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The Roster Stash All Stars

Senior Fantasy Writer
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There comes a moment in everyone's draft where you're staring down an ages-old dilemma: do I go for that outfielder I just kind of like ... or do I draft the injured All-Star who may not be back until June?

Sure, you could gamble on Jayson Werth coming back and having a 2010-type year; but you could also really gamble and draft Ryan Howard, a man who will occupy a bench or DL slot on your roster well into May. And when he returns, there's no telling how much rust he'll have to shake off.

Some of these gambles pay off -- in 2011, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley came off the DL and, after a slow start, rattled off seven multi-hit games and stole three bases in his first month of action -- others flame out brilliantly, as Johan Santana was expected to return in late June or July last season, then mid-July, then August, September, and, eventually, 2012.

So who do you stash? And who do you let fester on another owners' bench? Stashing isn't an exact science, but here are this year's most-buzzed about stashees and their prospects for 2012. "Stashability" is based on the player's ability to help your team this season, combining time of return, setback possibility, and skill/value.

Catcher

Victor Marinez, Tigers
Stashability: 5 (out of 100)
Injury: Knee
Out until: 2013
Analysis: Martinez should be kept in every keeper format. Chances are that owners who already had him in keeper leagues at $25-$30 likely threw him back, where he was drafted by some forward-thinking Fantasy owner for about $7. If he doesn't take up a bench spot -- and can be put on the disabled list -- it's a tremendous bargain for next season. Owners in single-season leagues who picked up Martinez hoping for a miraculous recovery and late-season return aren't being hurt by his occupying of a DL slot, but if you have DL limits and another injured player, cut him loose; the chances of Martinez playing in 2012 are miniscule, at best.

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First base

Ryan Howard, Phillies
Stashability: 90 (out of 100)
Injury: Achilles
Out until: Mid-May
Analysis: Howard has hit 30 or more home runs in each of the last six seasons. While his batting average has its peaks and valleys, he's still a very valuable Fantasy commodity when playing. As a further boost to his value, he's a tremendous second-half player, with his average rising to .290 (from .262) post-All-Star Game, and his OPS increasing almost 130 points (.867 to .996) after the break. He's as solid a stash as there is this year.

Second base

Brian Roberts, Orioles
Stashability: 37 (out of 100)
Injury: Concussion
Out until: June-ish?
Analysis: Roberts was limited to 39 games last year, after playing just 59 in 2010. He told MASNSports.com in late March that, while he feels hopeful he'll play this year, he doesn't know when he'll make a return. He has yet to play in a rehab game this year but has been taking batting practice with the team, working out, hitting off a tee and playing catch. He's had a laundry list of injuries over the last two seasons, including back spasms, a root canal, and an earlier set of headaches and concussive symptoms that he received from hitting himself on the helmet with a bat after striking out. Head injuries are tricky to predict, and there's no guarantee the oft-injured Roberts won't tweak a hamstring even after returning, but he has a good deal of speed, is a career .281 hitter, and is the textbook example of "flashes of power," so he's worth at least a DL stash until a superstar needs to occupy that spot.

Third base

Chipper Jones, Braves
Stashability: 71 (out of 100)
Injury: Knee
Out until: At least mid-April
Analysis: It's no secret what Jones is capable of and with this being his last season, you know he's going to do everything he can to get on the field. Which begs the question: does an overzealous Chipper (dibs on that as a band name, by the way), rush himself back from injury -- or play a little harder -- causing more injury? Or does he blow off some of the more minor injuries he usually incurs in order to play as many games as possible in one last, stellar season? I'm going with the latter. And while he isn't the 30-homer hitting Chipper of earlier vintage, he still has the ability to hit .290, with 20 home runs and a couple steals. Especially when you throw in the extra motivation of a final season. He's only owned in 36 percent of leagues right now; that number should probably be at 60.

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Shortstop

Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
Stashability: 49 (out of 100)
Injury: Ankle
Out until: Late April
Analysis: Drew's problem isn't that he might hit some complications in rehabbing his surgically-repaired ankle, it's that nobody knows what to expect from him when he returns. Thousands of Fantasy owners have been burned by the promise of the Stephen Drew Breakout Year, having to instead be content with 15 home-run seasons and the occasional steal. "Maybe this is the year" is a familiar refrain to Drew drafters, which makes him a fairly decent stash candidate. He'll be back within a month, his ankle seems to be holding up nicely so far, and ... well ... maybe this is the year. Only owned in 47 percent of leagues, though, it seems like the majority of owners would rather wait and see him do it on the waiver wire first.

Outfielders

Manny Ramirez
Stashability: 33 (out of 100)
Injury: Bone in head
Out until: The 51st game of the season
Analysis: Ramirez is an interesting stash candidate, because he can't occupy a DL spot on your team -- he has to be put on your bench, a spot usually reserved for the Brian Matuszs and Pedro Alvarezes of the world. Serving out a suspension, Ramirez has to sit out the first 50 games, at which point he hopes to improve on the forgettable truncated run he had with Tampa Bay in 2011 (.059 average in 17 at-bats) and Chicago in 2010 (.739 OPS in 24 games). Ramirez still has skill as he turns 40, but his value may lie more in batting average than in the power categories.

Pitchers

A.J. Burnett, Pirates
Stashability: 88 percent
Injury: Eye
Out until: Possibly Mid-April
Analysis: Laugh all you want, but Burnett could be a great candidate to slide into your DL spot until he comes back from the broken orbital bone he suffered earlier this spring. He was horrible in his run as a Yankee, but so are a lot of players. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage worked wonders with the staff in 2011, and if there's anyone in need of a reclamation project, it's Burnett. His recovery is pretty far ahead of schedule and he can be a great source of strikeouts. He also has career ERAs of 3.84 and 3.86 in April and May, so a hot start and then quick trade could pay off.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Orioles' Matt Wieters has goal of being ready by opening day
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:15 am ET) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, who is throwing from 150 feet in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, said he is preparing to be ready by opening day.

