Frank Francisco $10. Other bid $5.
With C.J. Wilson probably out for the year, Eddie Guardado's the short-term closer in Texas. Francisco however, keeps getting mentioned as a guy the Rangers might look at, particularly if they're tired of Wilson's dog-and-pony show and want to go in another direction in 2009. Francisco's numbers this year have been pretty solid. Not Joakim Soria excellent, but certainly better than what Wilson has puked up this year. I'm not certain Francisco gets a clean shot at the job next year - he's been erratic enough during his Rangers tenure that the team might not trust him with the job - but he's certainly worth this kind of flier by a non-contending team in the event that he does wind up the closer. He definitely fits the hard throwing profile that managers look for in the role.
Luis Montanez $6.
A very, very, very long time ago, Montanez was the 3rd overall pick in the 2000 amateur player draft by the Chicago Cubs. He never worked out for Chicago, and was signed by the Orioles in the winter of 2006/2007 after tanking for the Cubbies in his first taste of AAA in 2006. Montanez was destroying AA pitching this year for the O's at Bowie, but he's 26 years old, so expectations must be kept in check. With Adam Jones on the DL, Montanez looks like he'll get some AB against lefties, but he is still a borderline get in A.L.-only leagues. He does have a little power, so he's worth watching.
Dan Meyer $5. Other bid $1.
Meyer's days as a prospect for the A's are likely done, and at this point his future for the squad probably lies in the bullpen or as Triple-A depth. He's got decent MLB numbers in three appearances and one start for the A's, but isn't scheduled to start for the team this week, and doesn't have enough upside to be owned by teams playing for this year or for next year.
Anthony Reyes $5. Other bid $1.
Five years from now, it will be interesting to see whether or not Reyes is a success or not. Baseball fans only hear the praises that are sung for Dave Duncan, but Reyes right now looks like one of his biggest failures. Reyes was a guy with a great low 90s fastball/slider/change-up combo whose biggest issue was endurance. The Cards could never get him to change his approach, and I think Tony LaRussa and Duncan weren't shy about questioning Reyes' work ethic. In any event, he's in Cleveland now, and it's certainly worth taking a moderate FAAB bid like this one to see if Reyes can't harness the very good stuff he's always had now that he's out of what he felt was an untenable situation in St. Louis.
Ben Zobrist $2. Other bid $1.
The formerly overhyped Rays starting shortstop in 2007 is now an underhyped utility option for the Rays in 2008. Despite the fact that he doesn't profile as a power hitter, he's got 5 HR in 91 major league AB. He picked up most of his starts this year due to the fact that Jason Bartlett's battling a nagging injury, but Zobrist could still have a little value for the Rays - and your team - down the stretch at middle infield. He's also got some speed, and definitely is better than a placeholder at your last middle infield slot than a guy who is starting every day but not putting up homers or steals.
Ramon Santiago $1.
Santiago's been great for the Tigers, but he's stuck behind the disappointing Edgar Renteria and isn't going to supplant him. Even if he does wrest more AB away from Renteria, most his value is tied into his batting average; his doubles power won't help you very much. He's a borderline guy to have in A.L.-only leagues, even at middle.
Brian Anderson $1.
With Ken Griffey Jr. in the fold, Anderson didn't get a single AB this week for the White Sox. Barring an injury, Anderson should continue to be mostly a pinch runner/defensive replacement for the ChiSox. He's not worth owning right now.
Justin Christian $1.
Those who follow the minor leagues avidly will remember Christian's 63 steals for AA Trenton in 2006. He's up with the Yankees now, and providing the same kind of blinding speed, with six steals so far in 32 AB. The bad news is that he can't hit, won't supplant any of the current Yankees outfielders, and we don't know if he'll steal 10 more bases or zero going forward. If you're desperate for the steals, he's worth a stab, but be aware that you might wind up with nothing, and that Christian's a 28-year-old non-prospect.
Vicente Padilla. Claimed by 11th and 6th place teams.
It's easy to watch a Padilla outing and get sucked into the movement on his pitches, but he's never consistent enough throughout any start to trust him on your team. He's allowed 22 dingers in 137 1/3 IP, and that's awful no matter how you slice and dice his numbers. He's at a $1 waiver salary, so he could be worth a flier as a keep next year, but right now I wouldn't recommend him even at that price, especially as long as he's pitching in Texas.
Akinori Iwamura. Claimed by 8th (tie) and 5th place teams.
Iwamura was waived last week by one of the league's top-three teams in favor of Griffey. Iwamura most certainly should be owned in all A.L.-only leagues, but his season has been an incredible disappointment to date. I put together a very long analysis this spring of Japanese-born hitters power numbers in Japan versus what the did here, and showed that with the exception of Hideki Matsui, power from Japan simply doesn't translate to the States. That's held and then some with Iwa. Worse yet, he hasn't stolen bases the way some thought he might as the Rays lead-off hitter. Iwa's waiver price is $15, and that's a questionable freeze price for the non-contender that claimed him. On the other hand, that's the price he was frozen at this year, so even if the team that claimed him doesn't believe in Iwa at $15, someone else in the league might.
Asdrubal Cabrera. Claimed by 8th (tie) and 5th place teams.
Cabrera's been a little better upon his return to the Indians, but he still isn't much of a Roto option, despite the two home runs since his promotion. He's worth owning in A.L.-only leagues, but keep your expectations low. He's a 22-year-old hitter who looks like he's still a work in progress. Long-term, I still think he could put it all together and be a poor man's Dustin Pedroia, but IF that ever happens I suspect it's still 2-3 years off.
Octavio Dotel. Claimed by 7th and 6th place teams.
With Bobby Jenks back off the DL and pitching well, Dotel's value is quite diminished in 4x4 leagues. In 5x5, of course, he has to be owned, reliever or no, due to the extremely high K/IP rate.
Scott Feldman. Claimed by 6th place team.
Feldman put up a solid outing against the Yankees last week, but is a poor bet with two starts this week at Boston and vs. the Rays. His hopes rest on a sinking fastball that hasn't sunk enough this year, resulting in 16 HR allowed in 112 IP, though he has induced 19 double-play grounders. He's only 25 years old, so maybe he'll make the adjustment necessary to make him a viable major league starter, but for now he's not there, and shouldn't be owned by any contending Roto squads.
Paul Konerko. Claimed by 2nd place team.
Konerko's high waiver salary of $30 scared off the non-contenders in my league and kept the contenders with salary cap issues at bay as well. I wound up grabbing him for my injured (and expensive) Carl Crawford. Despite all the hand-wringing by the touts that Konerko wouldn't play after the Griffey acquisition, he's still picking up about five starts a week at 1B, and has two home runs in the last two weeks. He's definitely worth taking a stab in if you're competing, in other words, though a lingering thumb ailment means that you should keep your expectations modest.