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Setting the Trends: Free agents of all shapes and sizes

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We're going to pull back the curtain a little bit here.

Every day, in preparation for the Fantasy Baseball 360 show, we have meetings. And in these meetings, we go over the Roster Trends for that dedicated segment of the show.

It seems like Nolan Reimold has been on top of the Roster Trend list -- either as one of the 10 Most Viewed or 10 Most Added -- for a solid week. This is a pretty big deal for a player, as he will usually see two or three days of jumping to the top of the list, followed by a plateau as another player takes over. But Reimold remains. Even when he started to hit the 70 percent range, there was still room to go up. He haunts our days. He haunts our nights. If you say his name three times while looking in a mirror, he appears on your Fantasy team.

It's not all about Reimold, though. And knowing he's trending won't help many teams, as he's unowned in just 19 percent of leagues right now. So gaze upon the rest of the remaining players to see who's shooting up the charts and being added in CBSSports.com leagues.

Most added players (complete list)

Less than 50, more than 50
Players owned in less than 50% of leagues who should be owned in more than 50%
Player % owned
1. Danny Duffy, SP, Royals 47
2. Francisco Cordero, RP, Blue Jays 41
3. Bruce Chen, SP, Royals 35
4. Raul Ibanez, OF, Yankees 34
5. Drew Smyly, SP, Tigers 26

Philip Humber, SP, White Sox
Jump in ownership: 38 percent (from 29 percent to 67)
Reason for the jump: He threw a perfect game
Why you should join the crowd: Humber, a former first-round pick, seems to have finally realized his potential, and this transformation actually happened before he threw the perfect game. In 2011, Humber threw 163 innings for the White Sox, producing a 3.76 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. His 26 starts last year weren't just a career high -- they blew away his previous work, as he had only two major league starts over parts of six seasons. Credit here goes to white Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who convinced Humber to change his delivery and add a slider to his repertoire. The move seems to have paid off. Humber isn't just a knee-jerk add for owners who saw the perfect game and expected another; it likely put him on the radar and allowed Fantasy players to see just how good Humber was over almost an entire season last year.
Devil's Advocate: Since we're pulling back curtains today, and if you choose to ignore Cooper's work in harnessing Humber's talent, a look at Humber's minor league numbers may explain why he had only two career MLB starts before last year: in 669 1/3 minor league innings pitched, Humber had a 4.50 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. In 2009, pitching for Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate in Rochester, he sported a 5.34 ERA, with just 87 strikeouts in 119 2/3 innings. The following year, with Omaha (in the KC system), Humber struck out just 80 in 118 2/3 innings.

Owners are sick of these guys
Some of the most deactivated players in our leagues
Player Start %
1. Justin Masterson, SP, Indians 84 - 36
2. Chad Billingsley, SP, Dodgers 88 - 60
3. John Danks, SP, White Sox 69 - 42
4. Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins 40 - 14
5. Brandon McCarthy, SP, Athletics 62 - 37

Bartolo Colon, SP, Athletics
Jump in ownership: 37 percent (from 48 percent to 85)
Reason for the jump: Colon has a 2.62 ERA and 0.93 WHIP so far this season.
Why you should join the crowd: Colon's been pretty great so far this year, kicking off the season in Japan with an eight-inning, one-hit performance, then surviving a shaky outing and rattling off two more starts without surrendering an earned run.
Devil's Advocate: Seattle torched Colon for seven earned runs in his second start of the season. And he had two other starts against the Mariners already in 2012. Seattle isn't as hopeless as people many think -- they're bottom nine in runs scored, for instance, as opposed to botton five -- but it helps to have faced them three times already. On top of that, Colon hasn't pitched 200 innings in a season since 2005.
Why is this Colon capsule so small, dude?: It's Bartolo Colon . There's not much more to say about him except ... beware. The same way you can play games on your phone for free, but they're eventually going to hit you up for some money to play the higher levels; this cannot last forever.

Cody Ross, OF, Red Sox
Jump in ownership: 15 percent (from 36 percent to 51)
Reason for the jump: Ross is batting .283, with five home runs and 13 RBI so far this season.
Why you should join the crowd: Ross was going to play every day in the Boston outfield when it was just Carl Crawford missing from the lineup, but now that Jacoby Ellsbury is gone as well, Ross has suddenly become Boston's most valuable outfielder. He's responded by hitting five home runs through 15 games, which puts him on pace for over 50 on the season (but let's just take that with a grain of salt for now). Of his last six games, three have been multi-hit efforts. Ross also has two 20-plus home run seasons under his belt.
Devil's Advocate: Two 20-plus home run seasons are not the same as, say, four 25-plus home run seasons. Ross also hasn't hit over .270 since 2007. Boston's 2012 offense isn't as presumptively high-octane as it had been in the past, and the eventual return of Crawford and Ellsbury might push Ross into some days off as the outfield becomes more crowded. Also, Ross is batting a relatively-low seventh in the lineup.

