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2/4:Even though New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (heels) is a long way from stepping foot onto a field in a major league game, new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen expects Cespedes to return to a high level of play when he comes back. The 33-year-old outfielder had two surgeries to remove bone calcification from both heels last year, and the team still doesn't have a timetable for his return. "I don't think we'll have an idea during Spring Training," Van Wagenen said. "Our expectation is that he can make progress every day, that we build him up in a smart fashion so that we're not taxing him too soon. We want to make sure he's 100 percent healthy when he comes back, whenever that day is," Van Wagenen said. Cespedes can put up big numbers when healthy, but the uncertainty around his availability in 2019 will make him too risky to draft in shallow mixed leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - David Adler
2/4:The Pittsburgh Pirates are expected to use pitcher Francisco Liriano as a reliever heading into spring training after signing him to a minor league deal on Monday. It makes more sense to use the aging left-hander as a lefty specialist rather than a starter given his splits against lefty hitters (.219 average) in his career and the fact that he's just been unreliable as a starter for the last few seasons with several different teams. Liriano would've only had fantasy value in deep NL-only leagues as a starter, so he won't be attractive at all in a relief role.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Adam Berry
2/4:Free-agent shortstop Manny Machado isn't thrilled with his current offers and may still have long-shot hopes to land with his preference, the New York Yankees, according to sources. The Phillies, White Sox and Padres are the only other known teams to have interest, but they apparently aren't willing to give Machado the type of contract that he's seeking. Neither are the Yankees, though, especially after signing both D.J. LeMahieu and Troy Tulowitzki. Machado remains one of the best hitting and fielding infielders in the game today and he will eventually land somewhere, potentially on a short-term contract. Machado is a top-10 fantasy asset no matter where he's playing in 2019.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Fan Cred - Jon Heyman
2/4:The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to an undisclosed deal with free-agent starting pitcher Francisco Liriano on Monday, according to sources. The 35-year-old left-hander was an ugly 5-12 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and mediocre 7.4 K/9 in 27 outings (26 starts) for the Tigers in 2018. He was even worse in 2017 (5.66 ERA, 1.63 WHIP) for the Blue Jays and Astros and might not be guaranteed a rotation spot in his return to Pittsburgh -- he spent the 2013-2016 seasons with the Bucs. Liriano has also struggled mightily with his control throughout his career and should be avoided in all mixed leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Athletic - Ken Rosenthal
2/4:Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Cole Hamels' oblique injury in May of 2017 led to mechanical problems that persisted late into that season and carried over into 2018 when he was with the Rangers. The lefty was striding too far down the mound, flying open and his lower half and upper half were out of sync. The mechanical adjustments he made last year helped him post a 2.36 ERA with 74 strikeouts and 23 walks in 76 1/3 innings after being traded to the Cubs. Once he made the changes, the velocity on his fastball rose and he had a more horizontal release point. The change of scenery was great for the 35-year-old, and he could continue to pitch well in 2019 after he mechanical adjustments. Hamels isn't as dominant as he once was, but he's still worth a late-round selection to round out your fantasy rotation.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Jordan Bastian
2/4:Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that second baseman Dustin Pedroia (knee) has been running in Arizona and is "feeling good." Dombrowski said the team is hoping that Pedroia is ready for the season, but the Red Sox won't know for sure until he's playing day in and day out. The 35-year-old played in just three games for the Red Sox last year before being shut down due to knee problems, and he's not a guarantee to be able to play much in 2019 either. Anything Boston gets from the veteran second baseman will be a bonus this year. That should tell you all you need to know in fantasy. Don't draft him in mixed leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Boston Globe - Peter Abraham
2/2:The Cincinnati Reds remain engaged in trade talks for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, and one package being discussed includes Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart and infield prospect Jonathan India, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo. The Marlins remain in dialogue with the Padres, Dodgers, Braves and Rays. Miami is expected to receive two to four players in return for Realmuto, who is expected to be traded before spring training begins. Finding a replacement at catcher in Miami is complicating the situation. Realmuto, 27, was an All-Star for the first time in 2018 and has become one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. India, the No. 5 overall pick of last year's draft, could rise quickly in Miami's system if he's dealt. Realmuto should be one of the first catchers off the board in fantasy drafts no matter where he's playing.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Joe Frisaro
