Articles by Dave Regan

A listing of all the articles written by Dave Regan for the RotoWire Blog.

RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 12

It just keeps getting worse. I imagine my competition has more experience in DFS than I do, but 46th place out of 50? That’s just awful and embarrassing, but I guess some has to finish near the bottom, right?

Last week’s 7.50 point total was my fault, as I thought I had set my lineup, but apparently I did not. Oops. Prior to that though, I did set my lineup and netted a whopping 8.08 week.

Jordan Zimmermann didn’t do me any favors, and Albert Pujols picked that day to not hit a home run. These things happen though, but they obviously happen to me more than the folks at the top of the leaderboard. Unfortunately though, you have to hear from me this week.

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RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 9

It’s 2015 and this is my first foray into daily fantasy sports. As I pore over the leaderboard, I currently rank 31 out of 50, ahead of several guys that know more about this stuff than I do, and I’m sure behind some that know less.

Here are the overall standings through the first eight weeks:

1. Paul Sporer (pjs24) – 337.33
2. Ryan Rufe (rmrufe) – 316.66
3. Scott Jenstad (OaktownSJ) – 314.15
4. Tony Goldenstein (trookie83) – 304
5. Chris Liss (cliss11) – 294.66
6. Peter Schoenke (rotopeter) – 281.24
7. James Anderson (realjranderson) – 279.4
8. Kevin Payne (kevinccp) – 278.57
9. Adam Wolf (rotosomething) – 277.24
10. Brett Goldhammer (bretskyball) – 275.57
31. David Regan (vtadave) – 244.99

See The Full Standings Here

Helpful Contest Links

Hey, I can make up 92+ points in the five remaining contest weeks, right?

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Trade Deadline – Dodgers Don’t Part With the Big Three

When you think of “Big Three” in the sports world these days, of course the names LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh come to mind first, but the Dodger have a Big Three of their own in the forms of SS/3B Corey Seager, OF Joc Pederson, and SP Julio Urias. Each were ranked among the top 20 prospects in the game in Baseball America’s mid-season update published on July 7. A quick note on each:

Urias – 17 year-old left-handed prodigy can touch the mid-90s and is already being compared to Fernando Valenzuela. He is already so polished that there’s talk about a big league debut as early as 2015 when he’d be all of 18 years old.

Pederson – Toolsy outfielder is ready now. Not only is he the best defensive center fielder in the organization (big leagues included), but he’s also batting .315/.443/.580 with 23 home runs and 25 stolen bases for Triple-A Albuquerque.

Seager – Brother of Kyle, Corey may very well wind up as the more talented brother. He was just promoted to Double-A Chattanooga after batting .352/.411/.633 for High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s probably a third baseman in the big leagues, but he could be ready to take over as early as the second half of next season.

Leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, the Dodgers were thought to be in the market for a starting pitcher as well as bullpen help. With Josh Beckett’s hip injury and Dan Haren’s recent ineffectiveness, shoring up the back-end of an already very good rotation looked to be priority one. Being they are the Dodgers, an organization flush with both cash and high-upside prospects, you couldn’t hear the names David Price, Jon Lester, and Cole Hamels being mentioned without a statement that the Dodgers were rumored to have interest.

The club was reportedly willing to part with one of three plus other parts in a deal, but all three? That was never going to happen and GM Ned Colletti turned out to be a man of his word. All this is why the Dodgers’ big acquisition in July was none other than Darwin Barney.

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MLB Hot Stove: On Fire!

As a baseball fan and a huge fan of the Hot Stove action, I love this time of year. Trades are being made, teams are shelling out nine-figure deals, and GMs are getting raked over the coals by armchair analysts for the deals they HAVE made and the deals we all think they SHOULD have or should make. That all said, has there ever been a day with this much action outside of the Winter Meetings. Let’s take a rundown of today’s deals:

Yankees sign OF Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year $153 million deal

So the Yankees are really trying to stay under the luxury tax? This deal has so many ramifications and leaves so many questions unanswered:

Is Robinson Cano out as a Yankee unless his asking price plummets?

