Mark Kotsay $30. Other bid $1.
This bid - and the fact that a player like Kotsay is even available in an N.L.-only league - is evidence of two things. First, players like Kotsay often become expendable when contenders improve their teams at the trade deadline via dump deals. Kotsay - who was probably a third or fourth OF on most N.L.-only Roto squads at the beginning of the year - suddenly became an insurance policy that was no longer needed. Second, the lack of bidding indicates that other teams in contention don't need Kotsay, while most of the non-contenders don't believe in him at $10 next year. I can see why. Kotsay's on the wrong side of the age curve, and could wind up as a platoon player or on the bench in 2009. For now, he's a decent enough option to play every day and hit the odd HR and steal the odd base. Be aware that it's rumored that he's cleared waivers, and both the Brewers and Red Sox are expressing interest.
Luis Ayala $24. Other bids $6, $5, $4.
I wrote about Ayala last week in this space, but the league I track for FAAB allows daily non-FAAB moves. So the owner who bought Ayala waived him for Adam Wainwright. The winning bid obviously reflects confidence that Ayala will get most of the saves for the Mets down the stretch. It's certainly a worthwhile gamble; Jerry Manuel is just as much a creature of human nature as the rest of us, and might very well be more comfortable with the devil he doesn't know. I'd keep my eye on Al Reyes if he's called up, though, as he's got the "proven closer" label from last year's time in Tampa Bay.
Nyjer Morgan $2.
Morgan's value is wrapped entirely in his speed. He's a 28-year-old non-prospect who got a lot of playing time last week because Nate McLouth is battling the flu. I don't anticipate Morgan getting much playing time down the stretch, and unless you're incredibly desperate for steals, don't bid.
Jeff Francis $2.
After a long and difficult season, Francis' initial owner finally (and understandably) gave up and sent him packing. He was picked up by the team in 2nd place, who could make a big jump in wins, but is also at risk in ERA/WHIP. If you are going to pick Francis up, this is the week; he's at the Giants and at the Padres (though his road and home numbers are both bad). Francis is one of those pitchers where you scratch your head if you're trying to predict the future. His biggest problem has been that he "can't get out of the first inning", which is something that's hard to quantify. The only number that's really been different for him has been his HR/FB rate, which means he's been a little unlucky. But the rest of his numbers are pretty similar. A guy like Francis who strikes out five or six batters per nine is more prone to inexplicable fluctuations than a guy who strikes out more batters. You have to sort of grin and bear it if you own Francis, understand the risk, and bid accordingly next year, which is to say bid low and keep your expectations low as well and hope you hit the jackpot.
Jaime Garcia $1.
Garcia's been solid in a low leverage middle relief role. He's a guy I'd stash away at this price or a little more if I were a non-contender, though Anthony Reyes' solid outing for the Indians last night made me wonder if the Cards jerking Garcia from the rotation to the pen back to the rotation to the pen isn't going to mess him up at some point. For now, that's all speculation, and you have to give the Cards and Dave Duncan the benefit of the doubt.
Jorge de la Rosa $1.
de la Rosa's overall numbers look terrible. But he's got over a strikeout an inning, and has put up a 2.42 ERA in August with a .221 BAA. He might actually be a decent play against a patchwork Giants line-up in San Francisco this week, especially in 5x5 leagues. Long term, he's also worth a look, though he's obviously not without his downside.