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Fantasy Baseball — Do not draft these busts

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Los Angeles Angels pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani is clearly quite adept at both throwing and hitting a baseball, though to what degree among the highest competition remains somewhat of a mystery. Because he is so new to the major leagues, he has created unique, and unfortunately unreasonable, expectations. The result in the fantasy baseball world is this: As exciting and intriguing as this new situation is, Ohtani is more likely to disappoint than to earn the excessive value expected of him in ESPN average live drafts. Hey, this works for me, as I will be able to watch Ohtani perform sans the added pressure of being desperate for groundbreaking statistics on a fantasy roster.

Context is always critical when calling any player worth more or less than perceived value, and that is important in an annual article like this with such an oft-misunderstood and grand proclamation of avoidance. This is about numbers and value. ESPN Fantasy projects Ohtani to win 10 games and strike out 148 hitters over his 140 innings, with a modest 3.41 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. At the plate, Ohtani projects for eight home runs and a .236 batting average. Not quite the numbers so many expect, but ultimately there is a value to them. The problem is I perceive those projections to be realistic, and they would not result in warranting close to an eighth-round choice this season, which is his current ADP.

Welcome to the latest edition of the “Do Not Draft” list, which aims to take into account proper value in comparison with expectations in order to provide a list of players I will be avoiding. Ohtani, 23, dominated in Japan on the mound, at the plate and obviously in the hearts of so many, and it is not the least bit surprising that so many fantasy managers are eager to secure someone with so much promise to their rosters. However, a 3.41 ERA is not what many deem ultimate promise, and that goes for eight home runs as well. There is major upside for Ohtani to be a transcendent star in the United States … but we are probably not at that point yet in 2018, and that is really the point of his inclusion on this list.

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MLB

Wilson Ramos, New York Mets reach contract

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The New York Mets continued their busy offseason Sunday, agreeing to a two-year contract with veteran catcher Wilson Ramos, according to multiple reports.

The deal is pending a physical. Once completed, it will be worth a total of $19 million, according to Fancred.

Ramos, who was acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Tampa Bay Rays at July’s trade deadline, is solid defensively and is a proven commodity offensively with a career .273 batting average and 109 home runs.

The 31-year-old veteran, who made $10.5 million in 2018, batted .306 between the Phillies and Rays last season with 15 home runs and 70 RBIs.

Ramos also has been lauded for his veteran presence in the clubhouse and his ability to handle pitching staffs.

The two-time All-Star spent six-plus seasons with the Washington Nationals (2010-16) after breaking into the majors with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. He won a Silver Slugger award in 2016 after belting 22 homers with 80 RBIs and a .307 batting average with the Nationals.

The Mets had been rumored to be in the trade mix for catcher J.T. Realmuto, so the agreement with Ramos would seemingly take them out of the mix for the Miami Marlins All-Star.

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Matt Adams returning to Washington Nationals on one-year deal

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First baseman Matt Adams is returning to the Washington Nationals on a one-year, $4 million deal, according to multiple reports.

The left-handed slugger finished last season with the St. Louis Cardinals after being waived by the Nationals in a salary dump in August.

Adams, 30, hit .239 with 21 home runs for the season, averaging .257 with 18 home runs in 94 games with the Nationals.

He gives the Nationals some left-handed power off the bench and relief for Ryan Zimmerman at first.

In seven seasons with the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Nationals, he has 96 home runs, 332 RBIs and a .266 average.

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Top spenders Red Sox owe nearly $12 million in luxury tax

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NEW YORK — The World Series champion Boston Red Sox owe $11.95 million in luxury tax for having baseball’s top payroll.

That’s according to final calculations by the commissioner’s office obtained by The Associated Press. The only other team that owes is the Washington Nationals, who must pay $2.39 million.

Because Boston was more than $40 million over the tax threshold, it also became the first team to incur a new penalty put in place for the 2018 season: the top Red Sox selection in next June’s amateur draft will be dropped 10 places.

Boston’s top pick had been projected to be No. 33 overall before the penalty.

The New York Yankees dropped under the threshold for the first time, and the Los Angeles Dodgers fell below for the first time since 2012.

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