When Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi isn’t working to get an edge on rival teams, he’s trying to out-maneuver those within the organization in fantasy football, as Andy McCullough writes in a fun piece for the Los Angeles Times. Dodgers players are regretting their decision to allow the executive into the team’s league, it seems, as he has run off three-straight championships. Among the many choice quotes are several from L.A. ace Clayton Kershaw, who calls Zaidi a “big loophole guy.” Opportunistic claims and creative roster-building tactics evidently play as well in fantasy football as they do in compiling a winning ballclub.
Here are a few notes out of the NL West:
- Elbow health is a topic of attention in Dodgers camp, McCullough further reports, though perhaps fortunately the issue is to this point mostly centered on the position-player group. Star shortstop Corey Seager is being treated with care in camp, but there’s also a new concern with catcher/second baseman Austin Barnes. The 28-year-old, who turned in a breakout 2017 season, is working out but won’t be allowed to throw in a game for the first week of action after some elbow inflammation arose over the offseason. Barnes says he “probably threw too much” over the winter in an effort to improve at cutting down baserunners, but also insists he is capable of going at full speed. The Los Angeles organization has an admirable group of catchers and seems mostly to be acting out of caution, so for now this is just a situation to keep an eye on.
- The Diamondbacks face an increasingly difficult challenge with regard to outfielder Yasmany Tomas, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. It’s possible that the lumbering slugger could be optioned or outrighted rather than opening on the active roster, Piecoro suggests. Following an injury-limited season in which the 27-year-old Tomas limped to a .241/.294/.464 batting line, Arizona has made alternative plans in the outfield and doesn’t seem to have much use for one of its most highly-compensated players. With $10MM owed for 2018, there’s not much hope of finding another organization to take over his contract, particularly since he can opt to secure an additional $32.5MM over the ensuing two seasons. The post is a detailed look at a situation that doesn’t admit of easy answers.
- ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick checks in on Giants camp, discussing the veteran-heavy unit that will try to engineer a dramatic turnaround following a moribund 2017 effort. Executive VP of baseball operations Brian Sabean discussed in broad terms the fact that the team’s offseason strategy involved bringing in established players whose best days are likely in the past. He suggests that many supremely talented players ought to be able to thrive even as they move out of their prime years. “I don’t think the industry gives itself enough credit with the initiatives we’ve taken with sports science, rest and recovery, nutrition, offseason conditioning, in-season conditioning, the new off days built into the schedule and the new ways to travel that are more elite and more first class,” explains Sabean. While moves for Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, and others were surely made in part because they allowed the club to add proven performers while staying below the luxury tax line, it does seem the San Francisco organization believes that some of its competitors may be a bit too fixated on age. Some of the newly added and preexisting veterans echo that sentiment; there’s plenty more of interest to unpack in the article.