Seems like it has been a nasty year for injuries, with some wicked ones coming these last weeks of the season. Actually, there is no good time for an injury, and while I enjoyed a really successful season last year, largely because my teams were injury free, this year, losing guys like Kevin Youkilis and Kendry Morales and Jake Peavy has pretty much killed the slight chances I had to win a crown in most of my leagues.
Sot, let's start with a few such replacement players, starting with the Twins, and their hurler Kevin Slowey, for whom I had nothing to say but good things last week. So, what does Slowey do, after hurling seven no-hit innings last Sunday? Get pounded and go on the DL. I still like Slowey's prospects for next season--as long as he does not need any additional surgery--but in the throes of the pennant race, Minnesota recalled Nick Blackburn so the issue is to pick him up in a deep league. Well, in August of 2009, with his team in a similar situation, Blackburn was 1-4, 5.70, but turned it around in September, going 2-2, 3.41, with a 1.13 WHIP, as opposed to that of 1.63 a month earlier. So, if you need to gamble on an arm now, in an AL format only, take a chance.
Looking at the Yankees, who are taking a pounding, but, who also must continue to field the best roster they can, Austin Kearns is the flychaser to pry out of the free agent pool. Kearns will help spell the outfield, and he will also platoon with Marcus Thames so while Lance Berkman and Arod are down, even beyond roster expansion, Kearns will pretty much play every day. (Barring a swap, Ramiro Pena is the answer at third, although you don't want him in any format.)
Long-time rivals, the Red Sox, have been injured, probably out of contention, and now their heartbeat is out again with Dustin Pedroia going down, and actually Bill Hall is a nice replacement, though Hall is probably gone in the deeper formats. Hall, though is an interesting piece, valuable in H2H formats, and I got him as a throw-in in my Strat-O-Matic league this year, so he will be a big help in that very deep format next season. But, now with 17-homers, and hitting .270-6-10 for the last 30 days, and though his OBP is just .298, his slugging is .556. And, he will play every day.
The Dodgers are in a similar position, struggling to keep up with the Giants and Padres, and now Vicente Padilla and at 6-4, 3.26 is a tough replacement for the team. I have written before about Travis Schlichting who was 1-0, 3.57 over 14 games and 22 innings and he is a good gamble in Dodger Blue, especially looking towards the future, although whether the 25-year old will really make it as a hurler or an infielder is a question still (3-0, 4.57 as a pitcher this season while .249-8-92 as a minor league hitter) although the Dodgers want him to concentrate on his arm.
But, Jeff Weaver was also reactivated for the Dodgers, although I would not recommend plopping Weaver on my roster. Last year Weaver did go 6-4, 3.65 over 79.1 innings, his ratio was 1.519, and this year, though 5-1, his ERA is 5.35 with a WHIP of 1.459 including 17 walks over 37 innings. Pass.
I have to admit that I shoveled a lot of FAAB at Jorge Cantu, getting him in LABR for $71, but it is Mitch Moreland who is getting the bulk of playing time as Texas presses ahead pushing towards the post-season. Moreland, hitting .314-3-9 with a good .426 OBP (nine walks, 15 whiffs) since arriving at the Show was a 17th round pick of the Rangers in 2007, and hit .313-48-264 with a .382 OBP Moreland is a good gamble. Which is a reminder of how weird player success can be when we think of the names Chris Davis and Justin Smoak, eh?
Matt Lindstrom is down on the Astros, a team that is working hard to re-invent themselves, but don't look for a future arm to pick up the closer role for that probably belongs to Brandon Lyon, who has six conversions this year (6-5, 3.57) and who will hold the job until Lindstrom returns. Lyon is a good acquisition in any format, in that he will help you if you need saves, and if you don't, you can still cause some havoc with your fellow owners, as you can play spoiler by taking him, or well, to a needy and hungry team, you can swap.
Derek Lee is off to a pennant race and Atlanta, so now Xavier Nady, who is .232-4-23 this year, is the man. If you are desparate in a deep format, and think you need to take a chance, trust your instincts, but personally, I would wait till September first and try to pluck a call-up from a team that will try some things. The .307 OBP this year, and .310 during his injury riddled 2009. He could get hot, but don't hold your breath.
Finally, the Giants copped yet another flychaser with Cody Ross and at .263-11-58 for the year but they are now deeper in outfield bats than they need to be. With Jose Guillen, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Nate Schierholtz, and Andres Torres all on the active roster, Ross will maybe see some defensive playing time and a few pinch hitting spots. Sorry, but I am dumping him in my mixed league and you should too.