2011 Fantasy Baseball News (January 5th): Adrian Beltre to Sign With Rangers

Fantasy Baseball

Beltre should give the Rangers some power.

Even though we are still about five weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training, there is plenty of off-season fantasy baseball news that will have an affect on the 2011 fantasy baseball season.

Where will Manny be Manny next season? He is still looking for a team, along with Carl Pavano, Vladimir Guerrero, Johnny Damon, and Brad Penny. However, one premier free agent has found a home and will be playing in a division next season that he has spent ample time within before.

Adrian Beltre to Sign With Texas Rangers

Adrian Beltre is expected to sign a multiyear deal with the Texas Rangers soon and will return to the AL West where he played five seasons with the Seattle Mariners. This is definitely an interesting move for all parties involved and there are fantasy implications for more than just Beltre with this signing.

The veteran will be turning 32 early in the 2011 season, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career playing for the Boston Red Sox last year. He hit .321 with 28 HRs and 102 RBIs while playing in 154 games. He has shown over his career to be a very durable player, playing on average in 141 games each season. He will be joining a lineup that includes Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, speedster Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz, so Beltre will have plenty of opportunities to improve his RBIs, runs and HRs next season.

One of the problems the Texas Rangers have is where to play Michael Young. The easy answer would be to move Young to DH and should not affect Young’s position eligibility for 2011 but could play a role in seasons afterwards. This is a situation to monitor leading up to the season to see how the lineup shakes out for the Rangers.

Carlos Gonzalez signs seven-year extension with Rockies

It looks like the Colorado Rockies are getting serious about keeping their young talent and building a strong core of players for years to come. In the last few months they have gone out and signed Troy Tulowitzki to a monster extension and brought back Jorge De La Rosa to team up with Ubaldo Jimenez. Now it looks like Carlos Gonzalez will be calling Mile High his home through 2017, signing a seven-year, $80 million extension with the Rockies.

Gonzalez had a breakout year last year hitting .336, with 34 HRs, 117 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases. He also was third in the NL MVP race, finishing behind Joey Votto and Albert Pujols. This is great news for Carlos Gonzalez and his owners. With most Rockies players, his numbers at Coors Field are significantly better than on the road. At home, he hit .380 with 26 HRs and 76 RBIs compared to .289 with 8 HRs and 41 RBIs on the road. As long as Gonzalez is a member of the Colorado Rockies, he should be considered one of the top outfielders in the game. Gonzalez can help your fantasy baseball lineup in almost every category including average, home runs, runs batted in, steals and runs.

Derrek Lee signs with the Baltimore Orioles

It looks like Baltimore has found their starting first basemen, as they have signed free agent Derrek Lee to a one-year contract. Over the past ten years, Lee has been a solid option at first base and you can expect a good average, with good power and RBI numbers. But last year was one of his worst statistical years between his time on the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves, where he hit .260, 19 HRs, and 80 RBIs.

These numbers may have been associated with a number of injuries Derrek Lee was dealing with this past summer, which included a torn ligament in his thumb. He had surgery on the thumb this off-season and all signs are pointing to him being healthy and ready for the start of the season. A sign that Derrek Lee could have a bounce back year was he was playing better the second half of the season when he hit .298, 9 HRs and 44 RBIs.

Another thing to consider if you draft Derrek Lee is that this will be his first season in the American League and to make matters worse he will be playing in the East that includes top pitching staffs like the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. Derrek Lee is worth a late round pick, if he is still there, and could have a bounce back year but coming off an injury and playing in the AL East, may be too much to overcome.

Octavio Dotel Signs With Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have found their closer for next season in Octavio Dotel, who signed a one-year deal. The 37 year old has had an interesting career, playing for 13 teams in 12 years, mainly as the set up man for teams. Last season he spent most of the year playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates where he had 21 saves in 26 opportunities with a 4.28 ERA. However, now he will be taking over the closer role for the Blue Jays and could turn out to be one of the top closers of 2011.

Like kickers and team defense in fantasy football, closers are a position not to overpay for and should be one of the last positions you address, as there is a lot of turnover at this position. However, Octavio Dotel is a closer you should target in these latter rounds, as he will be playing on an above average team that will provide him with plenty of opportunities to pile up the saves. He also has proven over his career to be a high strikeout guy where he has averaged over 1.2 strikeouts per inning and it’s also important when looking at closers to find pitchers who can help you in more than just the saves category. As long as Dotel is the closer the whole season you could expect somewhere around 30-35 saves for him next season.

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