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FAAB Factor-NL: Vacancy In San Diego

Jan Levine

Jan Levine

Levine covers baseball, basketball and hockey for RotoWire. In addition to his column writing, he's the master of the MLB and NHL cheatsheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets.

National League - FAAB - 7/20/14

Starting Pitching:

Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks - Cahill, who was pulled from the Arizona rotation and the designated for assignment due to his poor pitching, was profiled last week based on the view that he could get another look after the All-Star break. That view has become reality, as Cahill was promoted to take Mike Bolsinger's spot in the Arizona rotation, starting Friday against the Cubs, allowing three runs on four hits over five innings pitched. Cahill posted a 2.59 ERA, 1.29 WHIP along with 25:15 K:BB in 24.1 innings over his first five starts, while holding batters to a .195 batting average and stellar 1.93 GB/FB ratio. He struggled in his last start, but still got the nod to rejoin the Diamondbacks. Be a bit wary of his poor K:BB ratio and subpar last start, but Cahill could have a decent leash to hold onto a starting spot until Archie Bradley is ready, especially if Chase Anderson has his innings cut. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Anthony Desclafani, Marlins - Miami called up Desclafani for the third time this season Sunday and he will fill the role as fifth starter for the Marlins. Desclafani posted a 7.40 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over five previous starts in the big leagues this season; but had a 2.82 ERA and 1.02 in starts for Triple-A New Orleans after notching a 4.29 ERA and 38:10 K:BB in 42 innings for Double-A Jacksonville. DeSclafani, a sixth-round pick by the Blue Jays in the 2011 draft, should stick around for a while with Miami once again looking towards the future. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Kyle Hendricks, Cubs - Hendricks will be called back up and start Tuesday against San Diego as Chicago's fourth starter. Hendricks was originally promoted and started Thursday, July 10, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven over six innings against the Reds. He was sent back down to the minors with Chicago not needing a fifth starter until July 22 and now Hendricks gets the first chance at filling that role. Hendricks came over to Chicago from Texas in the Ryan Dempster deal at the 2012 non-waiver trade deadline and has steadily advanced up the ladder. He was the Cubs' minor-league pitcher of the year last year after going 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA and 128:34 K:BB ratio in 166.1 innings between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. This year. Hendricks was 10-5 with a 3.58 ERA and 93:23 K:BB in 100.2 innings for Triple-A Iowa. He generates lots of groundballs, which is a big reason for his success, and as seen by his K:BB and K:9 ratios, he has good command and control. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Jason Marquis, Phillies - Marquis, who underwent Tommy John surgery last July after pitching for almost four years with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, is hitting 90 mph with his fastball. The Phillies signed him to a minor-league deal on June 3 and he has pitched very well in his four starts, including three at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Marquis has a July 31 opt out clause in his contract if he is not promoted by then, which he has said he will exercise. As such, Philly could make room by trading a starter or if by moving Roberto Hernandez to the bullpen, each of which are a decent option to happen. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Tsuyoshi Wada, Cubs - There is a good possibility Wada will be called up to be the Cubs' fifth starter Wednesday against the Padres. In his major-league debut last Tuesday, Wada held the Reds to one (unearned) run over five innings and was sent back down to the minors Wednesday with the Cubs not needing a fifth starter until after the All-Star break. Wada, who pitched nine years in Japan before signing with the Orioles, never got a chance to pitch in the majors, as he needed Tommy John surgery in April 2012 and then was relegated to the minors. He signed with the Cubs this offseason and has put together a tremendous year for Triple-A Iowa. He leads the Pacific Coast League with 120 strikeouts, is ranked second with 113.1 innings pitched, fourth in ERA (2.77) and fifth with a 1.16 WHIP while notching 10 wins. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/updates:

Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks - Because I haven't profiled Bradley enough this year or at least in about a month, it's time for another update. Arizona GM Kevin Towers indicated recently that Bradley could make his major-league debut in the second half of the season. Bradley, who has been out since the end of April with a mild flexor strain in his right elbow, four rehab starts for Double-A Mobile through Saturday after making two for the Diamondbacks' rookie-league team. In those four starts, Bradley had a 9:13 K:BB over 18.1 innings but a 1.47 ERA. He took a major step forward Saturday, allowing tow runs on three hits and a walk while striking out 10 in seven innings. Prior to being sidelined, Bradley posted a 5.18 ERA and 43 strikeouts over five starts at Triple-A Reno to begin the season and his poor numbers might have been due to his elbow woes. When he is on, Bradley mixes a plus-plus fastball that sits around 93-94 and can get up to 97 with good, late life with a plus-curveball and in the works changeup. He was able to cut his BB/9 from 5.3 in 2012 to 4.1 last year, so that is still an area needing further improvement. Bradley may just make one more start at Mobile before moving up to Reno for a few starts and then up to the big leagues by mid-to-late August. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Eddie Butler, Rockies - Butler, who landed on the disabled list after his first major-league start June 6 due to rotator cuff inflammation in his pitching shoulder, is expected to rejoin the Rockies' rotation for their series against the Nationals. Butler started a minor-league rehab assignment July 12 at High-A Modesto, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two in four innings. He was slated to start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 17 but that start was rained out, so he started Friday, allowing six earned runs over 5.1 innings. That poor start resulted in him getting activated and sent down, but Colorado may not have much of a choice, given their minimal options, to call up Butler to face the Nationals.Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Andrew Cashner, Padres - Cashner, on the 15-day DL with right shoulder soreness and who last started on June 19, resumed playing catch Saturday. He played catch shortly after landing on the disabled list, but was shut down due to neck soreness. Cashner will need to proceed without any setbacks, going from catch to bullpen sessions, to live BP, to simulated games and then to rehab starts before being able to come back to the Padres. He likely is at least 3-4 weeks away and that may be a best-case scenario. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Cliff Lee, Phillies - Lee, sidelined with a strained flexor tendon in his pitching elbow since May 19, made what should be his third and final rehab start Monday at High-A Clearwater. That outing didn't go as expected, as Lee allowed eight runs -- three earned -- over 4.2 innings. As of now, Lee is still slated to rejoin the Phillies on Monday July 21 to face the Giants. Despite Philly's recent hot stretch, they are still believed to be sellers, so Lee could be advertising his wares for various suitors.

Jon Niese, Mets - Niese, who landed on the disabled list July 6 with inflammation in the AC joint in his pitching shoulder that actually was diagnosed after he was hit by a line drive while pitching on July 4, will be activated Monday. He is expected to slot back into the rotation Monday against the Mariners, replacing Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Relief Pitchers:

Joaquin Benoit, Padres - Benoit, who signed a two-year, $15.5 million deal with the Padres this offseason, will likely assume the role as the team's closer role following the trade of Huston Street to the Angels on Friday. There is speculation that Benoit also could be dealt, but for now, he should get a chance as San Diego's ninth-inning option. Benoit, who has a 10.44 K/9 ratio, is once again having an excellent season with a 1.86 ERA and 0.80 WHIP, even though he has struggled, allowing four of the eight earned runs he has surrendered on the season in two of his last three appearances. Mixed: $15; NL: $35.

A.J. Ramoz/Paco Rodriguez/Chasen Shreve/Nick Vincent - This week's middle reliever call ups/activations were in Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta and San Diego. None have any substantial value, though Ramos might get a look if the Marlins trade Steve Cishek. All - Mixed: No; NL: $0.


Injury activation/update:

Evan Gattis, Braves - Gattis, sidelined with a bulging disk in his lower back since June 29, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday and caught five innings for Gwinnett on Friday. He was first cleared last Thursday to begin some light activity and quickly progressed to batting practice and now, game action. The plan is for Gattis to catch seven innings on Saturday before serving as Gwinnett's designated hitter on Sunday and then be activated for Atlanta's series opener against Miami on Monday. When Gattis rejoins the Braves, Christian Bethancourt will head back to the minors.

