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2/21:Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco (shoulder) is looking strong and healthy while working in the batting cages at camp and is hitting the ball with authority during batting practice. He's currently swinging the bat "without any reservations and restrictions," according to director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk. However, Polanco is still working through a throwing program, which is the biggest test. He's playing catch from between 90 to 100 feet and has been pain-free as he recovers from left shoulder surgery. His return date will still fall within the projection of seven to nine months after surgery, meaning sometime between mid-April and mid-June. Polanco's fantasy stock is obviously down, but he did hit a career-high 23 home runs and drove in 81 runs in 461 at-bats before his injury last year. He could represent a nice value in the later rounds and is surely worth stashing.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Adam Berry
2/21:New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal in January to cover his second year or arbitration eligibility, said he's not in any rush to sign a long-term contract extension. "I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I'm going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did," Syndergaard said Wednesday. "But if it's fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk." Syndergaard is under control for three more seasons and neither side has approached the other at this point. Thor will turn 27 in August and still has a lot of upside going into his fifth year in the big leagues. Injuries are a concern, though, and he has yet to top 183 2/3 innings for the Mets. Despite the risk, he's a top-10 fantasy starter that will come off the board as a low-end ace in the early rounds.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Athletic - Tim Britton
2/21:Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is in the final year of his current deal in 2019, isn't putting a firm deadline on contract-extension talks. The Nationals expect talks to resume this spring once Bryce Harper's free agency is resolved. "Weread more...
2/21:Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez has told shortstop Trea Turner that he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this year. Martinez thinks if Turner "attempts 75-80, we'll be in great shape." Only nine players have attempted at least 75 stolen bases in a season over the last decade and only four (Juan Pierre, Dee Gordon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathan Villar) have attempted 80 or more. It'll mean that Turner will need to get on base as much as possible and run when it's appropriate. The young phenom did post a .344 on-base percentage in 2018 and raised his walk rate from 6.7 percent in 2017 to 9.3 percent. Turner led the National League with 43 steals last year and played in a full 162 games. The previous year he stole 46 bags in just 98 games. The 25-year-old also hit 19 homers last year and will be in consideration in the late first round of fantasy drafts.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: MASN Sports - Mark Zuckerman
2/20:The Los Angeles Dodgers are slow-playing starting pitcher Walker Buehler in spring training after his spike in innings last season. As a result, he's about a week behind the other starters in camp who are already throwing live batting practice in preparation for games that start this weekend. Buehler expects to throw one or two more bullpen sessions before throwing to hitters and pitching in a game. The 24-year-old threw 137 1/3 innings (23 starts) in his first full season in the big leagues and was excellent, going 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 151 strikeouts. The upside is tantalizing and he'll come off the board in the early rounds as a second fantasy starter.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Ken Gurnick
2/20:New York Yankees shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut at home on Monday or Tuesday, according to manager Aaron Boone. The Yankees are easing Tulo in this spring because he has played in just 66 games the last two seasons due to injuries. The 34-year-old was one of the better offensive shortstops in his days with the Rockies, but he has fallen drastically since then. Tulowitzki is expected to share playing time with Gleyber Torres at the 6 until Didi Gregorius (elbow) returns around midseason. He's only worth a late-round flier in AL-only leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Bryan Hoch
2/20:New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird added around 20 pounds this offseason, mostly by making changes to his diet. Manager Aaron Boone said there is a "noticeable difference" in Bird's swing quality and believes the first baseman will benefit from the added weight. Bird has yet to capitalize on his potential and hit just .199/.286/.386 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 82 games for the Bombers last season. He'll have to prove himself and steal playing time away from Luke Voit at first base this year. Until he does that, you can avoid him in mixed leagues.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Bryan Hoch
2/20:New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar focused on his pre-pitch setup at third base in the offseason with infield coach Carlos Mendoza and manager Aaron Boone in order to reduce the 15 errors he committed in his rookie season. "The plan on defense since the offseason has been to improve my ready position, improve my first step, improve my direction when you’re making a throw," Andujar said through an interpreter. He wasn't very great on defense but finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting and led all major league rookies in hit (170), doubles (47), extra-base hits (76) and multi-hit games (53) while tying for first in homers (27). Thankfully for fantasy owners, they won't have to worry about Andujar's defense, and he's already proven that he can get it done with the bat. In New York's excellent offense, Andujar is a top-15 fantasy third baseman.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Bryan Hoch
