The month of September can be a trying time for Fantasy owners. With rosters expanding to 40 players more of our Fantasy starters could sit, especially those on teams that are either out of the playoffs or on teams that will lock up everything early. What can even become more annoying are that teams, for the most part, will no longer place their players on the DL. They don’t have to. Why put a player on the DL when you can just leave him active? It’s not like any team is actually going to call up an additional 15 players to fill out their 40 man roster. Why is this annoying for Fantasy owners? Well, in most leagues you can’t replace a player unless he is placed on the DL by their MLB team. Sorry Jacoby Ellsbury owners, but you might either have to release him or take a zero until he returns (if he returns). Those owners who held onto Carlos Gonzalez had to be throwing a tantrum after the Rockies activated him even though he can’t swing a bat yet. Why did they do this? Because he can still pinch-run and/or play the field and they have room on the roster. A move like this would’ve never been made before September. I’ve seen CarGo released in a few leagues now, because owners just couldn’t gamble on wasting a roster spot on someone who may or may not be able to help them during the playoffs. It really can drive one crazy. Here are the moves from this past week.
Reds recall Billy Hamilton from Triple-A: As we have seen this week, Hamilton is not going to get any regular playing time, but will be used in a pinch running role. Fantasy-wise, if you have a hole in your lineup and you need stolen bases, he could be useful. But there won’t be any power numbers or an average to go with it.
Braves transfer Tim Hudson from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL: This is just a clerical move, as Hudson’s 2013 MLB season ended when he broke his ankle while covering first base.
Orioles recall Zach Britton from Triple-A: Britton was once a highly touted prospect but he has never been able to perform at the MLB level. His promotion was short lived after giving up four runs in just over two innings earlier this week.
Mets sign Aaron Harang: This would be the definition of desperation. Stay away, stay very far away.
Diamondbacks transfer Cody Ross from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL: Once again, another procedural move, as Ross is done for the season with a fractured hip.
Rays activate Matt Moore from the 15-day DL: This move came not a moment too soon, as Moore became a stopper for the team and ended a losing streak. Moore ran out of gas after throwing five good innings versus the Angels, but still got the win. It’s safe to put Moore back into your starting lineup. Normally I preach caution when it comes to activating a pitcher off of the DL, but with Moore, he had two starts this week, so I rolled the dice. So far, so good.
Rays recall Jeremy Hellickson from Triple-A: Hellickson may have a winning record this season but he has really been awful. His ERA is 5.04 and has a WHIP of 1.35. The knock has always been that he doesn’t strike out enough hitters, so his command needs to be perfect and this season it hasn’t been. Now, in his first start back he was really good, not allowing a run in 5.3 innings versus the Angels. If you have him, you might not have a choice but to roll with him. But I would proceed with caution, check his matchups, and make sure there are no Red Sox in his future.
Blue Jays recall Kyle Drabek from Triple-A: Do you remember when he was once considered a top prospect? Who knows, maybe he will be once again, but not this year.
Cardinals recall Carlos Martinez from Triple-A: Martinez has been the Cards version of a yo-yo over the past month, constantly going up and down between Triple-A and the big club. Unless the Cards have a change of heart and give him a spot start here and there, he is likely only going to be used out of the bullpen, thus giving very little value to your Fantasy team.
Cardinals recall Michael Wacha from Triple-A: Wacha does have some value, as he will be given those starts that Martinez is not getting. Wacha was outstanding versus a good offensive club in Cincinnati on Tuesday and will be given a longer leash from here on out. If he is out there on your waiver wire and you’re looking for a starter with high upside, he would more than likely be my choice.
Royals recall Wade Davis from Triple-A: Please don’t even think about re-inserting him into your starting lineup.
Royals recall Carlos Pena from Triple-A: Remember when we thought he might be able to hit 25-plus HRs, albeit with a huge drag on your average? Yeah, not so much.
Pirates activate Jason Grilli from the 15-day DL: Grilli sort of came out of nowhere to have a fantastic season as the closer for the Pirates. The team has told us that he will regain the closer’s role after a couple of relief outings. This would be terrible news for those owners who have been starting Mark Melancon in his place. Melancon has been terrific this season as both a setup man and a closer, but it looks like he may have saved his last game this season.
Pirates recall Jeff Locke from Triple-A: Locke was fantastic over the first half of the season but then seemed to run out of gas, turned into a pumpkin, was past his expiration date, or any other saying you want to use. Locke has been horrible in his last six starts and as of this writing was having a difficult time in his seventh. Best to wait until next year for his return to your rotation.
Athletics recall Tommy Milone from Triple-A: Milone has been average in his last couple of starts. He’s not getting bashed, but he’s not going very deep into games either. He’s a matchup play in Fantasy, although, not one I would be recommending but not the worst option out there either.
Braves recall Evan Gattis from Triple-A: Earlier this season it looked like Gattis was trying to tell Braves management that he could take over the starting catcher’s role next season if/when Brian McCann departs in free agency. But then the game of baseball caught up with him and he has looked like nothing more than a backup for the better part of two months now.
