Roto Riteup: March 29

Today’s Roto Riteup comes to you live from Dunedin, where Rotographs was on hand for some fantasy-relevant news on Monday.

On the agenda:
1. Aaron Sanchez wins a starting job
2. Matt Shoemaker does, too
3. Matt Harvey has a mysterious medical issue
4. Nick Swisher got released, bro
5. Freed Dan Straily

Aaron Sanchez wins a starting job
The Toronto Blue Jays revealed Monday morning as your boy was still getting his credential settled away that Aaron Sanchez will be the team’s fifth starter to open the year, with Drew Hutchison optioned to the minors and Gavin Floyd (and Jesse Chavez, long-presumed) headed to the bullpen. This is the best-case scenario for fantasy players, as Sanchez has the highest upside of the candidates, with a plus-fastball that has a ton of late life and tertiary pitches that have flashed average throughout a strong spring training.

“With Sanchez, he’s made some progress from last year in how he delivers the ball to the plate,” catcher Russell Martin told Rotographs on Monday. “The thing for him is, he’s turning into more of a pitcher than a hardball thrower.”

Manager John Gibbons said that he will move Sanchez to the bullpen later in the season to manage his workload, but I’m not sure I buy it – the Jays can skip his start on occasion, give him quicker hooks with Chavez and Floyd around in the bullpen, and evaluate his fatigue on an ongoing basis without committing to such a move. With an NFBC ADP just outside the top-100 starters, I definitely think Sanchez warrants a late-draft flier, and if he ultimately shifts back to the pen, well, your cost was minimal.

In other Jays notes, the team claimed Jesus Montero off of waivers and interestingly called him a C/1B rather than just a 1B/DH. So long as he isn’t hitting pitchers in the head with throws to second, he might have a chance. Edwin Encarnacion also hit a moon-shot in a minor league game and told reporters afterward he’ll stay in minor league camp the rest of the week to continue to get more at bats. It sounds like he’ll be ready for Sunday.

Matt Shoemaker does, too
The Los Angeles Angels went somewhat of the opposite route, optioning intriguing prospect Nicholas Tropeano on Monday. That means Matt Shoemaker will be the team’s final starter, an outcome that’s not terrible for fantasy owners depending on where one feels his true talent falls between a breakout 2014 and a disappointing 2015. Not surprisingly, projection systems roughly split the difference, which would make Shoemaker a slightly sub-4.00 ERA, eight strikeout per-nine arm, albeit one with a home run problem. His NFBC ADP is 121 at the position, so if you’re a fan, like Sanchez, the cost of seeing how this plays out is minimal.

I remain a believer in Tropeano as a contributor at some point in 2016, it just won’t be to start the year.

Matt Harvey has a mysterious medical issue
Who’s ready for more awkward Matt Harvey injury updates? The New York Mets are considering their would-be ace as questionable for Sunday’s season opener because of an undisclosed medical issue. He could be headed to New York for further evaluation, but manager Sandy Alderson assured everyone that the symptom is unrelated to the baseball anatomy (my words, not his). This is probably nothing, but considering how the end of last season played out with Harvey and the Mets on the injury front, and more importantly, that Harvey’s the sixth starter off the board, any minor issue warrants keeping a close eye. Performance-wise, there’s little to worry about with Harvey when he takes the bump.

Nick Swisher got released, bro
Obviously not realizing that outfielder-first-baseman-songwriter Nick Swisher is for the children, the Atlanta Braves eschewed dozens of children’s shirsey sales on Monday when they cut ties with Ultibro Dragon. He’s still owed $15 million this season, $5 million of which the Indians are on the hook for. Swisher has been downright bad for two seasons after nearly a decade of bronomenal offensive numbers, but maybe the damning scarlet letter and the accompanying lack of chill that came with his overpriced contract masked some residual utility? Even if an American League club nabbed the 35-year-old for occasional DH duty and far-more-occasional bro-down sessions, you’d need Swisher to show you something for a while before he became more than a DFS play against left-handed pitchers and a mini-van play when your kids need to, like, relax, dude.

Freed Dan Straily
The San Diego Padres added to their uninspiring San Diego Cadre of starting pitching depth by sending Erik Kratz to the Astros for Dan Straily. Straily didn’t get much of a shot in the majors in 2015 with which to rediscover his 2012-2013 success, and it doesn’t seem likely he will at Petco, either – he’s probably headed for swingman duty, where he’ll see if consistently strong minor-league strikeout rates can carry over to the bullpen. He’d be worth an investigation if he fell into a medium-term starting gig, but he’d be battling with a handful of other arms for that chance. The path simply isn’t clear enough to warrant a buy.

Kratz, meanwhile, has now been flipped enough times to make Jose Bautista’s Marucci blush.

Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

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I have my keeper list due today at noon and have to decide what to do with my $12 Harvey. This is a 12-team NL-only and was thinking of extending him for two years at $17 at least. Now I may just keep him for this year at $12 and hope for the best.

Ghost of Jair Jurrjens
Ghost of Jair Jurrjens

Extend. Which is something Harvey might not be comfortable doing at the moment.


Lol, yes, just got the news too.