2011 Fantasy Baseball News, Rumors and Valentine's Day Wishes!

Fantasy KnuckleheadsCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2011

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Pitcher Mike Minor #56 of the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field on September 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

I hate Monday mornings simply because the brand of news is always a little stale. Contract news, curious player news—like the Elijah Dukes “setup”—basically as if the media world is taking out the trash from all of the building weekend reports.

So instead of having you all trudging through a single report, I decided to gather up the most pertinent headlines that may spark some curiosity in fantasy baseball managers, and try and give you the latest skinny from around the league.

  • Mets pitcher Johan Santana has begun playing a bit of catch and has even been reported throwing the ball a few times in lieu of his repaired shoulder. Santana is slated to return sometime around the All-Star break despite the Mets not giving an official time frame. Santana has a curious ADP of 193 and is just outside the Top 50 in SP rankings. Considering the amount of time Santana will miss, and the uncertainty of the recovery, is it really worth spending a pick on him?
  • Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities is reporting that the Twins are discussing the possibility of trading Francisco Liriano, and the Yankees and Rangers could be the two interested teams. I think a move to Texas could hurt Liriano considering how hitter friendly the park is, as well as, for a guy whose HR/FB rate is right around 7.5 percent. A move to New York could be more favorable, but to be honest, I also don’t think either of these teams have much to offer the Twins in return. Liriano is still a middle-ranked guy with a lot of upside, but can be erratic at times.
  • The Michael Young saga continues with the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs being mentioned as potential teams interested in trading for him. The initial rumor from Chicago was that the Cubs were willing to deal outfielder Marlon Byrd, and perhaps even Alphonso Soriano, but there’s no way that will happen. Soriano is owed more money than he should be, and the $48 million that comes with Young is more than the Cubs can afford. That contract could also prevent Young from going anywhere, really…sorry Colorado fans.
  • There doesn’t seem to be any Valentine’s Day love or magic between the St. Louis Cardinals, and first baseman Albert Pujols. The USA Today is reporting that Pujols rejected the latest offer by the Cardinals, and talks could stall until after the World Series. It is also being speculated that Pujols is seeking a decade long contract, and keep in mind he does become a FA this year. He could be playing to solidify that potential deal, so even bigger things could be on the horizon for the first rounder.
  • And finally, fantasy managers love nothing more than potential hidden gems in MLB. These potential potluck playmakers has huge upside as they enter the 2011 fantasy baseball season, and should be on your ST radar, before your fantasy baseball draft day:

1. Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves gave everyone flashes of what is to come, and the 2011 season is wide open for the youngster as the fifth man in the rotation. Minor posted 146 strikeouts in 120 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season and although Minor hit some rough patches after being called up, he was still able to finish with a 43/11 K/BB ratio. You’ll find Mike Minor’s current ADP at 323, but wait until closer to the season before getting a lock on that number.

2. Aaron Harang of the San Diego Padres has the world at his feet this year. After being traded to the cavernous black hole in San Diego—on the heels of a dismal 2010 campaign (6-7 with a 5.32 ERA)—Harang is almost certain for a huge bounce-back year. PETCO is the type of park that makes average, or even slumping, pitchers look really good really fast. So if you’re one of those savvy managers, go out and take a chance on him early, as if you would a SP2 with huge upside.

3. David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals could have the inside track as the Cardinals third baseman this year after posting a deadly .318/.386/.460 batting line over his first 201 plate appearances, with 31 RBI in 48 games before being cut down with an ankle injury. Third base has always been a trouble area for the Cards, as they haven’t had the hot corner clamped down for a very long time. Freese could be that answer, but keep in mind a few things: Freese has had two ankle surgeries in the past six months and the Cardinals are not going to push his recovery or time frame, so they could begin the season with Nick Punto. If all goes well, Freese is a great NL-only guy off the back end of the draft boards.