Rockies activate Carlos Gonzalez from the 15-day DL: As I talked about in the opening of this column, this is actually bad news for Fantasy owners. He can’t swing a bat yet, can only play the field and run the bases. What do you do with him? You have to activate him off the DL; he might be able to play the last couple of weeks, which could certainly help a Fantasy team. But for now he is just eating a roster spot. I’m surprised the Rockies didn’t just shut him down and I wonder if that’s still something they are considering.
Blue Jays recall Ricky Romero from Triple-A. I just wanted to make mention here that Jays management has already stated that Romero will be left off the 40-man roster this winter. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Romero was considered to be one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game.
Blue Jays transfer Melky Cabrera from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL: One of the many moves that didn’t pay off for the Jays this season. Melky was a bust from day one. He also just had a benign tumor removed from his back but should be good to go for Spring Training, just 165 days away. Rajai Davis is a pretty good play in his place, especially if you want stolen bases.
Blue Jays transfer Josh Johnson from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL: What a terrible season for Johnson and the Jays. Not only did he hurt the team with his performance, but he is a free agent after the season and certainly won’t be getting the big money offers he was hoping for. It seems like he might have to sign a one-year deal to rehabilitate his career before going after a multi-year deal in 2015, and that assumes he will pitch well. That’s a pretty big assumption after watching his performance this year.
Twins transfer Joe Mauer from the 7-day DL to the 60-day DL: Mauer is still feeling symptoms from his concussion. At this point in the season you have to wonder if the Twins will even bother bringing him back. Next year could be an interesting one for Mauer as well. With the trade of Justin Morneau (assuming he doesn’t re-sign in the off-season), will the Twins start to play Mauer at first base? They can’t afford to keep having their best hitter miss time due to injuries.
Cubs claim Daniel Bard off waivers from the Red Sox: It didn’t seem that long ago that Bard was considered to be the heir apparent to the Sox closer’s role. How quickly things change.
Rangers activate Alexi Ogando from the 15-day DL: Ogando has pitched kind of well this season when healthy. Problem is he hasn’t been healthy all that much. With all the injuries you really have to wonder if his body just isn’t built for starting.
Royals activate Lorenzo Cain from the 15-day DL: Cain may have been activated but he is still not 100 percent healthy and may just be a defensive replacement for the time being. Be very cautious before placing him back in your starting lineup, assuming you feel the need to.
Reds activate Tony Cingrani from the 15-day DL: With the announcement that if and when Johnny Cueto returns from his own DL stint that he will more than likely be used out of the bullpen, Cingrani is likely a lock for the rotation for the remainder of the season. I’d have a hard time keeping him out of my lineup, the youngster has looked good in his rookie season and I’ll take my chances.
Orioles activate Jason Hammel from the 15-day DL: Hammel may be returning, but it’s not to the starting rotation. It looks like he will have to earn that spot by pitching out of the bullpen first.
Cardinals activate Jake Westbrook from the 15-day DL: Westbrook will work out of the bullpen for now, so his value is limited, but he could return to the rotation at some point later this month.
Rockies activate Roy Oswalt from the 15-day DL: This was a bad signing from the moment the ink dried. Even if Oswalt had remained healthy, did anyone really believe Oswalt would prosper in Coors Field?
Rockies activate Drew Pomeranz from the 15-day DL: With the Rockies out of the playoff picture I’m not sure why they don’t throw Pomeranz in the rotation and see what he could do over four to five starts. It’s not going to happen however as he will be used out of the bullpen in long relief.
Red Sox recall Jackie Bradley Jr. from Triple-A: Remember when Bradley was given a chance to start the season with Boston due to the injury to David Ortiz? Wow, that seems like it was so long ago. He may yet get another chance due to the injury to Ellsbury, which could very well keep him out for the rest of the season.
Indians activate Corey Kluber from the 15-day DL: Kluber had been a valuable member of the rotation this season before the injury. He returned Saturday versus the Mets and pitched ok. What makes Kluber even more interesting is that if you take a look at the Indians schedule, it is real soft over the last couple of weeks. He could very well be worth inserting back into your rotation.
Mets activate Frank Francisco from the 60-day DL: Francisco was supposed to be the Mets closer this season. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. Latroy Hawkins is expected to remain the closer but perhaps Francisco gets a save or two down the stretch.
Giants activate Matt Cain from the 15-day DL: Well, Cain is back, but is that a good thing? He has struggled this season to the tune of a 4.43 ERA. Now, depending upon what I have left on my bench, I may have to start him, roll the dice, maybe the 15 days off refreshed him.
Pirates activate Starling Marte from the 15-day DL: Marte has a similar finger injury to CarGo and will be used the same way, as a pinch runner and fielder. Leave him on your bench until the situation changes and the Pirates aren’t going to rush him back. They will want to make sure he is healthy for the playoffs.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
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