Carlos Ruiz, Phillies -Ruiz, sidelined with a concussion after getting in the head with a pitch on June 26, is playing in rehab games with High-A Clearwater. Assuming he has no setbacks, the hope is that Ruiz will be able to rejoin the Phillies on Friday. When that happens, he will resume his role as the Phillies starting catcher. In addition, Philly may also get Wil Nieves from his quad injury back Monday, meaning Cameron Rupp and Koyie Hill likely will be sent down.

First Basemen:

Gaby Sanchez, Pirates - Sanchez has been seeing increased playing time against right-handed starters at expense of Ike Davis. Pittsburgh was using Davis against righties and Sanchez versus lefties, but Ike's lack of power has resulted in a shift. Sanchez won't provide a ton of stats and Pittsburgh may look to make a move before July 31, but he should get some counting stats when in the lineup. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Injury activation/update:

Yonder Alonso, Padres - Alonso, out since June 17 with a right wrist injury, began a rehab assignment with rookie-level Arizona on Friday. Prior to being injured, Alonso had hit just .210/.250/.341 with five home runs in 69 games, but while he was out, neither Tommy Medica nor Jake Goebbet grabbed ahold of the job. When Alonso is ready to return, look for him to see the majority of the playing time at first base due to lack of better options. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.

Second Base:

Chris Nelson, Padres - The Padres promoted Nelson on Friday, immediately inserting him into the starting lineup at second base. With Jedd Gyorko just starting a rehab assignment and Irving Falu, Jace Peterson and Brooks Conrad all having trying and failed to varying degrees to hold the spot and Everth Cabrera (hamstring) still ailing, Nelson, who spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues between the Rockies, Yankees and Angels, gets his chance. Nelson was released in spring training and signed a minor-league deal with the Reds in early-April. He played two months for Triple-A Louisville, batting .274/.330/.363 over 237 at-bats, before getting released. Nelson signed with the Padres, hitting .293/.422/.463 with two home runs in 24 games at Triple-A El Paso, before getting the call Friday. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Tyler Pastornicky, Braves - Atlanta called up Pastornicky to take the spot of Dan Uggla, who was waived Friday. Pastornicky has struggled in his previous stints in the majors, and with Tommy La Stella pretty much locked in at second base, he will be used as a utility infielder. He also may not be fully 100%, as he was recently on the disabled list with inflammation in his surgically repaired left knee, following his ACL tear last year, so don't expect much from Pastornicky. Mixed: No; NL: $2.

Jordany Valdespin, Marlins - Valdespin, who wore out his welcome with the Mets and was released due to his maturity issues, signed with the Marlins this past offseason. That move worked out for Valdespin, who hit .270/.374/.437 with eight homers and 15 steals in 61 games with Triple-A New Orleans to earn a promotion Saturday. Valdespin was immediately inserted into the starting lineup at second base, replacing Ed Lucas, though it remains to be seen if he will be the man right now. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update:

Jedd Gyorko, Padres - Gyorko, out since June 6 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso on Friday. Two weeks, Gyorko finally took the next step in his rehab, hitting in the cage for the first time since his injury. That hitting consisted of soft toss and tee work. Gyorko will likely need an extensive rehab stint to regain his timing and make sure he has no setbacks from the injury. Even though Gyorko struggled in his sophomore campaign before being sidelined, San Diego could use him as he is an upgrade over Alexi Amarista, Irving Falu, Jace Peterson, Brooks Conrad and now Chris Nelson, who have filled in for him at second base. Gyorko ultimately could end up at third with Taylor Lindsay coming to Sa Diego as part of Huston Street trade. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.


