Jason Isringhausen, P, NYM - After appearing to be a prime trade candidate and possibly be linked to his old team, the Cardinals, the Mets stated they will not be trading Isringhausen. Of course, this is exactly what a team should say if they're trying to drive up the asking price for a player. For now Isringhausen is the Mets' closer and if they stick by what they say there's a good chance he could net around 15 saves from here on out. After looking at Izzy's advanced stats, I'd say he's been a crafty veteran and adjusted to his home park to find this season's success. He has a .211 BABIP, which would be a career-low pointing to Izzy carrying a four-leaf clover in his back pocket. When looking further though, he's used his home park to his advantage. With the pitcher-friendly confines of Citi Field, Izzy has become more of a fly ball pitcher with a career-high 54.3% rate. The increase in fly balls (likely a willingness to leave the ball up in the strike zone) has led to a career-low 12.0% line drive rate which in turn can explain the low BABIP. Looking at his splits this season, all four home runs given up have occurred on the road while he has a much better ERA at home (1.86) than on the road (3.86). So if I'm right about Izzy using his home park to his advantage, should teams even want to trade for him to bolster their bullpen?
Cameron Maybin, OF, SD - For those who have been patient with Maybin, that patience has finally paid off. Maybin has been one of the hotter hitters in the game, sporting a nine-game hitting streak where he's gone 17-for-42 (.405) with nine stolen bases. In the process of that streak he set a franchise record with a stolen base in five straight games, which was extended to six games early Sunday. Granted, the plate discipline hasn't been there this month (14:3 K:BB ratio) but he's worthy of a pickup if you need stolen bases.
Dexter Fowler, OF, COL - Could this be déjà vu all over again for Fowler? Remember back to last season when he struggled initially, was then demoted to the minors and then came back to show flashes of potential to finish the season? Many thought this would be Fowler's breakout campaign (yours truly included) and have been nothing but disappointed with Fowler until this point. However, after a brief stint in the minors, he appears to be on track for the Rockies. He's put up a .432 OBP in nine games since his return and his three stolen bases during that time surpasses the whopping total of two he recorded over his first 56 games. So it appears he's been given the green light on the base paths, which makes him again an intriguing fantasy option. Hitting leadoff in Colorado is never a bad thing during the dog days of summer so give him a look if you need runs and stolen bases.
Edward Mujica, P, FLA - With the likely trade of Leo Nunez coming within the next week, Mujica was tabbed by manager Jack McKeon as a possible replacement for the closer's role. Mujica has been solid in a setup/high leverage role this season with a 36:6 K:BB ratio and a 3.14 ERA over 48.2 innings. Only 27, Mujica seems like the type who with some success in the closer role to finish the season out could earn a multi-year deal in the offseason and continue to be the ninth inning guy next year. If you're desperate for saves grab him or make an aggressive FAAB bid.
Mike Carp, OF, SEA - I wrote about Carp about a month ago as an upgrade saying the following:
"In a week that saw so many elite prospects promoted, I think Carp flew under the radar. He was tearing up Triple-A with 19 home runs, 58 RBI, six steals and a .353 batting average. While he's only played three games for the Mariners, he's shown patience with three walks in 11 plate appearances. Safeco is one of the worst hitter's parks but Carp shouldn't be completely sapped of his power considering left-handed batters fare much better than right-handed hitters."
Carp was shortly demoted after that only to return about a week ago. Since then he's homered in two straight games which should be enough to make him a fixture in the Seattle lineup in the near future. For now the AL-only/deep league label applies here unless you're really desperate for outfield help.
Stephen Drew, SS, ARI - Drew suffered a gruesome fracture to his right ankle last Wednesday ending his season. Not to rub salt in the wound but outside of your normal counting stats Drew wasn't having a particularly good season. He only had five home runs and four stolen bases and his .252 batting wasn't anything special. However, the injury coupled with those meager stats should make him available at a huge discount next year as he heads into his age 29 season. Look for Willie Bloomquist to try and recapture some of his early season magic with Drew out for the year.
