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Transaction Analysis: Suspensions Grab the Headlines

Ryan Arbour

Ryan Arbour

Arbour writes the weekly Transactions article for RotoWire. He also enjoys creating his own projections and statistical analysis each winter for the upcoming season. In his spare time, Arbour roots for the Blue Jays from north of the border.

It was an eventful week in baseball, as several players were suspensioned as a result of the Biogenesis investigation. Here's a look at some of the top moves this week and their fantasy implications:

MONDAY

Rangers

Nelson Cruz, OF -
suspended for 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy
Engel Beltre, OF - recalled from Triple-A Round Rock

Impact: The Rangers lost their leader in home runs and RBI as Cruz accepted the suspension handed down by MLB for his involvement in the Biogenesis case. With 50 games left on the Rangers' schedule, Cruz will miss the remainder of the season, finishing with a .269 average, 27 home runs and 76 RBI through 108 games. Craig Gentry should benefit from extra playing time as a result of the suspension, but Beltre and Joey Butler are also on hand to try to fill the void in the outfield. Butler appears to be the best hitter of the three, but fantasy owners might want to wait and see how the playing time works itself out before taking a chance on any of them.

Rays

Desmond Jennings, OF -
placed on the 15-day DL (left middle finger)
Jason Bourgeois, OF - contract purchased from Triple-A Durham

Impact: The Rays center fielder sustained a small fracture in his left middle finger during Saturday's game against the Giants and there is no timetable for his return. Jennings' numbers this season are decent, but not great, as he leaves behind a .258 average, 11 home runs, 69 runs, 40 RBI and 17 steals in 104 games. Sam Fuld likely will see increased playing time due to the injury, and Bourgeois will also be in the mix in center field. Neither player is likely to have much value in most fantasy leagues.

Tigers

Jhonny Peralta, 3B -
suspended for 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy
Hernan Perez, IF - recalled from Double-A Erie

Impact: Peralta was one of 12 players who accepted a suspension from MLB for their involvement in the Biogenesis case Monday. The Tigers have 53 games left on the schedule, so he should return shortly before the start of the postseason. It's a shame, as Peralta was putting up some of the best numbers of his career this year with a .305 average, 11 home runs and 54 RBI in 104 games. Newly-acquired Jose Iglesias will handle the bulk of the duties at shortstop. Fantasy owners should not be fooled by Iglesias' impressive numbers thus far, as his career minor league numbers have been downright lousy. Perez will provide some infield depth.

Yankees

Alex Rodriguez, 3B -
activated from the 60-day DL
Derek Jeter, SS - placed on the 15-day DL (right calf)
Brent Lillibridge, IF - designated for assignment
David Adams, IF - recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Impact: A-Rod was handed down a hefty suspension from MLB for his involvement in the Biogenesis case, but he will be allowed to play while his appeal is worked out. Rodriguez had been out since the start of the season with injuries to his hip and his left quad, and his numbers in recent years have been steadily declining. Nevertheless, he should still be an improvement offensively for the Yankees, as their third basemen this year have been absolutely awful at the plate. Jeter is once again back on the shelf, this time with a strained right calf. This is now Jeter's third stint on the DL this season, and all three have been for different injuries. Clearly age has caught up to the star shortstop, and it remains to be seen how useful he'll be once he returns from his latest injury. Eduardo Nunez will once again serve as the Yankees' primary shortstop, but should probably be avoided in most fantasy leagues. Lillibridge hit just .119 (7-for-59) in 20 games between the Cubs and Yankees this year, and may have a tough time landing a job elsewhere. Adams provides the Yankees with some infield depth.

TUESDAY

Indians

Corey Kluber, RHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (right middle finger)
Matt Langwell, RHP - recalled from, and later optioned to Triple-A Columbus

Impact: Kluber likely will be out four to six weeks as he recovers from a sprained right middle finger. The 27-year-old righty has been doing quite well in his first full season of big league action, as he owns a 7-5 record, 3.54 ERA and a strikeout rate of 8.55 K/9 over 21 appearances (19 starts). Danny Salazar will get an extended look in the rotation as a result and could have some mixed league value due to his impressive minor league numbers. Langwell has made five relief appearances for the Tribe this year, but did not appear in a game during his latest stint with the ballclub.

