The Wire Troll: Getting Wood
Travis Wood’s debut was well worth the wait.
Tim’s on holiday this week, and while I don’t know the specific details of his activities, I think it’s safe to assume that Gummy Bears are involved. So while he’s taking a much-deserved break, the creation of our much-beloved Wire Troll falls to me today. To help you celebrate George Steinbrenner’s 80th birthday, we’ve got a whole whack of waiver wire recommendations for you. Let’s do this…
Travis Wood, SP, Cincinnati Reds: While the Reds await the return of Edinson Volquez, Wood proved he belongs in their rotation, for one start at least. The 23-year-old lefty, a second rounder way back in 2005, finally made his MLB debut Thursday and what a start it was — seven strong innings of two-hit, two-run ball at Wrigley Field. Armed with a great changeup, Wood should prove to be a useful option for at least another start or two. Note that even if he loses his job to Volquez, there’s a chance Wood could be packaged in a deal as the Reds plan to be buyers at the deadline. Should that happen, Wood will head to a team where he will almost assuredly be given a chance to pitch every fifth day in a non-pressure situation.
Kevin Cash, C, Boston Red Sox: First, Victor Martinez went down and now Jason Varitek is out, leaving the Red Sox to employ Cash, just acquired last week from Houston, as their starter. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but if your AL-only league Fantasy team is hurting for backstops as bad as Boston is, Cash is worth considering.
Wilson Valdez, MI, Philadelphia Phillies: The Phils’ injury woes continue as Chase Utley will be lost to the team for several weeks. In his stead, Valdez has been manning the keystone corner in Philly and he’s actually looking pretty good, riding a five-game hit streak and coming up with some big hits over the last week or so. The 32-year-old journeyman has already seen more action this season than ever before and he’s responded with moderate productivity. Unless the Phillies make a trade, Valdez’s PT is pretty much guaranteed over the next couple of months, so go ahead and scoop him off the wire in NL-only leagues and consider him if you need MI help in a mixed league.
Jermaine Dye, OF, FA: Remember him? Okay, so he hasn’t played since last season, but plenty of teams are rumoured to be interested in adding Dye for the stretch run, including San Diego, Colorado and Texas. Washington and the Yankees are also possible landing spots for the 36-year-old slugger. Dye didn’t have the best year in 2009, batting just .250 (hence his lack of job offers up to this point), but no one is denying his power, so if that’s your need, now is the time to grab and stash him as a deal looks imminent.
Brett Wallace, 1B/3B, Toronto Blue Jays: As the Jays continue to flounder and slip out of contention (geez, I never saw that coming), it’s reasonable to assume they will start to think about getting a closer look at their future. And while he’s improved as the season has progressed, Lyle Overbay is an obvious target for the Jays to jettison, a move that would free up first base for prospect Brett Wallace, indirectly part of the booty the team received in the Roy Halladay deal. Wallace has been raking at Triple-A, but he’s currently sidelined with a wrist injury, so a promotion won’t be happening immediately. Still, it’s a minor injury and Wallace deserves a look. I worry about how his questionable contact rates will play in the majors, but he’s got some pop and is considered one of those “pure hitters.” He won’t arrive in the Show with the same kind of hype that the recent wave of prospects generated, but Wallace could have a similar or even larger impact on your team, so it’s nearly time to consider stashing him if he’s available in your league.
Tom Gorzelanny, SP, Chicago Cubs: Okay, so it was only against the Indianapolis Indians, err…Pittsburgh Pirates, but Gorzelanny’s five shutout frames Wednesday should get your attention. In his return to the rotation to take the place of crazed Carlos Zambrano, Gorzelanny looked very sharp, giving up just four hits while fanning five against three walks. He’s bounced in and out the rotation, but Gorzelanny has quietly put together a strong season. And with the Cubs crashing and burning this season, expect them to be sellers, meaning Gorzelanny could be shipped to a contender where he will have a much greater chance to earn wins. Go ahead and add him in NL-only and deeper mixed leagues.
Josh Bell, 3B, Baltimore Orioles: If the Cubs are finally coming around to the idea that they’re not in contention this season, the Orioles probably figured that out about themselves in mid-April. It’s been a fairly steady parade of promotions to B-More as prospect after prospect gets the call to the big leagues. The latest to arrive is third baseman of the future Josh Bell, who got the call when Felix Pie got hurt. Clearly, the O’s didn’t bring him up to collect splinters as in his debut on Thursday Bell spelled Miguel Tejada at third, allowing the veteran to DH for the day. Friday, Bell was back in the lineup, this time handling DH duties, a job that’s been a free for all in Charm City this season. Bell has managed a hit in both games he’s played so far, and with talk that Tejada is on the block, the hot corner could soon be his for good, so now is the time to strike and pluck Bell from the wire.
Other players we’re recommending this week:
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Oakland A’s: He’s really hitting his stride and is still widely available.
Jonathan Niese, SP, New York Mets: Other than one blip against the Tigers, Niese has looked very sharp over the last six weeks, winning five straight decisions.
Jorge De La Rosa, SP, Colorado Rockies: The Rockies’ “other” ace will be back this week. Check to see if he’s still available – it’s a possibility in a mixed league.
Xavier Paul, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: Manny Ramirez is back on the DL and Paul is the beneficiary, wasting no time in making an impact with two hits, two runs and two ribbies Saturday.