Nick Ahmed/Didi Gregorius, Diamondbacks - Ahmed and Gregorius will continue to fill in at shortstop, as Chris Owings will like miss a few more weeks due to his shoulder injury. Ahmed, who hit .324/.390/.431 with two home runs, 36 RBI and 10 SB in 79 games with Triple-A Reno before his promotion, is likely on the lighter side of the platoon. Look for Ahmed to lay against lefties and when Gregorius gets a day off, while Gregorius should play almost every day, mainly at short but also see time at second base. Ahmed - Mixed: No; NL: $2; Gregorius - Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Javier Baez, Cubs - Baez, another one of the Cubs' seemingly endless stream of uber-prospects, has moved from shortstop to second base for Triple-A Iowa. That shift could enable Baez, who hit an opposite field home run in the Futures Game, to get called up to the majors quicker than if he stayed at shortstop. That said, Baez, who has a .246/.307/.470 line with 16 home runs, 59 RBI and 15 steals in 86 games for Triple-A Iowa, still needs to work on his plate discipline, evidenced by his 111:28 K:BB ratio this year after 147:40 last season. In addition, with Arismendy Alcantara up, Chicago has an in-house option if they decide to sit or trade Darwin Barney. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update:

Everth Cabrera, Padres - Cabrera, sidelined with hamstring tightness since late-June, has finally showed some progress, as he will run the bases Sunday and possibly begin a rehab assignment Monday. That rehab assignment will start at Double-A El Paso and then move to Triple-A Tucson before he rejoins the season, likely by mid-August. It's been a rough season for Cabrera, as he is hitting just .256 with a poor .290 OBA. In addition, his value is mainly in stolen bases, where he has a weak 13-for-20 success rate this season, starkly reducing what he brings to your fantasy team. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.

Third Basemen:

Maikel Franco, Phillies - RotoWire's minor-league guru Jesse Siegel highlighted Franco in his Minor League Barometer this week. Siegel wrote: "Are we finally ready for The Maikel Franco Show in Philadelphia? With the Phillies sitting in the basement in the NL East and thinking of selling off parts following the All-Star break, there seems no better time than the present for the Phillies to start the youth movement. Franco has shown signs of life the last few weeks after a horrific start to the 2014 campaign. Over his last 10 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley through Wednesday, Franco slashed .348/.375/.630 with one home run and 11 RBI. The 21-year-old slugged nine extra-base hits during that time period as well." I have highlighted Franco a few times, but it sure looks like his time is near. The Phillies could play Franco at first, sitting Ryan Howard at times, and third, especially since there is speculation the team may try Cody Asche in left field. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.

Injury activation/update:

Justin Turner, Dodgers - Turner, sidelined since June 28 with a strained left hamstring, was activated off the 15-day disabled list Friday after completing a two-game rehab assignment at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Turner more than ably handled third base while Juan Uribe was sidelined, but with Uribe now back, look for Turner to resume his role as a utility infielder.Mixed: No; NL: $2.


Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mets - New York has opted to keep six outfielders in the majors, and while Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares are every day players in right and center, it's mostly been a hodge-podge in left. That murkiness may be clearing up a bit, as Nieuwenhuis seems to be the preferred option over Eric Young, Jr. Chris Young and Bobby Abreu. Captain Kirk has started five of the past six games and looks like he may see most of he action against righties for the time being. In order for Nieuwenhuis to keep that spot, he needs to show better plate discipline, which has been an issue for him in the past. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Injury activation/update:

Emilio Bonifacio, Cubs - Bonifacio, profiled last week and out since June 11 with a strained right oblique, had his rehab assignment transferred to Double-A Tennessee on Wednesday. He first began that rehab stint at rookie-level Mesa last Friday, playing three games there. Bonifacio will slowly move level to level and could possibly be back with the Cubs by the end of the month. In April, Bonifacio was a godsend and beast for Chicago. However, he hit just .214 in May and then .229 in June before he was sidelined. With Arismendy Alcantara up in the majors and Chris Coghlan raking, Bonifacio may find himself on the outside looking in and need a deal elsewhere to see consistent playing time. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.

Chone Figgins, Dodgers - Figgins, sidelined since June 14 with a strained hip flexor, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday. He likely will plays several games for the Isotopes before rejoining LA as a utility player, who can fill in at second, third and the outfield. Mixed: No; NL: $2.