Do the Yankees not appreciate what Brett Gardner brings to the table?

Do they realize that committing over $22 million a year over seven years to a guy who has averaged 96 games a season over four years is risky?

Where’s the power? The Yankees outfield probably now will look like this: LF Gardner, CF Ellsbury, RF Ichiro Suzuki. That trio combined for a total of 24 home runs in 2013 and all three are on the wrong side of 30.

This is a real head scratcher. Ellsbury?s departure should open the door for Jackie Bradley Jr. to take over CF duties for the Red Sox, but they could just as easily pursue veteran help as a hedge. I just don?t get this at all for the Yankees unless they are willing to return to their free-spending ways and sign a top starter along with bringing back Cano.

Rockies sign 1B Justin Morneau to a two-year deal

Morneau is pretty much a league-average first baseman these days, but it would seem to figure that playing in Coors Field could yield 20-25 homers this year compared to his 17 in 2013. I would guess the Pirates would now pursue James Loney or try and deal for Mark Trumbo.

Marlins sign C Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year $21 million deal

Salty hit .206 versus LHP last year, so a platoon-mate makes some sense. He lives a mere 70 miles from his new home park, but he may want to put in a call to Jose Reyes or Mark Buehrle on whether he should get too comfortable with his new team. The Red Sox previously signed A.J. Pierzynski to share the job with David Ross, so they had no real interest in bringing him back. Saltalamacchia could hit cleanup behind Giancarlo Stanton.

Tigers sign RHP Joe Nathan to a two-year $20 million deal

This after dumping more salary in dealing Doug Fister to the Nationals. The Tigers are simply reallocating funds here after dealing both Fister and Prince Fielder to save salary. I think they go hard after Shin-Soo Choo next. Something tells me Miguel Cabrera is going to approach 170 RBI this year. He?s easily #2 behind Mike Trout on my 2014 draft board. Nathan solidifies the closer role in Detroit while in Texas, either Joakim Soria or Neftali Feliz would top the depth chart now. I do think Texas could be a player for a guy like Grant Balfour.

Rays acquire Ryan Hanigan

Hanigan will be the primary catcher in Tampa Bay, particularly given the new three-year extension doled out today. Hanigan came to the Rays along with the Rays? latest reclamation project, Heath Bell who could close with a solid spring. Arizona gets payroll relief by unloading Bell, but at the cost of solid SP prospect David Holmberg.

Astros acquire OF Dexter Fowler

?presumably to flip for better plays than they gave up. Dealing RHP Jordan Lyles and OF Brandon Barnes isn?t exactly going to cripple the Astros here. It?s a nice buy-low, but what now of uber CF prospect George Springer? Well if you look at the Houston outfield (L.J. Hoes, Robbie Grossman, etc.), they don?t exactly have Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle surrounding Fowler, so Springer still has a shot at a job this spring. His minor league numbers (37 HR, 45 SB) in 2013 are simply absurd. I really don?t know the point of this deal for the Rockies other than to cut payroll.

Billy Beane goes nuts

Hopefully Beane gets a good night?s sleep tonight. I also hope for Oakland?s sake that Beane has an unlimited minutes plan on his company cell phone. Tuesday, Beane added projected closer Jim Johnson, an excellent setup man in Luke Gregerson, and a solid platoon outfielder in Craig Gentry. This after already inking Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal previously. Beane is low looking to unload LHP Brett Anderson. Nice to see a small-market team putting the extra $25 million in TV money back into the payroll. Teams like the Padres should try that.

All in all, a crazy day!

