Best options to replace Brian McCann

Updated: July 27, 2011, 11:38 AM ET
By Eric Karabell

Somewhat lost in the unsatisfying way the Atlanta Braves-Pittsburgh Pirates game ended early Wednesday morning was the fact the best catcher in baseball -- certainly he's No. 1 in fantasy by a healthy margin this season -- was forced to leave early with a strained left oblique. Brian McCann is pretty good, folks; he leads all catcher-eligible players in home runs and is second in RBIs and batting average to Victor Martinez!

I'm no doctor, but a strained oblique is obviously a big deal for anyone attempting to hit a baseball, and it's a hindrance to playing catcher as well, but the Braves believe this is a short-term injury, one that shouldn't cost McCann more than three weeks of playing time. Of course, there's always a chance the problem lingers. For fantasy owners in standard roto leagues, the pending DL stint isn't good news, but McCann shouldn't be cut, either. You can live for three weeks with a free-agent addition, and at this position, there actually are options.

If McCann misses three of the final nine weeks, your team can survive, especially since the catcher pool isn't as shallow as one might think. In a head-to-head format, I'd still keep him around; the playoffs are set to begin the final Monday of August, per ESPN rules, which doesn't leave much time. You want McCann around in September. Most catchers wear down as a long season progresses, so having the best one get a three-week break -- he's gotta be tired, ranking second among all backstops in full innings caught -- might not be so bad. Hey, you have to attempt the positive angle here.