Waiver Wire: Looking for Mr. Wright's replacement
With David Wright looking likely for a trip to the disabled list, Al Melchior checks out a pair of potential third base pickups plus a closer-in-waiting.
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We won't know for certain whether David Wright and his pulled hamstring will need a visit to the disabled list at least until the results of the MRI he is undergoing on Wednesday morning are made public. However, when Wright's own manager, Terry Collins, uses the word "major" to describe the injury, it's probably time to get your replacement lined up in the waiver queue.
In shallower leagues, Wright's crosstown counterpart at the hot corner, Chase Headley is probably your best bet, but given that he is already owned in 69 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com, he is not a realistic option for many owners. With a 48 percent ownership rate, Jake Lamb is a good alternative in Roto leagues, but his platoon with Aaron Hill makes him risky for weekly points leagues.
In today's scan of waivers, I'll take a look at Plans C and D, namely Nick Castellanos and David Freese. And because we try not to let a day go by without speculating on who the next reliever to get promoted to a closing role might be, I'll have a little something to say about the Mariners' Yoervis Medina.
Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers (46 percent owned)
I will admit that, if I'm a Wright owner, I'm adding Castellanos begrudgingly. He could wind up being at least serviceable as a replacement, but relying on the 23-year-old means hoping he lives up to his potential, which he hasn't come close to reaching yet. What Castellanos achieved in as a 21-year-old in Triple-A back in 2013 was impressive, slugging 18 home runs and 37 doubles while striking out in only 19 percent of his at-bats.
Through his first seven games, Castellanos has a home run, a triple and a double, so the power has been there, and owners shouldn't be too concerned with his .194 batting average. If anything, Castellanos profiles as someone who would be an above-average hitter on balls in play, so there is no reason to expect him to have a subpar BABIP, much less one that sits at .208.
David Freese, 3B, Cardinals (21 percent owned)
As a 31-year-old whose best days seem to be behind him, Freese clearly doesn't have Castellanos' upside. However, if the Tigers' third baseman isn't available, Freese isn't a bad option, and he could be much better than you might expect. His overall power numbers from the last two seasons have been distinctly unimpressive, but if you isolate what he has done since July 2014, you will find some reasons for optimism. Eight of Freese's 10 home runs from last season came after July 1, and over that stretch, he batted .282 with 18 doubles.
Freese has carried that success -- at least in terms of power --- over to the start of this season, hitting three home runs and a double in his first eight games. As with Castellanos, Freese has been victimized by a low BABIP, but he has nowhere to go but up from his current .158 mark.
Yoervis Medina, RP, Mariners (3 percent owned)
Fernando Rodney does not yet appear to be in danger of losing the closer's job in Seattle, but after back-to-back blowups, his setup man would seem to be an obvious target for speculative saves. There is no clear successor to Rodney, and Danny Farquhar and Tyler Olson would appear to be candidates, but Medina not only has the requisite skills, but with extensive experience in the setup role, he would be the most obvious choice to replace Rodney if manager Lloyd McClendon sees fit to demote his incumbent closer.
If Medina is in fact inching his way towards the closer's role, he just might be on the Santiago Casilla career path. Medina is a ground ball pitcher with a history of questionable control, but in each of his first two major league seasons, he has posted a sub-3.00 ERA. In his early appearances, Medina's control has been a little better, but after just four appearances, it's hard to call him trustworthy. He could be a decent source of strikeouts and saves, but given that the Mariners have several potential ninth-inning options besides Rodney, Medina should rank as a low priority among possible closer targets. If Adam Ottavino and Jeurys Familia are available, I'd certainly prefer either of them to Medina at this point.
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