2/20:The Washington Nationals have no plans to give free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper a mega-deal comparable to Manny Machado's 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres, according to sources. Washington offered Harper a contract for 10 years and $300 million before the end of last season and he rejected the deal. Two sources said that around $100 million of that offer would have been deferred money, though. If the Nationals were to bring Harper back now, they'd almost certainly exceed the competitive balance tax. At this juncture, the Phillies are the clear favorites to sign Harper to a mega-deal, but there's still a chance another team could change their mind and up their offer. Stay tuned.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: - Todd Zolecki
2/20:San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (hip) is unlikely to catch in any spring training games until early March, according to manager Bruce Bochy. Posey had surgery last August to address a hip impingement and repair a torn labrum, but he has been catching side sessions in camp. Bochy said that Posey could play first base or serve as the designated hitter in the early games. "I'm very encouraged and he is, too," Bochy said. "He's not feeling any effects from the surgery or the hip, so he's doing really well. It's all good to go with him. We're probably looking around the first of March, in that area." Posey will turn 32 next month and now has serious injury concerns after playing in just 105 games last year. He can still put up offensive numbers but shouldn't be considered an elite fantasy catcher anymore.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Associated Press
2/20:New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo is dealing with pain in his right shoulder and did not throw during defensive drills on Wednesday. Nimmo called it "just some early-season soreness." "We don’t want it to escalate,” Nimmo said. "Every year, it seems like if it’s not something it’s something else. When you get back into the swing of things, all these things start to flare up a little bit. It’s part of spring training." Nimmo was one of New York's pleasant surprises in 2018, hitting .263/.404/.483 with a career-high 17 home runs, 47 RBI and nine stolen bases in 140 games. He should move around the Mets outfield and play regularly, making him a late-round target for depth for his moderate mix of power and speed.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Newsday - Tim Healey
2/20:The Detroit Tigers agreed to an undisclosed one-year deal with free-agent infielder Josh Harrison on Wednesday, according to a source. The 31-year-old two-time All-Star had his $10.5 million option declined by the Pirates. He gives fantasy owners position flexibility, but his stock is way down after he hit just .250/.293/.363 with eight home runs and 37 RBI in 97 games while dealing with an injury. Harrison should see most of his time as Detroit's starting second baseman, which is bad news for Niko Goodrum, but Harrison has mediocre power and speed and should only be rostered in AL-only setups.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource:
2/20:Oakland Athletics outfielder Robbie Grossman could be the team's leadoff hitter on a regular basis in 2019. He's scheduled to hit first in the Cactus League opener against Seattle on Thursday. Grossman, a 29-year-old switch-hitter, has a career .355 on-base percentage and batted .273/.367/.384 with five home runs and 48 RBI in 129 games with the Twins last year. While he still wouldn't have a ton of fantasy upside at pitcher-friendly Coliseum, Grossman would be more attractive in AL-only leagues and as a DFS sleeper in the right matchups. The A's are also considering outfielder Stephen Piscotty and first baseman Matt Olson in the No. 3 spot after Matt Chapman and before slugging outfielder Khris Davis.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: San Francisco Chronicle - Susan Slusser
2/20:Free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper is believed to have turned down multiple offers over $300 million in recent weeks. At least five teams are believed to be in contact, although the Phillies, Giants and maybe even Nationals appear to have more of a chance than the Padres and White Sox. The Padres just dished out $300 million to Manny Machado, while the White Sox seemed to be more focused on Machado. Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, got exactly what they wanted all along: a bidding war. Now that Machado is off the market, the five teams interested in Harper could drive the price up considerably. Even though Harper hit under .250 last year, he still had 30-plus homers and more than 100 RBI. Whichever team that lands him will be getting a big outfield upgrade.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: Fan Cred - Jon Heyman
2/20:Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera left the team's spring complex on Wednesday with his left leg wrapped after appearing to tweak something while rounding second base. It's something to keep an eye on in the coming days. Herrera hit a career-high 22 home runs and drive in a career-high 71 runs last year, but he disappointed with his .255/.310/.420 slash line and career-low five stolen bases in 148 games. He sacrificed a lot of contact for more power, but he doesn't have a ton of pop to begin with. Herrera is just fine for outfield depth in the later rounds, but owners shouldn't be expecting him to improve on his power numbers.--Keith Hernandez - RotoBallerSource: The Philadelphia Inquirer - Matt Breen
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