So it looks like the dust has settled since word broke that Ryan Braun was suspended for the duration of the season and all that craziness we saw take place on Monday. Fantasy owners are likely still scrambling to deal away anyone connected to the Biogenesis scandal, but the number of traumatic events in the MLB universe has dwindled. Notice I didn’t say ‘disappeared,’ as there are a few things that deserve to be addressed, discussed, cried about, whatever you choose. So let’s hit a few of the news items worth mentioning and then we’ll hit the statistical highlights from Wednesday.
A relatively innocuous start to the second half and then suddenly….BOOM goes the dynamite! Four days into the second half and all hell breaks loose. Ryan Braun is suspended for the rest of the year, Matt Garza gets dealt to the Rangers, Alfonso Soriano is headed back to the Yankees, the Pirates need a new closer, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Kemp, and Josh Hamilton are all hurt, more prospects are on their way up and…oh no….Brian Wilson is coming back? It’s like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the 10 plagues of ancient Egypt and all the earthly disasters caused by global warming all rolled into one. If you haven’t been chatting, texting or Skyping with your league-mates all night on Monday, then prepare for the fallout in the morning. With so much to talk about, Tuesday’s going to be a very busy day.
In honor of wrapping up the short week, we’re going to make this one a quickie today and go straight to the highlights. Or you can just blame the snail’s pace of the Yankees-Red Sox game for taking away any momentum I had going from earlier in the day. Besides, I think I pretty much said it all yesterday when discussing the preparation you need to do in order to get your fantasy team ready for a big second half. Got your ear to the ground for the latest rumors? Only nine days left until the trade deadline and I feel there’s going to be a flurry of action so make sure you stay in tune and don’t get blindsided by anything. Got it? Good. Then let’s just hit the highlights.
While the All-Star break gives you a temporary reprieve from the daily fantasy baseball grind, it should also serve as a reminder to you that changes are coming for the second half. Not only do you need to prep your team for the stretch run, but you also need to make preparations to deal with the upcoming MLB trade deadlines. Yes, that’s right, deadlines…plural. You’ve got the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline where anything goes and then there’s the August 31st deadline where players just have to pass through waivers first before they’re dealt; usually your more high-priced/stupid, big contract guys. It’s a steady month of unrest for fantasy owners.
Welcome back to baseball, people! Oh man, did that break seem like forever or what? All that All-Star Game nonsense and all that silliness of the Home Run Derby come and gone and we’re almost none worse for the wear. How many of you Robinson Cano owners were freaking out when Matt Harvey plunked him on the knee in that first inning? And while his batting average is down in the dumps, Yoenis Cespedes probably didn’t do us any good by jacking all those home runs and doing who knows what to his wrist. The A’s seem to be downplaying his late scratch status on Friday due to wrist soreness, but yet again, the curse of the Derby rears its ugly head.
When Hunter Pence made that diving catch on Alex Amarista’s liner to close out the eighth inning, you knew that the baseball gods were looking down on Tim Lincecum, smiling, and declaring this night for him. The 1-2-3 ninth inning was just a mere formality; a dot on the ‘I’ and a cross on the ‘t’. Not only did he wage a war to no-hit the Padres, but he also made a declaration to the baseball community, both real and fantasy, that he wasn’t quite finished. Though the latter part of his six-plus year career has been laden with lows, he still had plenty of highs left in him and we’re not just talking about his smoking habits in the offseason.
Oh man. The All-Star break couldn’t be coming at a better time for many fantasy owners as some of the top players in the game are getting waxed by the injury bug and we’ve only just begun the supposed dog days of summer. Throughout this week we’ve seen the likes of Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday go down with hamstring injuries, Yu Darvish hit the DL with an issue in his trapezius muscle, Matt Harvey lose a start this weekend with a finger blister, and both Aramis Ramirez and Matt Kemp make a return to the disabled list thanks to a knee and a shoulder, respectively. Brutal, right? Well, it doesn’t end there.
It was a big day in the Bronx for the New York Yankees and their fans on Thursday as Derek Jeter, the Captain…their Captain…made his 2013 season debut after missing nearly the entire first half with a broken ankle. The wait would have been a bit shorter had doctors not found a small crack in the bone near the original break during his recovery, but his return was forced back to the All Star break because of it. For the most part, fantasy owners waited patiently, stashing Jeter on their DL despite the fact that he’s 39-years old and on the downside of an historic career. He had a bit of resurgence last season, but expectations couldn’t have been that high given his age and the severity of the injury.
Just when you thought you were going to be able to sit back and enjoy this final week before the All Star break, the news of potential Biogenesis suspensions has reappeared like some ill-timed, unsightly cold sore destined to spoil your fun. Rather than being able to relax through the Futures Game, the Home Run Derby and the rest of the midsummer classic festivities, your time will be taken up by a barrage of emails from those contending owners looking to haul in a king’s ransom for the likes of Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera and anyone else looking at a potential 50-game ban. If you’re in a keeper league and already thinking about next year, this might be a great time to pick up a top player for next year, but should you even be on the cusp of title-contention, you may also want to kick the tires and see if you can afford the sticker price as these suspensions aren’t exactly set in stone.
While those who don’t follow the game as closely as we do think the baseball season can be too long and arduous, I’m sure many of you can agree with me when I say how crazy it seems that the first half of the season has already passed us by. This is the final week before the All Star break and before you know it, September will be here and your fight for a championship turns into a one-month sprint after a five-month long grueling marathon. The break is probably a welcomed sight for a lot of you, especially those of you whose players are currently dealing with an array of minor injuries – not DL-type stuff, but enough to keep you out of the lineup for a few games. Even though it’s just a few days off, that can be a huge break for those limping out of this half.