Hideki Matsui $13. Other bids: $10, $4.
Matsui has the brand name and generated some excitement by coming out of the gate with a couple of home runs but this price is a little high. He could produce some decent power numbers but he's only a year removed away from an uninspiring 375 SLG with the A's. I'd put a bid in, but I'd keep it in the high single digits. Don't pay for past glories. That only works in Rocky movies.
Garrett Richards $12. Other bids: $12, $6, $1.
Stephen Pryor $12. Other bids: $2, $2.
I wrote about both Richards and Pryor in Friday's Gearing Up. The top two bids on Richards belonged to contenders; apparently these owners don't share my concerns. Pryor also went to a contender; while this doesn't surprise me, I was surprised that not a single non-contender put in a bid. Closers-of-the-future don't always pan out, but what do you have to lose for $1-3 in FAAB except $1-3 in FAAB.
Matt LaPorta $10. Other bids: $7, $5, $2.
LaPorta has spent all of 2012 doing what we all know he can do well: beating the snot out of AAA pitching. With Johnny Damon on paternity leave, LaPorta gets a three-day window to try and stick with the big club for good this time around. I think this is a better next year play, though at the age of 27, LaPorta runs of the risk of becoming a Quad-A guy who will need a significant injury to get a real chance. I'd leave him out on the free agent pool if you're contending.
Hisashi Iwakuma $4. Other bid $4.
Iwakuma has been the long man out of the Mariners bullpen, but he picked up two saves this week: a three-inning job and one in late extra innings after it was down to Iwakuma, the bullpen catcher, and the peanut vendor. It's highly unlikely that Iwakuma will wind up closing and he has barely pitched at all this season, appearing in all of six games this season. At this price or a little lower, I think the play is fine if you're trolling for saves, but just know that it's unlikely to bear any fruit.
Shawn Kelley $3.
Like Iwakuma, Kelley is part of the fluid bullpen situation in Seattle. Unlike Iwakuma, Kelley could actually grab a share of the closer gig if one or two of the arms "ahead" of him flounder. The owner that grabbed Kelley also bought Pryor, so he's definitely making a strong push to get the stray saves in Seattle (Tom Wilhelmsen is already owned). It could work, but this owner has now spent nearly 50% of his FAAB budget on relievers after getting Hector Santiago early in the year for $30.
Eric Chavez $1. Other bid $1.
Chavez looked like waiver wire fodder at the beginning of the year, but with Brett Gardner's injury it has been Chavez - and not Andruw Jones - who has scooped up most of the playing time. Chavez has split time at third base and DH and looks like a passable option in A.L.-only if you're trying to get AB. He has a moderate amount of power and won't kill your batting average.
Mike McCoy $1.
McCoy's minor league numbers are terrible (the only place in Las Vegas where the odds are stacked in your favor is in the batters' box), but if he gets any kind of playing time at all for the Blue Jays he could steal bases in a big burst. That's just about all he does (although it sure didn't seem that way when I was in the Rotisserie race of my life last fall). McCoy makes for an A.L.-only play if you're in a tight steals race.
Jayson Nix. Claimed by 12th and 4th place team.
Nix has been decent in a limited role for the Yankees but hasn't seen much playing time. He's a last resort kind of pick up.
Nick Hagadone. Claimed by 11th place team.
Hagadone has pitched well, but Chris Perez looks like he's ensconced as the Tribe's closer. Hagadone is fine in deep leagues as a middle relief play.
Derek Lowe. Claimed by 10th, 7th and 4th place team.
I have written about Lowe at length this year but I feel like the character in the horror movie that no one listens to 20 minutes before everyone gets eaten/dismembered/sucked out into space. Lowe is going to be snatched up in A.L.-only leagues whenever he hits waivers. What I'm surprised by is his overall ownership trend. He's owned in 51% of all CBS leagues: a marked rise from where he was earlier in the year. This is a high percentage for a guy who is contributing in wins in ERA but below average in strikeouts and hurting teams in WHIP. While it's easy to use FIP and SIERA to talk about Lowe's regression, the fact is that for fantasy he already isn't that good. Lowe has a mere 20 strikeouts and a 1.463 WHIP. Yet fantasy owners can't help but to get sucked in by the wins and pretty ERA. Even if Lowe sustains this level of performance, what has been lost here is that the level of performance isn't that good for fantasy.
Will Rhymes. Claimed by 5th place team.
Rhymes looked more interesting last month. Drew Sutton has taken away most of Rhymes playing time and most of his value.
Darren O'Day. Claimed by 4th place team.
Baseball Prospectus used to call Gregg Zaun the "practically perfect back-up catcher." For Roto, O'Day is the practically perfect middle reliever. His peripherals are almost always terrific, he strikes out a fair amount of guys, and he always flies under the radar and can be had in most leagues. He's an asset in A.L.-only who will probably never get a chance to save games.