When we launched the Closing Time blog at the start of the 2008 season, we made it clear that we wouldn't turn this exercise into nightly ambulance chasing. Sure, we need to keep track of the injury and DL status of key players, we accept that — but the focus has always been to try to help you deal with your injuries as opposed to simply reciting long-winded injury disclosures that really don't lead to anything actionable.
With that theme in mind, we've spent Thursday morning trying to help you deal with the glut of outfield injuries that have rocked the roto landscape. Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) went down last Friday, Chris Young (shoulder) and Brett Gardner (elbow) landed on the DL Wednesday, and Justin Upton (thumb) remains in limbo. You need fresh outfielders to fill in for these chaps (or for other slumping hitters), and we're here to help.
Make the jump below and you'll find a variety of outfielders to consider, names you can grab in many (if not most) standard leagues. You can also mosey on over to the Outfielder Shuffle Up, fresh out of the oven, if you want to see how the entire outfield is priced. Your waiver-wire and trading success is our reward.
After we get the swap meet taken care of, we'll double back and focus on some of Wednesday's happenings. In the meantime, here are some pickup ideas for shallow, medium and deep mixed leagues, a 1o-pack for your consideration. Load up the cordless mouse with some fresh batteries and get going with your points and clicks:
• Alejandro De Aza (51 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues): I'm not sure if De Aza qualifies as a post-hype case because he was never all that ballyhooed in Florida. But his 54-game trial in Chicago last season passed the eye test (.329, four homers, 12 steals) and he's already got 10 runs, three homers and a steal as Robin Ventura's leadoff man. De Aza isn't going to top the league in walks, but he's not adverse to taking a pitch, either; he has 22 free passes over his last 195 at-bats. The batting average isn't guaranteed, but you should get healthy pushes in three categories (runs, homers, steals).
• Jordan Schafer (43 percent): You can't be a snob when it comes to those ugly teams and markets. The Astros don't get shut out daily. Schafer already has 10 runs scored and six bags, and he's got enough pop to make a run at 8-12 homers. The Astros are clearly in development mode, so they'll leave Schafer alone in the first position, let him run liberally.
• Jason Bay (25 percent): He was in a funk when the bell rang, but Bay has rebounded over his last five games, collecting two homers, a steal and a couple of walks. He's still capable of going 15-15 (perhaps better) over the balance of a full season, and the Mets as a team look better through a couple of weeks than most expected. I still figure New York comes in last in the NL East, but it might be a pesky 75-win club as opposed to a 100-loss nightmare.
• Jon Jay (23 percent): There was a public outcry when the Cardinals jettisoned Colby Rasmus (and his father) last summer, but Jay has turned into a handy, versatile performer in center field. Two homers, two bags, tied to a strong lineup, hitting .350, what's not to like here? And the team needs him on defense; his glove will keep him on the field.
• Raul Ibanez (18 percent): As old as this New York club is, it can still pile up the runs, especially when No. 4 or No. 5 starters come calling. Ibanez isn't going to help you in batting average, but he has a stroke perfectly made for Yankee Stadium. He's already homered twice, driven in nine runs, and even copped a couple of stolen bases.
• Cody Ross (13 percent): He's always had a decent power stroke, especially against lefties, and he's already blasted a couple of homers over the monster seats at Fenway. Ross's playing time is secure for the moment; he can play any outfield slot, and the club is down Carl Crawford and Ellsbury. For all the early problems in Boston, this is still a club that's going to score a boatload of runs.
• Luke Scott (10 percent): He's always been known as a notorious streak hitter, so hop on board while the getting is good. Scott is on a 9-for-27 binge with three homers to open the year. Playing time becomes trickier once B.J. Upton returns (which should be this weekend, perhaps as soon as Thursday), but if you're producing, Joe Maddon will find room for you.
• Shelley Duncan (9 percent): I can't promise you he'll be a regular when Johnny Damon is ready to go, but in the meantime Duncan is a quiet producer (.290, eight runs, two homers) in the middle of Cleveland's lineup. No one made a fuss over Duncan last year, but he did blast 11 homers over 223 at-bats. No platoon concerns, as he slugged .587 against righties.
• Josh Reddick (4 percent): There might not be a lot of category juice here, but Reddick is off to a .298 start and he's going to bat third in Oakland most of the time. I could see him making a run at a .285-80-16-85-8 type of season; those numbers will play in a medium or deep mixer.
• Gerardo Parra (2 percent): I never understood while Arizona stripped Parra of his starting spot in the offseason; he's a terrific defender and he has some versatile offensive tools. Parra probably has to play every day with Young on the DL; look for a handful of steals, the occasional home run, and a plus average. Opposing teams hate playing against this guy (even Clayton Kershaw openly detests Parra). Must be a Rico Suave thing.
I know, I know, I probably snubbed your pet player or pickup of choice. Feel free to offer up some recommended outfield buys in the comments; please include their Yahoo! ownership tag if you can.
