Friday, June 24, 2011

Gearing Up: N.L. Week 13: June 27-July 3

News and Notes.

The Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs organization announced it would like to trade its overpaid and underperforming players.  Really?  In other news, the rest of the league announced it was not stupid.  On a serious note, Kosuke Fukudome would likely get the most attention from other clubs.  Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano would also draw attention but, given their large contracts, they will be difficult to move.  I can see a number of American League teams involved in with Zambrano and Soriano, so if you own them in your NL-only league, you want to start thinking ahead a bit.  Ramirez, in a show of team support, announced he would not waive his no-trade clause.

Wright is expected to be back within a month (three weeks is the estimate I keep hearing).  I did not expect him to rush back, but with the Mets playing adequately right now, it would be nice to see him back in their (and your) lineup.  Keep in mind that it is still likely the Mets will be sellers at the deadline, but, aside from Carlos Beltran, the offense should remain intact, providing Wright with RBI opportunities throughout the season.  I expect, however, that the stolen base numbers will drop due to the nature of his injury.

Oswalt did not sound optimistic about his back condition after last night’s disaster.  It may be time to start looking for a possible replacement, as he may be headed back to the disabled list in the short-term (UPDATE: Oswalt did, in fact, go on the disabled list this afternoon, and is headed for another back examination).

Broxton is on a rehabilitation assignment and is expected to be back with the Dodgers some time next week (assuming all goes well).  The Dodgers expressed an interest in getting him back in the closer role quickly.  While health is an issue, if you are in need of saves, this could be a good buy-low opportunity.

Chad Qualls/Heath Bell.
One of these two (if not both) will likely be on a new team before the trade deadline.  Qualls is a very attractive target, as he makes significantly less money than Bell and has a friendly buy-out option for 2012.  The Twins are a possible destination, though just about every contender could use a quality set-up man.

Davis is still weeks away from starting baseball activities, and is looking at possible micro-fracture surgery on his ankle.  At this point, you should not be relying on Ike Davis as a contributor for the remainder of the season.

Brandon Beachy.
Beachy has returned to the rotation, and must be owned in NL-only leagues.  Mike Minor returned to the minors.

Potential Minor League Help.

Blanks is a hot name today, after the Padres announced he would be the man to replace Ryan Ludwick if Ludwick is traded before the deadline.  Blanks is tearing the cover off the ball in AAA….

Presley is currently raking in the minor leagues….He is up for the remainder of inter-league play, as the Pirates are in American League parks.  He could be a decent short-term play if you need to fill a dead spot.

We all know the story with Wily Mo – incredible power and incredible swing and miss rates.  He is now up from AAA and will get a chance to play a little bit in Arizona.  He is still only 29 years old, and is certainly capable of making a big impact (positively in home runs and negatively in average) in NL-only leagues.

Chase d'Arnaud.
D'Arnaud, a former fourth round pick, will make his major league debut this weekend with the Pirates.  He was only hitting .280 in the minors, but he did have 33 RBI and 17 stolen bases.  He could be an effective fill-in if you need a middle infielder and need speed.

Potential Free Agent/Waiver Pick-Ups.

Infante was waived by another owner this week, and, frankly, for good cause.  Infante is sporting a .613 OPS, though he has posted 23 RBI.  As I said early in the season, however, if Infante is not hitting for average, he is not really worth much; his .255 average is not helping your team.

Moesley was waived last week for unknown reasons in our league.  He is the owner of a 3.02 ERA and 1.248 WHIP.  Given the WHIP and given the low strikeout total (4.32/9), I expect some regression.  Nonetheless, if he is available in your NL-only league, he is a must pick-up.

Other relievers: Jose Ceda (great AAA numbers and now in middle relief for the Marlins); Nick Masset; Jose Veras.

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