"The rehab's going well and going how it's supposed to from all the talk I've gotten with Dr. (James) Andrews and my physical therapist down here and Richie (Bancells)," Wieters said, per MASNsports.com. "Everything's kind of moved along and we're preparing for me to be ready for opening day. We still have a good couple of months before we're there, so it's still going to be a lot of work to put into it, but that's what I'm preparing for. We're trying to get all the steps checked off before we get there.

"We'll see when I'm actually going to be able to get behind the plate and catch in games during spring training, but it's just a matter of making sure the arm has been tested enough to where when we do get into games with adrenaline and a little bit of pressure that we're ready to go."

Wieters added making sure his shoulder is also in good shape is part of the rehab process coming off elbow surgery.

"(Monday) we went out to 150 just to test it out a little bit," he said, "and everything has kind of checked out and we've had nothing really major to set back the progression."


Indians want Michael Bourn to get back to his base-stealing ways
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Indians want outfielder Michael Bourn to get back to his base-stealing ways, according to the Plain Dealer

Prior to joining the team, Bourn had compiled five straight seasons with at least 40 steals. Since joining the team, he's stolen 33 bases in two seasons. Injuries have played a role in his decline. Bourn admitted he had some trouble adjusting to the American League in his first season with Cleveland. He tore his hamstring on the final day of the season, and had offseason surgery, but the issue still plagued him in 2014. 

Manager Terry Francona agreed, saying "When he gets on base, he has to disrupt the game." Francona added, "he wants to do it really bad, he just wasn't in position to do it the last couple of years. Hopefully, those injuries are limited and he can use his legs because he's a huge part of what we do."

Bourn, 32, hit .257/.314/.360 over 444 at-bats last year.


Rockies, Adam Ottavino avoid arbitration
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Rockies have avoided arbitration with pitcher Adam Ottavino, according to MLB.com.

Ottavino agreed to a one-year deal with the club. Ottavino will make $1.3 million next season, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

The 29-year-old posted a 3.60 ERA over 65 innings last year.


Astros looking at pitcher Kevin Correia
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Astros are looking to add pitcher Kevin Correia, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Houston is said to be seeking a backend starter, and Correia fits the bill. The 34-year-old posted a 5.44 ERA over 154 innings with the Twins and Dodgers last year. 


Angels hopeful Garrett Richards will be ready for opening day
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Angels are hopeful that pitcher Garrett Richards will be ready by opening day, according to the Orange County Register

If Richards isn't ready for the start of the season, the team expects him to be back shortly after that. Richards had knee surgery in August, but he's been able to make progress. General manager Jerry DiPoto said he was "optimistic" about Richards' status. Richards has been able to increase his running on a treadmill, and hasn't experienced any issues with his throwing program, according to DiPoto. Richards is currently throwing from 125 to 150 feet about five times per week.

Richards posted a 2.61 ERA over 168 2/3 innings last year.


Orioles' Matt Wieters throwing from 150 feet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters has begun throwing from 150 feet, according to MASN.

Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery last season, and is working his way back from the surgery. He was cleared to start throwing from 150 feet on Monday. Wieters had previously been throwing from 120 feet. He said he's preparing as if he'll be ready for opening day.

Wieters hit .308/.339/.500 over 104 at-bats last year.


Orioles bring in Parmelee, De La Rosa on minor-league deals
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Orioles have signed outfielder Chris Parmelee and pitcher Dane De La Rosa on minor-league deals, according to MLB.com.

The 26-year-old Parmelee spent his first four seasons in Minnesota before becoming a free-agent during the offseason. Parmelee hit .256/.307/.384 over 250 at-bats last year.

De La Rosa, 31, pitched just 2 1/3 innings with the Angels last season. He had knee surgery in September.


David Buchanan will compete for one of two spots in Phillies' rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan said refininig his curveball has been a point of emphasis this offseason, as he prepares to compete for a spot in the rotation this spring, per The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I had success with (my curveball) in certain games,” he said. “It started coming along there toward the end. But it’s definitely something that has a lot of work still to go. It’s definitely something I’m working on. It’s getting better, which is all I can ask for.”

There is two spots currently open in the rotation behind Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Aaron Harang. Buchanan, Jerome Williams and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez are considered the leading candidates for the openings in the rotation. 

“There’s going to be some competition,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week. “I think that’s the only way that you can get better is by creating competition. I can’t sit here and tell you today that David Buchanan’s going to be one of our guys in the rotation, but he absolutely is going to get an opportunity to pitch in spring training and be ready and compete for one of those spots.”


Santana fine after throwing bullpen session; winter-league status is TBD
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Free agent starting pitcher Johan Santana threw a bullpen session Sunday and is said to be feeling fine, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is now up to his Venezuelan winter league team to decide if he will pitch for them in the finals.

Santana has been dealing with some shoulder discomfort, which has put his status for the remainder of the winter-league season in doubt. Santana is hoping to latch on with another major-league team after suffering a torn Achilles in June.

The Yankees, Padres and Blue Jays are among the teams showing interest in signing the former two-time AL Cy Young award winner.


Mariners planning on batting Smith, Ruggiano in second spot in lineup
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he is tentatively planning to bat the right-field tandem of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano second in the lineup, per The New Tribune.

The Mariners ranked last in the majors last season in on-base percentage (.260) from their No. 2 hitters. No other team was lower than .279.

Smith had a .367 OBP last season for San Diego, while Ruggiano had a .337 OBP in 81 games for the Cubs.


 
 
 
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