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Thursday 18th Jan 2018

I really like that the trade deadline dovetails just a bit into Week 18, as that will make observing--and even participating in--FAAB for interleague swaps all the more interesting.

Of course there was the big Chase Headley swap of earlier in the week that I covered in AL or Nothing (the San Diego spoils of which were minimal) and now that of Jake Peavy to the Giants.

Now 33, a return to his division of origin--the NL West--could be just the boost the former Cy Younger needs to jump-start what has really been a disastrous season. It looked like the righty had regained his form in 2012, when he managed 219 innings for the Pale Hose, with 194 whiffs and a solid 1.094 WHIP coupled to a 3.37 ERA.

Then from slipping (12-4, 4.17 with a change of Sox last year) to worse, with a 1-9, 4.72 mark so far this year with a 1.427 WHIP and league leading 20 homers allowed. With 100 whiffs, Peavy still can dominate, but something is clearly amiss; however, a pitcher friendly park, new contending scene, and return to his roots (coupled with pitching alongside fellow vet Tim Hudson) all suggest a bit of a return to form for Peavy.

That would be a good thing, though I am not sure how much more than $40 of FAAB I would go, depending upon need of course.

Boston did get a couple of prospects in exchange, but I want to move to a couple of other veteran moves before we look at any of this week's interesting newbies.

The Tigers, whose bullpen has simply been their bane for the past few seasons, obtained Joakim Soria (for the interesting Corey Knebel, of whom we wrote last week) in order to get some depth and consistency.

With Joe Nathan struggling along with so many other closers this season (think Sergio Romo and the recently dumped Jim Johnson), adding Soria, who has really had a pretty good year in spite of his injury riddled team (17 saves, 2.67 ERA) as the newest pen member at Comerica is a fine gamble, provided he is still even available in your league.

In fact, the possibility of the workload being split could well improve Nathan's performance as well, both in terms of having some competition for a job, as well as evening out his workload.

St. Louis, trying to fill the nearly impossible void of losing Yadier Molina, signed A.J. Pierzynski to a deal. It is not fair to say Pierzynski's time with Boston (.254-4-31 over 274 at-bats) was a total failure, but in deference to the way the season was going, it is certainly understandable that the team would cut ties.

The Cards, however, should be a good fit, not unlike Peavy and the Giants. The veteran catcher is in the throes of a pennant race, and has a new manager who himself is a former backstop, along with a strong rotation, and even some bats up and down the lineup who can hit.

I am not sure how 2015 will fit in the Pierzynski scheme of things, but for the rest of 2014, I think he is a good bet.

Not so Jeff Francoeur, just brought back by the Padres, to fill their stretch gap. The last time Frenchy hit over .235 was in 2011, but even with that, a guy with a lifetime .306 OBP (908 whiffs to 251 walks) over 1,230 games is not likely to improve too much at this point in his career.

I must admit that Francoeur, who is still only 30 believe it or not, could learn some strike zone discipline as he is still young enough. But, I would not bet on it.

Wilmer Flores has to be the top prospect promoted this last cycle, by the Mets (who oddly are trying to land Troy Tulowitzki, it seems when they have a fun investment in Flores).

OK, so with 54 games played between last year and this, Flores is hardly a newbie, and the .214 average and .296 OBP in the Majors over that span has to have the Mets front office wondering if he can handle the load.

In his defense, Flores is still just 22, and he climbed the minor league pole fairly quickly, landing in Triple-A Las Vegas at the age of 21, and posted excellent .321-15-86 totals last year.

Better, Flores made a lot more contact, as while he walked just 25 times last year, he only struck out 63, and this year, after his demotion, the shortstop has kept it up, hitting .323-13-57 over 55 games.

The deal is Flores clearly will not get any better in the Minors, and giving him the rest of 2014 to simply play every day and prove to himself he belongs is a smart play. However, that does not mean I would bid a lot for his services, if available. Keep it modest, but remember there is a good chance he will play every day and the tools seem to be there.

The Phils brought back Phillippe Aumont, a former first rounder of the Mariners in 2007 who was then swapped as part of the Cliff Lee trade of 2009.

Over 35.3 Major League frames, Aumont has been pretty awful (1-5, 4.79 ERA, 1.682 WHIP), but like Flores, he cannot do much more in the Minors, having played at Triple-A Lehigh Valley the bulk of the past four seasons.

A reliever, with 43 minor league saves, Aumont also has 456 strikeouts over 406.3 innings, and he has allowed just 365 hits.

It is the free passes--249--that comprise a strikeout-to-walk rate of 1.83 that is the killer. However, since Jonathan Papelbon is probably near the end of his time in Philly, someone will need to pick up the gauntlet, and again, working in the Majors, the 25-year-old Aumont might well settle in and learn that control at the higher level.

Definitely worth consideration as it does look like the closer job for the Phils will be up for grabs with the departure of Papelbon.

Finally, Danny Salazar was among the most coveted young arms in most leagues this spring, coming off his fine 2-3, 3.12 performance in the second half last year for the Tribe, where he struck out 65 over 52 innings.

However, in the rotation to begin 2014, the 24-year-old hit the wall, going 2-4, 5.12 over 45.6 innings, sending him back to Columbus.

Salazar has not been too impressive there either, going 3-6, 4.02 with 67 strikeouts over 53.6 innings but having allowed 53 hits and compiling a 1.509 WHIP.

Salazar is a nice commodity, and he could have a pretty decent Hector Santiago-like return, but personally, I don't think the time is quite now. If you have him stashed in your Minors, and can keep him there, do so.

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