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. With all that said, here’s what we have to pique our collective interests from a free-agent perspective thus far in week 17.


Position Players

Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

Interleague blockbuster trades like Monday’s swap between the Blue Jays and Rockies that sent Tulo to Toronto and Jose Reyes to Colorado always stir extra excitement in deep mono leagues. The waiver wire in these mono leagues is typically barren for an extended period of time, so the prospect of being able to add a player of both Tulo’s and Reyes’ ilk via FAAB always will cause a bidding frenzy. Matt Trueblood and Mike Gianella provided excellent analysis of the impact of the trade in yesterday’s Transaction Analysis article, and Mike covered the fantasy impact. Mike did his typically excellent job in his summary of Tulo’s fantasy value the rest of the year, and I there is nothing I would to that. I will just add that even if you expect a drop in the veteran shortstop’s production in his new surroundings, you will still need to pony up if you want to acquire the five-time All-Star. In AL-only leagues with a standard $100 FAAB balance and team salary cap of $325-$350, for those teams that have been conservative with their FAAB to date, I would expect you would see bids in the high $60s to low $70s. Obviously, everything is specific to each respective league, but I believe this is a decent gauge as to what you should set your bidding at to own Tulo.

Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Cleveland Indians

The 25-year-old first baseman out of Venezuela was called up this weekend by the Indians to serve as a right-handed bat in the past weekend’s White Sox series. Aguilar has put up impressive power numbers in parts of eight seasons in the minors and posted a solid .304/.395/.511 line with 19 home runs and 31 doubles last year at Triple-A. Aguilar was the starting first baseman on the International League All-Star team and was leading that league with 66 RBI at the time of his call-up. In the end, Aguilar has his deficiencies and could only be used in a reserve role to face LHP and might not be up for long, so you will need to monitor his status during the week. However, in deep AL-only leagues, we are always looking for that waiver-wire gold.

Curt Casali, C, Tampa Bay Rays

I have profiled Casali in this spot before, but the catcher gets another mention this week after hitting six home runs in his last half-dozen games, including two bombs on Monday night against the Tigers and two more on Tuesday off David Price. While Casali is doing plenty of yard work, fellow backstop Rene Rivera continues to struggle at the dish, toting a .176/.210/.289 slash line over 255 PAs. Casali’s recent power surge could lead to Kevin Cash giving the catcher more playing time in the short term, making Casali a decent cheap FAAB option in deep two-catcher leagues.

Other AL-Only FAAB hitting options: Kyle Kubitza, 3B, Los Angeles Angels; Jake Elmore, IF, Tampa Bay Rays; Daniel Robertson, OF, Los Angeles Angels; Cheslor Cuthbert, IF, Kansas City Royals; Tomas Telis, C, Texas Rangers


Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees

Well, I have trying to mix things up in the AL-only pitching section of this article for the past several months, because frankly, there has not been a lot to talk about in terms of viable starting-pitcher streaming options. I have had to focus on relievers with solid ratios who have upside, and had a pretty nice profile ready for Nick Goody from the Yankees, but right before I was ready to submit the article, I noticed Goody was optioned to Triple-A. As such, I scoured the waiver wires of expert leagues to find another worthy option to be profiled here, and I must go back to my old friend Chasen Shreve, as I still am surprised he remains unowned in multiple deep AL-only leagues. Shreve came into Monday’s game against the Rangers in the sixth inning to secure a 4-2 lead after Ivan Nova was lifted for arm fatigue. The lefty reliever struck out four of the seven batters he faced in two scoreless innings to secure his eighth hold of the season. Shreve has improved his IS% to nifty a 11%, allowing just three of 28 inherited runners to score in his 50 career big-league games. With strong K rates and ratios, he has earned a tidy $9 in standard AL-only formats to date in 2015. He should be owned in deep AL-only formats.

