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2/22:Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (shoulder, thumb) has been making good progress from his offseason surgeries and could play in Cactus League games by early next week. Chapman really showed his upside in his second year in the big leagues, hitting .278/.356/.508 with an .864 OPS, 24 home runs and 68 RBI in 145 games. Even in a pitching-friendly environment, he's a young third baseman on the rise and he should be considered a top-15 fantasy option at the hot corner.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Jane Lee
2/22:The Minnesota Twins agreed to a two-year, $21 million deal with free-agent infielder Marwin Gonzalez on Friday, according to league sources. The soon-to-be 30-year-old utility player had a down year in 2018 after putting up career numbers with the Astros the season prior. He can play all over the infield and in the outfield, giving Minnesota plenty of flexibility. Gonzalez should see semi-regular at-bats all over the field in his new home, but don't expect him to return to his numbers from 2017, especially at pitcher-friendly Target Field. He'll be a late-round target in deep mixed leagues mainly for his position flexibility.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: ESPN.com - Jeff Passan
2/22:Seattle Mariners top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield, who was acquired in the trade that sent James Paxton to the Yankees, will have his Cactus League debut delayed a day or two due to a small blister on his finger. He's scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday. The left-hander is MLB Pipeline's No. 43 overall prospect entering the season. He had a 2.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 9.5 K% in 116 innings (20 starts) for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2018. Sheffield has a shot to pitch notable innings with the rebuilding Mariners this year, but he's still really only a stash for now in dynasty/keeper leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Greg Johns
2/22:The Chicago White Sox signed free-agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training on Friday. The veteran right-hander made just five starts in 2018 with the Twins due to finger issues and was terrible when he was on the mound. However, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 7.1 K% in 33 starts in 2017 as a second-time All-Star. Santana doesn't have very much upside and will be fighting for the final rotation spot in camp. He's already off to a late start. If he wins the job, he'll be a late-round flier in deep AL-only leagues, at best.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Fan Cred - Jon Heyman
2/22:Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray has been scratched from his spring training outing on Saturday due to right elbow stiffness. Tanner Roark will make the start in his place against the Indians. It's a bad start to Gray's tenure with the Reds after being traded over from the Yankees this offseason. The 29-year-old right-hander struggled mightily the last two years in the Bronx and moves to another tough pitching environment at Great American Ballpark. While this injury may not be very serious in the long run, Gray can safely be avoided in all mixed leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Mark Sheldon
2/22:The Washington Nationals are officially moving on from free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper. "Nothing's certainly changed on our end," owner Mark Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas Friday. "We've moved on. As I said back then and we had to. There was no way we could wait around. Bryce, I'm sure will make his decision hopefully in the next few days, but we've filled out our roster and like I said, we wish him nothing but the best." The Nats offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million deal before the end of last year, and he declined it. The Phillies are the heavy favorites for Harper at this point, with the Giants and Padres lurking in the background.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: NBC Sports Washington - Lisa Redmond
2/21:The Philadelphia Phillies are unlikely to engage free-agent closer Craig Kimbrel or starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel unless either pitcher's current asking price drops, according to those close to the situation. Keuchel is believed to be seeking a five-year deal, while Kimbrel is looking for something similar. The Phillies see themselves as favorites to land outfielder Bryce Harper, so that is their main concern right now as well. Philly has their concerns about a long-term deal with Keuchel, who is mainly a ground-ball pitcher that relies on inducing weak contact. However, Keuchel's ground-ball rate and whiff rate dropped considerably last season. Kimbrel had 42 saves for Boston last year and is one of the best late-inning arms in the game, but his velocity also dipped a bit in 2018 and he threw fewer pitches in the strike zone.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Todd Zolecki
2/21:Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar is likely to spend most of his time at second base in 2019, with former All-Star Alcides Escobar the favorite to play shortstop. Escobar, 32, was signed to a minor league deal but will most likely make the team if he stays healthy. Villar played 36 games at second base and 18 at shortstop after Baltimore traded for him last year, and he also has some experience at third base. He led the big leagues with 62 stolen bases when in Milwaukee in 2016 and figures to bat in the leadoff spot in his first full year with the O's. He hit .258/.336/.392 with eight home runs, 24 RBI and 21 stolen bases in just 54 games with Baltimore in two months and should absolutely not be overlooked in the middle rounds for his speed just because he plays for one of the worst teams in baseball.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Baltimore Sun - Peter Schmuck
