SleepersDecember 12, 2005

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Sleeper Watch

By Arlo Vander

Joey Gathright has been on fantasy owners’ radars for quite some time (he made his first appearance in this column all the way back in March 2004). Yet in spite of the visions of stolen bases dancing in our heads, Gathright hasn’t had much fantasy value yet. The problem? A lack of playing time in Tampa Bay’s crowded outfield.

That problem might be solved soon, however. The Rays are rumored to be shopping Gathright. Among the potential suitors are the Florida Marlins, who are eager to fill the hole left by Juan Pierre’s departure.

Last year, Pierre swiped 57 bases in Florida while posting a .326 on-base percentage. That number is very similar to Gathright’s OBP of .316, and it can be assumed that Gathright, too, would receive plenty of opportunities to rack up steals if he winds up hitting at the top of the Marlins’ order.

For now, such a trade remains mere speculation, but fantasy owners should nevertheless take note. Elite basestealers are always useful fantasy commodities, and it’s possible that Gathright will be just that in 2006.

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