Closing Time: Wait 'til next year, Rickie Weeks

Scott Pianowski
May 19, 2009

It's not a fantasy season until Rickie Weeks(notes) drives his fantasy owners batty, and we're going to hit the saturation point early in 2009. The Brewers announced Monday that Weeks needs surgery on his left wrist and is done for the year.

Okay, we shouldn't come down too hard on a guy who had the misfortune to suffer a season-ending wrist injury for the second time in four seasons (he hurt the right wrist in July 2006). But the news is especially frustrating when you consider the pace Weeks was on; extrapolate his six-week stats out to a full season and you get 38 homers, 119 runs and 102 RBIs. And while he only had two steals in four attempts, this is a guy who's averaged 20 bags a year over the four previous seasons (despite playing in just 438 games). Tonight, you can almost hear Bernie Brewer crying in his suds.

The Brewers aren't likely to give us another usable fantasy player in the aftermath, not from a mixed-league tack anyway. Lefty Craig Counsell(notes) and righty Casey McGehee(notes) will probably share the second-base gig for a while – I'm assuming Ken Macha doesn't want to go the Bill Hall(notes) route at second – and while the organization plans to give hotshot shortstop Alcides Escobar some time at second base at Triple-A Nashville, a call-up isn't imminent on that front.

In deeper and competitive mixed leagues, it might be difficult to find a quality middle infielder on the waiver wire to replace Weeks; I scrolled through the logs of the most-added middle infielders in Yahoo! Plus Leagues and found 13-of-15 players who aren't available in the good old Friends & Family League (14 owners, all wicked smart). I'm not going to take the stab at either of the two available options (Counsell and Ramon Santiago(notes)), but I'll save you a click and list the other 13 players here, if you want to discuss them in the comments. You'll recognize a lot of these chaps from our bloggery during the season: Ben Zobrist(notes), Alberto Callaspo(notes), Emmanuel Burriss(notes), Ian Stewart(notes), Freddy Sanchez(notes), Akinori Iwamura(notes), Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes), Luis Castillo(notes), Cristian Guzman(notes) (who drew a walk today!), Emilio Bonifacio(notes), Skip Schumaker(notes), Yunel Escobar(notes) and Jason Bartlett(notes).

Hang in there, Rickie Youth. We'll get through this together.

It wasn't the best of nights to be a Mets fan; the club announced during evening drive time that Carlos Delgado(notes) needs hip surgery (he'll have the procedure Tuesday; say goodbye to two months), and New York went on to lose a downright ugly game at Chavez Ravine. Five errors in the field took their toll – including a throwing error from fill-in 1B Jeremy Reed(notes) that ended the game – but the most memorable miscue of the night might have been Ryan Church(notes) missing third base in the top of the 11th, wiping out what would have been the go-ahead run. Vin Scully compared the horror show to the 1962 Mets, and it's hard to beat that comparison.

It will be interesting to see how the Mets decide to replace Delgado for the next 8-plus weeks. They could cobble together a first-base brigade with out-of-position parts like Fernando Tatis(notes), Daniel Murphy(notes) and Reed, or they could go outside the organization and make a move. Tatis's power makes him the most intriguing fantasy option of this trio, but my gut feel is that we're going to see a major transaction from Omar Minaya in the next couple of weeks.

The other cleat dropped with the Khalil Greene(notes) situation in St. Louis, as Tony La Russa announced that Greene will slide into a utility role. The veteran shortstop can't feel blindsided by this move; that's what happens when you carry a .202 average this deep into the season. He'll split time with Brendan Ryan(notes) and Tyler Greene(notes), and given La Russa's affection for filling out a different lineup card every day, good luck figuring out a discernible pattern going forward.

Baseball fans in the OC are probably looking at one another and wondering why Casey Kotchman(notes) got such an extended run at first base. The Angels finally upgraded the position late last year with a Mark Teixeira(notes) summer rental, and this time around we're finally getting a chance to see Kendry Morales(notes) strut his stuff in the majors. The Cuban hitting machine whacked a couple of homers (No. 7 and No. 8) and a single at Seattle, lifting his season mark up to .287. Kotchman has a similar average half a country away in Atlanta, and maybe those 13 doubles do something for you, but you don't get a lot of fantasy utility from two homers, 15 RBIs and zero stolen bases.

Handshakes: Mariano Rivera(notes) was set for a day off, so Joe Girardi let Phil Coke(notes) struggle his way through a working-man's save. I wouldn't look for too many more of those, Coke hasn't been fooling anyone in recent appearances. … Jesse Carlson(notes) fritted away another super effort from Scott Richmond(notes) (seven scoreless, seven whiffs), but Scott Downs(notes) was sharp again in the ninth (save No. 5, 1.86 ERA). … Ross Detwiler(notes) looked sharp in his first major-league start (5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K), then sat back and watched just about everyone in the Washington bullpen get knocked around (you know the usual suspects). … Huston Street(notes) (perfect inning) lost his save chance when the Rockies got some unearned runs in the top of the ninth at Atlanta, and the Angels did the same thing to Brian Fuentes(notes) in Seattle (Fuentes didn't pitch, as a result). … Brandon Morrow(notes) got some middle-relief work and was a mixed bag (2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). It's not going to be a quick fix, or an easy one.

Speed Round: Another collar (0-for-5) for Andre Ethier(notes), who's now 6-for-44 since Mannywood went on hiatus. The Dodgers are 5-5 without Ramirez, though the offense has been fine (52 runs). … I put Rafael Furcal(notes) on the F&F Block and admitted that I'd consider selling at a discount. Craig Falzone, forever, the opportunist, came running with a Rich Hill(notes) offer. No thanks, amigo. … John Lackey(notes) didn't hit anyone in his Take 2 at Seattle, but he wasn't anywhere near mid-season form, either (5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). His velocity looked decent for the few innings I caught, but it didn't look like his location was sharp (forget the zero walks; it's all about putting the ball specifically where you want it). He'll work at Chavez Ravine against the Dodgers Saturday. … Make it five straight days off for Jose Reyes (calf), who hopes to go Tuesday. … Edinson Volquez(notes) (back) probably won't miss a turn, and Erik Bedard(notes) (hamstring) should be ready for his next start. … So much for the Kornheiser-off-MNF afterglow; Chris Berman made my ears bleed with the call at Yankee Stadium. … Ricky Nolasco(notes) pitched in and out of trouble during his rain-negated start against Arizona (3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K). He threw 58 pitches and Dan Haren(notes) had 56, too much work for us to expect that either will come back on short rest. In a scheduling fluke, it was Nolasco's first home start since April 11.