We are the 1 percent!
Players owned in 1% of leagues who may see an ownership spike in the near future
Player % owned
1. Michael Bowden, RP, Cubs 1
2. Luke Hughes, 2B, Athletics 1
3. Andrew Miller, SP, Red Sox 1
4. Hideki Matsui, DH, Athletics 1
5. Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres 1

Ross Detwiler, SP, Nationals
Jump in ownership: 33 percent (from 13 percent to 46)
Reason for the jump: Detwiler has a 0.94 ERA and 0.56 WHIP in three starts for the Nationals.
Why you should join the crowd: Washington saw enough potential in Detwiler to send John Lannan and his large contract to Triple-A before the season began, crowning Detwiler as their fifth starter. Detwiler, the sixth overall pick in 2007, had a 3.00 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 2011 over 66 innings pitched and seems to have come into his own as a wonderful parallel to Philip Humber. So far this season, he's raised his ground ball/fly ball ratio dramatically, getting almost two-and-a-half ground balls for every fly ball (last season, it was about 1.3).
Devil's Advocate: In any season, on any level, Detwiler has never pitched more than 124 innings, bouncing back and forth from starter to reliever. His minor league numbers are rather mediocre -- he posted a 3.97 ERA and a startlingly-high 1.50 WHIP across five seasons in the Washington farm system. And while his hot start will probably not have him in the crosshairs, Chien-Ming Wang is on his way back from injury, and if Detwiler takes a downward turn, he could be the odd man out.

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 .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Report: Padres have discussed Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:32 pm ET) The Padres have discussed a trade for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, according to the Daily News

Newly-acquired outfielder Wil Myers would be used as the centerpiece in the deal. By bringing in Myers, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, San Diego has a glut of talent in the outfield. While it seems strange that the team would turn around and deal Myers, he would be the type of talent the Phillies are said to be seeking for Hamels. Philadelphia reportedly wants two or three "premium" prospects for Hamels. 

The 30-year-old Hamels posted a 2.46 ERA over 204 2/3 innings last season. He's owed $90 million over the next four seasons. 


Scott Boras: Matt Wieters will be ready by opening day
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will be ready by opening day, according to his agent, Scott Boras. 

Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery is June, and is working his way back from the injury. It's unclear if Wieters will be able to catch full-time at the beginning of the year, or if he'll have to be worked in slowly. Manager Buck Showalter recently told reporters he wasn't sure Wieters would be ready by opening day, but he expected him to good shortly after. Wieters hit .308/.339/.500 over 104 at-bats before having surgery. 


Report: James Shields seeking $110 million
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:19 pm ET) Free-agent pitcher James Shields is reportedly seeking a contract worth about $110 million, according to the Boston Globe

That type of deal would be similar to the one signed by Cole Hamels back in 2012. It's believed the 33-year-old Shields could receive a five-year deal. Both the Giants and Red Sox are involved with Shields, and the Yankees have been mentioned as another suitor. Shields posted a 3.21 ERA over 227 innings last season. He's exceeded 200 innings pitched in each of the last eight years.


Chase Utley staying put in Philly
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:13 pm ET) The Phillies will enter the season with Chase Utley, according to the Daily News. 

With Jimmy Rollins gone, some have expected the team to entertain dealing Utley. As of right now, that's not going to happen. "I've had some dialogue with Wolfie [agent Joel Wolfe] but frankly, he doesn't want to go anywhere," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He wants to honor his contract and that's how we have to perceive it." 

Amaro admitted that the team needs to listen to any offer for the 36-year-old Utley, but doesn't perceive Utley changing his mind at this time. Utley hit .270/.339/.407 in 589 at-bats last season.


Giants' Sabean: No plans to talk to Max Scherzer
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) Giants general manager Brian Sabean said that the Giants have not talked to free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer and have no plans to do so, the Mercury News reports.

Scherzer is the biggest name on the pitching market and could be seeking a deal north of the $155-million pact signed by Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. His price tag may not be feasible for the Giants' budget. The 2013 AL Cy Young winner went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 252:63 K:BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings with the Tigers in 2014.


Report: Nick Hundley has two-year offer, unlikely to rejoin Orioles
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) Free-agent catcher Nick Hundley has a two-year offer on the table from an unidentified team, making him unlikely to return to the Orioles, masnsports.com reports.

The Orioles declined a $5-million option on Hundley for the 2015 season but had interest in bringing him back into the fold at a lesser salary. He hit .243/.273/.358 with six home runs and 22 RBI in 218 at-bats between Baltimore and San Diego in 2014.


Report: Phillies could join Asdrubal Cabrera market
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) The Phillies could become involved in the market for free-agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, ESPN.com reports.

The Phillies traded their longtime starter at shortstop to the Dodgers this offseason and will be looking to fill that hole in the infield. However, the team will have to shed some additional payroll in order to make a run at the infielder, according to the report. Cabrera hit .241/.307/.387 with 14 home runs, 61 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 553 at-bats between Cleveland and Washington in 2014.


Rangers release Ben Rowen
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) The Rangers have released relief pitcher Ben Rowen . Rowen, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, posted a 4.15 ERA in 8 2/3 innings with the Rangers in 2014 as well as a 3.45 ERA and 31:9 K:BB ratio in 47 innings with Triple-A Round Rock.

Nationals sign Mark Minicozzi to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) The Nationals have signed infielder Mark Minicozzi to a minor-league deal.

Minicozzi, 31, hit .298/.400/.470 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI in 315 at-bats with Triple-A San Jose in 2014. He has yet to appear in a regular-season game in the majors.


Indians sign pitcher Scott Downs to minor-league contract
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) The Indians announced they signed pitcher Scott Downs to a minor-league contract Saturday.

Downs also received a non-roster invite to MLB camp.


 
 
 
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