23 February 2011
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Cardinal’s ace Adam Wainwright is likely headed for season ending Tommy John surgery. History has shown this surgery can take 12-18 months to recover from. This will make Wainwright lucky to be ready for opening day 2012.
Fantasy wise this means there is no reason to even waste a late round draft pick on Wainwright unless you are in a keeper league. Keeper league managers will have a difficult dilemma. Do they burn a keeper and a roster spot all season to stash Wainwright for 2012 and beyond? It depends on the number of DL and Bench spots your league allows. If the current owner of Wainwright lets him go, the rest of the managers face a similar dilemma but with more upside. Stashing a top 5 ace with a late round pick could pay dividends next year and beyond. Choose wisely my friends, it could become a game of chicken. Wainwright’s ADP is currently as the #5 SP (37 overall) so move everyone else up a spot and it also increases the value of the elite top tier SPs.
For the Cardinals, the loss of Wainwright could easily amount to 4-5 fewer wins in 2011 and could prove the difference between playing meaningful games in October and planning their golf rounds. The NL Central was looking like one of the better races to watch with the defending champion Reds and the re-tooled Brewers now looking to have an edge over St. Louis. Wainwright might also have pitched his last game for the Cards as his contract options will not vest if he is on the DL at the end of 2011.