Thursday, March 27, 2008

Crede/Fields; other draft updates

White Sox 3B Josh Fields must be thinking, what do you have to do to make the Opening Day roster?

All Fields did was hit 23 HR in 100 games last year, but when it was time for the White Sox to make their 25-man roster cuts, Fields was sent packing, back here to play for the AAA Charlotte.

Good for Knights fans. Bad for Fields.

The reason: 2006 Silver Slugger award-winner Joe Crede ahead of him on the depth chart.

“I mean to a certain extent, there isn’t much I could do because Joe is established,” Fields said over the weekend.

But the real reason Fields will be playing at Knights Castle this April instead of U.S. Cellular is two-fold.
  • Crede is making $5 million this year.
  • The White Sox have been unable to find a suitable trade partner for Crede.
Two teams have reportedly made offers for Crede, but neither GM Ken Williams deemed fair.

So until that happens, Fields, who's hitting .270 this spring, will get regular at-bats in the International League. Crede, meanwhile, has a .185 spring average, and needs to prove he's all the way back after back surgery to increase his trade value.

For those of you who have either Crede or Fields on your team already, ouch. This is quite the sticky situation. Even if he's traded, Crede's value is safe, unless you play in an AL-only league. The Dodgers and Giants are the teams most often mentioned in his trade rumors.

Now, if you drafted Fields and can't decide what to do, the simple answer is store him, if you're in a league with bench spots, and drop him if you don't. We could be looking at a month or longer before Fields is riding planes, instead of buses, between parks.

But for those of you whose draft is this weekend, I'd stay away from this hot corner, if possible. Third base is a deep position and there's always a Pedro Feliz or Casey Blake that you can snag late.

And for all you baseball fans in Charlotte, Fields is just another reason to visit the Castle this spring.

Other last-minute updates, to make you look smart at your draft:
  • Kelvim Escobar: Don't be the guy who says his name in the first half of the draft, only to hear under-the-breath comments or worse, have someone ask you if you've actually done any homework for the draft. The news has gone from bad to worse this week, as Escobar told reporters his shoulder injury is a tear and he may need surgery of either the season-ending or career-ending variety. Draft advice: Stay away. Nothing about this sounds good.
  • Curtis Granderson: The Tigers 20-20-20-20 phenom broke his right middle finger when he was hit by a pitch Saturday. Granderson says it's a 3-week deal. He'll start the season the DL. Draft advice: Even if Grandy's timetable is accurate, he misses the first two weeks, or roughly 12 games, but these finger injuries can really mess up a swing (remember Chone Figgins) and it may take weeks after he comes back, before he hits a groove. This could mean a 10-20 percent hit on Granderson's output, so I'd move him down a full round or round and a half.
  • Kerry Wood: Surprise, surprise. After the kiss of death, an endorsement to make him a top closer by yours truly, Wood came down with back spasms hours later. But that appears to be just a blip as Lou Piniella named Wood his closer, after he struck out 10 and walked none in 10 innings. "He's thrown the ball exceedingly well," Piniella said. Draft advice: Nobody's got better seats on the Wood bandwagon than I, but his injury history, be it shoulder or back, means you should proceed with caution. Sticking to my guns, still rank him in the top 15, but not quite top 10. And to help you sleep easier, stash Carlos Marmol away late, if you can.
  • Brian Roberts: No deal. Still. All you Cubs fans out there, salivating over adding Baltimore's 2B to the top of the lineup since December, it just not looking good. Not now, anyway. Said Orioles GM Andy McPhail on Wednesday: "We worked at it this long and hard and we don't have a deal." Draft advice: Particularly dicey in AL-only drafts, it's looking safer that Roberts will at least give you half a season before a mid-season trade could develop, but still plan on losing him at some point. His mixed-league value goes unchanged.
  • Scott Kazmir: The ace of the Rays (remember they dropped the Devil this year) is starting the season on the DL, but the good news is he's throwing on flat ground. Not really sure if this constitutes good news. Looks like the earliest he'll be back is April 15. Draft advice: There's just something about elbow injuries that hits my funny bone wrong. Kazmir has battled arm problems in his past, so use extra caution. I wouldn't think about him in double digits of a mixed draft, but if he's still around in the 12th round, it might just be business time.
  • Jarod Saltalamacchia: The Rangers catcher, who was a key piece in the Mark Teixeira deal in July and mispronounced more than T.J. Houshmandzadeh was at your football draft, was sent to AAA Oklahoma Wednesday. Draft advice: Salty landed high on many breakout lists and it still may happen, but unless your league has a bench spot, it's time to look elsewhere. Plenty of depth at backstop, with guys like Chris Snyder, Mike Napoli, Kurt Suzuki and Dioner Navarro, who all should be around in the twilight hours of your draft.
  • Evan Longoria: Tampa Bay's hot 3B prospect has been sent down to Durham. See Salty for advice. More about this troubling move tomorrow.
  • The Cardinals rotation: St. Louis starters Chris Carpenter, Mark Mulder Matt Clement and Joel Pineiero are all starting the season on the DL, recovering from various shoulder and arm injuries, causing the Cardinals to sign free agent Kyle Lohse. And the rest of the NL Central chuckles sinisterly under its breath. Anthony Reyes is now a long reliever. Draft advice: Only Adam Wainwright and Braden Looper are ownable Cardinal starters right now and be weary of Looper, the converted reliever who was pitching on fumes the last two months of the season.


Anonymous said...

Good advice on Crede/Fields.

Anonymous said...

As a baseball fan the actions of the Rays, and ChiSox are unbelievable. Each of these moves are business oriented designed to save long term $'s. They are not putting the best team on the field. Contrast these actions with the Rockies did with Tulowitzki last year, they didn't wait and ended up in the WS. Toss

dtierney said...

I want a Pirates post... even it just says Zach Duke will go 10-14 with a 4.79 ERA, Doug Miexnxenxklddnvich will bat .271 and Jason Bay will beat someone to death with a bat before July 1 b/c the organization won't trade him.