As if the news of Paul Goldschmidt breaking his hand Friday night wasn't bleak enough, manager Kirk Gibson made it all the bleaker with this assessment Sunday:
"Realistically, it's eight weeks. So he's done."
Nobody would mistake Gibson for a doctor, but realistically, he's right. If you assume the standard six weeks for a broken bone to heal, by the time Goldschmidt is able to pick up a bat again, why would the Diamondbacks rush him through rehabilitation just to bring him back for a game or six? It's not like they're competing for anything.
So if you own Goldschmidt in Fantasy, unless you plan to ride the hot hand on the waiver wire every week, you need a replacement who can take you right up to the end of the season.
Let's consider the candidates, beginning with some trade possibilities.
Lucas Duda, Mets: Even though he still mostly sits against lefties, I trust Duda will continue to produce like he has since late May, averaging 22.7 Head-to-Head points over the last nine weeks (he's also the sixth-best first baseman in Rotisserie leagues during that stretch, though I would think his contributions in that format are a little more obvious). I've always liked the skill set, and he seems to have found his comfort zone with Ike Davis no longer pushing him off his natural position.
Chris Davis, Orioles: "Trust" isn't a word I'd use to describe Davis, but upside certainly is. Until someone offers a valid explanation for the change in him this year -- not just further analyzing the results, but explaining the cause -- I'm inclined to believe he's just a mechanical tweak away from recapturing his 2013 form. Not saying it will happen, just acknowledging it could. And let's face it: If you've lost Goldschmidt, you're grasping at straws anyway.
Mark Trumbo, Diamondbacks: After waiting almost three months for his return, no Trumbo owner would have sold the 28-year-old slugger at a discount when he first came back from a stress fracture in his left foot July 11, but they may now. After all, he hasn't hit a single home run since then, batting just .197 (13 for 66) in 18 games. It's to be expected for one of the most undisciplined hitters in the majors, but coming off a lengthy DL stint, it probably has his owners feeling a bit cheated. Like with Davis, you're betting on the track record here.
Adam LaRoche, Nationals: Even though he has (predictably) regressed with a .172 (17 for 99) batting average since the beginning of July, I still say LaRoche is one of the most underappreciated hitters in Fantasy. With his improved walk rate (the game-changer for him this year), he has actually outscored players like Billy Butler, Michael Morse and, yes, Chris Davis during that stretch. And now that his year-long batting average is down to a more typical .266, he's probably due for a correction the other way.
Trade deadline already past? Depending on the depth of your league, one of these names might still be available on the waiver wire.
Brandon Belt, Giants: I wish I could say Belt, with his gobs of potential, could save your season, but now almost four years into his big-league career, I still haven't a clue what kind of player he's shaping up to be. But that potential counts for something, and if his repeated trips to the DL have caused others to overlook it, you never know. He hit .346 with a .984 OPS over the final two months last year, which would indeed save your season.
Chris Carter, Astros: Carter isn't someone you can plug into your lineup and forget about, but he's certainly the hot hand right now. And he specializes in the one category Goldschmidt owners are now probably most desperate to fill: home runs. Just be ready to pull the plug the week he goes 2 for 28. He's batting .219 for a reason.
Allen Craig, Red Sox: Maybe he's not completely healthy, but if he is, there's no reason Craig can't get back to being the .300 hitter we've always known him to be now that he's back with a team that intends to play him every day. He's only 30, for crying out loud. Granted, he doesn't have anywhere near Goldschmidt's power potential, but that didn't stop him from getting drafted in Round 6 this spring.
Steve Pearce, Orioles: With his otherworldly June now a distant memory, Pearce's ownership rate has plummeted to 40 percent, but I'm not ready to give up on him just yet. For as little as he showed in the majors prior to this season, he never got much of an opportunity either, and that was Brandon Moss' problem prior to joining the Athletics. Though Delmon Young is spelling Pearce now, the Orioles don't really have anyone better. The 31-year-old has already done it in the minors several times over. This slump could be perfect timing for those in need of a miracle.
I want to give a quick shoutout here at the end to Tommy Medica. I don't think he'll even approach Paul Goldschmidt's productivity and wouldn't say he profiles as a regular long term, but he has done nothing but hit in the majors so far and is only 19 percent owned. Desperate times, right?