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Last Week’s Free Agent Signings

Mark Teixeira New York YankeesSome Major League ballplayers had a very GREEN Holiday Week as they signed major free agent contracts. How can the new teams of these free agents benefit their fantasy value, and how should their signings change your expectations for the 2009 season? Find out below…

Mark Teixeira joins the New York Yankees: Tex had a great 2008, and the expectations will now be there for him to put up unbelievable numbers in pinstripes. Last year, Teixeira batted .308 with 102 runs, 33 homeruns, 121 RBI, and 2 steals for both the Angels and Braves. Tex was the biggest non-pitcher available on the free agent market, and his contract has been discussed in excess.

For fantasy baseball, he should be the no. 3 first baseman heading into 2009. He won’t hit more homers than Ryan Howard or have a better batting average than Albert Pujols. However, I think it’s safe to say he will have a better full season than Lance Berkman. He usually starts slow, but if you get to the end of round 2 in a 10-team or more league and Tex is there, take him.

Randy Johnson signs with the San Francisco Giants: Randy Johnson will always have value as a two-start pitcher when the matchups are favorable, but I have found his value as a fantasy pitcher to be fleeting. I’m sure you have too. Last season with the D-backs, he went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA, 173 strikeouts, and a 1.24 WHIP in 184 innings. He will get win no. 300 with the Giants, but I don’t think he’ll get the run support he had in Arizona to warrant high win totals. Keep your expectations moderate. Hedge your bets in mixed leagues – at the earliest, draft Johnson as a reserve starter in 2009.

Willy Taveras steals a contract from the Cincinnati Reds: Taveras led the league in steals in 2008 with 68. Otherwise, he lacked anything resembling productivity despite playing in Colorado. He batted .251 with 64 runs, 1 homerun, and 26 RBI.

Taveras has warning track power, and his 68 steals were a statistical anomaly (he stole just over 30 bags each of his previous four years). While he seems to be a base stealing machine, Taveras doesn’t warrant a draft spot any higher than the last few rounds of the draft. I don’t advise drafting players for their dominance in one category when they are a detriment to four. Willy Taveras is one of those types of players.

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