RotoWire Partners

Transaction Analysis: Gardner's Absence Leaves Void

Ryan Arbour

Ryan Arbour writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Here's a look at the transactions this week that had the most significant fantasy impact.


Tyson Ross, RHP -
recalled from Triple-A Sacramento
Neil Wagner, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Sacramento
Collin Cowgill, OF - optioned to Triple-A Sacramento
Andrew Carignan, RHP - optioned to Triple-A Sacramento

Ross will serve as the A's fifth starter, at least until Dallas Braden returns from his shoulder injury, which likely will not be before June. Ross was 3-3 last season with an ERA of 2.75 through 36 innings, after going 1-4 with a 5.49 ERA in 2010. His minor league track record is nothing special as he's posted unremarkable ratios at every level. He's only 25 as of Sunday, so there's still time for him to improve, but at this point he should be avoided in all but the deepest of fantasy leagues. Cowgill was 0-for-4 with the A's, while Carignan was 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in five appearances. Wagner had a 7.20 ERA in six appearances with the A's last season and will work out of the bullpen.


Chris Young, OF -
placed on the 15-day DL (right shoulder)
A.J. Pollock, OF - contract purchased from Triple-A Reno

Young was tearing it up through his first 11 games this season, hitting .410 with five home runs and 13 RBI. Throughout his career, he has produced solid power and stolen base numbers despite a mediocre batting average. He is expected to miss two to three weeks due to a torn ligament in his right shoulder. With fellow outfielder Justin Upton also battling a thumb injury, Gerardo Parra should receive regular at-bats, with A.J. Pollock also in the mix. Parra offers fantasy teams a good batting average but little else, while Pollock is a speedster who had not played above Double-A prior to this season. Neither player is worthy of mixed-league consideration at this point, but could help in NL-only leagues.


Ted Lilly, LHP -
activated from the 15-day DL
Todd Coffey, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (right knee)

Lilly returned to action Saturday after missing the first couple of weeks of the season due to neck stiffness. The veteran left-hander has been a consistent fantasy option for several years, as he generally posts an ERA between 3.50 and 4.00 with a strikeout rate of around 7.5 per nine innings. Those numbers aren't remarkable by any means, but they make him valuable enough to be worth owning in pretty much any league format. Coffey has pitched in 216 games the last three seasons, fifth most. While the Dodgers will miss having him available out of the pen as he recovers from inflammation in his right knee, the majority of fantasy leagues will not be affected by his absence.


Brian Wilson, RHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (right elbow)
Ryan Vogelsong, RHP - activated from the 15-day DL

The Giants closer likely will have to undergo Tommy John surgery after an MRI showed structural damage to his right elbow. That would mean an early end to his season, after he appeared in just two games. Wilson has saved a combined 163 games the last four seasons, so his injury will have a profound impact on his fantasy teams. Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez have been mentioned as the most likely candidates to receive saves in Wilson's absence. Keep a close eye on the closing situation in San Fran to see if anyone wins the job outright. Vogelsong was one of the biggest surprises of last season, as he went 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA in 179.2 innings after spending the previous four years playing in Japan and the minor leagues. His track record suggests that a repeat performance is unlikely, but his 2011 numbers make him at least worth taking a chance on.


Joe Wieland, RHP -
contract purchased from Triple-A Tucson
Kyle Blanks, OF - placed on the 15-day DL (left shoulder)

Wieland made his major league debut Saturday after replacing the injured Dustin Moseley in the Padres rotation. His line was not good - six earned runs allowed on six hits and two walks in five innings - but he rebounded in his second start Thursday with six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts. His minor league track record, ability to limit walks (three in two starts) and pitcher-friendly home ballpark make him worth considering in deep leagues. Blanks was 1-for-5 in four games with San Diego and is sidelined with a sprained left shoulder.


Matt Hague, IF -
optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis
Charlie Morton, RHP - activated from the 15-day DL

Morton posted an impressive ERA of 3.83 last season, though his WHIP was a downright ugly 1.53. He succeeded by keeping the ball in the park, giving up just six long balls in 171.2 innings (after giving up 15 in 79.2 innings the year before). His strikeout rate was an unimpressive 5.94 per nine innings over his career coming into this season, making him an NL-only option at best at this point. He'll need to drastically cut the walks to improve his fantasy value. Hague was 1-for-9 with two RBI in five games with the Bucs.

Jeff Karstens, RHP -
placed on the 15-day DL (right shoulder)
Brad Lincoln, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis

Karstens put together the best season of his career last year, as he went 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA through 162.1 innings. He did it without overpowering hitters, as his strikeout rate was a below average 5.32 per nine innings. He is now on the shelf due to inflammation in his right shoulder after being pulled from his last start Tuesday. There is no word yet on when he will return, and it is expected that A.J. Burnett will be activated from the DL in time to fill the now-vacant rotation spot. Brad Lincoln will work out of the bullpen and comes into this season with a career 3-7 record and 5.74 ERA.

Red Sox

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF -
placed on the 15-day DL (right shoulder)
Jason Repko, OF - contract purchased from Triple-A Pawtucket

The Red Sox will be without their center fielder and leadoff hitter for at least six weeks after he suffered a partially dislocated right shoulder during last Friday's game against Tampa Bay. Ellsbury returned from a serious rib injury last season to become one of baseball's top fantasy performers, hitting 32 home runs with 39 steals, 119 runs scored, 105 RBI and a .321 batting average. Filling his vacant spot in the outfield will be Repko and Darnell McDonald, neither of whom is worth consideration on most mixed-league rosters.


Brett Gardner, OF -
placed on the 15-day DL (left elbow)
Cody Eppley, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Gardner has been one of baseball's top base stealers the last two seasons, so his fantasy owners will definitely feel an impact now that he's on the shelf. He stole a combined 96 bases and scored 184 runs over those two years, though his other numbers have been of little help to fantasy teams. He'll miss some time due to a bruised left elbow and strained arm muscle, and manager Joe Girardi hopes to have him back within the 15-day minimum. In the meantime, the Yankees will use a combination of Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez and Eduardo Nunez to fill the vacant spot in the outfield. Ibanez has already been playing semi-regularly as the team's primary designated hitter, but Jones' fantasy value should see a boost over the short-term. Nunez is probably not worth taking a chance on.