Fantasy Baseball: 10 Injured Players Not Worth Wasting Your DL Slot on
Depending on how you look at it, your DL spot is a lot like one of two things: a reinforced metal safe hidden behind a moderately valuable painting, or that shelf somewhere in your closet where you think your VHS copy of Jerry Maguire might be.
While some fantasy owners use it to masterfully rotate in and out healthy and about-to-be-healthy players, others use it as a way to justify drafting a guy they probably didn't need to draft, then waiting for him to eventually become useful again (hopefully).
If you're reading this, I'm going to assume you're well aware that Mariano Rivera, Brian Wilson and about 42 other players are out for the season. But here are 10 injured guys expected back who you might be better off throwing out—or at the very least, seeing what you can get for them on eBay.
10. Carl Crawford
On one hand, you've waited this long for him. On the other, you don't know which version of Carl Crawford you'll eventually get.
Considering Crawford has yet do anything baseball-related (unless you count occasionally putting on a uniform) since tearing a ligament in his elbow at the end of last season, my money is on the latter incarnation.
There are certainly worse guys you could use your DL spot on (apparently at least nine more). But even if you have the patience to wait for any kind of timetable on Crawford's debut, he might be a lot less like the steals savior you're anticipating and a lot more like a more expensive version of Coco Crisp.
Which reminds me...
9. Coco Crisp
If he hadn't stolen those extra 19 bases last season, there's little chance anyone would be hinging any hope on Coco Crisp. But he's still owned in about 35 percent of leagues because 49 steals look a lot more impressive on stat sheets than 30.
Crisp has burned owners before.
Although he occasionally flashes that speed, Crisp rarely does much with it. He's a .274 hitter (at best) who has averaged 20 steals for the past decade. He stumbled out of the gate this season batting .194 with four steals through 18 games before an inner ear infection sent him home.
He'll be eligible to come off the DL on Friday, but the A's are preparing to wait longer. You should tell your fantasy team he won't be coming back at all.
8. Juan Rivera
Rivera was hitting .247 with two homers and 13 RBI through 25 games, and he seemed far more likely to finish with 15 dingers (like he hit in 2010) than 25 (like he hit in 2009).
Now he'll be out two to eight weeks, but it would be pretty shocking to see him back on the field in anytime under six weeks. That gives you more than a month to pick up another mid-level outfielder, ride out a tepid hot streak and then drop him too, all before Rivera even gets off the couch.
7. Kevin Youkilis
Youk has had a tough year. First he forgot how to play professional American baseball, then his manager called him out, then he got a little better but not really, then he hurt his lower back and got replaced by the apparent second coming of Wade Boggs.
Boston brass shocked many by saying Will Middlebrooks will be sent back down when Youkilis is ready to return, but that isn't necessarily how the rest of the year will go.
The Sox just need to prove Youkilis is healthy so they can demand full market value on the trade market (it seems like a foregone conclusion he'll be shipped out of Boston), but at least they'll eventually get something in return for his declining statistical outlook. You, on the other hand, could stand to let him go now.
6. Stephen Drew
Stephen Drew still plays baseball?
When he isn't giving Larry Fitzgerald tours of Chase Field, he's apparently making slow progress towards making his first appearance of 2012. The last time we saw the oft-injured Drew, he was writhing around home plate after annihilating his ankle.
Maybe the 20 percent of you who have been using a spot on Drew are in crazy-deep or NL-only leagues, but that still seems a little optimistic. Drew could maybe bring you 10 to 15 home runs and 50 RBI—and those aren't shoddy numbers for a shortstop.
But he's just in the extended Spring Training phase of his rehab and there's still no real return date in mind. All it will take is one setback to push it back to August, and it's probably far more likely Drew gets hurt again than finishes the season unscathed.
5. Scott Rolen
Only a few people have retained Scott Rolen's services through his latest DL stint. Still, I couldn't in good consciousness compile this list without including him.
If you're hanging onto Rolen, your league must award bonus points for fielding players who could retire at any moment.
He was hitting a pedestrian .174 with two homers and 11 RBI before his nagging shoulder (the same one that's seen several surgeries and robbed Rolen of the second half of last season) started acting up again.
Even if he does find a way to stay healthy, he looks like a long shot to ever reach 20 home runs again. He's a contact hitter (sometimes) now, and that rarely translates to factoring into fantasy points.
4. Grady Sizemore
This isn't the Grady Sizemore you're thinking of. Oh, it's technically the same human who went 20-20 four years in a row. But this Sizemore is but a shell of that.
Maybe the talent is there, but it's trapped in a body that's perpetually broken.
He's gone under the knife six times—once for his back, once for his left elbow, two for sports hernias and once for each knee—and he hasn't played more than 100 games since 2009 (when he played in 106).
Sizemore will be eligible to come off the DL on June 3, but it's anybody's guess whether or not he'll be ready. If you want to use him in your DL spot, just be prepared to keep him there all year—or at least keep his seat warm.
3. Carlos Marmol
Let me be clear about this one: if you've only got a handful of closers on your team, find someone else to drop.
If you're one of those guys with 42 percent of all employed relief pitchers in the majors on your roster in the event one gets a save, you should have said goodbye to Carlos Marmol (at least) a week ago.
Not only is he out with a hamstring injury, he isn't even the Cubs closer anymore. When he comes back (maybe in a few weeks), Marmol will be working on just becoming a productive pitcher again.
I'm guessing the 40 percent of you clinging to Marmol are probably the same who haven't logged online since early April. Otherwise, you might as well pick up Kerry Wood, too.
2. Chase Utley
Who can stay mad at Chase Utley? Just look at that face.
But I'll bet you'll outright hate him if you're hoping to roll him out as your secret mid-season weapon.
First of all, he's not a secret. Second of all, everyone in your draft knew Utley was still around when they took guys like Kelly Johnson and Danny Espinosa; they just knew he could be more hassle than he's worth.
True, Utley is a juggernaut at the thin second base position, but only when he isn't falling apart—and there's a very real concern that his knees might literally fall off one day soon.
While teammate Ryan Howard could come back and return to his former mashing ways, it's starting to look less and less like Utley can—at least not for long.
1. Jayson Werth
Well, that was fun.
After an immensely disappointing first season in Washington, Jayson Werth got off to an encouraging start this year with three homers and three steals to go with a .276 average.
But a sliding catch last weekend led to a broken wrist—the same wrist that nearly cost Werth his career a few years back.
He's out at least three months, and even if you're willing to make that kind of commitment to him, there's minimal chance Werth will be able to reward you with an immediate return of his already sporadic power.
If the Nationals stay in the hunt all season, maybe they'll make him relevant again in August. But your fantasy season will probably be long over if you're wasting your DL spot on a guy who isn't all that much more valuable than Nick Markakis on his best days—and whose best days were probably in 2009.
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