As we approach the two month mark of the 2008 season, it is beginning to be serious decision time for those of us in keeper formats. When do we acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, the 2008 season is not going to be one filled with glory? Yes, it’s a tough decision, but also an essential one. When analyzing your team and looking forward, be conservative. Miracles do happen, but they are also few and far between. Realistic goals and projections are essential when developing a plan of attack for the balance of the season. If 2008 isn’t going to be your year, the sooner that you accept that and move forward, the sooner you can start the process of building that championship caliber team for 2009. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the potential waiver wire options heading into the long weekend.
Masahide Kobayashi, Cleveland, RP: Up until Saturday, it was starting to look like Kobayashi was on the verge of claiming the closer’s role for the Tribe, at least on a temporary basis. Coming off back-to-back saves, the former NPB star was brought back to earth with a bit of a thud when Adam Dunn smoked a three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth. With Rafael Betancourt having allowed 12 earned runs in his last eight appearances, it would appear that Kobayashi, even with the poor outing yesterday, should be the current frontrunner for saves until Joe Borowski returns from the DL. Manager Eric Wedge will be returning Borowski to the closer role upon his return from the DL, but the larger question would be for how long? If your fantasy team is lacking in the saves category, Kobayashi should be a decent gamble at this time.
Matt Joyce, Detroit, OF: Since his callup from Triple-A Toledo on May 5, the 23-year-old Joyce has been a very pleasant surprise for the Tigers. Coming off four home runs in the past seven days and with the ongoing injury woes of Gary Sheffield limiting him to the DH role, a window of opportunity has opened and Joyce seems to be fitting in rather well. He should be rostered in all AL-only leagues and definitely be on the radar in deep mixed formats.
Scott Downs, Toronto, RP: The combination of Jeremy Accardo hitting the DL and B.J. Ryan still not being ready to work on back-to-back days has created a very nice opportunity for Downs. With five saves already in the month of May, he’s certainly taken advantage of his current situation in the Jays’ pen. Until Ryan is ready to be the everyday closer, Downs should continue to have value in all formats.
Moises Alou, New York Mets, OF: The 41-year-old Alou, coming back from a hernia, is still the consummate professional hitter. Since his return at the beginning of May, Alou is hitting .343 in 35 at bats. Currently owned in only 31 per cent of CBS leagues, it would appear that Alou is still capable of being a solid option in both NL-only and mixed formats.
Jerry Hairston Jr., Cincinnati, 2B/3B/ SS/OF: What are the odds of virtually the same injury occurring to both of your shortstops? The incumbent, Alex Gonzalez, suffered a stress fracture early in Spring Training, only to be followed by virtually the identical injury happening two months later to Jeff Keppinger. Someone has to play shortstop for the Reds, and it looks like they’ve turned to the veteran Hairston Jr. in the interim. The multi-positional eligibility is a very nice bonus and if you’re looking for a temporary fix until probably the end of the month, you could do worse. With Hairston batting second for the Reds, he should guaranteed a decent number of runs scored and stolen bases for those looking at filling a weak position. Even on a short-term basis, Hairston Jr. should be an asset in NL-only formats.
Jesse Litsch, Toronto, SP: With his victory over the Twins this past week, Litsch has now moved to 5-1 with a decent 4.22 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. The 23-year-old righty has limited the opposition to only seven walks thus far — a huge factor in his early-season success. Litsch is a solid addition in AL-only leagues at this time.
Jay Bruce, Cincinnati, OF: The question at this stage would not be “if,” but “when” for the 21-year-old Bruce. He is currently batting .359 with nine homers and 35 RBI for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. At this time, Bruce should be owned in all keeper formats and on the radar in all mixed formats. When he does get the inevitable callup, you better either have him already rostered or own that all important first waiver priority or you won’t be seeing him in your lineup.
Bartolo Colon, Boston, SP: In his last start for Triple-A Pawtucket, Colon tossed six innings of one-hit ball with no walks. The combination of Clay Buchholz hitting the DL with a broken nail, and the fact that Colon has an opt-out clause in his contract if he is not called by the end of May makes the fat man a solid acquisition in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues.
Jake Westbrook, Cleveland, SP: It might be a bit early here, but Westbrook is not all that far away from returning to the rotation for the Tribe. Prior to suffering a strained left intercostal injury back in mid-April, he posted a very solid 2.73 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. A definite asset in both AL-only leagues and deep mixed formats, Westbrook needs to be on your radar heading into the Memorial Day weekend.