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2013 Draft Prep: The Victor Martinez conundrum

Senior Fantasy Writer
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I think it was my colleague Scott White who raised the question a couple months ago, in the middle of football season: Where should Victor Martinez be eligible for 2013 in Fantasy?

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It sparked a good amount of debate, at a time when all anyone cared about was whether or not Andy Dalton was a Top 12 quarterback. Ask one person in our group and they'd say catcher, ask another, and they'd adamantly defend the idea that Martinez should be DH-only. Theories were debated, meetings were held, tenuous office friendships were forever damaged. At the end of it all, the staff came to a conclusion: Victor Martinez would be eligible at DH, and only DH, heading into 2013.

My job here is to tell you how we landed on this decision, why we landed on this decision and what steps your commissioner can take to override the decision, if your league so chooses.

The Backstory

Victor Martinez missed all of 2012 after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee in April. There were brief reports in June that Martinez might return later in the season, but the Tigers squashed all of those hopes in mid-August, making it clear Martinez wouldn't be back until 2013.

So we were left with no stats or games played for 2012. And Martinez was already in a transition from catcher to designated hitter, a trend started in 2011 when he was with the Red Sox.

The Stats

The statistics at the center of this debate were the number of games in which Martinez appeared at each position in 2011. Namely ...

Designated hitter: 112 games
Catcher: 26 games
First base: six games

Most leagues set the cutoff at 20 games played the previous season for a player to have eligibility there the next year. There was no question that Martinez had catcher eligibility for 2012. The problem was what to do with him for 2013.

The Decision and Debate

There were two schools of thought here at CBSSports.com as to why Martinez should be DH-only, versus just one as to why he should retain catcher eligibility. The "catcher" group simply argued that since Martinez didn't play any games in 2012, his eligibility should carry over to 2013, as if 2012 never existed. The "DH" side worked two angles:

1. Martinez should be DH-only because he is expected to only serve as a designated hitter for 2013. This is an argument that was scrapped because speculating on primary positions leads down a slippery slope and has dangerous precedent.

2. Martinez should be DH-only because his catcher eligibility was good only for 2012, not 2013. In other words, it's not our fault he was unable to play in 2012. His 2013 eligibility should then be based on the position at which he appeared most frequently in the last season he played. Which would be designated hitter.

The "most frequently appeared" argument took on the "carryover" side. Our Fantasy staff met, we argued both sides, we had long conversations at our desks about this one eligibility issue ... and eventually decided Martinez would be DH-only for 2013.

Besides being able to set a precedent for players who missed entire seasons in the future (defaulting to the most games played for the last year played), it didn't make sense (or seem fair) that a player who hadn't primarily been a catcher since 2010 could end up as a top five catcher in 2013 -- three seasons after he was, essentially, last a catcher.

Martinez can still gain catcher eligibility if he appears at the position five times in 2013. And an appearance can be anything from starting a game at catcher to suiting up in the bottom of the ninth in a blowout to catch for a half-inning.

Now might also be a good time to note that CBSSports.com has won the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's award for Best Commissioner Service nine times in the last 11 years. So, rest assured, we did not arrive at this decision lightly.

Keeper leagues

I have Victor Martinez in a keeper league for $2. I bought him hoping he would return in September 2012, but also was fine with stashing him on my DL for a year and keeping him as a catcher for 2013, not even thinking about the eligibility issues (I know, commenters, I'm terrible and how could CBS hire a person who didn't realize Martinez wouldn't be a catcher in 2013). I'd be pretty upset if I went through all that strategizing last year just to have my site tell me I can only keep him as a DH.

But there is a way to fix this. Your commissioner just has to do a little extra work.

How to make V-Mart a catcher

The commissioner has to go to the "Commish Tools" tab on the league site, which will take him to a page full of powerful Fantasy options. Go to "League" under "Commish Management Tools" and click on "Set Team Lineup."

Victor Martinez

In the "Edit" box, click on the "C" in the orange/red box. This will allow the commissioner to move any offensive player to any offensive position.

Victor Martinez

I'm making Derek Jeter a catcher, here, for instance. And Victor Martinez a second baseman.

Victor Martinez

Now I'm making Martinez a catcher:

Victor Martinez

Click on "set lineup" and never say we don't do anything for you.

Victor Martinez

And there you have it. Victor Martinez is a catcher once again!

Just know that if you move Martinez back to utility/DH, your commissioner will have to repeat this process to get him back into the catcher spot.

We realize that this Victor Martinez-as-DH-only decision isn't going to be popular with everyone -- likely, the owners who had their eyes on Martinez as a sleeper catcher will emit the loudest groans -- but it was a conclusion that we came to after a somewhat arduous set of arguments, meetings and discussions; we didn't just shrug, scribble "yes" or "no" on a slip of paper, and put our votes in a hat to be counted.

Our goal, first and foremost, is to provide the best product and experience for our Fantasy owners. While the default game will have Martinez as a DH, we hope that the ability to override our decision -- while it stings, deep inside -- is a fair enough compromise to keep everyone happy. Because if you aren't having fun playing Fantasy Baseball, then we aren't doing our job.

Or you're in 10th place.

As always, if you still have questions, concerns, or need more direction on how to override our well thought-out decision, you can always contact our help desk or reach our writers on Twitter.

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Player News
Rangers place Neftali Feliz on 15-day disabled list
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:53 pm ET) The Rangers placed pitcher Neftali Feliz on the 15-day disabled list on Monday, retroactive to May 20, with an abscess on his right side under his arm, the team announced.

