Mark Teixeira $70. Other bids: $50, $34, $31, $29, $25, $21, $20, $14.
Jason Bay $54. Other bids $50, $30, $26, $25, $23, $21, $14, $10.
As I mentioned last week under Xavier Nady, the bidding in this league is light because the top three teams are virtually capped out, leaving the 4th and 6th place squads fighting for Tex and Bay (the 5th place team only had $38 to bid going into the week. The 6th place team, in his quixotic fight for 4th, won both Teixeira and Bay, as he had $131 in FAAB after losing Manny Ramirez ($31) and Casey Kotchman ($23) to the National League earlier in the week. The $50 bids both came from the 4th place squad with what his max bid in both cases. Every other bid is either a keeper bid or a contender trying to squeeze the most he could out of his bid without going over his salary cap. Once again, these are both break-the-bank players in leagues with no salary cap requirements. Six out of six teams who bid on contingency preferred Teixeira over Bay, in case you're wondering.
Ken Griffey Jr. $25. Other bids $23, $22, $14, $12, $10.
I wound up adding Griffey for Akinori Iwamura. One of the other top two teams passed, figuring Griffey wasn't an upgrade on Gary Sheffield or Marucs Thames, while the other contender bid his max of $14 to replace Juan Rivera. The rest of these bids are from non contenders looking for a keep in 2009 (the $23 bid is odd in that regard). The owner who got Teixeira/Bay didn't bid his max of $7, while the owner who lost out on Tex and Bay with his $50 bids only bid $22 in his failed attempt to replace Gary Matthews Jr. The owner in 5th, who did bid on Tex/Bay, didn't put any bid on Griffey in his attempt to replace Shin-Soo Choo.
Unlike Teixeira and Bay, Griffey isn't an obvious break-the-bank player. He's an injury waiting to happen, and he's not a good candidate to add if you're worried about your BA. On the other hand, the power's been there this year, and you're unlikely to find another 20 HR hitter in the free agent pool the rest of the way. If I had been the owner with $50 burning a hole in my pocket, I would have probably bid $35-40 to waive Matthews and take the shot on Griffey. He's a gamble, but you can't count on any waiver trades, and Griffey's almost definitely as good as it's going to get from here on out.
Kyle Farnsworth $9. Other bids $8, $7, $1, $1.
Farnsworth got smacked around today, but this is a solid bid for a guy who could wind up replacing the extremely unreliable Fernando Rodney by the middle of this month. Detractors will point out that he's served up an unacceptable 13 HR in 46 1/3 IP, but eight of those dingers were allowed in April/May. Dave Eiland recognized a hitch in Farnsworth's delivery that resulted in Farnsworth hanging his slider, which led to the homers. One obvious problem is that the Yanks didn't trade Eiland to the Tigers along with Farnsworth. If he regresses, he obviously isn't going to close, even if Rodney stinks, too. But he's worth the flier, as Rodney's blown two saves since Jim Leyland announced he was the closer.
Ehren Wasserman $4.
I have no explanation for this pick-up; Wasserman has an 8.49 ERA and a 2.14 WHIP in 11 2/3 IP this year and is buried in the back of the White Sox bullpen. He belongs in the minors right now.
Jeremy Sowers $3.
He's had two solid starts against the Twins his last two times out, taking a perfect game into the sixth in both outings. He's still not someone who should be owned by a contender, but for a rebuilding squad who can keep him at $5 or under, he's worth a stab at this price. Sowers was a successful pitcher in 2005, and while I don't think he'll ever duplicate those numbers, he could be a 4 or 4.50 ERA guy with an OK WHIP if he harnesses all of his soft stuff.
Jamie Burke $1.
The Mariners are buried in the A.L. West, and starting to play some of their back-ups, but Burke is a 36-year-old back-up catcher who will be lucky to be a 37-year-old back-up catcher in the major leagues next year. Don't bid.
Chad Bradford $1.
Jim Johnson's been scuffling a bit as of late, so Bradford could see more prominent innings down the stretch for the O's. Don't get too excited: the Orioles probably won't be able to get George Sherrill's relatively cheap contract through waivers, so I don't see Bradford closing unless there's an injury to Sherrill. In 4x4 leagues, though, Bradford's low ERA/WHIP make him worth a $1 stab.
Guillermo Quiroz $1.
Sal Fasano $1.
The owner who bid $50 on Tex/Bay picked these guys up for Kenji Johjima ($22) and Max Ramirez ($11) so he could fit Tex or Bay under the salary cap if he got either one. Both are back-ups who aren't even worth it in deep leagues. Ramon Hernandez's fat contract could slip through waivers, so I suppose that Hernandez owners could stick Quiroz on their reserve list (if they have one) in very deep leagues. Fasano hasn't played much at all, and will lose even more time with Victor Martinez due back in about two weeks (I'm assuming the Indians carry three catchers for a while until Martinez looks completely healthy).
Ron Mahay $1.
Mahay got beat up in his last outing against the White Sox, but he's been money all year long in ERA/WHIP. Like Bradford, he's only worth it in deep 4x4 leagues, but Mahay is definitely a contributor in those leagues, even if he's not going to pick up a lot of wins pitching for the Royals.
Brian LaHair. Claimed by 11th place and 10th place teams.
Two weeks after I damned LaHair with faint praise, he's knocked two home runs and made it hard for the Mariners to keep him on the bench. He'll keep playing if he's got a strong bat, and it's entirely possible that he will claim that 1B/DH role that made John Sickels compare him to Brian Daubach way back when.
Ramon Vazquez. Claimed by 10th place and 5th place teams.
Vazquez has been swinging a hot bat all year long, and should accrue significant playing time with Hank Blalock on the shelf for the umpteenth time this season. His year looks like a huge fluke, but everyone's been saying that all year long and it's now August. Certainly worth claiming in the unlikely event he's available in your A.L.-only league.
Sidney Ponson. Claimed by 7th place team.
Ponson had a nice outing against the Angels this week, but he's still a pitcher I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. He's cagey enough where he'll have solid outings, particularly against a line-up that's as swing-happy as the Angels' is, but he's also going to have some outings where his mostly ordinary stuff gets hit hard. He's got the Rangers next, which is reason enough to leave him sitting in the free agent pool if he's out there in your league.