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Transaction Analysis: The Chase Begins

Ryan Arbour

Ryan Arbour

Ryan Arbour writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

We're only a few weeks into the baseball season, and there's already been so much going on. Here's a look at some of this week's most notable transactions:

SUNDAY

Nationals

Wilson Ramos, C -
placed on the 15-day DL (left hamstring)
Jhonaton Solano, C - recalled from Triple-A Syracuse

Impact: Ramos appeared to be well on his way to becoming one of baseball's better offensive catchers before a torn ACL limited him to just 25 games last year. He'll now miss a few weeks as he recovers from a strained left hamstring, giving Kurt Suzuki a chance for regular at-bats. The long-time A's catcher has failed to post an OPS above .700 in any of the last three seasons, but could be useful in deeper fantasy leagues. Solano fared well in a brief stint with the Nats last year but shouldn't get enough playing time to make him worth a look.

MONDAY

Blue Jays

Brett Lawrie, 3B -
activated from the 15-day DL
Casper Wells, OF - designated for assignment

Impact: Lawrie ended up missing just the first two weeks of the season with a ribcage injury. While he served as the Jays' regular third baseman last year, Lawrie now figures to also see some time at second base to minimize the impact of Jose Reyes' absence from the team. With Lawrie at second, the Jays would use Jose Bautista at the hot corner (where he's already seen some action this year) and Maicer Izturis at shortstop. Lawrie has some pop in his bat and could help out a fantasy team with a decent batting average and double-digit numbers in homers and stolen bases. Wells was with the Jays for just five days after being claimed off waivers, and did not appear in a game. Jose Bautista is nursing a sore back, so Munenori Kawasaki has been serving as the regular at shortstop (with Lawrie at third and Izturis at second). Kawasaki should carry very little fantasy value, even if Bautista ends up being sidelined for a significant time.

Reds

Johnny Cueto, RHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (right lat)
Justin Freeman, RHP - contract purchased from Triple-A Louisville

Impact: Cueto has become a dominant pitcher in recent years, and was coming off a strong 2012 campaign in which he went 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA for Cincinnati. He looked sharp through his first three starts this year as well but will now miss at least a couple weeks with a strained right lat. While Cueto is out, 23-year-old prospect Tony Cingrani will get a chance to prove himself in the rotation. Cingrani has compiled a career 1.62 ERA and 11.82 K/9 over 42 minor league appearances (41 starts) and could be worth taking a chance on. He debuted Thursday for the Reds and struck out eight in five innings, allowing one run on five hits and three walks. Freeman provided the team with an extra bullpen arm until Cingrani was called up Thursday.

TUESDAY

Cubs

Darwin Barney, 2B -
activated from the 15-day DL
Brent Lillibridge, IF - designated for assignment

Impact: Barney returned to action Tuesday after starting the year on the DL with a laceration in his left knee. While the 27-year-old second baseman is likely to get regular at-bats, his lack of any discernible offensive abilities seriously limits his fantasy potential. He enters the 2013 season with a career OPS of just .654 and has stolen just 15 bases over the last two seasons combined. Lillibridge shared second-base duties with Alberto Gonzalez while Barney was on the shelf and managed to hit just .042 with nine strikeouts in 24 at-bats for the Cubbies.

Diamondbacks

Aaron Hill, 2B -
placed on the 15-day DL (left hand)
Didi Gregorius, IF - activated from the 15-day DL

Impact: The D-Backs' second baseman bruised his left hand when he was hit by a pitch from James McDonald last Tuesday but appeared to have recovered. He was used as a pinch hitter April 13 and made a start at second the next day before leaving the game with soreness. An MRI revealed a small fracture, and he is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Cliff Pennington figures to slide over to second to make room at shortstop for Gregorius. Based on his minor league numbers, the 23-year-old Gregorius (who is returning from a UCL sprain) is unlikely to hit well enough to have much fantasy upside. Josh Wilson and the versatile Martin Prado are also in Arizona's middle infield mix.

Red Sox

Joel Hanrahan, RHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (right hamstring)
Steven Wright, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket

Impact: Hanrahan was an All-Star for Pittsburgh each of the last two seasons, but his performance through his first six appearances this year was awful (11.57 ERA and 2.36 WHIP). The Red Sox deemed that his ineffectiveness was largely due to the fact that he had been nursing a sore right hamstring, so he'll get a couple weeks to recover. In the meantime, Andrew Bailey will assume ninth-inning duties for the BoSox. Bailey was lousy during his injury shortened 2012 season but still came into this year with a 2.47 career ERA. He's looked very sharp early on, so there's no reason to believe that he can't get the job done. Wright is a knuckleballer who will work in middle relief.

WEDNESDAY

Dodgers

Chris Capuano, LHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (left calf)
Tim Federowicz, C - recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque

Impact: The Dodgers rotation took another hit Tuesday when Capuano left his start with a strained left calf. Capuano was occupying the rotation spot that had been filled by Zack Greinke, who is out a couple months with a broken collarbone. Interestingly enough, it was revealed that Capuano actually strained the calf last week during the same brawl that put Greinke on the shelf. Capuano began the year in the bullpen after going 12-12 with a 3.72 ERA through 33 starts last year. Ted Lilly could be called upon to fill the vacant rotation spot. The jury is still out on whether Lilly is fully recovered from his shoulder surgery, so fantasy owners should be cautious. Federowicz will serve as a third catcher until Lilly (or another starter) needs to be added to the roster.

Indians

Michael Bourn, OF -
placed on the 15-day DL (finger)
Corey Kluber, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Columbus

Impact: The Indians will be without their center fielder and leadoff hitter for at least a couple weeks after he sliced his right index finger last Sunday. Bourn has been one of baseball's top base stealers, as he's swiped at least 40 bags in each of the last five seasons. He had been fairly quiet on the basepaths this year, stealing only one base in 10 games, but he was swinging a hot bat. Drew Stubbs will slide over to center from right field, with Ryan Raburn likely splitting the right-field duties with Nick Swisher. Raburn had an absolutely horrendous 2012 season, hitting just .171 with one home run and 12 RBI in 205 at-bats. He is unlikely to carry much fantasy value. Nick Swisher's fantasy value remains relatively unchanged, as he was already getting regular playing time at first base.

Padres

Chase Headley, 3B -
activated from the 15-day DL
Cameron Maybin, OF - placed on the 15-day DL (right wrist)

Impact: Headley appears to be fully recovered after he broke his left thumb during a spring training game. The third baseman had a huge year last season, as he obliterated his career highs in home runs (31) and RBI (115). He should be safe to activate in all fantasy formats, but owners shouldn't expect him to match the lofty numbers he posted last year. His return moves rookie Jedd Gyorko from third base to second and relegates Alexi Amarista to a backup role. Maybin was off to a brutal start, hitting just .091 (3-for-33) through 10 games. He's been dealing with wrist issues, so the Padres will use Chris Denorfia and Will Venable in center field.

THURSDAY

Marlins

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS -
placed on the 15-day DL (right elbow)
Nick Green, IF - contract purchased from Triple-A New Orleans

Impact: The Marlins' 24-year-old shortstop should miss about two weeks after he bruised his right elbow during batting practice Wednesday. Hechavarria hasn't done much with the bat so far in his young major-league career, hitting just .234 with three home runs and 18 RBI in 55 games. Chris Valaika should get most of the starts at shortstop while Hechavarria recovers. Valaika had only 33 games of major league action under his belt coming into this season. A look at his minor league numbers shows very little to get excited about, so fantasy owners will want to look elsewhere for help. Green provides Miami with some infield depth.

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