StrategyAugust 1, 2012

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Wide World of Waivers: Tricks of the Trade

By R.J. White

The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, featuring a flurry of activities that made balancing all the rumors and reports seem, at times, like an Olympic sport (one point for culturally relevant references!). Well assess the damage and see if we can’t find some players on the move that deserve consideration amongst our normal cadre of waiver adds.

First Base

W17Adam LindTOR0/8.000000024
W17Garrett JonesPIT7/27.259436023

Lind threw a couple of 0-for-4s on the board before missing the rest of the week with a back strain and ultimately hitting the DL this week. Can’t win ‘em all. After the trade of Casey McGehee, Jones figures to take over at first base full-time for the Pirates after moving between first and right field this season, and he’s posted a much better OPS this year when he plays first, if you’re into that kind of thing (it’s probably not relevant, but still). He’s coming off a three-HR week and is quietly working on an eight-game hitting streak. He’s already equaled his 16 HRs from last season and is slugging .511 on the year. Clearly, he offers at least some power at a position where you’d like to have it.

1B of the Week: Garrett Jones, PIT

Second Base

W17Ryan TheriotSF5/22.22730117
W17Billy HamiltonCIN0/0.00000002

Theriot did his job for us last week by giving us a steal, but he hasn’t been hitting well since the All-Star break. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot to like at the 2B position in our available players pool, so I’m going to cheat and recommend a SS that has an outside shot at playing some second in the near future. CUE WISHFUL THINKING BULLETIN. Brandon Phillips suffered an injury Tuesday night, and after the game comments from the Reds second baseman made it seem he could miss an extended period of time. If that winds up being the remainder of the season, could the Reds call up lightning-fast Billy Hamilton? After hitting .323 and swiping 104 bases in 82 games at Class-A Advanced Bakersfield, Hamilton has “slowed down” in Double-A, hitting .300 with just 12 steals in his first 18 games at the level. The Reds are the hottest team in baseball, the owner of the best record in the majors. There’s a 99 percent chance that Wilson Valdez winds up starting at 2B for the Reds while Phillips is out, but if you hear rumblings that Hamilton might be called up to play second, jump on him right away.

2B of the Week: Ryan Theriot, SF


W17Josh RutledgeCOL10/24.417523020
W17Stephen DrewARI3/19.158301020

Rutledge is streaking, picking up 10 hits for the second consecutive week while adding his first two HRs of the season to his line. His slash line is .381/.388/.683 through 63 at-bats. Sure, it’s not going to last, but he’s worth grabbing and playing for the rest of the season with Marco Scutaro traded away. One guy that stayed put through the trade deadline was Stephen Drew, who has the same ownership as Rutledge — why, exactly? He’s looked like a shell of his former self, and he’s shown no indication of getting better. If you own him, I’d definitely cut ties in favor of Rutledge, or Hamilton if you can stash him on your bench.

SS of the Week: Josh Rutledge, COL

Third Base

W17Todd FrazierCIN7/27.259414012
W17Chris JohnsonARI11/24.458424022

Frazier’s very quietly slugging .531 this year, which puts him behind only Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo and 23 games of Evan Longoria at the 3B position. I know, right? A .276 average in 239 at-bats is certainly respectable as well, especially when his 12 homers set him on a 25-homer pace over a full season. That’s not a guy you want to own? He also played a couple games at second base last season, so he could be an option there when Joey Votto returns. Sign me up. Johnson didn’t survive the Great Astro Purge of 2012, landing with the Diamondbacks to replace Ryan Roberts. All he did was paste a grand slam in his first game in the desert to follow up an excellent line last week. I’m going to give the edge to Frazier, but Johnson serves monitoring to see if he’s turning the corner.

3B of the Week: Todd Frazier, CIN


W17Wilin RosarioCOL2/16.125111026
W17Michael McKenryPIT5/10.50032302

Rosario dropped another homer on us last week, his 16th of the season, but was otherwise horrible. However, with those 16 HRs, he’s going to stick on our team another week. Our other option is a shout-out to owners in two-catcher leagues, as I’ve been riding McKenry in such a league for the past few weeks and loving every minute of it. He’s provided a .551 slugging percentage and nine HRs in 127 at-bats this season, and with as hot as he’s been over the last five weeks, he’s should start seeing a little more playing time while Rod Barajas gets a few more days off.

