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Fantasy Notes: Back-Up Alignment

February 21, 2008 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
John McDonald will act as the Jays' backup at shortstop this season.
John McDonald, right, will have to do his yapping from the bench this season. (AP photo)

With Spring Training underway, it’s time for some baseball tidbits.

  • Toronto Manager John Gibbons has announced his back-up situation for this season. John McDonald will back up David Eckstein at short, while Marco Scutaro spells both Aaron Hill at second and Scott Rolen at third base. Russ Adams, a former first round pick, was slated to be a utility infielder as well this season, but he’s also going to get a look in the outfield this spring.
  • Manny Ramirez says he’d like to finish his career in Boston, but he doesn’t plan to ask the team to pick up his option for 2009. He won’t bring up the idea of an extension, saying that the Sox hold the option for next year, so it’s up to them to open talks. As many players do, ManRam has said that once the season is underway, he would prefer to wait until after it’s over to discuss the following year. If his off-season of working out like a banshee pays off, and he enjoys a solid comeback season, that will make it more enticing for Boston to pick up the option. Of course, it might also make it more likely that Ramirez will want more money.
  • Rafael Furcal is stoked about being reunited with Andruw Jones in LA. In fact, Furcal helped the Dodgers recruit Jones this winter. Jones reportedly arrived in camp “a bit” overweight. But assuming he can trim off the excess of a winter filled with eating Twinkies and has overcome his elbow issues, Jones should rebound this season. Hopefully his presence helps Furcal bounce back as well.
  • By adding Greg Smith, Gio Gonzalez and Dana Eveland in the Dan Haren/Nick Swisher deals this offseason, Oakland is stacked with southpaw pitching options. Holdover lefties Dallas Braden, Lenny DiNardo and Dan Meyer are also in the mix for starting gigs.
  • Over the past three years, only A.J. Pierzynski has caught more games behind the plate than Brad Ausmus. Yet, I still don’t want Ausmus getting within 50 yards of my fantasy team.
  • Let’s see, the greatest pitcher and greatest hitter of our era are unemployed; so is a 609-homer man and the all-time leading home run hitter among catchers. How weird will a season be without Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa or Mike Piazza?
  • Jake Peavy has won 43 games over the past three seasons, good enough for a share of 15th place among all starters. I think there’s a damn fine chance he’ll win 20 this season alone.
  • What’s the over/under for Randy Johnson starts this season? Let’s set the bar at 20.
  • Do you have any doubt that John Smoltz will remain among the NL’s top starters in 2008 and for the next couple of years beyond? For instance, would you deal him straight up for Kelvim Escobar in a keeper league? How about if you also had to surrender a top prospect like Joey Votto? Getting younger without getting better is pointless, as I tried to communicate to the owner in my league who peddled me that offer.
  • If Josh Beckett starts on a roll, and you’re loaded with pitching, listen to the offers. His ERA in April is around half a run lower than his career mark. Over the past three seasons, for instance, Beckett has put up a 2.77 ERA in April, almost a full run better than his career mark of 3.74.
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