Go ahead. Laugh it up you mixed league players. You've got the likes of Cody Ross, Bryan LaHair, and Denard Span sitting in your free agent pools. Marlon Byrd is garbage to you. In A.L.-only, though, he's gold: a potential everyday outfielder who earned $12 in 2011 in a down year. Obviously, there's some risk involved: he's off to a terrible start and once Carl Crawford returns there's not an ironclad guarantee of regular playing time. But if Byrd does play regularly, it provides a rare opportunity at $13-15 earnings from a FAAB buy. I didn't need the OF so didn't bid, but my bid probably would have been about half of what the winning team bid here. Still, I can understand the rationale if a team is looking for a miracle and trying to avoid dumping in 2012.
Tyson Ross $11. Other bids: $11, $9, $1.
Based on Ross' raw stuff, there's little doubt that he's going to stick in the bigs; the question is whether he sticks long-term as a starter or reliever. His minor league career is littered with elbow/shoulder injuries, raising questions about his health and durability. The other potential issue with Ross is his command. He has walked nearly four per nine in his brief Major League career, and this isn't going to help his survival either. Short-term, Ross is a fine pick-up as long as he's starting for the A's, but I'd be wary of planning my roster around him as part of a rebuild. I think he's going to wind up in the pen down the line.
Daric Barton $10. Other bid $1.
Placeholder, thy name is Daric Barton. Barton is living off of his solid if unspectacular year in 2010. Since then he's done practically nothing and even for a middle infielder his production would be unacceptable. Just like with Byrd, though, AB are king, and Barton is getting most of the PT at 1B for the A's at the moment. If you pick him up, hope that he can return to his '10 levels of production, keep the starting gig, and pop 10-12 HR. But don't be surprised if he doesn't.
Jason Hammel $9
I wrote Hammel up a week and a half ago. He struck out 10 White Sox in his last outing, but that should be taken with a grain of salt; the White Sox offense has the highest strikeout percentage in the Majors. Hammel gets the Blue Jays this week, a match-up I'd avoid.
Junichi Tazawa $2
Tazawa missed most of 2011 after Tommy John surgery. He profiled as a starting pitcher pre-surgery but now looks like he's going to settle into the pen. He's worth a flier with the Red Sox bullpen in tatters, but is still a long shot for saves.
Chris Gimenez $1
Exit Stephen Vogt and enter Chris Gimenez. His power potential is always mildly intriguing, but Gimenez will mostly caddy Jose Molina and doesn't carry a lot of Roto value.
Jared Burton $1
Burton is an OK middle relief play in A.L.-only 5x5 because of the strikeouts. He's a long shot for save opportunities though so that isn't the play here.
Elliot Johnson $1
Johnson had one very good year in the minors in 2010 and since then has done nothing. His 20-25 SB potential is tantalizing, but it hasn't translated to the Majors and Johnson is buried on the Rays bench. Barring an injury, Johnson is borderline even in A.L.-only.
Alberto Gonzalez $1
I'd normally recommend avoiding Gonzalez like the plague. But if you're going to pick him up this is the week: Adrian Beltre is nursing a hamstring injury but isn't expected to go on the DL. Gonzalez should pick up some starts early in the week. The hope is to get lucky in runs in a potent Texas line-up. Gonzalez has no power and hasn't swiped double digits in the minors since 2007.
Carl Pavano. Claimed by 12th, 2nd and 1st place teams.
Tim Collins. Claimed by 9th place team.
Don Kelly. Claimed by 4th place team.