As for the rest of Wednesday's action, time for some bulleted content:
• Maybe Miami's home park isn't going to be such an offensive nightmare after all. Hustlin' Hanley Ramirez homered for the third consecutive game as the hosts rolled all over Chicago, 9-1. Logan Morrison was the only Marlin starter to go hitless, but the other hobbling hero in the outfield (Giancarlo Stanton) rapped out a couple of singles. Mark Buehrle finally corralled his first National League win, logging his third consecutive quality start. He's recommended at New York next week.
• What's driving the amazing Bartolo Colon story? Science? Voodoo? Cagey veteran skills? A weekend on Fantasy Island? Colon toyed with the high-priced Angels on Wednesday, throwing eight smooth innings at them (4 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 13 ground-ball outs). Colon threw 82 of 108 pitches for strikes, including an unreal 38 strikes in a row at one point (here's the video evidence). Hey Bartolo, you know you turn 39 in May, right? You know you were written off for good in the middle of the 2000s, right? Colon is back in Oakland next week, for a home start against Chicago. If you can't beat him, join him.
• There's not much of a fantasy takeaway when Cliff Lee and Matt Cain lock up for a sterling pitcher's duel — everyone knows how fantastic they are — but we'll take a second to tip the cap anyway. Lee posted 10 bagels by the bay (7 H, 0 BB, 7 K, 102 pitches) while Cain lugged the mail for nine innings (2 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 91 pitches). Both pitchers got a no-decision for their trouble; cruelly enough, San Francisco reliever Clay Hensley recorded the victory after his three-pitch appearance. The Phillies have just 35 runs through the first couple of weeks, ranking 28th in the majors. Only Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have been more anemic. Hurry back, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
• The American League better hope the Rangers fall into injuries, because if this Texas club stays healthy, everyone else could be in big, fat trouble. Obviously the Rangers come into 2012 as a known commodity — two straight World Series trips and all — but this year's group looks like the deepest roster they've ever had. Breakout candidate Derek Holland passed the eye test during seven sterling innings at Boston(4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 K); if you can thrive in Fenway and Arlington, you can do it anywhere. He's in my Circle of Trust until further notice. Josh Hamilton collected three more hits (forget the offseason issues, he looks locked in for a monster year in his walk season) and Mike Napoli hit his third homer of the series. Mike Aviles had a single and two walks for the Red Sox (and was 1-for-2 on the bases), while CT whipping boy Kevin Youkilis struck his first homer (hurry up and sell that one).
• Last year Brandon Morrow carried a high ERA around but at least 203 strikeouts cushioned the blow. Thus far through three 2012 turns he still has a high ERA but the strikeouts have disappeared (just nine over 20 innings). Do yourself a favor, write it down in ink: I will not sign up for the Morrow tease in 2013. Move on, mover. The AL East has no easy marks, especially with the Orioles offense kicking up its cleats. If you still carry unconditional love for Morrow, you can go ahead and use him at Kansas City next week. Didn't you learn anything from the Ricky Nolasco experience?
Speed Round: Hiroki Kuroda was knocked around for the second time in three starts (we're not in Chavez Ravine anymore), serving up two homers to surging Justin Morneau. The Matt Capps save experience was rocky (as usual), but he escaped before the Yankees were able to score a second run and extend the game. … All Pedro Alvarez does is hit homers, apparently. His second knock of the year (and second homer) helped the Bucs trim Arizona, 2-1. Juan Cruz picked up his second rogue save in two days, as Joel Hanrahan continues to deal with a sore hamstring. … It was back to Henry Rodriguez as the Nationals keep rolling along; he needed just seven pitches to put the Astros away (one strikeout, one groundout, one liner to center). With Brad Lidge dealing with vertigo issues, Rodriguez has the leg up in this bullpen. And let's give it up for the much-maligned Jayson Werth; although he's yet to hit a homer in 2012, he already has a couple of bags, along with a .347 average and .448 OBP. He's a useful player again. … St. Louis threw 11 runs at the Reds and now leads the majors in scoring. Doesn't it seem like every move the Cardinals make winds up working out? Carlos Beltran must have found the fountain of youth (five homers, three bags), and there are six regulars hitting over .300 here. Mat Latos had one of his Nuke LaLoosh nights; he couldn't command his stuff, he wasn't able to hold runners (the Cards stole four bases), and he was hit hard in three different innings. We know there's a multi-million arm here, but what's upstairs? He's at home against the Giants next week; you're on your own with that one. I'm very glad I don't own him anywhere. … Chase Headley knocked a couple of balls into the Coors Field crowd and currently grades as the top corner in Yahoo's game. Alas, the Friars are home for their next seven games, then stop in San Francisco for three more. Until we meet again, thin air. … Make it seven straight appearances for Addison Reed without allowing a run (4 H, 1 BB, 5 K). He's going to be worth owning in medium and deep mixers all season, no matter if he gets to the ninth or not. … Brent Morel has some pop and he's not a bad defender, but I can't understand why the White Sox are trying to make him into a No. 2 hitter. Morel has a .103/.146/.128 line to start the year, with two walks against 18 strikeouts. There's a fine line between clever and stupid, Robin Ventura.