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This week in fantasy baseball

Dave Alexander

On Fantasy Sports

June 9, 2005

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And the player to be named much later in the Jason Grimsley-for-Denny Bautista is Eli Marrero. Thank you, Kansas City.

The Orioles acquisition of the right-handed hitting Marrero on Wednesday not only gives them a major upgrade over stopgap backup Napoleon Calzado in the outfield, it's also the best kind of trade out there one in which a team gives up nothing to get a useful part.

Marrero is just that for the O's, a useful part. Granted, his stats in Kansas City were awful four homers, nine RBIs, a .159 batting average and a .222 on-base percentage in 88 at-bats but consider the circumstances. In the punchless Royals lineup, Marrero often batted fifth or sixth, in front of the light-hitting likes of Angel Berroa, Terrence Long or John Buck. Inspired by his breakout 2004 season 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, .320 average, .894 OPS K.C. had Marrero miscast as a power hitter.

The Orioles won't make the same mistake. They'll bat him low in the order and use him in their outfield rotation along with Sammy Sosa, B.J. Surhoff, David Newhan and Jay Gibbons. All but Sosa bat left-handed; Marrero is a righty. When Larry Bigbie who also bats from the left side gets healthy, Marrero could find himself in a platoon with Bigbie in left field, getting starts against left-handed pitchers. Marrero has batted .314 against lefties over the past three-plus seasons, including .415 last season.

Marrero's real value to the Orioles and to the fantasy owners lies in his versatility. He has played all three outfield positions this season as well as nine games at first base. He broke into the big leagues as a catcher and could find himself behind the plate at some point, which would be a big boost to his fantasy value. Regardless, those in deep AL-only leagues will want to add him immediately.

And now a look around the rest of the majors:

Who's hot

Who's not This weekend's matchups

Interleague

Baltimore at Cincinnati
Seattle at Washington
New York Yankees at St. Louis
Boston at Chicago Cubs
Toronto at Houston
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh
Detroit at Colorado
Minnesota at Los Angeles Dodgers
Cleveland at San Francisco
Chicago White Sox at San Diego
Kansas City at Arizona
Oakland at Atlanta
Los Angeles Angels at New York Mets
Texas at Florida

National League

Milwaukee at Philadelphia

Send your fantasy baseball questions to dalexander@baltimoresun.com.