Offseason Musings returns from a Holiday break in blog format. What that means to you, reader, is that the posts will come as often as there is Hot Stove news that will have an impact on the Fantasy landscape. Things have been pretty quiet since the Holidays, but there have been a few significant signings to consider and there may be some big news brewing in Seattle.
Lance Berkman Signs with Texas
The Rangers were shut out of their original targeted signings and trades, but the signing of Lance Berkman to a one-year deal for $11M replaces at least some of the offense they lost when Josh Hamilton fled to the City of Angels. Berkman couldn’t have found a softer landing place for what could be his final season of baseball. The Ballpark at Arlington provides him with a hitter-friendly atmosphere that will play to his strengths. From a Fantasy perspective, Berkman will be a decent enough investment; his eligibility at first base and presence in the heart of the Rangers lineup should make for solid production and Fantasy value. He won’t be among the Top 10 first basemen in mixed leagues, but AL-only league players should target him as a value pick.
Nick Swisher Signs with Cleveland
Some Fantasy analysts don’t favor this signing, citing Progressive Field as being unfriendly to hitters of Swisher’s ilk. However, Swisher has enjoyed a .304/.381/.504 line in Cleveland with five homers in 156 career PA. He’ll undoubtedly end up batting cleanup in the Indians lineup, so there should be plenty of RBI opportunities for the veteran, entering his tenth season in the Majors. He’s been a very consistent Fantasy producer over the past three seasons and I see no reason to believe he’ll do otherwise with the Indians. At the very least, Swisher should be a solid third outfielder on any Fantasy squad in all formats.
Another Move for Seattle?
The Mariners are apparently not done trying to rebuild their offense. Rumor has them linked to one further move to add an impact bat to the lineup. Michael Bourn is one possibility, though they may have competition from the Braves, who have made it clear that they have not ruled out bringing him back. If not Bourn, then who? One possibility is a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Justin Upton. The D’backs have a surplus in the outfield now that they’ve signed Cody Ross. Upton would certainly bring more of a return in trade than Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra, and the Mariners have plenty of young pitching to offer in a deal. Don’t be surprised to see the Mariners put something together for Upton in the coming days. Bourn makes more sense for the Braves anyway. They’re set in center with B.J. Upton and could install Bourn in left field. That would allow them to use Martin Prado at third base instead of Juan Francisco, improving both their offense and defense – not to mention making choices easier for Fantasy managers.
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