StrategyJuly 25, 2011

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Roto Medic: CarGo Down Again

By Kim Bhasin

The Bronx still has an ailing $32 million third baseman, but things are going as planned. Alex Rodriguez went under the knife a week into July to repair a torn meniscus, and everything has gone smoothly so far. Early reports cited a 4-6 week recovery time, and he’s right on track to match those estimates.┬áReports from the past week said that A-Rod may be able to come back sometime in mid-August, and Yanks GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Monday that the slugger and popcorn eater is currently still rehabbing down in Miami, but noted that A-Rod still has a little bit of a limp.

Cashman also said that the Yankees are being conservative with their biggest big money guy, which is completely understandable. A-Rod has always been reliably durable, although that reputation has taken a couple shots in the past three years with the Yankees.

Just to the north in Boston, a struggling J.D. Drew is back to his old ways, landing on the DL with a shoulder injury. This is shockingly his first DL stint since 2008.

Now let’s take a trip 1,750 miles west, where the Rockies have yet another huge problem on their hands.

Carlos Gonzalez (15 day DL – strained right wrist)

The Rockies’ injury woes continue with Carlos Gonzalez hitting the DL again after aggravating his previous wrist injury. He re-tweaked it after taking a big cut and fouling off a pitch in the 5th inning against the Braves Thursday. The reigning NL batting champ had taken some time off without landing on the DL following the original injury to his wrist in early July, which was a bone bruise he sustained when he smashed into the outfield wall on a catch. Since strained ligaments are pretty fickle, there’s no certainty that he’ll be back at the end of his 15 days, but that’s certainly the best-case scenario.

It’s particularly painful because CarGo had said that he felt almost 100%, and led off that game with homer. The night before he drove in the game winner with a ninth inning single. This whole experience will be frustrating for the 25-year-old superstar — and his many, many fantasy owners — but rest is the only option.

So what are we going to do with CarGo? Assume that he’ll be out for just the two weeks and pick up an outfielder accordingly. Many owners likely grabbed a replacement weeks ago when he was having trouble getting on the field in the first place. ┬áIf not, hopefully you can still grab Desmond Jennings (36% owned) if he’s available. But if he isn’t, here are your 30%-and-under waiver wire options:

  • Nyjer Morgan (18% owned) – Tony Plush’s alter ego has been on tear lately. He’s riding an 11-game hitting streak that has boosted his average all the way up to .327. He’s still getting shorted playing time against lefties, but this is the cheapest red-hot bat you’re able to get.
  • Ryan Ludwick (30% owned) – Ludwick hasn’t been particularly hot, but he’s one of the better long-term options out there. His constant playing time and solid power numbers deserve to be owned in more than a third of leagues, so take advantage of the opportunity to pick him up for free. Yes he strikes out a lot and can’t hit lefties at all, but take his cheap RBIs to the bank and don’t look back.
  • Josh Willingham (16% owned) – Another one of the most under-owned outfielders, it seems like we feature Willingham every time there’s a power OF needed from the WW. It’s simple: he’ll produce respectable power numbers at an average that won’t decimate you. What else do you want from a free pickup?

Other mixed league options – Josh Reddick (13% owned), Nate Schierholtz (15% owned), Corey Patterson (12% owned), Laynce Nix (8% owned).

Deep league potshot – Will Venable (2% owned).

Kim writes for Business Insider's sports page and runs a sports business blog at while attending NYU as a graduate student in Business and Economic Reporting. Catch up with him at the Cafe as Kim Bhasin, and follow him on Twitter (@KimBhasin).
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