Yunel Escobar $22. Other bids: $19, $18, $18, $16, $10, $7.
In real life, this trade is an absolute no-brainer for the Blue Jays. Alex Gonzalez is not going to push the Blue Jays to a pennant at his best (which is what we're seeing right now) whereas Yunel Escobar just might if everything breaks right for him. That being said, while Escobar has room for significant improvement, there are still problems in his game that make him risky. His career G/F rate is way too high to ever expect more than the 14 HR he hit last year, and the pitch/value data over at Fangraphs tells us that Escobar's bat has struggled against the hard stuff the last year and a half. From a Roto standpoint, you'd never trade Escobar for Yunel straight up at this point, even if you had Yunel at $1. However, from a FAAB perspective, this bid is appropriate and - in fact - conservative. It's uncertain how many position players are going to come through the chute from this point forward so if you have the FAAB $/cap space, by all means bid aggressively, particularly if you have zip at middle infield.
Jeanmar Gomez $5.
Gomez was called up today by the Indians for an emergency/spot start and acquitted himself quite well against the Tigers. He's expected to be sent down and probably won't be seen again until September. Long term, John Sickels thinks that Gomez is a fourth/fifth starter type or possibly a relief option. Gomez had a strong year in AA in 2009 but was getting pounded at AAA this year. He's young at 21, but probably needs more time and refinement in the minors. He's not a good play either for now or 2011 at the moment.
Jesse Crain $4.
With relievers, it always pays to look at the splits. Crain's overall numbers are so-so, but he's been dominant since June, allowing only two runs in 15 IP with 15 strikeouts. He walks too many guys for me to be strongly recommend him, but Crain is fine in deep 4x4 leagues. With Jon Rauch pitching extremely well, don't count on Crain for saves.
Omar Vizquel $2.
With Mark Teahen on the D.L., Vizquel is getting most of the playing time at 3B for the White Sox, particularly against RHP. Even with the AB, Vizquel is almost worthless in Roto. His speed is gone, he has no power, and while the batting average won't hurt you, this is still a nearly empty player at this stage of Vizquel's game.
Frank Herrmann $1.
Herrmann is a non-prospect middle reliever whose great AAA numbers this year earned him a promotion. It appears that he's held his own in the Majors thus far, but a closer look reveals an unsustainable BABIP and an artificially high strand rate. Herrmann has been living and dying by his fastball and typically hitters eventually catch up. I'd look elsewhere if I had an opening.
John McDonald $1.
I'm surmising that the McDonald bid is a small bet against Escobar. Even if McDonald plays, though, he's a defensive specialist who kills his teams - both real and Roto - with the bat. Fangraphs value model says that McDonald has been 103 runs below average with his hitting over the course of his Major League career (and only 33 above average with his glove). That's an unbelievable statistic. Yes, McDonald's slugging over 400 this year and has a couple of HR. But given his history (and given that the Jays didn't acquire Escobar to sit him for McDonald), I'd expect almost nothing here.
Travis Hafner. Claimed by 12th, 11th, 9th, 8th, and 2nd place teams.
We're at that time of the year where contenders start facing a roster crunch and have to start trading guys like Hafner on the cheap or releasing them. In Hafner's case, he was cut last week and a bunch of non-contenders tried to jump all over him. He's worth playing in A.L.-only Roto, but given that Hafner's a DH-only, he doesn't offer enough offense to make up for the complete lack of flexibility. He's also reaching the point in his career where the Indians have to be wondering if it's time to cut bait. The $28.75MM Hafner's owed in 2011 and 2012 (assuming the Tribe buys out his 2013 option) might give the team pause, but at some point they might have to cut bait and cut their losses entirely. Keep this in mind if you're looking at Hafner.