StrategyJune 17, 2011

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Roto Medic: Morneau Malaise

By Kim Bhasin

Ah, the perpetually injured Mets.  David Wright’s seems to be making some solid progress with the stress fracture in his lower back.  He’s due to be re-examined next week, but there’s no timetable for his return yet.  The best case scenario for Wright is that he’s cleared to pick up a bat and glove and begin baseball activities.   The worst case?  It’s the Mets.

If everything goes well, Wright might be back around the All-Star break, which is great news for New York’s second most injured team.  The Mets have $37 million in payroll sitting on the DL right now, but there’s one team that blows that figure out of the water: the Twins.

Here’s the Twins DL:

Joe Mauer ($23M)
Justin Morneau ($15M)
Joe Nathan ($11.25M)
Jason Kubel ($5.25M)
Jim Thome ($3M)
Tsuyoshi Nishioka ($3M)
Kevin Slowey ($2.7M)
Denard Span ($1M)
Glen Perkins ($700k)

We’ve already addressed Mauer, so today we’ll take a look at their first baseman slugger.

Justin Morneau – (15 day DL – left wrist strain)

Morneau’s recovery process took a turn for the worst earlier this week after meeting a specialist for his wrist.  A cortizone shot had no effect, and the Twins were forced to slide Morneau on to the DL.

So now, they’ve immobilized his wrist in a cast (yikes).  He’ll be wearing that thing for at least the next 10 days, but the Twins are hopeful that he’ll regain mobility in the wrist in the first few days after its removal.

So when’s he going to be back on the field?  Optimistic reports have him back in action by the end of June, but that still leaves you without a first baseman for another couple weeks.

In the first half we’ve witnessed plenty of aging players go down the gutter, and a few of them are 1Bs that need to be avoided like Derrek Lee (25% owned).  But some have surged, and in turn were taken off the market in some leagues, like Todd Helton (48% owned) and Carlos Pena (52% owned).  Here’s a look at what’s still available on the wire:

  • Mark Trumbo (29% owned) – Trumbo has fared well as Kendrys Morales replacement this year for the Angels.  With 11 HRs and 29 RBIs he’s hitting for serviceable power, and is even on pace for double digit steals.  Trumbo should be a reliable starter for the rest of the year, but only in a Util spot in a mixed league.  His power production won’t match up against most starting first basemen, but you can count on the consistency (and at least he’s not James Loney (20% owned).
  • Freddie Freeman (26% owned) – We haven’t been fortunate to see Freeman’s power potential this year, but it’s undoubtedly still there. It’s now evident that his big 2011 sleeper status wasn’t quite justified, but he still has value off the bench.  And who knows, maybe there’ll be a spark, though he’s just now coming off of an oblique strain
  • Anthony Rizzo (23% owned) – If you missed out on Eric Hosmer (58% owned), here’s your next chance to score on a big 1B prospect, and you can benefit from the much lower hype level.  Rizzo was called up last week and started off hot, but has since cooled off.  If he goes on a streak owners everywhere are going to mug him, so if you have to roster space to take a chance on Rizzo, you’ll have to do it soon.

Other mixed league options: Matt LaPorta (14% owned), Garrett Jones (9% owned), Brett Wallace (18% owned).

Deep league potshot: Casey Kotchman (1% owned).

Kim writes for Business Insider's sports page and runs a sports business blog at while attending NYU as a graduate student in Business and Economic Reporting. Catch up with him at the Cafe as Kim Bhasin, and follow him on Twitter (@KimBhasin).
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