Mariners

Tom Wilhelmsen, RHP -
optioned to Triple-A Tacoma
Carter Capps, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Tacoma

Impact: After going 8-for-8 in save opportunities with a 2.84 ERA in July, Wilhelmsen was tagged for four earned runs without picking up an out during his last outing against the Red Sox on Aug. 1. The blowup cost him his closing job and earned him a demotion to Triple-A. Danny Farquhar will get a chance to hold down ninth-inning duty for now, and is worth taking a chance on in most leagues due to a strikeout rate of more than one per inning. Capps will work in middle relief and isn't likely to be fantasy-relevant.

Mets

Bobby Parnell, RHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (neck)
Wilmer Flores, IF - recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas

Impact: Parnell could possibly be looking at undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. He will receive an epidural injection next week, after which time the team will re-evaluate his progress to determine if surgery is needed. Parnell has done quite well in his first extended stay in the closer's role, closing 22 ballgames while posting a 2.16 ERA in 49 relief appearances. There is no clear favorite for the ninth-inning role in the Mets bullpen, though David Aardsma has the most closing experience of anyone there. However, he has looked shaky, so the team may opt to use a bullpen-by-committee approach. Flores will serve as the team's primary third baseman while David Wright works his way back from a strained hamstring. Flores hit .321 with 15 home runs and 86 RBI in 107 games at Triple-A this season and should probably be owned in most NL-only leagues.

Padres

Everth Cabrera, SS -
suspended for 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy
Ronny Cedeno, IF - contract purchased from High-A Lake Elsinore

Impact: Cabrera's season is done after he accepted the 50-game suspension handed down by the MLB for his connection to the Biogenesis case. He ranked second in the majors in stolen bases (with 37) at the time of the suspension and finishes with a .283 average, 54 runs scored, four home runs and 31 RBI over 95 games. Cedeno will help to fill the void at shortstop, along with Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe. Amarista has been getting semi-regular playing time due to his ability to play multiple positions, making him the only one of the three who is likely to have fantasy value in most leagues.

Phillies

Domonic Brown, OF -
activated from the 7-day DL
Laynce Nix, OF - designated for assignment

Impact: The Phillies powerful left fielder needed a couple weeks to recuperate from concussion-like symptoms that he suffered during an attempted diving catch on July 23. Brown was hitting .271 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI in 99 games before the injury and should be activated in fantasy leagues immediately. Demon Young now figures to see a reduction in playing time, as the Phillies want to keep Darin Ruf's hot bat in the lineup. Nix posted a woeful .180 average (23-for-128) in 81 games with the Phillies.

WEDNESDAY

Rockies

Carlos Gonzalez, OF -
placed on the 15-day DL (right middle finger)
Jeff Francis, LHP - recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs

Impact: Gonzalez should be out for a few weeks as he deals with a sprained right middle finger. The 27-year-old left fielder has had an impressive season at the plate, even by his standards. Through 103 games, he hit .302 with 26 home runs, 72 runs scored, 70 RBI and 21 stolen bases, making him a true five-category fantasy asset. Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon should hold down left field while Gonzalez is sidelined. Both players have the potential to help a fantasy team if given enough playing time. Francis is 2-5 with a 6.63 ERA over 12 appearances (11 starts) and will be used in relief.

THURSDAY

Brewers

Rickie Weeks, 2B -
placed on the 15-day DL (left hamstring)
Scooter Gennett, IF - recalled from Triple-A Nashville

Impact: The Brewers second baseman will miss at least a couple weeks with a strained left hamstring. Weeks has been dreadful at the plate this season, posting a .633 OPS through 104 games (compared to a career .768 mark). Gennett has bounced between the minors and the big league club the last couple of weeks, but should receive the bulk of playing time at second base in Milwaukee while Weeks is shelved. Gennett has shown some pop in his bat throughout his minor league career, but has little power and only modest stolen-base potential. He's probably only worth a look in deeper NL-only leagues.

Indians

Mark Reynolds, 1B-3B -
designated for assignment
Preston Guilmet, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Columbus

Impact: Reynolds fell out of favor in Cleveland after a disastrous July in which he hit .098 (5-for-51) without an extra-base hit. Overall, the strikeout-prone corner infielder managed to hit .215 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 99 games. Nick Swisher and Lonnie Chisenhall should man the corner infield positions on a regular basis, with Mike Aviles also possibly getting some extra playing time. Guilmet had been serving as the closer at Triple-A Columbus, but isn't a likely candidate for saves in Cleveland's bullpen at this point.

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