Zach Cozart, SS, CIN - Cozart left Saturday's contest with a hyperextended elbow and later received some good news when the x-rays came back negative for a break. During his short time with the Reds Cozart didn't look overmatched, as his .810 OPS indicates, but the zero walks in 37 at-bats is a small red flag. He went on the DL early Sunday, with Edgar Renteria taking his place in the lineup and Paul Janish coming back up from Louisville for another stint.
Luke Scott, OF, BAL - Scott's shoulder woes were too much and after trying to play through it most of the season the slugger will opt for surgery or try to rehab the torn labrum ending his season. It's extremely disappointing for owners considering he hit .284 with 27 homers in 2010. Look for Nolan Reimold to get a long look in left field for the Orioles.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX - Beltre suffered a grade 1 hamstring strain that should cost him the next 2-to-3 weeks. The good news is that's the least severe strain so he should come back on schedule. Beltre was enjoying a solid season for the Rangers, batting .276 with 20 home runs and 76 RBIs. Chris Davis (24 home runs in 193 ABs at Triple-A) will once again look to shed the Quad-A label and see most of the ABs in Beltre's absence.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL - CarGo is again dealing with a wrist issue but luckily he's only dealing with inflammation and not a structural issue. Hopefully all he'll need is the two weeks to heal before returning to the Rockies lineup. Look for Ryan Spilborghs and Eric Young Jr. to fill in while Gonzalez is sidelined.
Heath Bell, P, SD - Remember last season when Bell and Adrian Gonzalez were supposed to be traded at the deadline but due to the run the Padres put together they ended up staying in San Diego? This season is a completely different story with Bell since the team isn't in contention and he should fetch a nice haul in return. I was all set to write about not getting overly excited about Bell after he leaves Petco Park, maybe even as a setup man (his likely role if he's moved). Then I looked and was surprised to see that not only this season (3.00 home ERA/1.65 away ERA) but last season (2.25 home ERA/1.59 away ERA) Bell had more success on the road than at home. Out of the five blown saves over the past two seasons, four have come at home despite having 12 more save opportunities on the road. Basically, Bell has been a better pitcher on the road which means he's probably the best relief option on the market. Look for him to land in some type of role similar to Francisco Rodriguez.
Leo Nunez, P, FLA - As I already stated, Nunez is another reliever likely to find a new team in the upcoming week. His stats are good (3.55 ERA, 1.204 WHIP) but like Bell, he'll likely find himself in a setup role if he's dealt. Edward Mujica looks like he'll get first crack at the ninth-inning job but Jose Ceda (called up Saturday) could be a darkhorse for this job, given his success in the role at Triple-A New Orleans (1.26 ERA, 23 saves, 48 Ks in 35.2 innings).
Kevin Correia, P, PIT - The pixie dust is wearing off on Correia, who has now run his ERA up to 7.54 for the month of July. While he got off to a hot start, maintaining a low ERA with only a 4.59 K/9 rate is a difficult task. Correia's biggest problem lately has been the long ball; he's given up four this month (20.1 innings). Another warning sign is his line drive rate, which has steadily increased every month (11.9%, 16.0%, 20.7% and 27.8%). Even in NL-only formats it's difficult to recommend Correia.
Scott Rolen, 3B, CIN - This easily could have gone in the "injuries" section but it wasn't like Rolen was exactly tearing the cover off the ball before this latest shoulder injury. No longer an everyday player even when healthy, Rolen was on pace to not even get to double-digits in the home run department despite playing in a good lineup and hitter's park. He seemed to be pressing at the plate as well and his 3.7% walk rate would be a career-low by almost five percent. The shoulder injury doesn't sound good and there are reports that he can barely lift his arm right now. Look for the Reds to give Todd Frazier an extended look while Rolen is on the mend.
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