Two ways you can tell the season is winding down:
- The players featured in the last Waiver Wire column are all still available in at least 59 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. The number of participants has dwindled to the point we won't see wide swings in ownership.
- Still, none of the available players are particularly appealing. If they don't have immediate value, what use are they? And if they do have immediate value, why aren't they already owned?
- Half of my columns are focused on next year.
Those signs may seem contradictory, but that's typically the way it plays out. And I'll add another:
Shameless plug there.
But yeah, all six of the players I featured last week -- Brandon Drury, Ryon Healy, T.J. Rivera, Mitch Haniger, Robert Gsellman and Tom Murphy -- are still advisable in the capacity I advised. Well, not Gsellman because his capacity was as a two-start pitcher, and that's not what he'll be next week. But you get the idea.
By the same token, if you ignore Drury, Healy, Rivera, Haniger and Murphy, I wouldn't say you're doing your team a great disservice, provided it's so mighty that such players are mere peasants to it. And if you still care this late in the game, your team is no doubt mighty indeed.
But I continue to write a waiver wire column because it's what the people want and because you may be losing players to injuries or whatnot. It happens.
Just keep in mind that within the praise ladled out here, there's a subtext: Eh ... they're still pretty lame.
Reyes was actually the headliner of that last Waiver Wire column, but I want to give him special distinction for all the article-skimmers out there. He may be lined up for only one start next week, but it's against the Reds. And he'll likely be needed for a long-relief appearance -- maybe even a save -- as the wild card battle goes down to the wire, making him an attractive mixed-league start still.
Was I too quick to write off Gomez? Well, the Astros certainly don't think so, but his numbers since joining the Rangers suggest there's something left in the tank. And power/speed threats aren't exactly in abundance off the waiver wire.
Cabrera's power surge hasn't gotten the response normally expected for a shortstop-eligible player, perhaps because he lost momentum in late August when he complained of soreness in the same knee that landed him on the DL just a few weeks earlier. He has homered in five of his 21 games since the episode, though, so it didn't have any ill effects.
Rodriguez has made a concerted effort to shorten his stroke this year, and it has helped him tap into the power that made him a 30-homer guy in the minors, hitting six home runs in his last nine games and setting a career high in the category. Of course, Josh Harrison's groin injury has a role in this transformation; Rodriguez will be an everyday player (a quintuple-eligible one!) to close out the season.
At least at this early stage, Kuhl looks like the best of next week's two-start pitchers that's still widely available, and he's fresh off another strong start Wednesday at Milwaukee in which he allowed one run in six innings with six strikeouts. Of his 12 starts, 10 have been quality or an inning shy of quality, so the tough matchups aren't necessarily deal-breakers.
Dickerson is playing every day now and looking as much like the force he was with the Rockies as ever over the last five weeks. With another home run Thursday, he probably deserves more attention than he's getting as a fifth-outfielder type.