Jose Bautista $15. Other bids: $4, $3, $2.
Right now, it's unclear whether or not Scott Rolen will make it back before the 2008 campaign is over (my guess is that he won't), but Bautista should be on most A.L.-only rosters at this point. He should play some 3B, OF, and DH, and is worth having for the power, even if that power only comes from off the bench. Beware if your average is in danger.
Joaquin Arias $10. Other bid $1.
Both of these bids are from owners playing for 2009, but Arias might be one of those young players who actually provides more short-term value. He stole his second base tonight, and should gradually ease his way past the strict platoon role some envisioned for Arias at 2B when Ian Kinsler went down for the year. The Rangers probably will want to see how Arias fits in their plans, so I imagine he'll start seeing extended time down the stretch. The big problem is that Arias hasn't put up much in the way of minor league numbers except for speed. Granted, he's was young for his level at just about every stop, but he's already projecting more as a utility guy at 23 than he is as a regular. It doesn't help that he's got Kinsler/Michael Young ahead of him at middle and Chris Davis (presumably) at 3B.
Carl Pavano $5.
Pavano's in the last year of his four year, $39.95M contract with the Yankees. They didn't seem enthused about bringing him in to pitch but the organization determined that Phil Hughes wasn't ready yet. Pavano's fastball is down to 89-90 MPH, he's still building up confidence he can pitch at this lower velocity, and the Yanks might pull the plug on him when they're eliminated. He's certainly a worthy risk if you're playing for 2009, but he's an extreme long-shot to be a keep at $10 or more.
Ryan Rowland-Smith $3.
Like Pavano, expecations for Rowland-Smith should be kept modest. Unlike Pavano, Rowland-Smith isn't being paid oodles of money to be bad or not to pitch. Rowland-Smith is an OK back end of the rotation starter for the Mariners who is a calculated risk at this point in the season. He could put up a nice run of starts down the stretch, he could struggle due to the mid-season conversion from reliever to starter, or he could get hurt for the same reason. I like Rowland-Smith as an MLB #5 starter, but that still means low to moderate Roto upside.
Boof Bonser $3.
Very quietly, Boof's put together a solid August out of the Twins bullpen. He still can't be owned by any 2008 contenders, but Boof's still got the raw stuff that he's always had, and could still wind up being a better Roto option than someone like Rowland-Smith. Think 2010 or 2011 at this point, not 2009. Bonser still has to be regarded as a work in progress until he takes the ball every fifth day and shows us something.
Brandon McCarthy $2. Other bid $1.
When McCarthy and John Danks were swapped in the 2006-2007 winter, most pundits assumed that the Rangers had picked up the better pitch. In 2008, it hasn't worked out that way. McCarthy came back yesterday and had an OK outing, but he's yet another starter for who the reports say the velocity isn't all the way back. Down the road, this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise; reports say that McCarthy's curve and change, which he had started ignoring while he fell in love with his fastball, had regressed. Maybe while McCarthy gets a few MPH back on the fastball he'll start throwing more of his secondary pitches and become more refined. Then again, maybe not.
Jesse Carlson $2. Other bid $2.
Carlson has been so efficient for the Jays as a lefty specialist that you can probably consider him as a back-of-the-staff ad in 4x4 Roto. Keep in mind that when he does pitch against right-handers, he's a little more prone to the longball, so he wouldn't be the perfect option to close if something happened to B.J. Ryan. And I'm sure Cito Gaston knows this as well.
Clayton Richard $1.
We wouldn't even be talking about Richard if he were a "finesse righty." But Richard throws left-handed, so he got an opportunity to pitch for the White Sox after putting up a solid 127 2/3 IP between AA and AAA. Richard has a two-start week, but he's at Baltimore (a big HR park) and Fenway. Even if you're tempted, try and wait a week...I suspect Richard will still be there.
Jason Ellison $1.
Ellison is the closest thing to an emergency catcher that a major league team currently has in its outfield. The Rangers system must be barren in the outfield, because Ellison was promoted after David Murphy's injury despite a 242 BA and a 650 OPS. Ellison has all of 13 AB in the nearly three weeks he's been up and shouldn't see much playing time over Brandon Boggs and Marlon Byrd while Murphy's out.
Brandon League $1.
League's keeping the ball in the park with an insane 3.82 G/F ratio, but he's also walking the park. Toronto won't trust him with a larger role until League solves his control issues. He's only 25, so it's not out of the question, but it's also possible that it never happens and League just yo-yos back and forth between AAA and the majors for the rest of his life.
Robb Quinlan. Claimed by 7th place and 4th place teams.
Even in deep A.L.-only leagues, Quinlan's an awful option. He doesn't hit for power and doesn't run. He might get some additional playing time the last two weeks of the season over Mark Teixeira if the Angels clinch early, but even then I don't see him producing enough to make it worth the time.