Recent transactions: my take

LHP Sean Marshall and two prospects to the Reds for LHP Travis Wood
Probably a win-win for both sides. The Reds are making a real run at the NL Central crown, having gutted their farm system for Mat Latos and now, dealing five years of Travis Wood for one of Sean Marshall. We can debate the long-term implications all we want, but Wood at best is a #4/#5 starter while Marshall is a top-three left-handed reliever. The Reds’ closer situation is unsettled, with Marshall, Sam LeCure, Nick Masset, and perhaps Aroldis Chapman all in the mix for saves. Right now Masset is probably the favorite, but barring another top reliever being brought in, Marshall has a real shot at 30 saves. Wood on the other hand looks to be an early favorite for the Cubs’ No. 5 starter job, though due to a relative lack of strikeouts, his fantasy upside is limited.
Mets sign RHP Frank Francisco to a two-year $12 million deal
A deal almost certain to be one that the Mets are looking to unload later this year. For now though, Francisco is the heavy favorite over the likes of Ramon Ramirez and Jon Rauch to serve as closer out of the box. I’d certainly target Ramirez in NL-only formats, and perhaps even Rauch given Francisco’s volatility.
Arizona signs OF Jason Kubel to a two-year $16 million deal
An odd choice for Arizona, Kubel is below average defensively, perhaps significantly below average. He’s also a career .239/.314/365 hitter versus left-handers. Kubel does have some power, but over the past two years, he’s totaled a 0.9 WAR versus a 3.9 mark for the guy he’s replacing in the lineup, Gerardo Parra. From a pure talent perspective, I don’t get this deal at all. I would have much rather seen this money be invested in the bullpen and/or third base. Downgrade Parra’s fantasy value significantly.
Rockies sign OF Michael Cuddyer to a three-year $31.5 million deal
Cuddyer will slot in as the regular left fielder, but he’ll also qualify at first base in all leagues, and second base in many (17 games in 2011). I’d like to see Todd Helton hit second and Cuddyer fifth after Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, but we’ll have to see. Either way, the move to Coors Field shouldn’t hurt at all.
Rockies sign 3B Casey Blake to a one-year $2 million deal
…and Dodgers fans still get to watch Carlos Santana in an Indians uniform. I really enjoyed talking to Casey in Arizona each March. Truly a great guy with, according to Matt Kemp, a “dozen” kids. It’s far less than that, but he’s truly one of baseball’s good guys. When I introduced him to my 11 year-old daughters, Casey promptly told them how pretty they looked in their Dodger gear and that they were going to be a handful for their dad in a couple years. Great. Oh, from a fantasy perspective, Blake should have some solid NL-only value, but you’ll obviously want to have a contingency plan for when he hits the DL.
Reds deal C Yasmani Grandal, 1B/LF Yonder Alonso, RHP Edinson Volquez, and RHP Brad Boxberger to the Padres for RHP Mat Latos
A potential ace is Latos, but this is quite a haul for the Padres. Grandal batted .305/.401/.500 in his first full season of pro ball and should open the season in Triple-A, but he’s an elite catching prospect who will debut at some point in 2012. Alonso will either be traded again or force the trade of 1B Anthony Rizzo, as neither are suited to LF defensively. From what I’ve seen, the Padres should keep Alonso and deal Rizzo, who looked exposed in his major league stint last year. Volquez could be an interesting reclamation project for Bud Black and staff, but is that 5.4 BB/9IP a number that can come down significantly? Boxberger is a relative unknown, but given the recent departures of Mike Adams and Heath Bell, Boxberger could be in the closer mix quickly after a 2.03 ERA and impressive 93:28 K:BB in just 63 minor league innings last year.
