Article first appeared 9/21/08
This is our weekly look at the free agents in each league. We have two goals for this article:
One size doesn't fit all, and we could never hope to encompass all league structures, so we have to have a set of base assumptions. Those assumptions are:
Dustin Moseley - Joe Saunders is going to miss his next start because of a kidney stone. The Angels are going to move up Jered Weaver and Jon Garland a day apiece, leaving an open start for Thursday. That could be Moseley that fills in for Saunders. Moseley is pretty much the definition of replacement level. There will be days when he'll be useful, but there's an equal chance he'll get blown out. Watch the Angels closely this week - a lot of their regulars will probably get at least one day off, maybe two. Mixed: $0; AL: $1.
David Price - We talked about Price last week, but here's just a quick heads-up that he's starting on Monday against the Orioles. This serves two purposes - it gets Price his first major league start, and it also allows the Rays to help set up their playoffs rotation.
Scott Richmond - Suddenly, the Jays look like they'll have multiple vacancies to fill in their 2009 starting rotation. Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum will both be out with arm injuries, and A.J. Burnett is almost certainly going to exercise his opt-out clause, making him a free agent. Richmond is taking over Marcum's rotation spot for now. Though he is prone to getting hit, Richmond has great control and has gone at least five innings and has given up exactly three runs - no more, no less- in all four of his starts this season. He's not really a prospect, having turned 29 in August, but still, he might get a chance next spring. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Jose Mijares - The Twins turned to Mijares to pitch the eighth inning on Sunday, and he's posted a 1.50 ERA in six innings since his callup. With so many other set-up options imploding for the Twins down the stretch, Mijares has worked himself into a viable role, one that might carry over to next season. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Dusty Ryan - Ryan has been getting an extended look behind the plate for the Tigers thanks to Carlos Guillen's back injury, which has moved Brandon Inge to third occasionally, and due to the Tigers' woeful season. Ryan hit a combined .266 with 23 doubles and 17 home runs between Double and Triple-A this season and will play in the Arizona Fall League. Mixed: $1; AL: $5.
Curtis Thigpen - With Rod Barajas done for the year, Thigpen will split the catching duties with Gregg Zaun. Thigpen has been a resounding disappointment this year, hitting just .222/.267/.310 at Triple-A Syracuse. He's of dubious value as a prospect. Mixed and AL: No.
Miguel Cairo - I can't think of a better symbol of the organizational FAIL that is the Mariners this year than seeing Cairo start all three games at third base against the A's this weekend. Yes, Adrian Beltre is out for the season after undergoing surgery, but are the M's really that bereft of young players on their 40-man roster that can play third base that they feel compelled to start Cairo? Cairo defines the concept of "no upside." Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Ryan Garko - Victor Martinez might have a suspension levied against him on Monday, meaning that there will be one less player threatening to take away playing time at first base from Garko, who has hit well in September after an otherwise brutal season. Michael Aubrey might receive an extra start as a result as well. Mixed: $8; AL: $25.
Howie Kendrick - Kendrick has been out since late August with a hamstring injury, and even had a setback last week when trying to run. The Angels are still confident that Kendrick can return for the playoffs, but they're certainly going to want to give him a test run this week before they add him to the playoff roster. Still, don't expect him to play more than a couple of games this week. Mixed: No; AL: $2.
Donnie Murphy - Murphy will join the A's for the last week of the season, replacing the injured Mark Ellis on the 40-man roster. He's unlikely to play much over the final week, though Jack Hanahan's oblique injury might create a small window of opportunity for him. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Travis Buck - After helping lead Triple-A Sacramento to the PCL title, Buck has started five of the last six games for the A's and should play a decent amount over the last six games, three of which are in Arlington against the Rangers. It's pretty hard to envision Buck being a legitimate power threat, but he has some decent on-base skills. In other words, it's "lather, rinse, repeat" when describing a vast percentage of A's hitting prospects. Mixed: $5; AL: $12.
Chris Denorfia - Denorfia opened the year with a shot of playing at least in a platoon role in the outfield, but a slow start and then a back injury scuttled those plans. Since then, the A's have added a number of other young outfielders that have surpassed him on the org chart. He's a fifth outfielder at best right now. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Carlos Gonzalez - Gonzalez is dissimilar from most A's prospects - he's very toolsy with a pretty high ceiling, but he's also still pretty raw. In fact, it's debatable whether he's really conquered Triple-A pitching yet, and there's no doubt that he's been overmatched by major league pitching, posting a 12:76 BB:K in 284 at-bats. Grab him for keeper purposes, but be wary of him for this last week if your position in the batting average category is in play. Mixed: $4; AL: $10.
Dewayne Wise - Wise has hit four of his six homers on the season in the last eight days, taking advantage of the extra playing time he's gotten as a result of Carlos Quentin's knee injury. Sometimes it's players like Wise that win fantasy championships - all it takes is a hot week. When setting your lineups for this last week, focus less on the name and more on the role - often the bigger name players on teams whose fate has already been decided will sit out a few games. The White Sox have three games in Minnesota this week, but then finish with three at home against the Indians - three starts in that ballpark could be fruitful. Mixed: $1; AL: $7.