Dan Haren $52. Other bids: $48, $37, $34, $32, $26, $25, $17, $16, $15.
Haren's relatively early appearance in the American League makes him a near no-brainer in terms of a break-the-bank kind of bid. Out of all of the players who might get moved into the A.L. at the deadline, Haren is likely to have the most value, unless you need the hitting much more than you need the pitching and cross your fingers that Adam Dunn, Jayson Werth or Prince Fielder (in descending order of likelihood) are coming over into the A.L. next week. If I had the FAAB and the cap space (I had neither) I'd bid as much as I could on Haren and worry about making it work later. Based on the raw numbers, Haren is certainly a moderate gamble, but if you bid big on him hope that the xFIP is right and that the ball doesn't continue to leave the yard at such a prodigious clip.
Jed Lowrie $5. Other bids $2.
It's easy to forget that Lowrie was once a first-round pick by the Red Sox and a highly regarded middle infield prospect. He lost almost all of 2009 to a wrist injury and half of 2010 to mononucleosis. Back off the D.L., it looks like he'll be a middle infield backup and not a starter, even with Dustin Pedroia on the shelf. Lowrie might wind up eventually replacing Marco Scutaro at some point down the line, but for the moment Lowrie is a future play only as long as he's only starting 1-3 games per week.
Will Rhymes $3.
Rhymes put up some crooked numbers in college at William & Mary, but questions about his size pushed him all the way back to the 27th round of the draft in 2005. Sure enough, the power didn't translate to professional ball and Rhymes became organizational depth and not a true future prospect. Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge's injuries open the door to Rhymes for now, and he'll battle Ramon Santiago, Ryan Raburn and Scott Sizemore for playing time. His upside is a few steals with a neutral average and the odd HR, but he might only be up temporarily, and it's hard not to see the Tigers trading for some offensive help.
Jeff Larish $2.
Speaking of Tiger injuries, Larish was the other hitter called up to the bigs by the Tigers. He's now a 27-year-old slugger who fits the profile of a low average power hitter in the minors who will probably be a Quad-A guy from here on out. Of course, the last Tiger hitter I panned as good power/poor average was Brennan Boesch (though Boesch is younger than Larish and Larish has had his chances in the Majors). Like Rhymes, Larish should get a shot to play unless/until the Tigers make a trade and I like Larish better than Rhymes in the short-term.
Michael Wuertz $2. Other bids $2, $1.
Andrew Bailey has missed close to a week with back spasms. Multiple reports have him returning Tuesday for the A's big series with Texas, but back injuries have a way of lingering and the A's are unlikely to push Bailey given where they're at in the standings. Wuertz picked up two saves this past week and is the backup if Bailey can't go. Wuertz has had a strong July and should be owned in most A.L.-only leagues.
Casey Janssen $1.
Janssen has been up and down all year, but currently has the hot hand and has had very solid peripherals all year long. He's not in line for saves, but is a solid middle reliever with strong K/IP rates and is a worthy addition in deep leagues.
Edwin Encarnacion. Claimed by 12th, 11th, 8th, 7th, 3rd, and 1st place teams.
Encarnacion was waived due to a salary cap roster crunch (though I would have probably nuked Willy Aybar instead if I were Encarnacion's prior owner). He needs to be owned in all A.L.-only leagues and is probably a mixed league option in some formats at this point. Encarnacion is swinging a hot bat at the moment and looks like the hitter who swatted 26 HR for the Reds in 2008. He's a moderate BA risk, but if you need power and Encarnacion is out there in your league for some odd reason, grab him now.
Doug Fister. Claimed by 11th, 7th and 3rd place teams.
Fister doesn't look like the same pitcher he was prior to hitting the DL in early June with a mysterious bout of "shoulder fatigue." In six starts and 26 1/3 IP, he's put up a 7.18 ERA and 1.975 WHIP. Oddly enough, where Fister seemed unlucky pre-injury, he's been very unlucky post-injury: he's struck out over six per nine, kept the ball in the park and barely walked anyone. The truth on Fister probably lies somewhere between his great start and his awful run as of late: he's likely a serviceable 4th or 5th starter who is an A.L.-only option but not a great one due to poor wins potential in Seattle.
Koji Uehara. Claimed by 3rd place team.
Uehara has pitched very well for the Orioles since returning from the DL in late June and has put up a great month in July. He's worth keeping an eye on as a potential CIW, but Alfredo Simon has been solid and Mike Gonzalez is healthy and has the big contract. Uehara still provides value in a middle relief role.