When we reviewed the latest update to our rankings on Thursday's Fantasy Baseball Today, the full extent of Masahiro Tanaka's elbow injury wasn't yet known, and with the uncertainty, I was only willing to drop him to 14th at starting pitcher.
Now that we know he has a tear in his UCL, I'm much more pessimistic. The six-week timetable is bad enough, but as a Tanaka owner pressured to make a decision sooner than later, I'm guessing it'll be much longer than that. While we've seen position players come back from small tears -- Adam Eaton comes to mind -- it's much rarer for pitchers and often just delays the inevitable. If the Yankees get that sense at any point during Tanaka's rehabilitation, they won't have too many reservations about shutting him down, especially since they'll probably be well out of the playoff race by then.
So I've updated the rankings again. Now, Tanaka is 40th at starting pitcher, between Hyun-Jin Ryu and the not-as-doomed C.J. Wilson. I mean, we shouldn't go overboard. If he does come back in six weeks and is as good as before, you'll regret having traded him for Ervin Santana.
Tanaka wasn't the only notable player to get bad news Thursday. Yadier Molina and Brandon Phillips both need thumb surgery and will miss 8-12 weeks, which has the potential to be the rest of the season. Both are on the verge of losing their mixed-league relevance, with Molina dropping to 20th among catchers and Phillips falling to 26th at second base.
Molina is a much bigger loss for Fantasy owners than Phillips, who was pretty much buried at a deep position already. Fortunately, with Travis d'Arnaud back and swinging a hot bat and Stephen Vogt still flying under the radar in most leagues, the catcher position does offer some alternatives.