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Transaction Analysis: Notable Moves this Week

Ryan Arbour

Ryan Arbour

Ryan Arbour writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Here's a look at some of the top moves of the past week:

THURSDAY, AUG. 5

Aaron Cook to the 15-day DL

Cook just couldn't seem to put it all together this season. The sinker-balling righty was a combined 27-15 over the last two seasons, with a decent ERA of 4.05 over that stretch. His strikeout rates have always been well below average, but he still managed to get the job done. Things have been different this year, however, as his ERA ballooned to 5.34 and his record dropped to 4-8 through 21 starts with the Rockies. He now finds himself on the disabled list with a sprained toe, so hopefully some time off will do him some good. The Rockies recalled Esmil Rogers on Aug. 8 to fill Cook's rotation spot. The 24-year-old righty was 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA in 13 appearances (two starts) for Colorado this year.

Jose Guillen designated for assignment

This is a somewhat surprising move, considering that Guillen was leading the Royals in home runs and RBI at the time. He was hitting .255 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI as a designated hitter and occasional right fielder, but was cut loose due to his high salary. Guillen is in the final year of a three-year, $36 million contract and the Royals have until Aug. 15 to trade or release him. The Giants have expressed an interest in the 34-year-old, but his dwindling defensive ability would make him better suited to a DH role in the American League. The Royals will move first baseman Billy Butler to the DH spot, and unproven Kila Ka'aihue will be given a chance to hold down the first base job. Ka'aihue hit .319 with 24 home runs and 78 RBI in 94 games with Triple-A Omaha this year, and has shown a proficiency for drawing walks and getting on base throughout his minor league career. He's definitely worth a look if he can stick around.

John Buck to the 15-day DL

Buck was putting together the best season of his career and had earned an All-Star appearance before he landed on the DL last Thursday due to a thumb injury. The Royals cast-off cut his right thumb on a foul tip on Aug. 4 and had to be taken out of the game. At the time, he was hitting .277 and had homered 14 times while driving in 49 runs in 84 games in his first season with Toronto. He's optimistic that he'll miss no more than the minimum 15 days, but in the mean time his injury gives the Jays a chance to get a look at catching prospect J.P. Arencibia. The 24-year-old rookie had a fine major league debut on Saturday, homering on his first pitch and following it up with another bomb later that game. He'll split the catching duties with Jose Molina, who is hitting .283 with four home runs and nine RBI in 37 games through Wednesday as the backup to John Buck.

FRIDAY, AUG. 6

Carlos Pena to the 15-day DL

Pena has been one of the best in baseball at hitting home runs in recent years, but his low batting averages have prevented him from being a fantasy baseball stud. This year was more of the same for Pena, as he crushed 23 home runs in his first 102 games despite a paltry .212 batting average. On July 31, he felt something pop in his right foot while running the bases, and he hasn't played since. The Rays finally decided to place him on the DL to allow him to heal properly, and the move was made retroactive to Aug. 1. That means that he can come back as early as Aug. 16, which is good news for Rays fans. Manager Joe Maddon has stated that Dan Johnson and Ben Zobrist will share the first-base duties while Pena is out. Zobrist's fantasy value should not be affected, as he was already playing regularly in right field and at second base. Johnson was just promoted on Aug. 2, and should get some regular playing time. He played in Japan last season and came into this season with a career .248 average and 44 home runs in 328 major league games.

SUNDAY, AUG. 8

Orlando Hudson activated from the 15-day DL

The Twins' second baseman made his return from his second DL stint on Sunday, after missing a couple of weeks due to a strained muscle in his right side. Hudson also missed two weeks earlier this year after he injured his wrist in a collision with teammate Denard Span on May 30. When healthy, Hudson has put up his typically solid (yet unremarkable) numbers. He returns to a .285 average and 53 runs scored in 80 games. Alexi Casilla filled in at second base during Hudson's absence. He's hitting .287 through Saturday, and will return to a reserve role.

MONDAY, AUG. 9

Geovany Soto to the 15-day DL

It's been a rough year for catchers. Soto becomes the latest catcher to fall victim to injury as he sprained a ligament in his right shoulder. The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year was having a good season, as he was hitting .288 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI in 88 games at the time of his injury. The Cubs recalled Welington Castillo to help behind the plate in Soto's absence, and he'll back up Koyie Hill. Hill isn't likely to provide any help to fantasy teams looking for offensive help, as he's hitting just .193 with no home runs in 47 games through Saturday. Soto is expected to make a quick recovery, and will likely be back with the team later this month.

Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis to the 15-day DL

The Rays had used only five starters through the end of July, as their rotation managed to avoid the injuries and inconsistencies that other teams faced. Things changed quickly for Tampa Bay, however, as it lost two-fifths of its rotation to injury on Monday. Both Niemann and Davis experienced shoulder pain after their last starts, on Aug. 3 and Aug. 5, respectively, and have been placed on the DL. Neither player should miss much more than the 15-day minimum as their injuries are not considered serious. Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Sonnanstine will fill their spots in the rotation in the mean time. The 23-year-old Hellickson was 12-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 21 starts with Triple-A Durham before being recalled on Aug. 2. Sonnanstine was 2-0 with a 4.22 ERA in 30 relief appearances for the Rays this year. He had been moved to the bullpen after a disastrous 2009 season when he went 6-9 with a 6.77 ERA in 22 games (18 starts).

TUESDAY, AUG. 10

Stephen Strasburg activated from the 15-day DL

The 22-year-old rookie phenom is back in action after missing a couple of weeks with inflammation in his right shoulder. Strasburg struck out 14 batters in seven innings in his major league debut June 8, and continued to put up some crooked numbers until he landed on the disabled list on July 29. At the time of his DL assignment, he was 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 54-plus innings. He struggled in his return on Tuesday against Florida, as he gave up six earned runs in 4.1 innings, making it easily the worst start of his brief major league career to date. Nevertheless, he remains a valuable fantasy asset, and should an exciting pitcher to watch for years to come. Jason Marquis also made his return to the Nats rotation after missing three and a half months after undergoing surgery to have bone chips removed from his elbow. He is unlikely to provide anything of value to any fantasy team. Ross Detwiler was placed on the DL, and Craig Stammen was bumped to the bullpen to make room for Strasburg and Marquis in the rotation.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 11

Rafael Furcal to the 15-day DL

The Dodgers' shortstop wound up on the disabled list for the second time this year after he continued to experience stiffness in his back during his pregame workout on Tuesday. Furcal hadn't played since Aug. 2, when he first experienced the stiffness and was removed from the game. The Dodgers decided to place him on the DL to give them an extra player on their 25-man roster since they were able to backdate the move to Aug. 3. Furcal has been productive this season when healthy, as he managed to hit .316, score 76 runs and steal 18 bases in 76 games. The versatile Jamey Carroll once again takes over the shortstop duties while Furcal is out. Carroll is hitting .276 through Tuesday, but has yet to hit a home run in 243 at-bats this year. His fantasy value should be negligible, especially with Furcal due back on Aug. 18.