Latos meanwhile goes from an extreme pitcher’s park to one that is, well, not as favorable. Latos though just turned 24, and with back-to-back 185+ strikeout seasons, he may be poised to take that next step towards being a true #1 starter. In theory, going from a league doormat to a contender should also help the W-L record, though it doesn’t quite always work out that way.
Astros deal closer Mark Melancon to the Red Sox for SS Jed Lowrie and RHP Kyle Weiland
Lowrie should benefit from increased playing time, though at 28 (in April), I’m not sure how much upside there is here. In a sporadic 499 big league at-bats spread over four seasons, Lowrie has a .253/.336/.425 batting line with 13 homers and just two stolen bases. He did have a .907 OPS in 170+ at-bats for the Red Sox in 2010, so I guess we just don’t know what to expect given regular at-bats, but it was a “risk” worth taking for the Astros. Weiland currently doesn’t have a spot in the rotation, and even if/when he finds himself as the Astros No. 5 starter, there isn’t a ton of upside here.
For the Red Sox, this is about building depth in the bullpen. Melancon currently finds himself at the top of the Red Sox closer depth chart, but I’m still not convinced the Dan Bard as-a-starter experiment will work out. Even if it doesn’t, the Red Sox appear to be far from done building their bullpen. If you had Melancon in a mixed keeper league, you’re not feeling good about this deal, but the jury is still out on Melancon’s 2012 role.
Oakland sends RHP Trevor Cahill and LHP Craig Breslow to Arizona for RHP Jarrod Parker, OF Colin Cowgill, and RHP Ryan Cook
The last time the Diamondbacks traded for a former A’s starter, it worked out quite well – Dan Haren. Cahill isn’t in Haren’s class, but thought he’s a bit overrated due to his 18-win season, he’ll still be a solid No. 3 starter. Thing is, Parker is far cheaper and has more upside. Then the A’s also get Cowgill, who I saw plenty of as Reno’s starting center fielder. Nice little player – won’t be a star, but he can be an average starting OF. Cook didn’t fare that well in the big leagues last year, but a 62:22 K:BB in 61 big league innings is solid. I see him as a future 7th/8th inning guy.
Oakland sends LHP Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals for RHP Brad Peacock, C Derek Norris, LHP Tom Milone, and RHP A.J. Cole
Let’s face it, the A’s aren’t going to be competitive until they get a new stadium. Meanwhile, any guy with 1+ years of service time is available. There’s zero chance Andrew Bailey is on the A’s roster next year, and I’m a bit surprised we haven’t heard Brandon McCarthy’s name mentioned more. Gonzalez should slot in as the team’s No. 2 starter between Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman. Potentially a formidable 1-2-3 in the playoffs. Gonzalez simply needs to get his BB/9IP rate more in the 3.3 range rather than the 4.1 mark he’s put up the past two seasons. I think he can do it.
For the A’s, this likely leaves them with an Opening Day rotation of McCarthy, Peacock, Guillermo Moscoso, Dallas Braden (if healthy – shoulder), and Jarrod Parker. Norris has serious contact issues (.235 and .210 AVG’s the past two years), but he’s been good for 28 homers per 550 at-bats over the last three minor league seasons. Norris turns 23 in February and could push Kurt Suzuki for the starting job with a big spring. Milone – No. 4 starter potential – have heard “left-handed Shaun Marcum” thrown around. Peacock could be a very good No. 3 or fringe No. 2 while Cole is just 19 but has the most upside of this quartet. Time will tell whether who wins this one.