Other AL-Only FAAB pitching options: Mark Lowe, RP, Seattle Mariners; Chasen Shreve, RP, New York Yankees; Ryan Madson, RP, Kansas City; Zach Putnam, RP, Chicago White Sox; Steve Geltz, RP, Tampa Bay Rays


Position Players

Jose Reyes, SS, Colorado Rockies

If you are a loyal reader of BP and this column, you know this is not geared towards writing about top-tier fantasy talent, but rather those lesser-known, less-appreciated players that could possess some fantasy upside off the waiver-wire heap. As such, like with my comments on Tulo, I will defer you to the superb analysis of the trade by Christopher Crawford and Mike Gianella in yesterday’s Transaction Analysis, and specifically to Mike’s take on the fantasy impact for Reyes. Much like with Tulo, in standard NL-only 5×5 formats with a $100 FAAB balance, the cost will be steep to retain the services of the speedy infielder. Reyes’ overall offensive numbers should spike while he’s playing his home games in Coors Field and still has opportunities to keep running.

Daniel Castro, IF, Atlanta Braves

With the Braves in rebuilding mode, and with both Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson shipped to the Mets, Castro was recalled from Triple-A last weekend, and there is a good chance the 22-year-old could get an extended look the rest of the season. Signed as a 17-year-old amateur free agent out of his native Mexico back in 2009, Castro has been very young at every level he has played throughout parts of his six minor-league seasons. However, the infielder who went unselected in the Rule 5 draft this past winter has continued to climb up through the Braves system, and after posting a.300/.340/.334 in 89 games this season between Double-A and Triple-A, he earned his second call-up. There’s not a lot of power in his profile, but Castro is still very young and can help with the counting stats if he gets a chance to stick.

Other NL-Only FAAB hitting options: Austin Barnes, C, Los Angeles Dodgers; Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Arizona Diamondbacks


Tyler Clippard, RP, New York Mets

The bespectacled reliever heads back to the NL East after being acquired by the Mets from the Oakland A’s on Monday for minor-league RHP Casey Meisner. I must admit Clippard has always been a favorite of mine, based on his strong K/9 rates (10.0) and H/9 rates (6.1) over his career, but I also concede that he has not been as productive this season, despite his 17 saves and overall solid ratios. However, even though his ground-ball rates is the worst of his career and his BB/9 rate is his worst in seven seasons, Clippard has still been a productive reliever on the field, and in our world as well, with $8 in fantasy earnings in standard AL-only 5×5 formats so far this season in his 38 2/3 innings. Obviously, Clippard’s fantasy value will be tied directly to his saves opportunities in New York, and the Mets do have a bushel of “proven closers” in their pen right now, even following Jenrry Mejia’s second suspension. Familia has been solid all season, but has blown his last two save opportunities, which is cause for some concern. I think Clippard is a great gamble for potential saves down the stretch based on his proven track record. Even if he sees limited save chances with the Mets, at worst he will get the ball in late-inning, high-leverage situations, potentially yielding a few vulture wins to go with the ratio help.

J.P. Howell, RP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Listen, when you are looking for safe options with upside to plug into a pitching hole in deep -only leagues, you scour the waiver wire for pitchers like Howell. He’s certainly not a sexy option, but when you own four wins, a save, and a 0.30 ERA over 39 appearances, you get NL-only owners’ attention, and Howell is available in NL-only expert leagues this week. Howell has earned $6 in standard NL-only 5×5 formats so far this season, meaning he is a solid placeholder if you are a contender looking to make a bigger trade for the stretch run.

Other NL-Only FAAB pitching options: Javier Lopez, RP, San Francisco Giants; Corey Knebel, RP, Milwaukee Brewers; Jose “Jumbo” Diaz, RP, Cincinnati Reds; Kevin Quackenbush, RP, San Diego Padres

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AL only, 2nd catcher, Curt Casali an upgrade over Carlos Perez?
Hi BPKevin,
Thanks for checking out the article.

I personally would go with the hot hand right now, which is Casali. His recent streak could lead to more playing time, and while he is unlikely to keep hitting home runs at this pace, he seems like the better option.

I actually FAAB'd Casali in both the CBS AL-only Expert League and my home AL-only a couple of weeks back for my second catcher slot, which has worked out quite nicely so far.
JP Howell has what ERA?
Never mind, figured with that value and a couple of wins, his earnings would be in the double-digits.