Waiver Wire: American League (Week 12)

Eddie Guardado | TEX | RP: There’s talk that C.J. Wilson‘s job could again be in jeopardy after a rocky week. If he loses the job, Guardado would become the guy to own in Texas. Problem is, Guardado doesn’t have the skills to be a closer. He has been better of late, but I still have a hard time seeing a guy who can’t even post a league average strikeout rate (5.2 K/9) and has a 29 percent ground ball rate (pitching in Arlington, no less) holding down a closer’s job. And he isn’t even showing amazing control (3.0 BB/9).
Recommendation: Should be considered in all and owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Joaquin Benoit | TEX | RP: Benoit should be owned in all leagues that Guardado is, given his poor skills. Benoit is struggling with his control and his ground ball rate is down to 21 percent, so there’s plenty of risk here as well (and Wilson is the best bet of the three), but I’d still probably trust him over Guardado. If Guardado ends up getting the job, I’d bump up Benoit’s recommendation to “Should be owned in all leagues,” at least for the first week or so.
Recommendation: Should be considered in all and owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Chien-Ming Wang | NYY | SP: Wang will be out a long time, if he returns at all this year. In leagues that aren’t really deep, he isn’t worth hanging onto for what might only be a couple weeks of production.
Recommendation: Can be dropped in all but the deepest leagues.

Curt Schilling | BOS | SP: If you were holding onto Schilling hoping he’d make a comeback this year, it’s officially time to drop him with the news he’ll be out the rest of the year.
Recommendation: Can be dropped in all leagues.

Dan Giese | NYY | SP: Giese is 31 years old, but he has been pretty good in the minors over the past three years. Check out his numbers:
2006—8.3 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, 40% GB
2007—9.3 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 41% GB
2008—7.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 49% GB

He has declined this year, but the control is good, he has a record of striking batters out, and he even improved the ground ball rate this year. Given these numbers, I could definitely see Giese enjoying some success this year. Just be aware that when Ian Kennedy returns, Giese will likely be sent back to the minors. That shouldn’t come until next month, though.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues, for now. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues, for now.

Kyle Davies | KC | SP: I wrote in week nine that Davies wasn’t a guy to expect much out of, yet he has a 1.46 ERA through his first four starts. This is due to a lucky .286 BABIP, 89 percent LOB rate, and 0 percent HR/FB. His 4.4 K/9 and identical 4.4 BB/9 aren’t the stuff of a major league pitcher, especially when paired with simply so-so 44 percent expected ground ball rate. My opinion of Davies hasn’t changed.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Kenny Rogers | DET | SP: Rogers is seeing some pickups this week by owners seeing his acceptable-looking 4.36 ERA. His LIPS ERA, however, stands at a gross 5.09. His 3.65 K/9 matches his 3.65 BB/9, and those are simply not the numbers of a usable fantasy pitcher in the vast majority of leagues.
Recommendation: Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned only in the deepest of AL-only leagues.

Gil Meche | KC | SP: Meche is almost the exact opposite of Rogers. His 5.12 ERA is unlucky; his LIPS ERA stands more than a full run lower at 4.04. His 7.33 K/9 should provide positive value for most fantasy owners, and Meche is a guy who deserves to be owned in far more leagues than the 11 percent he is in ESPN leagues.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jeff Clement | SEA | C/UT: Clement has been recalled and should be here to stay now that the M’s have a new set of decision makers. The team has said he’ll see the majority of the time at catcher, so in leagues where he hasn’t yet gained eligibility there, he should over the next week or so (he’s gained eligibility in default Yahoo! leagues already). He increased his Triple-A AB/HR to 12 after his demotion, and now that he is assured playing time, I would absolutely own him in all leagues. Click here for my original breakdown of Jeff Clement.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Kenji Johjima | SEA | C/1B – While Clement will play most of the games at catcher, that doesn’t mean Johjima will lose playing time. With Richie Sexson soon to be released, Johjima will start playing first, having to worry only about Miguel Cairo for playing time there. He’ll keep catcher eligibility, though he has been a disappointment for fantasy owners this year. His contact rate has remained stable, and his .238 BABIP is probably unlucky, but his HR/FB is just 3.1 percent. His fly ball rate has improved a tick, but he never had very good raw power to begin with. You certainly have to downgrade him at this point, but it’s possible the power will come back a little bit. His two homers thus far have gone about as far as they went last year.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team, single-catcher mixed leagues. Should be owned in all two-catcher mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Richie Sexson | SEA | 1B: There’s talk that Sexson will be released soon, and I’m sure many fantasy owners will follow suit when he is, if they haven’t already. Sexson can still help fantasy owners, though, especially if a team scoops him up as its primary first baseman or DH. He might be worth speculating on in deeper leagues until this situation clears up.

His contact rate has fallen to 67 percent this year after it had improved three years in a row, culminating in a 77 percent mark last year. Sexson is swinging at fewer pitches in the strike zone this year, driving the contact rate down. It’s possible he’s losing bat speed and being more selective to make up for it, but he is only 33 and is swinging at slightly more pitches out of the zone. His power is still good, and his BABIP is back up from an unlucky mark last year.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Jeremy Reed | SEA | OF: Reed hasn’t collected more than a few major league at-bats since 2006, but with Wladimir Balentein demoted and Ichiro Suzuki playing right, Reed could see a lot of time in center field. He puts up mid-80s contact rates, has had good BABIPs in the minors and has a little bit of power and speed. He was once a pretty good prospect and is now 27, so Reed could be a decent player.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10-team AL-only leagues.

Marcus Thames | DET | OF: I said a few weeks ago that Thames wasn’t a great pickup because he’s a low-average, good-power guy who’s raw power had worsened, but since then HitTracker shows that Thames has been blasting some homers. His contact rate is still improved after 137 plate appearances (78 percent), and he’s still getting a lot of playing time, so he would make a pretty good pickup now. The 25 percent HR/FB will drop, and the .214 BABIP will rise, but he should still be able to hit .250-.260 and hit over 30-35 homers (assuming 500 at-bats) given his excellent fly ball rates and good raw power.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

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