Even when you're a fan of a particular major league baseball team, it can be tough to keep track of all of the news surrounding your favorite club on a daily basis.
When you're a fantasy baseball owner, multiplying that effort by 30 in order to keep tabs on each and every club is a fool's errand -- bordering on the impossible.
Fear not! We'll be here every Monday to give you a snapshot of what's going on in the world of baseball, providing you with one fantasy takeaway from each of the league's 30 teams. Think of it as your one-stop shop for the week ahead.
Here are the takeaways as we head into Week 15 of the 2017 season:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Robbie Ray will certainly be well-rested when he takes the mound on Tuesday to face the Reds. The southpaw hasn't pitched in a game since July 6 due to the timing of the All-Star break, coupled with manager Torey Lovullo's desire to give the 25-year-old a few extra days off. Ray has thrown fewer than 100 pitches in just four of his 17 starts this season, and was only 1-2 pitches shy of triple digits in three of those appearances. He also ranks seventh in the league in pitches per start. He may be a bit rusty, but he definitely needed the time off.
Atlanta Braves: Don't look now, but the Braves are suddenly a .500 team, and could be getting a key component of their bullpen back in the next few days. Arodys Vizcaino has not pitched since July 2 due to a strained right index finger, but after a pair of bullpen sessions this weekend, manager Brian Snitker appears close to activating his primary setup man. Vizcaino has 15 holds and two saves this season to go along with a 2.38 ERA.
Baltimore Orioles: After two scoreless eighth innings over the weekend, manager Buck Showalter might finally have seen enough to reinstate Zach Britton as the team's closer going forward. "If you remember the first two or three outings, it wasn't Zach, and you could tell [by] the look on his face he didn't feel good about the command of the sinker and everything, and that's why we tried to stay on an every-other-day thing," Showalter said prior to Sunday's game. Expect some save opportunities this week, provided a team that has lost 8-of-10 games can give Britton the chance.
Boston Red Sox: Pablo Sandoval has been designated for assignment, and Tzu-Wei Lin has been sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket. Both moves signal yet another opening at third base in Boston. Hopefully, Brock Holt is finally ready to stake his claim at the hot corner. Holt went 1-for-5 during the team's doubleheader on Sunday, his first action since April 20 when vertigo sent him to the bench. "If I wasn't ready, I wouldn't be here," Holt said. Fingers crossed, he'll be able to stick around. Otherwise, a trade for a more reliable third-base option is likely the next course of action.
Chicago Cubs: John Lackey (plantar fasciitis) is scheduled to be activated from the 10-day DL on Tuesday to start for the Cubs. It will be the 435th appearance of the veteran's career, and 434th start. He has only pitched in relief once in his career: an emergency inning of work in 2004 after then-Angels starter Bartolo Colon got shelled. That's why manager Joe Maddon thinks rumors of Lackey getting sent to the bullpen are a bit silly. "'Just to try to take him out of a game -- and then try to tell him something like that? My God,'' Maddon said. ''Exponentially worse.''
Chicago White Sox: The Great 2017 Sell Off has begun. Jose Quintana was traded to the Cubs on Thursday, and many more members of the Chicago clubhouse are expected to be packing their bags in the next two weeks. Todd Frazier to the Red Sox seems very plausible, and rumors of David Robertson to the Yankees are starting to heat up. But we all know there's only one move that most fantasy owners care about, and it was expressed very nicely by a CSN Chicago headline earlier this week: "WHITE SOX CALL UP NOT-YOAN MONCADA." That wait continues...
Cincinnati Reds: The numbers 8-6-1-1-8 read like an Arizona zip code, but in actuality, those are the runs allowed by Homer Bailey in his five starts this season following elbow surgery No. 3. However, after getting lit up on Sunday against the Nationals, manager Bryan Price remained optimistic about his pitcher's future. "There have been zero health issues," Price said. "No doubt, you don't pitch as infrequently as he has in the last three years and come back and be the 2012-2013 version of Homer Bailey. That being said, our expectation, and I'm sure his, is that he'll go out and perform and give us games that look a lot more like the (one-run games) than the other three." We'll see.
Cleveland Indians: Austin Jackson went 1-for-4 on Sunday at the DH spot for Triple-A Columbus, the last stop in his rehab for a strained left quad. Since he has yet to play the field in the minors, one would expect at least another day or two in Triple-A for Jackson. Assuming all goes well, he should be back in Cleveland's outfield by the end of this week -- presumably in right-field -- at least until Lonnie Chisenhall (calf strain) is ready to return to action himself.
Colorado Rockies: After remaining on the disabled list since July 2 with a strained right calf, Ian Desmond has returned to the Rockies' lineup. In his first game back on Sunday, Desmond went 2-for-3 before getting pulled in the sixth as a precaution with the Rockies up big. For now, manager Bud Black says he'll use Desmond in left field and first base rather than at shortstop, even if Trevor Story continues to struggle.
Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer, last year's AL Rookie of the Year and a 2017 All-Star, has a 2.44 ERA and a .188 BAA in his last six starts -- including an 8-IP, two-hit gem against the Blue Jays on Saturday. However, rumors of a potential trade are growing, especially after seeing the return the White Sox got for Jose Quintana. Fulmer has heard the rumblings. "I'm not really worried about it," he said in response. "We're trying to keep the whole team together right now." We'll know for sure if Fulmer is right in about two weeks.
Houston Astros: Dallas Keuchel (neck) is scheduled to pitch today for Double-A Corpus Christi, the first time the Astros' ace will have taken the mound since joining the disabled list on June 5. Expect 2-3 innings of work and then a re-evaluation of his status. A timetable for his return to Houston is non-existent, as the team is likely to play things by ear. As Keuchel himself says, "It's how I feel on Tuesday and how I continue to progress. It may be one [start], it may be 14."
Kansas City Royals: Nate Karns, who recorded 10 and 12 strikeouts in his two starts prior to his exiting a May 19 outing against the Twins with tightness in his forearm, will miss the rest of 2017. Karns will have surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome on Wednesday and won't be back before next spring. This development will likely inspire the Royals to deal for a fifth starter before the deadline, as they had been counting on Karns' return. If that fails, however, Eric Skoglund (1.62 ERA in his last three Triple-A starts) could be an in-house alternative.
Los Angeles Angels: Nick Franklin was traded to the Angels on the last day of June, and it appears the team has now decided to make a change at second base. Danny Espinosa was designated for assignment on Sunday, leaving Franklin and Cliff Pennington to share time at the position. "The one thing they'll bring, we feel, is some on-base percentage, at the least," manager Mike Scioscia said. Kaleb Cowart has been playing second base at Triple-A Salt Lake and is batting .301 on the season, so if this new-look infield fails to impress, he might get the call.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Winners of nine straight games (and with Clayton Kershaw on the mound Monday), the Dodgers aren't exactly concerned about their current double-digit lead in the NL West. That's why the team is willing to take things very slow with the rehabs of Adrian Gonzalez (back), Hyun-Jin Ryu (foot) and Scott Kazmir (hip). All three are progressing in their respective rehabs, and all could conceivably be back before the end of July. That said, with no need to press the issue, the wait might continue deep into August.
Miami Marlins: After getting swept by the Dodgers over the weekend, the optimism for a potential wild-card run is getting dimmer by the day. It would be very surprising if this team remains intact come July 31. Giancarlo Stanton has a no-trade clause in his mega-contract, but may be willing to waive it if he's happy with the destination. San Francisco is said to be pursuing a potential deal for the outfielder. Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour and Christian Yelich have also come up in trade buzz. It's not really a question of "if" with the Marlins anymore, but rather of "who" and "when."
Milwaukee Brewers: With the Cubs landing Quintana, it's now up to the first-place Brewers to return serve, and it appears the team doesn't plan to stand pat. Sonny Gray appears to be the organization's primary target, as the right hander has relationships with Eric Sogard, Stephen Vogt and Milwaukee pitching coach Derek Johnson (the latter coached Gray at Vanderbilt). Even if that deal falls through, management has expressed a willingness to do everything in its power to win today.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins are only 1 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central, but it's hard to imagine they'll remain this competitive heading into August and September. No hate toward Minnesota, but let's be honest -- they're starting Bartolo Colon on Tuesday. It might be hard to be "sellers" given their place in the standings, but wouldn't they be better served in the long term by dealing Brian Dozier, Ervin Santana and Brandon Kintzler? And truth be told, those deals could actually improve their 2017 chances depending on the returns.
New York Mets: Another week, another injury for Yoenis Cespedes. The outfielder tweaked his hip trying to make a catch on Saturday, and claimed that leaving the game was merely a precautionary measure given the blowout score. That said, he also sat on Sunday, and could potentially be out of action again on Monday. "I don't think it's real serious with Ces, but certainly, if he's out for a period of time, we'll do the best we can," manager Terry Collins said. It's frustrating for Cespedes' fantasy owners to be sure, but unless he gets dealt to an AL team where he can DH and avoid these kinds of injuries, it's part of the cost of drafting him.
New York Yankees: Michael Pineda is done for 2017, and potentially as a Yankee, as he'll be a free agent come October. Although the pitcher is going to get a second opinion before going under the knife, Pineda has been diagnosed with a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow, making Tommy John surgery very likely. The club is not going to rush into a panic trade for another starting pitcher, nor will they hastily promote Triple-A stud Chance Adams. However, over the next 14 days, expect every potential pitching trade to have the pinstripes linked to it as a rumored partner.
Oakland Athletics: After dealing away two of their top relievers (see Washington below), nobody expects the A's to stand pat the rest of July. GM Billy Beane says he will continue to make deals when he can find "the best players, period." Expected to find new homes in the next few weeks are Sonny Gray, Jed Lowrie and Yonder Alonso. "First of all, we have to take a look at where we are -- we're in last place. And the direction we're heading is, we're going younger," says Beane.