2/2:Colorado Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort is optimistic the team can reach a long-term, multi-year contract extension with third baseman Nolan Arenado. Arenado will make $26 million in 2019 and is eligible to become a free agent after the season. "I think we've gotten it to the point where we're to the finals," Monfort said. "We're to the crescendo." Arenado will turn 28 in April and is one of the best overall players in baseball in his prime, both offensively and defensively. He hit .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs and 110 RBI in 156 games last year and has had at least 37 homers and 110 RBI in each of the last four seasons. He's ranked as RotoBaller's No. 5 fantasy player overall heading into the 2019 season. Staying in Colorado and hitter-friendly Coors Field would be best for Arenado's long-term fantasy value.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Thomas Harding
2/2:The San Diego Padres ownership is said to prefer free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper as a business/marketing opportunity despite their positional need at third base over Manny Machado. The question now is whether the Padres can outbid another team for Harper's services. Both players are superstars and would be a huge addition for a San Diego team that struggles to compete in the tough National League West. Machado is a bit more attractive in fantasy for his eligibility at both third base and shortstop while also providing tons of power and speed. Both are candidates to hit well over 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs yet again.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Fan Cred - Jon Heyman
2/2:Oakland Athletics closer Blake Treinen won his salary arbitration case on Saturday and will make $6.4 million, which is a $4.25 million raise and is a record for a second-time arbitration-eligible relief pitcher. Treinen was the best reliever in baseball in 2018. He was 9-2 with a 0.78 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings with 38 saves for the A's. He comes into 2019 as RotoBaller's No. 2 fantasy closer behind only Edwin Diaz, who led all of baseball in saves last year.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com - Jeff Passan
2/2:Oakland Athletics SP Sean Manaea (shoulder) is working hard in his rehab from arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September, and he is hopeful of returning sooner than originally projected. "I'm feeling great," Manaea said. "This time compared to last year is 100 times better than I felt. The surgery definitely fixed pretty much everything that was going on in my shoulder." The organization is hoping the pitcher can return sometime around the All-Star break after it was originally expected he'd miss all or most of the 2019 season. He posted a 12-9 record with 3.59 ERA and 1.08 WHIP last season, but with his uncertain return date he is mostly undraftable unless you have ample reserve and/or injured spots on your roster.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource: NBC Sports Bay Area - Ben Ross
2/1:Oakland Athletics prospect outfielder Kyler Murray indicated Friday that his decision to play football or baseball could come well before Feb. 15, which is the date to report to spring training for the A's. "It's really coming down to these last couple of days. I'll make probably make a decision here soon after the Super Bowl. Really soon, actually," Murray said. "I've weighed all the possible options." Murray said in a television interview that he feels he could play both sports, but he knows it's unlikely he'll be allowed to do so. If he chooses baseball, he'll likely need to work his way up through the minors, having only long-term keeper appeal in fantasy leagues. If he chooses football, he could have a shot at a starting job in 2019. Stay tuned.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource: The Mercury News - Martin Gallegos
2/1:The San Francisco Giants claimed outfielder John Andreoli off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Friday and they designated relief pitcher Derek Law for assignment. Andreoli will be among a group of players jockeying for two starting spots. The Giants also have nothing locked in on their bench, so Andreoli lands in a very favorable spot. He is a speedy outfielder with a .373 on-base percentage in his career in the minor leagues, posting 247 steals over eight seasons. Andreoli has also started in all three outfield spots. Law posted 2.13 ERA in 61 appearances back in 2016, and looked to be the closer-in-waiting, but RP Mark Melancon was brought on and Law fizzled in 2017, and was even worse in 2018 with a 7.43 ERA in just seven appearances.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource: NBC Sports Bay Area - Alex Pavlovic
2/1:San Francisco Giants infielder Abiatal Avelino is going to get a long look during spring training. He is a multi-talented infielder who bats righty, which is a stark contrast to the team's infield which mostly features left-handed hitters. In addition, he made a mark with the coaching staff after rosters expanded last September, showing energy and enthusiasm. Avelino didn't post huge numbers for Gigantes in the Dominican Republic during winter ball, but he played a total of six different positions, including center field and left field. The Giants have a need in left, so Avelino could make the team and be a fantasy friend with multi-positional eligibility if he makes the club.--Daniel E. Dobish - RotoballerSource: NBC Sports Bay Area - Alex Pavlovic
2/1:The Texas Rangers agreed on a minor league deal with free-agent third baseman Matt Davidson on Friday, according to league sources. He will be used as an infielder and could also pitch. With Asdrubal Cabrera likely to man the hot corner most days, Davidson will also be an option at first base and designated hitter for the rebuilding Rangers. He slugged 20 homers and drove in 62 runs in 123 games for the White Sox last year. Davidson, 28 in March, has big-time power but swings and misses way too much. Texas is a good landing spot for him, but he should only be drafted for his power stroke in AL-only leagues. He'll also kill your team batting average in the process.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com - Jeff Passan
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