2/21:The MRI exam on New York Mets third baseman Jed Lowrie's sore left knee showed no structural damage on Thursday, according to general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. The GM said the Mets will be cautious with Lowrie and "bring him along slowly." Lowrie first felt soreness while running and it bothered him while doing "high-explosive" activities. The 34-year-old hasn't felt anything like this before, which wouldn't seem to be a good sign after signing a two-year, $20 million deal this offseason. Lowrie had a career-high 23 home runs and 99 RBI for the A's last year, but he's more of a utility option in deep mixed leagues and is unlikely to top those numbers at this point in his career.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: SNY
2/21:New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom's agents, Jeff Berry and Matt Ricatto, and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will meet in Florida, according to a source. deGrom set a deadline of Opening Day for the team to agree to a long-term contract extension with him. As of last week, deGrom said the Mets had not made an offer and that he would like to be with the team beyond the next two seasons of team control. The 30-year-old won the National League Cy Young in 2018 and will make $17 million in 2019. His contract negotiations have no bearing on his fantasy value, and RotoBaller has him ranked as the No. 4 starter.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Newsday - Tim Healey
2/21:Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling will go back to a windup in his delivery full time in 2019 after abandoning it after the spring of 2017. "I think the reason you bring it back, it gives you a little more rhythm and it gives hitters a different timing. Out of the stretch, it’s easy to time it. Winding up, there are more moving parts. They felt good. Seems fine. What I saw on the field was good. It’s very simple," Stripling said. The 29-year-old made the All-Star team for the first time in his career in 2018 and made a career-high 21 starts to help the Dodgers injured rotation in the first half. There's a good chance he'll start the year in the bullpen in 2018, which would be a big hit to his fantasy value.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Ken Gurnick
2/21:Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was given the day off on Thursday by manager Dave Roberts after he was discouraged with the way he was feeling during a bullpen on Wednesday. The ace lefty also wasn't happy with his live batting practice on Monday. Roberts said Kershaw didn't mention a specific injury and the manager doesn't want to "overplay" a situation this early in camp. Still, fantasy owners will wonder if it has anything to do with the shoulder and back injuries that kept Kershaw sidelined last year and contributed to a dip in velocity. He'll turn 31 next month, but he still finished with a 2.73 ERA in 2018 and is 153-69 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 11 seasons. Kershaw is RotoBaller's No. 6 fantasy starter and will come off the board in the early rounds as an ace, but there is definitely more risk to him than ever before.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Ken Gurnick
2/21:The Chicago White Sox will not bid on free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper, according to a source. The White Sox also lost out on their primary target on Tuesday when Manny Machado agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. Harper, a six-time All-Star and 2015 National League MVP, is expected to command a long-term deal in excess of $300 million. He has averaged 32 home runs and 91 RBI per 162 games played and carries a .388 on-base percentage, .512 slugging percentage and .900 OPS in his career. At this point, it looks like it's coming down to the Phillies and Giants, with the Phillies being the favorites.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: 670 The Score - Bruce Levine
2/21:Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Soler (foot) showed up healthy and ready to go in camp this week. He was hitting .265 with 18 doubles, nine home runs and 28 RBI in mid-June last year when he fractured the first metatarsal bone in his left foot and missed the rest of the season. Soler (27 later this month) has never played more than 101 games in his five years in the big leagues. He has intriguing power upside when healthy, giving him high-risk, high-reward potential in fantasy. Soler probably won't be drafted in many mixed leagues, but he has the skills to become a waiver wire target if he stays on the field and sees regular playing time with the rebuilding Royals.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MLB.com - Jeffrey Flanagan
2/21:Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker said that starting pitcher Mike Soroka (shoulder) will not pitch in early spring training games. The young hurler finished last year on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and will be brought along slowly. The good news is the 21-year-old doesn't have any limitations, but the team is just being cautious with one of their better prospects. He had a 3.51 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 21 K's in just 25 2/3 innings in five starts in his first big league experience last year. Soroka should be in the team's rotation at some point this year if he's healthy, and his upside is worth taking a chance on in the late rounds of mixed leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Athletic - David O'Brien
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