Philadelphia Phillies: Aaron Altherr, who had been hitting .370 in July, appears bound for the disabled list after having to leave Friday's game with a strained right hamstring. While it's possible that Altherr could be ready to play in sooner than 10 days, the team needs two roster spots to open up with the expected return of second baseman Cesar Hernandez (oblique) and pitcher Vince Velasquez (elbow) for this week's series against Miami.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Although most fantasy owners have likely moved on from Jung Ho Kang long ago, those who have yet to do so in the hopes that the South Korean might be able to fix his visa issues in time to play in 2017 can feel free to let him go. GM Neal Huntington says that "it's hard to envision a scenario where something is going to change overnight and he's going to be able to come in here and contribute to help us win games." As for 2018, even that seems like a tenuous possibility at this point.
St. Louis Cardinals: Seung-hwan Oh gave up three runs in the ninth inning on Friday night to lose a game for the Cardinals. On Sunday, it was Brett Cecil who came in to close out a victory, and he too came away with a loss instead of a save. However, Mike Matheny is still not ready to declare that Trevor Rosenthal is his closer going forward. "(It's not) right for us quite yet to make the statement on who is going to pitch the ninth and give anybody that title," Matheny said. Because Rosenthal worked all weekend, Oh is probably going to get the call if a closer is needed on Monday. However, come Tuesday? Better call Rosenthal.
San Diego Padres: Hector Sanchez went 3-for-9 with two home runs and five RBI over the weekend while spelling Austin Hedges behind the plate. Hedges took a foul ball off the mask on Friday, and while doctors don't believe he suffered a concussion, the catcher still doesn't feel quite right. "What I was told by doctors... is it's something underneath the level of a concussion, but he's got some general haze from it. Hopefully, it wears off quickly," manager Andy Green said. If Hedges continues to miss time, daily fantasy players might want to roll the dice on San Diego's hot backup catcher.
San Francisco Giants: Hunter Strickland has nine holds on the season, and has managed a 1.35 ERA and a .229 BAA to go along with a 10.8 K/9 rate over his past 15 appearances. Teams like the Rays were seen scouting Strickland over the weekend. With Mark Melancon (elbow) expected to reclaim the team's closer role whenever he returns from the disabled list, Sam Dyson would presumably slide into the eighth-inning role currently occupied by Strickland, which is why the Giants might consider a deal.
Seattle Mariners: Not all minor-league demotions are the same. When it comes to young players getting sent down right before the All-Star break, it's often just a way for major league teams to exploit a loophole in the rostering rules. That appears to be the case with Sam Gaviglio, who was sent to Triple-A Tacoma after a third consecutive loss on July 6. Prior to that 7-4 loss to Oakland, Gaviglio had posted a decent 2.48 ERA and .238 BAA in his previous six starts. With Seattle finally needing a fifth starter on Tuesday, manager Scott Servais says, "It's probably going to be Sam." Not the most glowing endorsement, but still the most likely decision.
Tampa Bay Rays: The bullpen isn't exactly the strongest part of the Rays' roster right now, as the team's 4.40 ERA in relief ranks 22nd on the season overall. Since June 1, it's a 5.01 ERA (25th overall). Jumbo Diaz was designated for assignment after allowing runs in back-to-back games this weekend. Justin Wilson of the Tigers may be at the top of the Rays' wish list, but some new arms are clearly on the agenda going forward. As manager Kevin Cash said Sunday, "(We've) got to have some better, more consistent options."
Texas Rangers: Alex Claudio pitched three times over the weekend, saving two games and keeping the Royals off the board for three innings. Andrew Cashner says Claudio's performance has earned him the nickname of Machete, claiming, "The last couple days he's just coming in and slashing guys down. He's been a special reliever for us this year." Still, after entering a tie game on Sunday, it's unclear whether he truly has a leg up on Matt Bush or Jose Leclerc where the closer's job is concerned. Stay tuned.
Toronto Blue Jays: Francisco Liriano lasted just two innings on Saturday before leaving the game, the result of neck tightness that now threatens -- at a minimum -- his next start. "The more I threw, it was getting worse. (It) just feels really sore and tight," said Liriano. "I have no idea what it is." This injury might not only impact Liriano's potential trade value, but also diminish the likelihood that Toronto would be willing to trade away J.A. Happ. After all, somebody has to pitch for this team for the rest of 2017.
Washington Nationals: It was bound to happen eventually, though getting two potential closers from the same team was a bit of a surprise. On Sunday, the Nationals acquired both Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from Oakland, sending Blake Treinen back to the team that originally drafted him in 2011. Both pitchers are under contract for next season as well, so while it's currently unclear which of these arms will close games for the rest of 2017, there's a good chance the guy Dusty Baker settles on this year will be the favorite to get the majority of saves in 2018 as well.