As a friendly reminder, the Free Agent Watch article, which appears every Friday, will cover any midweek transactions that might impact your interest in available players in -only leagues. For now, here’s what we have to pique our interest from a free agent perspective to this point in week 13.
Grady Sizemore, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
After the Phillies released Sizemore last month, the Rays took a chance on the 32-year-old outfielder and signed him to a minor-league deal. Two weeks later, Sizemore was back in the majors, and after going 3-for-5 with an RBI in his first game with Tampa Bay, the former All-Star followed that performance up with his first home run of the season on Monday night. It’s hard to predict what to expect from Sizemore going forward, but he is certainly worth a flier if you have a dead spot in your outfield.
Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Seattle Mariners
While I try to avoid being repetitive with profiling players, it is sometimes unavoidable with the limited free agent pool in deep -only leagues. I wrote about Gutierrez in last Friday’s Free Agent Watch, and since he is still available in some expert leagues, the oft-injured outfielder makes another appearance. Since his call-up from Triple-A last Wednesday, the former Gold Glove winner has gotten a couple of starts in the outfield for Seattle. The Mariners are in desperate need of a spark offensively, and Gutierrez could provide a boost at the top of the Mariners lineup. Health is always the key, but in deep AL-only leagues, Gutierrez should be owned and is worth a decent FAAB bid.
Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Curt Casali, C, Tampa Bay Rays; Daniel Robertson, OF, Los Angeles Angels; Deven Marrero, IF, Boston Red Sox
Michael Feliz, RP, Houston Astros
Feliz was called up on Sunday by the Astros, getting his second stint in Houston this season. Ranked as the no. 6 prospect in the Astros organization during the offseason, this hard-throwing right-hander has the arsenal to project as a force in the back end of the bullpen. I like Feliz more long term, and as a nice grab-and-stash play in keeper leagues, but he should hold value in the short term based on his impressive K/9 rates.
Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees
It’s another repeat appearance for Shreve, who I have profiled a couple of times in this spot in the past. With Andrew Miller still on the DL, Shreve continues to see time in late-inning, high-leverage situations, and he has made the most of his opportunity. Shreve has now posted 14 consecutive scoreless appearances, and during this current streak, the reliever has registered four wins and three holds. Shreve has improved his IS% to nifty a nine percent, allowing just two of 22 inherited runners to score in his 42 career big-league games. Thanks to his strong K rates and ratios, he has earned a tidy $7 in standard AL-only formats year to date and should be owned in deeper AL-only leagues.
Chaz Roe, RP, Baltimore Orioles
Like Shreve, Roe has quietly put up solid numbers out of the ‘pen and been extremely efficient with his strand rates, not allowing any of his inherited runners (12) to score on the year. This former first-round pick in the 2005 MLB draft has been playing a more prominent role in late-inning situations for the Orioles, and has picked up two wins and three holds in his last eight appearances. The well-traveled reliever may not have been on anyone’s radar heading into the season, but he certainly needs to be now.
Other AL-Only FAAB pitching options: Charlie Furbush, RP, Seattle Mariners; Alex Wilson, RP, Detroit Tigers; Josh Fields, RP, Houston Astros; Alex Meyer, SP, Minnesota Twins; Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox
Pedro Ciriaco, IF, Atlanta Braves
It’s yet again a pretty thin week in terms of NL position players available on the waiver wire, so Ciriaco gets a shout out with the top billing this week. Ciriaco is what he is, but he has been getting additional playing time of late for the Braves, and has made the most of his opportunities. The utility infielder has appeared in 10 games the past two weeks, including a few starts, and has gone 10-for-19 in those games with five RBI. Ciriaco has some additional positional value in standard leagues as he qualifies at 2B, SS, and 3B. He has some speed (32-for-37 on SB attempts over his brief career) and swiped 16 bags for the Red Sox back in 2012, when he was given semi-regular playing time. He’s not a bad one-week fill-in option.
Gorkys Hernandez; OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
The former top prospect was called up from Triple-A by the Pirates on Sunday to replace Jose Tabata on the roster. Please know there are no expectations for fantasy greatness this season from Hernandez, but he could be a decent speed play in the short term. Gregory Polanco has been struggling mightily of late, and since he burst onto the scene with a great June last year, he simply has not been a productive hitter. I could detail the slash lines for Polanco from July 2014 through the present, but frankly, they’re embarrassing. Hernandez put up multiple impressive SB seasons in the minors, and might be good for a stolen base or two each week if he can steal some playing time away from the slumping Polanco.
Other NL-Only FAAB hitting options: Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies; Hernan Perez, IF, Milwaukee Brewers
Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers
Okay… I know: Knebel is making another repeat appearance in this week’s Deep League Report. I am sorry, but there is no other pitcher I can see who is still available on waiver wires in NL-only leagues who I would recommend over Knebel. I continue to believe in Knebel, short term and long term, based on his K/9 rates and ratios, and the fact that a trade involving Francisco Rodriguez seems imminent. Some like Jeremy Jeffress to be the next in line to save games in Milwaukee if K-Rod is dealt, but I am securely entrenched in the Knebel camp and think he will see save opportunities in 2015, and beyond as well.
Other NL-Only FAAB pitching options: Luis Avilan, RP, Atlanta Braves; Adam Morgan, SP, Philadelphia Phillies; Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants; Deolis Guerra, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates
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I think that stuckinLF said it well, in that Heaney is more of a mixed league target. Heaney was drafted in all my AL-only leagues and is rostered in the AL-Only expert leagues. We try to focus on free agents who are available in the deepest AL and NL only formats in this weekly piece.
FWIW, I do like Heaney...thanks again for the comment!
Most likely when Polanco loses time, you'll see Kang/Mercer/Walker/Pedro in the infield, and Marte/Cutch/Harrison in the outfield.
I always appreciate your feedback, so thanks for being a loyal reader!
I agree with you, that I do not see Hernandez getting a lot of starts in the OF, but I do see potentially a couple of starts a week and around 8-10 AB's. Watching the Pirates every day, I can tell you Polanco looks lost at the plate right now, and I would not be surprised if he is sent to AAA. Sean Rodriguez could see a game or two in RF, but I think Hernandez could see some AB's and has that speed potential.