Hot Stove notes and other stuff…

Notes from the Hot Stove
By Dave Regan
Nov. 20, 2011
If you’ve yet to do your Christmas shopping for your daughter/niece, I invite you to consider the cursing doll.
A few deals this week…
Dodgers sign 2B Mark Ellis to a two-year, $8.75 million deal, C Matt Treanor to a one-year $1 million deal, and extend OF Matt Kemp via an eight-year $160 million deal.
Busy offseason so far for the Dodgers, but expect this to be the high point. Kemp’s deal was driven by Bud Selig’s desire to make the team more marketable once the auction ensues. It’s a ton of money to invest in “Hollywood” Kemp, but from a fan standpoint, it had to be done. Ellis just adds to the team’s collection of mediocre infielders, but at least the glove is solid. At catcher, the Dodgers are committing to A.J. Ellis and his OBP skills here. Hopefully he’ll see 300+ at-bats. He’s NL-only worthy.
Twins sign C/1B/DH Ryan Doumit to a one-year $3 million deal and INF Jamey Carroll to a two-year $6.75 million deal.
It’s probably a good call that Doumit turned down a similar deal from the Dodgers. His numbers in the AL will be better. With Joe Mauer good for a couple DL stints at least, Doumit should maintain C eligibility come 2013. He could see enough time to go .280-15-65. Carroll meanwhile is a risk on a multi-year deal, but then again, I thought the same thing two years ago, and that worked out well for the Dodgers. Unless you’re in OBP leagues however, Carroll’s fantasy value will remain very limited.
Diamondbacks re-sign 2B Aaron Hill to a two-year $11 million deal and INF Willie Bloomquist to a two-year $3.8 million deal.
I like Hill’s upside far more than that of Mark Ellis’, and for just $2.25 million more, this is a solid deal for Arizona. In 2009-2010, Hill totaled 62 homers folks. I’d go as high as $17 in NL-only formats. As for Bloomquist, he’s an NL-only in-season pickup at best. Two years? Ugh.
Pirates sign SS Clint Barmes to a two-year $10.5 million deal and C Rod Barajas to a one-year $4 million deal.
Yet another example of mediocre teams spending far too much money on stop-gaps. I pity the NL-only team that rosters both of these guys. At least they are short-term deals, but look for both guys to be shopped around come July.
Colorado 3B Nolan Arenado wins the Arizona Fall League MVP.
Beast. I saw this guy play earlier this month and EVERYONE raved about him. He’s Ian Stewart (former #10 overall pick), but I think he’ll actually have some success. Look for Arenado to make his MLB debut late this coming season and open 2013 as the team’s starter at the hot corner.
Orioles sign 2B/3B Matt Antonelli to a major league deal.
Shocking really, considering Antonelli has just 500 pro at-bats over the past three seasons. Antonelli though did have a .393 OBP for Triple-A Syracuse this past year and he was once a Top-100 prospect, though that was several years ago. He’s in the right organization to rebuild his career, but we’ll have to see what else the Orioles do this offseason before projection Antonelli’s at-bats.
OF Bryce Harper finishes his Arizona Fall League with a triple-slash of .333/.400/.634.
He’s also going to mash in spring training, so unless the Nationals (wisely) look to delay the starting of his service clock, Harper is going to be pushing for a starting OF slot very, very soon.
Screw betting on football ever again. Hit 3 of 4 on a four-team parlay, 2 of 3 on a three-team pleaser, and gulp, 11 of 12 on a 12-team teaser. The only loss on the last one was taking the under on the Bears game at 50.5. Final score: 31-20. Any good books out there on sports betting, or just general philosophies that can help me?
Phillies trade for Ty Wigginton
Wigginton should get enough at-bats (300+) to maintain NL-only value, particularly early in the year, when we can expect him to fill in for the injured Ryan Howard (achilles). In fact, given his home park and the lineup around him, Wigginton could go .280-15-60 while maintaining eligibility at multiple positions.
As for the NBA lockout, I couldn’t care less. We have a great NFL season going on. MLB has a new collective bargaining agreement that was hammered out behind the scenes with zero acrimony. The BCS is in shambles with undefeated teams dropping like flies, and college basketball has kicked back up. Yeah I’ll watch a Lakers-Heat final next year once this stuff gets worked out (and it will), but until then, it’s out of sight out of mind. I just feel bad for the sports bars / casinos in my neck of the woods, who will lose revenue because of a couple percentage points and a ton of greed.
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. Here are my initial thoughts on the Thursday NFL slate:
Packers (-6) @ Detroit – Anytime the Packers are getting less than 7, I can’t go against them. Sure, the Lions put up 49 on Sunday, but Clay Matthews and company won’t let that happen, even on the road. Pick: Green Bay.
Dolphins (+7) @ Dallas – I don’t know which Cowboys team will show up each week, but after watching the Dolphins dismantle an admittedly reeling Buffalo team Sunday, I’m taking the points. If you can barely beat Rex Grossman, 7 points are too many. Pick: Miami.
49ers (+3) @ Ravens – 3.5 would have made it much easier to go with San Francisco here. This is essentially a pick ’em game for me. The Ravens though are 5-0 at home this year, so if the line stays as is, advantage Baltimore: Pick: Ravens.

