a player who signs this kind of contract can begin to press, as he wants to prove that he is worth it.
Andrew Bailey (RP, BOS)
The Red Sox & Andrew Bailey received bad news Monday. Bailey squeezed a shampoo bottle and felt pain in his thumb. The cause of the injury is still a mystery. Doctors in Boston told Bailey he will need surgery on his thumb to repair it. The Red Sox closer will meet with Dr. Thomas Graham, a respected hand specialist & surgeon, in Cleveland on Tuesday for a second opinion. If surgery is needed it could be done as early as Tuesday afternoon, but recovery time won’t be determinable until after the procedure. You may want to stash Mark Melancon or Alfredo Aceves if you have room as at the moment it looks like they will be co-closers. Melancon seems like the logical choice as he was brought in partly due to his experience closing for Houston, but it seems like Valentine may be leaning towards Aceves.
Matt Cain (SP, SF)
Matt Cain also signed a new deal this week worth $127.5m over 6 years and includes a full no-trade clause. While he has yet to eclipse 14 wins in a season, it has been clear that Cain has been one of the best pitchers in the league, and has continued to get better. The Giants are a team that wins with its pitching and defense, and this deal was a no brainer for them. Fantasy owners know that they will get good peripheral numbers from Cain, and hope this is the year that he piles up some extra wins.