D.J. Short

Waiver Wired

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Thursday, June 21, 2012




NL ONLY

Luis Valbuena 2B/3B, Cubs (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.2 percent)

The Cubs placed Ian Stewart on the disabled list last week due a left wrist injury, so Valbuena is getting the chance at regular playing time at third base. The 26-year-old has shown some nice pop in the minors over the past two seasons and has two homers and seven RBI in seven games since his call-up from Triple-A Iowa. Remember, he slugged 10 homers in 398 plate appearances as a 23-year-old with the Indians back in 2009, so it's not like he hasn't done it at the major league level before. With his multi-position eligibility, he makes for a pretty decent injury fill-in.

Marco Estrada SP/RP, Brewers (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Estrada has been sidelined for nearly a month due to a right quad strain, but he should rejoin the Brewers' rotation in short order. The 28-year-old right-hander threw three shutout innings last Saturday in his first rehab start and is expected to get stretched out to 75 pitches on Thursday. If all goes well, he should return from the disabled list Tuesday against the Reds. Estrada is winless in six starts with the Brewers this season, but throws strikes and has averaged 8.66 K/9 in the majors. If healthy, he could be a nice sleeper moving forward.

Chris Nelson 2B/3B, Rockies (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

The Rockies expect to be without Troy Tulowitzki for the next eight weeks following surgery to remove scar tissue from a nerve in his groin. While it's a crushing blow for the Rockies and some fantasy owners, the injury should provide Nelson with the opportunity to play pretty regularly at second base while Marco Scutaro fills in at shortstop. The 2004 first-round pick has an underwhelming .251/.302/.389 batting line in the big leagues and doesn't run as much as he did when he was considered a top prospect, but his pop is enough to make him interesting at the second base position.

Brandon Lyon RP, Astros (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

This has nothing to do with Brett Myers' disastrous outing on Monday. One clunker shouldn't change things and the Astros appear committed to using him in the closer role in order to make him attractive in a trade. But who is the alternative if the Astros end up finding a taker? Wilton Lopez makes the most sense, but he's on the disabled list with a sprained elbow. With his status up in the air at the moment, Lyon might be the one to stash. The 32-year-old right-hander has pitched really well in his first season back from shoulder surgery, posting a 2.60 ERA and 28/7 K/BB ratio over 27 2/3 innings. Of course, if he continues to pitch well, he may also draw interest from contending teams.

AL ONLY

Chris Archer SP, Rays (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0.2 percent)

After Jeremy Hellickson was placed on the disabled list this week due to shoulder fatigue, the Rays called up Archer to make his major league debut Wednesday against the Nationals. He was shaky at first, but ended up giving up three runs (two earned) over six innings while striking out seven and walking just one. The 23-year-old has struggled a bit since coming over in the Matt Garza deal, mostly due to his shaky command and control, but he has averaged 9.0 K/9 over parts of seven seasons in the minors. He should be owned as long as he has a rotation spot.

Carlos Villanueva SP/RP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 1 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Villanueva has bailed out the injury-plagued Blue Jays recently, tossing four scoreless innings last Friday and 2 1/3 shutout frames on Tuesday. This is pure speculation on my part, but he's adequately stretched out if the Jays want to turn to him as an option out of the rotation. The 28-year-old right-hander had mixed results as a starter last year and was eventually moved back to the bullpen following a stint on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, but the Jays might not have any other choice right now.

Casper Wells OF, Mariners (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.3 percent)

Wells really doesn't want to go back to the minors. The 27-year-old outfielder is hitting .524 (11-for-21) with one homer, one double and six RBI in seven games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma. Things could get a little crowded when Mike Carp returns from a shoulder injury, but Wells should continue to get semi-regular playing time for now while the Mariners give regular rest to Franklin Gutierrez. Wells' speed and pop makes him an intriguing short-term pickup.

Brett Cecil SP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 1.1 percent)

More fallout from the recent string of injuries in the Blue Jays' rotation, Cecil was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas over the weekend and allowed two runs over five innings in a win over the Phillies. The 25-year-old southpaw was a 15-game winner back in 2010, but he has really fallen off the map over the past two years as his velocity has declined and his fly ball rate has jumped. That's obviously a dangerous combination in the American League East (and both runs he gave up against the Phillies were via the home run ball) so he's mostly a matchup play. But it looks like he'll hold down a rotation spot for the interim.

Derek Norris C, Athletics (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

A last-minute addition to Waiver Wired, Norris was called up from the minors on Thursday afternoon. The 23-year-old backstop was acquired from the Nationals over the winter in the Gio Gonzalez trade and was hitting .273/.331/.474 with eight homers, 36 RBI and an .804 OPS through 55 games with Triple-A Sacramento this year. His walk rate is down a bit this year, but he is highly-regarded for his power and patience. With Kurt Suzuki really struggling this season, Norris could find his way to regular playing time before long.



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D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
Email :D.J. Short



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