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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
T.J. House takes loss on short rest for Indians
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4:48 pm ET) Indians LHP T.J. House found out he was pitching shortly before game time. Thrust into the starting lineup when Trevor Bauer was scratched due to illness. 

House gave up four hits and four walks, allowing three runs over three innings, falling to 0-3, 12.60 for the year. House threw 37 strikes in 69 pitches. 

Cleveland isn't sure how Bauer's scratch will impact the rotation. Assuming House goes back to his old spot, his next scheduled start would be Sunday, May 3. 


Braves RF Nick Markakis hits leadoff for first time on Saturday
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4:43 pm ET) For the first time this season, right fielder Nick Markakis will bat leadoff for the Braves on Saturday in Philadelphia.

Markakis has hit leadoff in past seasons while with the Orioles.

Eric Young has hit leadoff the majority of the time for the Braves (10 out of 16 games) this season but has struggled (3 for his last 23).

O's Matt Wieters to play in second extended spring game on Monday
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4:29 pm ET) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters' (elbow) next extended spring action will be Monday, where he's expected to catch four to five innings, per MLB.com.

Wieters, who's on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury, played in his first extended spring game on Friday.

Cardinals 1B Matt Adams out of Saturday's lineup for rest
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4:04 pm ET) Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams will get a day off for rest against the Brewers and pitcher Wily Peralta on Saturday. Mark Reynolds will get the start in his place.

Adams has started 12 of the Cardinals' 15 games coming into Saturday.

Adams is 3 for 19 (.158) in his career against Peralta (Reynolds has never faced the right hander).

O's Ryan Flaherty (groin) could see action in Double-A before return
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3:45 pm ET) Orioles infielder Ryan Flaherty (groin) said his injury is improving and that the recovery timetable of five to seven days is on track, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Flaherty was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a right groin strain.

He is expected to play in some games at Double-A Bowie before he comes off the DL.

Blue Jays release pitcher Ricky Romero
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3:35 pm ET) Ricky Romero , who hasn't pitched in the majors since May 2013, has been released by the Blue Jays, the team has announced. 

Romero had been trying to return from surgery on both knees. 

In five seasons with the Blue Jays, Romero has a record of 51-45 with a 4.16 ERA.


Shane Victorino out of Red Sox lineup on Saturday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:34 pm ET) Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino is out of the lineup for the third straight game on Saturday. 

Victorino has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. Allen Craig gets the start in his place, batting seventh in the lineup. Craig will start in right for the second time this season.

The Sox are +100 money line underdogs at Baltimore. 


Hanley Ramirez starting in left for Red Sox
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:32 pm ET) Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez was able to stay in the starting lineup on Saturday. 

Ramirez was questionable for the game with a foot injury, but he got the start in left field, batting cleanup. 

The Red Sox are +100 money line underdogs at Baltimore. 


Cards C Molina (knee) out of Saturday's starting lineup
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(3:24 pm ET) After leaving Friday's game following a foul tip off his right knee guard, catcher Yadier Molina is out of the Cardinals starting lineup on Saturday, replaced by backup Tony Cruz.

Molina, who took himself out of Friday's game in Milwaukee as a precaution, said his knee is just sore and doesn't expect to go on the disabled list.

This will be the second time this season Molina is not in the Cards' starting lineup, sitting out Thursday as a scheduled rest day.

Cruz has one hit in five at-bats this season.


Hector Gomez gets start at second base for Brewers
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:22 pm ET) Hector Gomez will get his fifth start of the season at second base for the Brewers on Saturday. 

Gomez will hit seventh in the batting order. He replaces Elian Herrera, who has started the last four games. 

The Brewers are +130 money line underdogs at home against St. Louis. 


 
 
 
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