Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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NL Team-by-Team Notes

Monday, June 15, 2009




Florida - The Marlins are trying Gaby Sanchez at third base in Triple-A, suggesting that they may finally be looking to make a move with Emilio Bonifacio. Of course, their best alternatives at third base are currently starting at second base and in left field. Sanchez has played third base in the past, but he doesn't have the range to serve as much more than a stopgap there. The Marlins would likely be better off with either Sanchez or Jorge Cantu in left, the other at first base and Chris Coghlan at third. Moving Dan Uggla to third is something they could have done over the winter, but it's not something they can try during the season. … The Miami Herald reported that the Marlins turned down a Jeff Francoeur-for-Cody Ross deal before the Braves acquired Nate McLouth. Considering that Francoeur makes more than Ross now and likely will remain the more expensive of the two players next year, it's doubtful that the Marlins gave it much consideration at all.

Houston - Working the ninth with a five-run lead, Jose Valverde struck out the side Sunday in his second appearance back from the disabled list. That should clear the way for him to return to the closer's role this week, with LaTroy Hawkins going back to setup duties. Hawkins is worth holding on to in most formats, as the Astros could trade Valverde next month. However, it's possible that Hawkins could also be dealt, probably to a team that would leave him in a setup role. … Kaz Matsui (hamstring) is coming back on Tuesday. Matt Kata figures to be demoted, with Edwin Maysonet sticking around as a utilityman. Maysonet is playing over his head with a .333 average in 51 at-bats, but that could get him time at third base over Geoff Blum and Jeff Keppinger. … The Astros are without any decent DH options to utilize in AL parks this week, so they'll probably use the spot to rest regulars, Carlos Lee in particular. Darin Erstad should benefit.

Los Angeles - Matt Kemp went 2-for-3 with a homer on Saturday, which is hardly unusual for him. No, what made it notable was that he did it as a No. 9 hitter. Impressively, Kemp hasn't let it bother him that Joe Torre has had him hitting at the bottom of the order behind inferior players. He's definitely being slighted -- after all, he's had success as both a leadoff man and a No. 3 hitter in his young career -- but he seems happy just to know he'll be in the lineup every day. … The plan is for Eric Stults to come off the disabled list and face the Angels on Saturday, but he's still having some problems with his sprained left thumb. NL-only leaguers will probably want to keep him reserved. … It looks like Xavier Paul's window is going to be pretty small. He's still at least a week away from returning from an infection, and he's not going to be needed once Manny Ramirez returns in three weeks.

Milwaukee - Corey Hart may have woken up with two homers, a triple and a double in the series against the White Sox. The Brewers have refused to bench him for more than a day at a time, even though Jody Gerut may well be the better option in right field against right-handers. Making a move more difficult is that Hart, who is typically significantly better against left-handed pitching, actually had an OPS 130 points higher against righties entering Sunday's action. The two homers he hit off Mark Buehrle then were his first off a lefty this season. … Manny Parra really left the Brewers with no choice other than to demote him following his lousy outing Saturday. That they're off both Thursday and next Monday was just a bonus, as a fifth starter won't be needed again until June 27. It's highly unlikely that Parra himself will get the call then, and taking Seth McClung out of the pen is hardly an ideal option. Mike Burns seems to be the most likely internal option, though he's a mediocre middle reliever at best. The Brewers should try to find some outside help. Boston might be interested in third baseman Taylor Green or catcher Jonathan Lucroy as a possible return for Brad Penny.

New York - Daniel Murphy just isn't getting the job done at first base, and the Mets are going to be in a lot of trouble if Gary Sheffield's knee forces him from the lineup once the team loses the DH spot on Friday. Unfortunately, there are no additional quality replacements in the minors. Nick Evans hasn't bounced back from his dreadful start, and Mike Lamb has been terrible. Mike Carp, who would have been worthy of an opportunity right about now, was sent to Seattle in the J.J. Putz deal. If the Mets opt to send Murphy down, Fernando Tatis would likely take over at first base. Fernando Martinez figures to stick around for at least as long as Sheffield's knee remains an issue. … Johan Santana, who was blasted for nine runs by the Yankees on Sunday, has experienced a bit of a decline in his velocity. The Mets say it could be a blister issue, and there's nothing else to suggest that he's having any arm woes. I wouldn't panic. … Fernando Nieve will get more starts after Saturday's gem, and he could stick in the rotation over Tim Redding once John Maine returns. Still, he's too risky to play in NL-only leagues right now. He's always had the stuff, but consistency is a major issue and he's tended to struggle to pitch deep into games, even in the minors.

Philadelphia - After getting a cortisone shot for his troublesome knee, Brad Lidge figures to be ready to pitch when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on June 22. However, he'll probably be working in the minors on that date. Expect Ryan Madson to remain in the closer's role through the end of the month. … Neither Antonio Bastardo nor J.A. Happ had any luck against Boston, but the Red Sox lineup is a tough assignment for a left-hander. Both should be kept active in NL-only leagues this week. … Jason Donald's knee injury shouldn't take him out of trade talks, not when he's likely to be back in a month. The Phillies may choose to move the Triple-A infielder in order to acquire pitching help before the deadline. The Red Sox would likely still be interested in Donald for Penny if it were offered.


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Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter at matthewpouliot.
Email :Matthew Pouliot



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