Friday, January 17, 2014



Lots of news to get to so let's do it in one fell swoop. 

-Echoing an earlier report by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Chicago Cubs are ready to "blow away the field" when it comes to possibly signing free agent Japanese ace SP Masahiro Tanaka.  According to an additional report, the Cubs have basically told Tanaka to name his price. Tanaka's wife has spoken about her desire to live on the West Coast which many assumed would make the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners the favorites but if money is a factor, the Cubs have a leg up on everyone. 

As far as Tanaka's fantasy baseball value is concerned, the best course of action is to grade him out as a low end SP 2 at best.  Even though Tanaka has received universal plaudits for his ability, there is always mystery regarding how well Japanese imports can adapt to the U.S. game.  However if recent examples such as Hiroki Kuroda and Yu Darvish are considered, Tanaka will be just fine.

-Great news for anyone interested in drafting Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.....or actually if could be bad news too depending on how you look at it.....but word is that the future star is a full 6-8 weeks ahead of schedule in his rehab from knee surgery.  The Orioles will handle Machado with kid gloves as spring training gets underway but all signs now point to Macahdo being ready for Opening Day.  Those who were expecting somewhat of a discount on Machado under the assumption other fantasy baseball players in your league will be shying away are now out of luck on that front.  Despite a second half slide in 2013, Machado is ready to become one of the brightest hitting stars in fantasy baseball and is worth as high as a third round pick.

-Arbitration deals were accepted all over the place Thursday:

-Ike Davis and the New York Mets agreed on a one-year deal for $3.5 million.  Davis is coming off a horrific 2013 season that saw him get sent down to the minors in the middle of the year but he did finish strong and is only two seasons removed from a 32 homer campaign.  Draft Davis as a bench guy with upside late.

-Bud Norris got $5.3 million from the Baltimore Orioles for one-year.  Norris has very good stuff as always but his lack of control and inability to pitch deep into games are drawbacks.  However there was some talk earlier in the winter of the team possibly making Norris a closer and under that scenario he would be very intriguing. 

-Ian Kennedy got $6.1 million from the San Diego Padres for one year.  Kennedy bombed out the last two seasons in Arizona which proved once and for all that his big 2011 was a fluke like I said it was way back when.  However he is mildly intriguing in San Diego like Josh Johnson given his new locale.  Kennedy still can miss bats like Johnson and serve as a very smart SP 4 or 5. 

-Ross Detwiler got $3 million for one year by the Washington Nationals.  Detwiler no doubt has pitched well the last two seasons but he doesn't strike anyone out and he has little value in innings-capped formats.

-Jim Johnson got a one-year deal for $10 million from the Oakland A's Thursday.  Johnson has been a top five closer the last two seasons despite an all right K rate.  Same thing applies for this season as well.

That's all for now.  As always check back for more throughout the day.

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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