Tim Heitman/US Presswire
Kinsler, leading the majors in hits and runs scored, said he felt pain in his groin fielding a ground ball during Sunday night's loss to the Rays. He left the game in the eighth inning. An MRI on Monday confirmed the tear in Kinsler's groin, and if he needs surgery, it would officially end his breakout season. Even if he doesn't need surgery, it's likely the Rangers would err on the side of caution and shut Kinsler down.
This is horrible news for fantasy owners, as second base is not the deepest position to find help, and in most leagues the trade deadline has passed. Plus, nobody has had a better fantasy season than Kinsler, expect maybe Berkman. This is all from a guy who was drafted in ESPN live drafts at No. 72 on average, making him arguably the best value in the game. At the All-Star break, I and other ESPN fantasy writers gave Kinsler an overall No. 10 ranking for 2009, ahead of Josh Hamilton, Ryan Braun and Johan Santana, among many others. On the plus side, this injury should not affect Kinsler next season.
The Rangers called up Joaquin Arias from Triple-A Oklahoma to replace Kinsler, and expect him to share second base duties with Ramon Vazquez. Arias, as I'm sure everyone recalls, was the "player to be named later" in the 2004 Alex Rodriguez-Alfonso Soriano trade with the Yankees. He picked up 11 at-bats late in the 2006 season with Texas and, in the minors this season, the 23-year-old was hitting .296 with seven home runs and 23 stolen bases. He could be a decent source of steals the final six weeks. Meanwhile, to fill Vazquez's spot at third base, Chris Davis is expected to move across the diamond, making room for Hank Blalock at first base. Of course, we've heard that one before. As for the lineup, the Rangers used Brandon Boggs in the leadoff spot on Monday, thus not moving the likes of Michael Young, Hamilton and Milton Bradley. This trio should see fewer RBI opportunities, but not enough to blunt their fantasy values.
As for available second basemen who could possibly help replace Kinsler's 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases, there isn't anyone who precisely fits that bill, but Jed Lowrie, Ian Stewart and Mark Ellis all seem like reasonable options. In deeper leagues, take a look at Omar Infante and Ray Durham.Past editions: 8/18: bullpen costs Kershaw another win | 8/17: Halladay complete again
Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Ramirez hit his 12th home run of the season, his fifth homer and 18th RBI since the All-Star break. He's hitting .292 and slugging .509 in the second half.
Jarrod Washburn, Mariners
In his first start since it was revealed that he'd been claimed on waivers by the Twins, Washburn was roughed up for eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. He walked two, but surrendered two two-run homers.
"For the Padres, it only makes sense to trade Maddux for whatever they can get. Their alternative was to offer him arbitration and let him leave as a free agent, netting them one or two draft picks. However, at his age, he could easily retire after the season, leaving them with nothing in return. So dealing him now for a certain return was the better option."
-- Keith Law Blog
• As noted in our trade blog, the Dodgers are close to a deal for Greg Maddux. It is not yet known what compensation the Padres would receive. Maddux was picked up by the Dodgers in July 2006, and went 6-3. He's having another fine season, sporting a 3.99 ERA, but has only six wins to show for it thanks to the San Diego offense. Maddux, owned in 28 percent of ESPN standard leagues, should win a bit more with the Dodgers, but with only six weeks left, don't expect a major impact.
• Meanwhile, as a result of the groundbreaking Luis Ayala trade from Sunday, the Mets had no need for rookie Eddie Kunz anymore, and he was sent down to Triple-A New Orleans. Kunz seemed close to getting saves less than a week ago, but Pedro Feliciano got in the way, then Kunz got lit in the ninth inning with a six-run lead Saturday. Someday he could be in line for saves. Or he could end up being Ryan Wagner.
• The Athletics purchased the contract of swingman Kirk Saarloos from Triple-A Sacramento, and he won on Monday in relief. Saarloos wasn't all that good when he was in Oakland's rotation a few years back. He replaces Dan Meyer on the staff. Meyer was one of the prizes of the Tim Hudson trade with Atlanta from December 2004, and he still has yet to win a major league game.
• Richmond Braves left fielder Brandon Jones swatted a pair of home runs against the Toledo Mud Hens, and knocked in all three runs in a 3-0 win. Jones has eight home runs on the season, seven against right-handed pitching. The Braves are going nowhere, so Jones should get a chance to play in September. Everyone's favorite closer Jorge Julio picked up his ninth save, striking out three of the four hitters he faced.
• Travis Hafner -- remember him? -- hit cleanup for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, getting a single and a double in three at-bats, all off Lehigh Valley left-handers Fabio Castro and Travis Blackley. Hafner could rejoin the Indians later this week, and while his numbers with the big club earlier this season aren't very good, if healthy he could really help a fantasy team the final month.