Hot Stove notes and other stuff…

Notes from the Hot Stove

The Yankees of the National League inked Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year deal, that at $50 million, guaranteed him more money in a single contract than any reliever in major league history. Hopefully for Phillies fans, Papelbon is a better value than the guy he passed – B.J. Ryan (5 years, $47 million).

Glad I took Oklahoma St. minus the 17 ½, though a 66-6 score is a little frightening.

I can name more than three federal agencies that I’d cut. Just sayin’…

Great time at the Shandler Arizona Fall League event this year. A few guys that caught my eye:

Nick Franklin was 2-for-4 in the first game I saw him, and then in the Rising Stars game, he had five RBI before the second inning was finished. He should be the Mariners’ shortstop by Opening Day 2013.

Arizona OF Adam Eaton (no relation) looks short, but all he does is hit and steal bases. I think he overtakes Gerardo Parra sometime in 2013.

Cody Scarpetta won’t be the Brewers’ fifth starter any time soon. He was absolutely shelled (seven runs, two outs) when I saw him.

Lots of talk about Rockies’ 3B prospect Nolan Aredondo. He’s going to be good folks.

I learned that Brandon Crawford’s sister is not only hot, but also is dating Gerrit Cole. Cole meanwhile, must have had that on his mind when I saw him pitch in the Rising Stars game. The velocity was in the upper-90s, but Cole couldn’t get out of the first inning, surrendering home runs to Nick Franklin and some guy whose last name starts with “Terd”.

Danny Hultzen meanwhile looked very good. He’ll be a 92-94 mph, but the delivery is effortless, and he’ll soon (late-2012 or sooner) slot in as the Mariners’ third-best starter.

I sat by Robbie Grossman’s mom for part of one game, and she seems to like him. I do too. Unfortunately, Grossman’s fall ball ended early due to a broken hamate bone, but he’ll have time to recover. Grossman walked 104 times in 134 games this year, while increasing his HR total from four to 13 (in just a handful more at-bats) and swiping 24 bags. He’s a couple years away, but his star is rising.

We saw Nationals GM Mike Rizzo at one game, and though Bryce Harper went just 1-for-5 that night, the universal report in Arizona is that Harper is pretty good. Newsflash there eh? I don’t see Harper winning a big league job out of spring training, but with his talent, I’m open to the possibility it could happen.

Two years, $7 million for Jamey Carroll to be Minnesota’s starting shortstop. You think maybe they should have held onto J.J. Hardy? As a Dodgers fan, I love Carroll’s grit and OBP, but while RBI isn’t something I put a lot of credence in, he has just 17 in just north of 500 PA’s last year. That’s hard to do. Love the guy, but not as an everyday starter.

So the Dodgers lose Carroll and Rod Barajas (Pittsburgh), but give $4.5 million for one year of Juan Rivera? Can we just get this ownership situation resolved so that smart baseball people can take over? Thanks.

The Marlins? Really? I wish I knew the details of the offers to Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle. I’m guessing they sign for $250 million, $140 million, and $40 million respectively. I think Pujols stays in St. Louis, Reyes signs in Florida, and Buehrle goes to the Angels. Guesses of course, and I wouldn’t worry about Hanley Ramirez losing his shortstop eligibility. Reyes should miss enough games to get Hanley in there with some frequency.

It seems like such a no-brainer for the Angels to steal thunder from the Rangers by signing Albert Pujols, but apparently the team is comfortable with some combination of Kendry Morales and Mark Trumbo at the first base slot. They are in on C.J. Wilson however.

I’d love to see the Cubs reward Carlos Zambrano for his boorish behavior by shipping him, as has been rumored, to Kansas City.

Crazy story this week with the Wilson Ramos kidnapping. It’s easy for us to say that these big leaguers shouldn’t go there, but that’s their home. That’s where their family is. Ramos “only” makes in the $400k range annually, but perhaps as his salary rises, a bodyguard may be in order.