C of the Week: Wilin Rosario, COL


W17Ben RevereMIN8/22.364405327
W17Justin RuggianoMIA7/22.318214230
W17Carlos GomezMIL9/26.34610410326
W17Starling MartePIT4/18.222212021

Revere put up yet another quality line for our waiver team and saw his ownership numbers start to creep up a little. Now hitting .317 with 24 SBs on the year, Revere is a high-quality complimentary player on fantasy teams in standard leagues. Ruggiano added another homer and a couple steals last week, giving him eight of each in 138 at-bats. His line is at .355/.414/.652 as of Wednesday. At what point does he stop being a fluke?

One of last week’s recommendations that didn’t make the cut was Carlos Gomez, but he was so good we brought him back this week. How good? Good enough to jump from two percent owned to 26 percent owned since last week’s feature. That’s what happens when you hit four HRs, steal three bases and put up double digits in both runs and RBIs in the course of seven days. The other buzzworthy OF of the week is Marte, an excellent prospect who joined the Pirates last week after hitting .286 with 12 HRs and 21 SBs in Triple-A this year. He’ll start most nights and brings a nice power/speed combo to the table. Still, I’m going to stick with my guys yet again (surprise, surprise).

OFs of the Week: Ben Revere, MIN and Justin Ruggiano, MIA

Starting Pitcher

W17Joe BlantonPHI7.012.570.711718
W17Marco EstradaMIL4.0011.252.75349
W17Hisashi IwakumaSEA5/001.801.80332
W17Scott FeldmanTEX15.020.600.930103

It looked exceedingly possible that Blanton would be traded to the Orioles at the deadline, but the two sides weren’t able to work out a deal by the deadline. However, the main sticking point was reportedly the amount of money the Phillies would pick up, which presumably means Blanton should clear trade waivers if no one wants his contract outright. A trade could still be coming, which wouldn’t be all that great for Blanton’s value, though a 115/18 K/BB ratio plays anywhere. His WHIP is down to 1.19 this year. Meanwhile, Estrada put a bad start on the table, but rebounded this week with a nice two-run, seven-inning performance.

Iwakuma’s here more for his Monday start than anything he did last week. In his most recent start, Iwakuma struck out 13 Blue Jays over eight innings, the first time he had exceeded six innings in a start since joining the rotation a few weeks ago. He should continue to be worth starting, at least at home. With the Rangers rotation seemingly falling apart at the seams, Feldman was incredible last week, striking out 10 while walking none over a two-start period that saw him give up just one run in 15 innings. Even with Texas trading for Ryan Dempster, Feldman could be on his way to carving out a rotation spot for the rest of the year.

SPs of the Week: Joe Blanton, PHI and Marco Estrada, MIL

Relief Pitcher

W17Steve CishekMIA3.020.001.331130
W17Greg HollandKC3.207.362.183329
W17Wilton LopezHOU3.006.002.00128

Cishek has been pitching very well all season, but that might not be enough to keep his closer job. The high-salaried Heath Bell remains on the Marlins after the passing of the trade deadline, and management certainly wants to see him back in the ninth inning at some point. Bell’s made seven scoreless appearances since the break, so a reinstatement could be around the corner at any time. Unlike Cishek, Holland doesn’t have to worry about getting his closer role taken away. In fact, he was just anointed the closer Tuesday after the Royals shipped Jonathan Broxton out of town. Holland is coming off an ugly week and owns a repugnant 1.56 WHIP this year, but saves are saves. The guy most worth our time may be Wilton Lopez, provided his elbow tightness isn’t serious. When has elbow tightness ever been serious? Holland is the add, but keep an eye on Lopez to see if he makes it back, as he’ll be inserted into the closer role for Houston if he does.

RP of the Week: Greg Holland, KC

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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