Joel Hanrahan $47. Other bids $38, $36, $33, $17.
With the trade of Jon Rauch, Manny Acta anointed Hanrahan as his new closer. He reduced his walk rate a good deal this year, though it's still a little higher than you want to see from your closer. The best thing Hanrahan has going for him is that no one else in that bullpen has pitched well, so he'd have to be pretty awful to lose the job. The drawback here is that the Nationals lousy offense and aforementioned poor bullpen will rob Hanrahan of a handful of save chances the rest of the way. You still should bid aggressively in leagues where you need a closer.
Casey Blake $30. Other bid $18.
See my A.L. post earlier about Xavier Nady. The contenders are either too close to the salary cap or don't have a logical player to waive for Blake. Blake is a solid option at third base for any National League team, but his numbers should be depressed by his new home venue (though he's actually been a better hitter away from Cleveland than on the road). Even more so than Nady, Blake is a guy you should bid more aggressively for in non-keeper leagues, since it's hard to see any more big A.L. hitters moving over to the N.L. in the coming week.
Denny Bautista $7.
Bautista has a live arm but poor control and command and has bounced around from organization to organization throughout his career. The Pirates certainly could turn to Bautista as a closer, but the poor BB/IP rate doesn't bode well for success in that role if the Buccos did go this route. He's certainly worth a flier, but I'd bet on John Grabow before I put a bid down on Bautista.
Eugenio Velez $3.
Velez should be playing a lot now that Ray Durham's been moved, but his poor BA, poor OBP, and his complete lack of production this year outside of his speed has kept him in a quasi-full time role. He's worth grabbing if you're desperate for speed and can afford to take the batting average risk. He sure doesn't look like he was worth all of the hype back in late March/early April.
Mike Hampton $1. Other bid $1.
He got pounded this week by the Phillies in CBP, which certainly isn't something to be ashamed about. However, he didn't look good in the process, and isn't somebody I'd take a risk on. I'm assuming the Braves won't be picking up his $20M club option in 2009.
Argenis Reyes $1.
Reyes is a speed and little else player who is getting 1-3 starts per week at 2B for the Mets with Luis Castillo on the shelf. He was never really much of a prospect, and his poor plate discipline speaks to a fade from his current run at a .300 batting average. Like Velez, Reyes is worth a flier if you're desperate for the speed, but he isn't a good bet to keep getting AB going forward.
Nick Hundley $1. Other bid $1.
Hundley is enticing because he's a catcher and has power potential, but his poor minor league batting average this year and high minor league whiff counts don't speak well to him sticking as a starter if Josh Bard gets traded later this week. Hundley is worth a flier in very deep N.L.-only leagues, but the BA makes him a value risk anyway.
Saul Rivera $1.
A cheap flier for saves if Hanrahan doesn't come through, Rivera is an average middle reliever for the Nats. Yes, that means that he could be a closer if Hanrahan falters. On most teams, Rivera would be the 11th or 12th man in the rotation. He's only worth a pick-up in very deep leagues; Rivera's so-so K/IP rates don't speak well to any success in the very unlikely event he does become the closer.
Duaner Sanchez $1.
A poor pair of outings last week have cost Sanchez his shot at prominent innings...at least at the moment. If the Mets make a trade this week, that could also have an impact. Sanchez has been OK but isn't quite the same pitcher he was before last year's bizzare injury forced him to miss the season. He's probably a long-shot to get saves if Billy Wagner's shoulder woes cost him any more playing time.
Kyle McClellan $1.
Even though he's not currently in line for saves in St. Louis, it's still a little surprising to see McClellan out in a free agent pool in this very deep league. McClellan has put up some nice ERA/WHIP numbers and has picked up a couple of wins for a very good Cardinals team. I shouldn't overstate it; guys like McClellan are a nice find in deep leagues, but teams are always on the lookout for better vulture or garbage saves opportunities than this.
Javier Valentin $1.
Valentin is probably the weakest of the three Reds catching options this year, and even the nice pop he's shown in previous years has barely been on display this year. He could see more action down the stretch if the Reds move Dave Ross or Paul Bako, but recent rumors have the Reds looking for a catcher like Gerald Laird, not dropping one.
Brad Ausmus $1.
Ausmus' great 4-for-4 day raised his BA to .248, so the Astros will probably keep trotting Ausmus out there, even though they should try to finally figure out if J.R. Towles will be part of the next winning Astros team. Of course, people have spent years making this argument about Ausmus, but for years the 'Stros have kept trotting him out there. He was barely even worth it when he was getting 400-450 AB per year back in the day.
Glendon Rusch $1.
He's a two-start pitcher this week, but even with two good starts versus two bad ones under his belt, it's extremely difficult to recommend Rusch even in the deepest of leagues. He's slated to pitch at Pittsburgh and at Florida in case you're interested or masochistic.