Since this is the last week of the season, I thought I'd break with the usual format of the FAAB log and look instead at the moves the teams in the A.L.-only league I track made - or tried to make. At this extremely late point in the season, moves are often made to protect categories or try to gain in them, and the ability of the player in question isn't as important as what the team acquiring that player is attempting to accomplish.
This A.L. is a traditional 12-team only, 4x4 league. The minimum number of possible points is eight; the maximum is 96.
First place team (80 1/2 points): 1) Claim Lance Berkman, Release John McDonald. 2) FAAB Felix Doubront $1, Release Jose Valverde. 3) FAAB Jason Frasor $1, Release Boone Logan.
Berkman was cut by the team in last due to a roster crunch; at $32 he's probably not a keep next year. Berkman's been slammed by a lot of Yankees fans but he's been productive in September and is certainly an upgrade on McDonald. This team has a shot to move up in RBI. Doubront and Frasor are ERA hedges. This team has already locked in first place in wins and can't move up or down in saves.
Second place (79): 1) Attempt Claim Dan Haren, Claim Scott Baker, Release Rafael Perez. 2) Reserve Coco Crisp, Attempt FAAB Jose Lopez $10, Activate Chris Davis. 3) FAAB Drew Sutton $10, Release Eduardo Nunez.
Wins are a big deal for this squad. They're tied at 76 with two other teams, one ahead of a team at 75, and two ahead of another team at 74. Baker gets the Royals this week and should be a decent enough play. Disposing of a healthy Crisp may have made sense for this squad anyway; they can only lose a point in steals, probably lost a chance to gain a point, and can make some decent headway in RBI this week if everything breaks right. Sutton isn't much, but he's playing and Nunez isn't.
Third place (78). 1) Reserve Chris Getz, Claim Darnell McDonald. 2) FAAB Matt Guerrier $6, Release Jonathan Albaladejo. 3) FAAB Mike McCoy $6, Release Erick Aybar. 4) Release J.J. Putz.
The third place team is locked in at HR, RBI and (barring a miracle) batting average. There could be a steals point in play, so I suppose McCoy and McDonald could help there. This team has to protect a WHIP point and could gain an ERA point; getting rid of Albaladejo is more addition by subtraction than anything else.
Fourth place (tie) (62 1/2): 1) Release Darren Oliver, Attempt Claim Matt Garza, Claim James Shields. 2) FAAB Brad Bergesen $5, Release Derek Holland.
These are two straight up wins plays. This team can't move down in ERA/WHIP, probably needs lightning in a bottle to move up, but is tied with the second place team in that big wins clump. Playing for fourth is like kissing your sister, but once you've committed to playing for this year, it isn't kosher to stop playing for this year and mess with the big race.
Fourth place (tie) (62 1/2): 1) Claim Matt Garza, Release Gavin Floyd. 2) Activate Jose Mijares, Release Bobby Jenks. 3) FAAB Jose Lopez $23, Release Robert Andino.
This team probably has a better chance of finishing fourth than the other fourth place team. They can't move down in average, so picking up Lopez is a decent power risk. Garza gets the Royals this week, and this team is at the bottom of the wins clump. There were plenty of starters floating around out there, but this team has points to lose and gain in ERA and WHIP and couldn't take too many risks.
Sixth place (54): No moves. This team is locked into 6th place.
Seventh place (46): 1) Activate Jason Varitek, Release Bengie Molina. 2) Activate Jeremy Hermida, Release Brandon Wood. 3) Claim Dioner Navarro, Release Landon Powell.
Varitek might be a keep at $1 next year. Hermida could be a keep at $3 in the right situation. Navarro won't be at $4, but he's better than Powell at $10.
Eight place (42 1/2): Release Nick Punto.
Ninth place (40): 1) Claim Dan Haren, Release Luke French. 2) Activate Dayan Viciedo, Release Jarret Hoffpauir.
Haren would have been a no-brainer for a contender, but with his $52 salary it's hard to make sense of this claim. Viciedo had to be activated or released this week.
Tenth place (34): 1) Attempt Claim Willy Aybar, Release Ryan Raburn.
No harm in trying to grab Aybar - a $1 player entering his option year- for Raburn, who is a Roto free agent come next Monday.
Eleventh place (27): 1) Claim Willy Aybar, Reserve Fred Lewis. 2) FAAB David Pauley $11, Release Doug Fister. 3) FAAB Kyle Davies $9, Release Josh Beckett. 4) FAAB Sean O'Sullivan $3, Release Jeanmar Gomez. 5) Release Pat Neshek.
Like the 10th place team, the 11th place squad figures that Aybar is worth a look at $1. The rest of these moves are an attempt to make innings. He's 53 innings short and should make it but even if he doesn't this will have no impact on the pennant race.
Twelfth place (18): 1) Activate Josh Reddick, Release Eric Patterson. 2) Claim Jon Rauch, Release Josh Roenicke. 3) Release Kevin Slowey. 4) Release Kevin Frandsen.
Patterson at $3 may have been better than Reddick at $10, and Rauch at $10 isn't going to be a keep either. Slowey is a Roto free agent come this winter.