Some commentators worried that the additional Wild Card spot would dampen trading deadline deals, but it seemed to have the opposite effect, with lots of swaps affecting teams down the stretch. Only one new Value Pick resulted from these deals, but we should see more in the weeks to come as the ripple effects of some trades become clearer and fading teams call up prospects or make non-waiver deals like one that I look at in Playing Pepper.
As I feared last week, the neck spasms of the ever-fragile Jim Thome(Yahoo! 3%, ESPN 0%, CBS 6%) have landed him on the disabled list, and now it looks like he’ll be out until at least September. It’s hard to gripe about an injury to a 41-year-old who’s brought his owners seven homers in 150 plate appearances, but he may not even be a good candidate to occupy a DL spot with such a long timetable for recovery.
Once a third baseman, Wallace was shifted across the diamond, putting greater pressure on his bat to produce. That bat was considered powerful enough to make Wallace part of trades for Roy Halladay, Matt Holliday, and Roy Oswalt, but Wallace has faltered in his last two opportunities at the big-league level. In 2010, he hit just .222/.296/.319 in 159 plate appearances after a late-season call-up. Given the starting first base job to begin 2011, he hit so poorly (.268/.345/.375 in 359 plate appearances) that the Astros sent him back to Triple-A. He mashed there, hitting .356/.437/.481, and the Astros brought him back up, but he fell on his face once again, finishing the season with a .105/.150/.263 line in 20 September plate appearances.
Though Wallace has failed to execute in the majors, he’s shown some development in the minors. After being rushed to Double-A in his first season, he has lost patience and contact since then, though he’s compensated with a power boost in recent seasons.
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