<
>
Insider

Replacing injured Ordonez a tough task

7/26/2010

About a month ago, my colleague Christopher Harris sent me a trade offer in our 20-team office auction league. Nobody has depth, so trading isn't easy. I needed power, he needed pitching, it was about the easiest trade I had ever made. No negotiation, no days to ponder. He still enjoys Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim right-hander Jered Weaver. I will no longer enjoy Detroit Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez.

Truth be told, Ordonez did well for me, helped me move up a few spots in RBIs in a very deep league (I am in third place), and after he fractured his ankle in a play at home plate over the weekend, I was left to troll for unsuitable replacements Sunday night. I didn't get Jim Edmonds, Matt Joyce or Wilson Betemit with FAAB dollars, but Alexi Casilla, whom I was forced to activate. I'm not pleased.

I'm sure the Tigers aren't pleased either, losing their No. 3 hitter and a key component to the offense. No, Ordonez isn't MVP/Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera, but he was hitting .303 with more power than what he showed last season. Ordonez is on pace for 21 home runs and 105 RBIs. He has more walks than strikeouts (40 to 38). He's among the league's best in pounding left-handed pitching (.371 batting average, 1.171 OPS). The Tigers just don't have internal options to replace the production.

Second baseman Carlos Guillen -- boy, I still can't get used to seeing that position next to his name -- was also hurt in Saturday's contest, as a right calf strain forced him to the DL as well. I have quite a few thoughts/predictions about the Tigers offense the rest of the way, so here goes.

• Cabrera will not be negatively affected by the Ordonez loss. He might not win the Triple Crown because Josh Hamilton is inhuman and Jose Bautista is going to beat him in home runs, but Cabrera will remain ... Cabrera. I've already seen on message boards where fantasy owners are seeking to move Cabrera due to the Ordonez loss, but I don't see it. He's going to continue to rake.

• What would help Cabrera is if rookie Brennan Boesch would find his stroke. Boesch's ownership in ESPN standard (10-team) mixed leagues is down 11.3 percent in the past week -- it was at 99.6 percent! -- because he's hitting .111 in 10 games since the All-Star break. Further, Boesch is hitting .250 in July with nary a home run. Is he done? I don't think so. He needs to make adjustments now that pitchers have figured him out, but five walks in five games, and only two strikeouts, tell me he still knows the strike zone. Don't drop him yet. He might actually move to the No. 3 spot in the Tigers' lineup.

• Ordonez is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Ugh. In head-to-head leagues, with the playoffs looming in roughly a month for many of you, I'd simply cut him. In deeper roto leagues, I'd try to wait, unless you can properly use the bench spot. Maybe he helps the final fortnight.

• Ordonez is owned in 73.1 percent of ESPN leagues -- he was at 100 percent, so it's good that people are paying attention -- and it appears that Luke Scott, Andres Torres and Drew Stubbs have been the main beneficiaries. They are the top three outfielders being added in standard leagues. Scott in particular is a terrific add; he's hit four home runs in a week, and the Baltimore Orioles face mostly right-handers this week. As for outfielders still available in more than half of ESPN's leagues to replace Ordonez's run production, I recommend J.D. Drew, Juan Rivera, Scott, Matt LaPorta, Sean Rodriguez, Jack Cust and Tyler Colvin. By the way, are you aware Colvin leads all NL rookies with 15 home runs?

• Yes, I have touted versatile right-handed option Ryan Raburn numerous times this season, and his three-run double saved the Tigers from an embarrassing doubleheader sweep to the Toronto Blue Jays, but he's hitting .208 with no power, no patience, and is unusable against right-handers (.502 OPS). Even if he starts playing more, I wouldn't add him unless he suddenly starts hitting. Raburn hit 16 home runs in 261 at-bats last season, but that appears to be an aberration.

• It's only 12 at-bats, but Scott Sizemore really didn't show much in his four games after coming back from Triple-A Toledo. I blogged about Sizemore when Brandon Inge went on the DL, and Jim Leyland did call him up to play third base, but he's got to hit. One single and no walks in four games isn't a great impression. The Tigers will probably play Sizemore regularly at second base for a few weeks, until Guillen returns, and I think he can still become relevant in 10-team leagues, but he isn't right now.

• If you're wondering whether to hold onto Guillen or Ordonez, Guillen is the choice. He's expected to return after the minimum 15 days. There isn't much power here with Guillen, but unlike Ordonez, he's second base eligible, which really does matter.

• Those in AL-only leagues might want to take a look at Jeff Larish, a post-prospect lefty hitter who slugged 15 home runs at Triple-A Toledo. He is a first baseman by trade, so his at-bats likely would come at designated hitter, but he has played third base in the past. Larish is unlikely to be a revelation like Boesch, but he does have pop and he should get some at-bats this week.