Feliz's roster spot is going to Josh Hamilton, who is set to make his season debut on Monday. Feliz owns a 5.09 ERA and 15:9 K:BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings. He was recently removed from the closer role and may return to a setup role when healthy.


Twins not ready to recall Milone despite great Triple-A numbers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:47 pm ET) Twins pitcher Tommy Milone is 4-0 with a 0.28 ERA and 41:2 K:BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings across four starts with Triple-A Rochester, but the team is not yet ready to bring him back to the majors, the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"He's been communicated with about the fact that we know what he's doing," manager Paul Molitor said. "We are paying attention and we are in a little bit of a holding pattern up here because the guys we have up here are holding their own. I think he understands that."

Milone's only run allowed in Triple-A came in the ninth inning Sunday in his fourth start with Rochester.

"It's been incredible," Molitor said. "He has to be up close to 30 innings of really well-pitched baseball."

Milone was 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA and 13:11 K:BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings before being sent down.


Orioles' Bud Norris feeling better, will make rehab start Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:38 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris will remain on a rehab assignment for at least one more rehab start, which is expected to come with Double-A Bowie on Wednesday. He said he's on the road to recovery after dealing with bronchitis, which forced him to be placed on the disabled list, MASNSports.com reports.

"I'm getting there," Norris said. "I didn't know how much it took out of me. I'm glad Buck (Showalter) did what he did and I'm glad I got one under my belt and I've got one more to go. I'm really excited just to get my weight back on my body and kind of get through all of this."

Norris surrendered nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in his rehab start with Triple-A Norfolk on Friday.

"I went down to the bullpen and started to warm up and felt great in the 'pen, and by the time I pitched the first inning, I could feel my legs kind of giving out," Norris said. "As much as I do squatting and running and all that good stuff, missing as much time as I did, my body definitely took a toll. Losing as much weight as I did, I never had anything happen to me like that before. I'm excited to put it back on and take care of my body."

Norris is 1-4 with a 9.88 ERA and 18:13 K:BB ratio in 27 1/3 innings.


Giants reinstate, designate 1B Travis Ishikawa
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:25 pm ET) Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa has said he wonders where he would fit in upon his return from the disabled list.

He is still wondering, but he knows now that it's not with the big league club.

Ishikawa has been reinstated from his rehab and designated for assignment, the team has announced. A back issue has prevented him from playing all year.


Athletics' Brett Lawrie remains sidelined Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:24 pm ET) Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie remains out of the starting lineup for Monday's game against the Tigers.

Lawrie hasn't played since Friday while dealing with general soreness. He has hit .279/.310/.364 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 165 at-bats. Max Muncy is drawing another start at third base in his place.

The A's are favorites (-125) at home on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Report: Mets 3B David Wright having back examined in California
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:17 pm ET) Mets star third baseman David Wright is headed to California to have his ailing back examined by a specialist, the New York Post has reported.

Wright, who suffered a setback in his recovery from a back injury, has been sidelined for six weeks.


Rangers' Delino DeShields leading off Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:14 pm ET) Rangers center fielder Delino DeShields is leading off in Monday's matchup with the Indians.

With left fielder Josh Hamilton making his return on Monday, DeShields could be in for a loss of playing time, but he's still in the lineup for Hamilton's debut, manning center field while leading off for the fourth straight game. The righty swinger is up against right-hander Shaun Marcum in the matchup.

The Rangers are underdogs (+125) in Cleveland on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Cubs 2B Addison Russell struggling to make transition from SS
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:11 pm ET) Cubs rookie second baseman and natural shortstop Addison Russell has been merely mediocre offensively since his arrival, but it's his defense that has been a real problem.

Russell has a league-leading six errors in 29 games, which would translate to 33 over a full season. He understands the transition will take time.

"It's been pretty difficult to learn a new position at the big league level, but it's something I believe I can handle," he told ESPN. "There's going to be points in time at second base where there is a play that's unfamiliar to me."

Russell has tried to simplify the mental aspect of his defense.

"Playing a ground ball in general is playing a ground ball," he said. "It's just a different angle and some different footwork. Other than that, there's different jobs like covering first that I'm getting accustomed to and different cutoff relays. There's new responsbilities with a new position and I'm trying to learn all that."

Russell has been fairly productive at the plate, but he has 42 strikeouts in 108 at-bats, which ranks him among the worst in baseball in making contact.


Rangers' Josh Hamilton batting fifth in season debut
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:10 pm ET) Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton is batting fifth in his season debut against the Indians on Monday. The team activated him from the disabled list prior to the game and placed pitcher Neftali Feliz on the disabled list.

Hamilton, who has been on the disabled list while recovering from a shoulder injury, is making his return to a team where he won an MVP award in 2010 and made five All-Star appearances in his five seasons with the Rangers. He hit .255/.316/.426 in his two seasons with the Angels.


Athletics activate Ben Zobrist, option Craig Gentry to Triple-A
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:05 pm ET) The Athletics activated second baseman Ben Zobrist from the 15-day disabled list on Monday and optioned outfielder Craig Gentry to Triple-A Nashville.

Zobrist has been sidelined since April 24 while recovering from a knee injury, and despite his activation, he will come off the bench against the Tigers on Monday. He made seven starts in the outfield and five at second base before his injury. Zobrist has hit .240/.304/.400 with one home run and eight RBI in 50 at-bats.

Gentry saw just one appearance in his most recent stint with the team. He is 3 for 38 with the A's this season.


 
 
 
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