We’ll talk about a few random things today.
Scott Linebrink has finally been traded by the Padres. He’s heading over to the Brewers, though, so he doesn’t figure to get many more save chances than he did in San Diego. If Francisco Cordero goes down, Linebrink would likely slot into the closer’s role. This trade improves Heath Bell‘s stock; he should be the top setup man for the Padres with Cla Meredith their No. 2.
A couple of Yankee notes. Jason Giambi is beginning a rehab assignment on Friday and, depending on how it goes, could be back with the Yankees by the end of next week. He needs to be picked up in all leagues where he is unowned for now. Lots of people are making a big deal out of how this will force the Yankees to make radical changes, such as benching Melky Cabrera or possible even playing Johnny Damon at first. Whatever. Giambi is a better player than both, so if Melky has to sit on the bench (which is where he probably belongs anyway), so be it.
Philip Hughes is also making rehab starts. He’s made one so far, and he is scheduled for another on Sunday. He could make one more after that, depending on how this one goes. The Yanks are trying to build up his stamina, so I think he will ultimately make two more starts. That puts his return at about a week and a half. If you can still trade Kei Igawa (hopefully you’re only owning him in very deep leagues), do it now. He’ll be losing his rotation spot shortly.
Chris Ray has been put on the disabled list by the Baltimore Orioles. I shouldn’t have to say it, but definitely hang onto him. There isn’t a clear-cut No. 2 in Baltimore, but guys like Danys Baez, Jamie Walker and Paul Shuey seem to be the most likely to get saves. Chad Bradford could also get a look, but he has been having a sub-par year. I wouldn’t rush to get any of these guys in shallow leagues, at least until someone establishes himself. Walker has the best ERA and LIPS ERA, so if I had to pick one guy to own it would be him. Bradford has been second best, with Baez and Shuey having ERAs over 6.00 and not much better LIPS ERAs. Tough situation to judge.
Next, a list of closers who are candidates to be traded over the next week. Because they could easily fall into a setup role, it might be a good idea to trade them as soon as you can.
- Eric Gagne (probably the most likely to remain a closer if traded)
- Brad Lidge
- Octavio Dotel
- Al Reyes
- Brian Fuentes (still has one year left, so it would also make sense for the Rockies to sit tight)
- Chad Cordero
Make sure to handle these guys very delicately over the next week.
Javier Vazquez has been downright dominant since I talked about him a month ago. It might be too late to buy low, but he could see a further value spike at the deadline. If he is traded into a more pitcher-friendly park, his home run rate might dip a little bit. Nothing to overpay for, but when a good pitcher enters an improved environment, we should take a bit of notice.