Waiver Wire: American League

Well, the non-waiver trade deadline has passed and there have been some serious fantasy ramifications. I looked at most of them throughout the week, so I won’t get too repetitive with guys I’ve already gone into detail about.

Joakim Soria | KC | CL – The new closer in Kansas City should have a pretty firm hold on the job. Gets strikeouts, has a very good K/BB.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Joaquin Benoit | TEX | CL – With Gagne gone, Benoit becomes the primary ninth-inning guy for Texas. Owners, be sure to keep close tabs on Akinori Otsuka‘s status. After a week or two, it might be worth trying to trade Benoit if an Otsuka return is likely.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

C.J. Wilson | TEX | RP/CL – Might be given a save opportunity if a couple of lefties are due up in the ninth.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Akinori Otsuka | TEX | CL – Could return in a week or two. When —if — he does, he’ll be the closer.
Recommendation – Should be owned in any league you need saves in.

Eric Gagne | BOS | RP – Tough break for Gagne owners. Hopefully, you traded him, as I had suggested, before Texas did. Will pick up a few spare saves here and there, but his value has taken a big hit.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

Dan Wheeler | TB | RP – Wheeler has been a little better than Al Reyes this year, though he was in the NL. Reyes should keep the job for now, but if he falters, Wheeler is next in line. I wouldn’t bet too much on that happening, though. It would take a couple weeks of poor innings, and there really isn’t much time left in the season.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Kyle Davies | KC | SP – He’s got a rotation spot locked up, but he really isn’t very talented. The switch to the AL will only hurt his chances for success.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jason Giambi | NYY | 1B – The Yanks now have a lot of guys they’d like to get playing time. Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Shelley Duncan, and Wilson Betemit are already in the mix. Giambi is better than all of them, so hopefully he will get his regular at-bats.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues as long as he gets regular at-bats.

Wilson Betemit | NYY | 2B/3B/SS – Playing time will be tough to come by, limiting Betemit’s value. He does have nice power and his batting average should come up a bit. Plus, he’s a Yankee now. RBIs and runs will be more plentiful than they were with the Dodgers… when he plays, at least.
Recommendation – Should be owned in deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Philip Hughes | NYY | SP – I’ve got to be nearing double digits for the number of times I’ve touted Hughes so far this year. He possesses the trifecta of pitching: high strikeouts, low walks, high ground balls. If he’s not owned yet, he needs to be.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.

Aaron Laffey | CLE | SP – With Cliff Lee sent down, Laffey is likely to be recalled to make at least a couple of starts, despite having never pitched an inning above Double-A. He gets a lot of ground balls—like 60+%— but his K/9 in Double-A was only 4.87. He hasn’t even shown great control. There’s a real chance he will walk more batters than he strikes out in the majors.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in all leagues, unless ground balls is a category.

Adam Jones | SEA | OF – Some of the veterans are upset about it, but Jones should be in Seattle to stay. Took an in-depth look yesterday.
Recommendation – Should be owned in very deep mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Kason Gabbard | TEX | SP – Was getting lucky with the Sox, so a move to Texas really isn’t going to help. Should give up a lot of home runs.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should only be owned in deep AL-only leagues.

Jason Botts | TEX | UT – While Sammy Sosa wasn’t traded, it looks like Botts might start five games a week at DH, anyway, playing more often than Sosa. Sosa could clear waivers and be traded within a week or two, which would further solidify Botts’ claim to the job. Ron Shandler says that a player’s third stint in the majors—after the prospect shine has worn off— will often be the time when he finally starts to produce. The “Next Jack Cust” has a good chance of doing just that.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should only be owned in deep AL-only leagues.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia | TEX | C/1B – Showed nice power with the Braves, and Arlington will further help him. Catcher eligibility increases his value. Batting seventh, as he has been, isn’t great for his value.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team, single-catcher mixed leagues. Should be owned in 10, 12, and 14-team, single-catcher AL-only leagues. Should be owned in all two-catcher leagues.

Danny Richar | CHW | 2B – Called up after the trade of Tadahito Iguchi, Richar will probably man second for the remainder of the season.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Alexi Casilla | MIN | 2B – Casilla won’t play full-time at second, as many had expected him to after the trade of Luis Castillo. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he would ease Casilla into the role, splitting his time with Nick Punto and Luis Rodriguez. Punto will probably get the most time, but Casilla could start a few games a week.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team AL-only leagues.

Nick Punto | MIN | 2B/3B/SS – Could start to lose time in September, but for now he should start at least four games per week at second. 82% contact rate, 12% walk rate, but only a 14% line drive rate. LD% has been 22% for his career, though, so it could easily improve. He should be able to hit for a pretty good average and grab a good number of steals, but he has very little power. Batting at the bottom of the order won’t help his RBIs and runs much.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in mixed leagues. Should be owned in 12 and 14-team AL-only leagues.

Jonny Gomes | TB | OF – So underrated. Has 30, probably 40, HR power should he play a full season. He’s also capable of hitting .260 while drawing some walks. He’s beginning to play more, finally overtaking Greg Norton, and needs to be picked up by those in need of power. Batting sixth and seventh will allow him to get some RBIs, but runs won’t be as plentiful. Hopefully, at some point, Joe Maddon will realize what kind of player he has and allow Gomes to hit fourth or fifth. That doesn’t seem to likely, though.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all AL-only leagues.

Kenny Lofton | CLE | OF – Will get less playing time with the Indians as he will face very few lefties. Only attempted one steal in July, so perhaps he is beginning to wear down. Watch closely how many attempts he makes over the next couple of weeks. He’ll bat second most games, allowing him to score plenty of runs, but if he doesn’t steal, he’ll really only be a two-category contributor. He’ll get a few RBIs in the second spot, but his home run production should drop off.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow AL-only leagues.

There’s a very good chance I missed someone with such a large Waiver Wire this week, so if you notice someone notable has been excluded, feel free to let me know either by email or in the comments.

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