Green Bay Linebacker Desmond Bishop on the Joe Paterno / Penn St. scandal “Joe pa got fired?!?! Wft…wat did he do?” No word on whether this tool is friends with Ashton Kutcher.

I just put a little $$$ on the Marlins at 35:1 to win the 2012 World Series. If they can sign half of the guys they are rumored to be in on, that line will go down quickly.

Brett Morel homered eight times in September, and with the White Sox looking at a rebuilding phase, Morel is likely going to get first crack at the third base job. He could be a sneaky source of power, but the late of plate discipline (5.1|PERCENT| career BB|PERCENT|) will limit the BA upside.

Speaking of Septembers, Dee Gordon batted .372 with 14 stolen bases during the month. With his speed and contact ability, .300, 90 runs, and 50 steals is possible. Of course that could come with zero home runs and 30 RBI, but there’s still value to be had here.

B.J. Upton is going to generate a ton of trade interest this winter, and after batting .333/.432/.606 in September, he could be a difference maker with a change of address. Washington should have serious interest.

On the pitching side, presenting my top 20 starters for 2012:

1.       Clayton Kershaw, LAD – Solve his command issues and should win the NL Cy Young award.

2.      Justin Verlander, DET – A travesty if he’s not a unanimous Cy Young winner.

3.      Roy Halladay, PHI – Innings and age have to catch up to him at some point.

4.      Stephen Strasburg, WAS – Fastball averaged 95.8 mph upon return. That could be 97 next year. I’d pay a minimum of $500 for front row seats to see these two battle.

5.      CC Sabathia, NYY – K and BB rates were improved last year.

6.      Felix Hernandez, SEA – 2011 was a down year – 8.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9. He’ll be better in 2012.

7.      Cliff Lee, PHI – see above

8.      Dan Haren, Angels – A quietly great 2011.

9.      Mat Latos, SD – Wins total may be suppressed by his team, but he was huge in September. Sky is the limit. Plus, you can get him after guys below him on this list.

10.   Jered Weaver, Angels – Yeah he was good too.

11.    Zack Greinke, MIL – Entering a contract year. Strong finish to 2011.

12.   David Price, TB – Same WAR as Brandon McCarthy if you can believe it, but yeah, I’ll still take Price.

13.   Madison Bumgarner, SF – Will be drafted after Tim Lincecum in 2012 drafts, but Bumgarner will be better.

14.   Tim Lincecum, SF – He’s already peaked, but he’s still good.

15.   Josh Beckett, BOS – Despite the beer and wings, a solid 2011.

16.   Ian Kennedy, ARI – Yeah, Yankees want him back.

17.   C.J. Wilson, ??? – Can he repeat?

18.   James Shields, Rays – 249.1 innings? That’s a concern.

19.   Michael Pineda, SEA – Looking at 200 innings next year. Guy is a beast.

20. Chris Carpenter, SEA – Yeah a few guys with more upside, but I think he has another strong year in him.

Baseball’s annual winter meetings are scheduled to run from Dec 5-8. That’s when we’ll see some trades and a handful of free agent signings. A few guys I’d expect to be on the block:

Domonic Brown – Phillies are looking at Michael Cuddyer as their left fielder, so Brown is expendable. I can see the Phillies dangling Brown in a deal for Stephen Drew, though Phillies fans might not be accepting of J.D.’s younger brother.

James Loney – He’ll be dangled, but will anyone bite on the promise of his 2011 second half? Cubs?

Anyone on the Cubs – Theo will be active, and willing to eat money.

Joey Votto – Do the Reds rake in a haul for Votto and go with Yonder Alonso at 1B? Possible. Blue Jays would have serious interest here, but I don’t see Jose Bautista going the other way in return. Votto for Ricky Romero?

B.J. Upton – Pretty sure he’ll be dealt. Lots of teams will be in here. I think he’ll head to Washington in exchange for prospects.

Jeremy Guthrie – I see him headed to a contender for prospects. Pretty sure he won’t be a part of the next Orioles contending team.