With just two weekly scoring periods left for 2014, there's no time to mess around with players who have breakout potential (but have yet to realize it) or got stuck in a black hole of a slump (and haven't found their way out). Javier Baez can't stop striking out, Wil Myers can't find his power and Billy Butler can't buy a hit and is losing playing time. It's time to wave bye-bye to them and others of their ilk. Or maybe "waive" bye-bye, if you so choose.

You may already be trying to find a replacement for an out-for-the-year Melky Cabrera or Starlin Castro or a new source of saves to replace an ousted Koji Uehara or Rafael Soriano. Multiple reinforcements may be necessary, but there are still some good finds available on waivers, even at this late date.

More than ever, though, it's important to be choosy when mulling over your replacement options. While now is not the time to be patient with a player in a deep slump, it's not necessarily the time to ride the hottest hand. For example, Mookie Betts, Joe Panik and Jose Ramirez have all been hot at the plate, and all three are among the most-added players in CBSSports.com leagues. Yet one of three is strictly a deep-league option.

Of course, I won't tell you which one you should avoid and which is the best to pick up. Not here anyway. That's why I wrote the rest of this column.

Note: All current season stats are for games played through Monday, Sept. 8.

Mookie Betts, 2B/OF, Red Sox

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 61 percent (up 20 percent)
Betts provides a perfect illustration of why it pays to be judicious with the "Eject" button when prospects are involved. His initial 10-game stint with the Red Sox was disappointing, and once he was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket, most of his owners had seen enough. When he returned just over two weeks later, Betts continued to struggle, and owners continued to desert him. Those who were patient enough to keep him or have been flexible enough to give him a second chance have been rewarded, as Betts has been putting his power, speed and contact skills on display. Since August 23, Betts has hit for a .344/.420/.590 slash line to go along with four stolen bases. While his production will probably fall off somewhat, there is likely to be no better middle infield replacement for Castro or Baez in standard mixed leagues.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team mixed leagues

Miguel Gonzalez, SP, Orioles

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 52 percent (up 32 percent)
Gonzalez was drawing some interest thanks to a string of eight quality starts in his last nine outings and an upcoming two-start week. Now, with the first of those two starts in the books, Gonzalez has a scoreless innings streak that has reached 16, and it would be 23 1/3 innings if not for a Trevor Plouffe solo homer. It's fair to say Gonzalez has been dominant over a 10-start stretch that goes back to early July. He has improved his control since the first three months of the season, but the biggest difference between this version of Gonzalez and the one we knew previously is that he has been leaving runners on base at a phenomenal rate. With a career strand rate of 80 percent (per FanGraphs.com), Gonzalez has been far above average in this regard, but with a post-June rate above 95 percent, he has probably been more than a little lucky. Gonzalez is fine as a two-start option, but he can still be homer-prone -- and a little dangerous -- in one-start weeks.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team mixed leagues

Jarred Cosart, SP, Marlins

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 46 percent (up 6 percent)
During his four months with the Astros this season, Cosart relied on a high ground ball rate for success. Given that he exited Houston with a 4.41 ERA, those frequent grounders were often not enough. Since coming over to the Marlins by way of a July 31 trade, Cosart has been wildly successful, as he has discovered how to pitch with control. He hasn't actually been as adept at getting grounders, posting a 0.94 ground-ball-to-flyball ratio as a Marlin (per Baseball-Reference.com), but he has benefitted not only from throwing more strikes, but having yet to pitch in a hitter-friendly park since the trade. Aside from this week's scheduled outing at the Brewers, the schedule will continue to favor Cosart. With a ratio of eight walks over 40 2/3 innings, Cosart just might be turning into Doug Fister 2.0. With starts at the Mets and against the Nationals in Week 25, he's actually looking like one of the better pitching waiver targets right now.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team mixed leagues

Adam Dunn, 1B/OF, Athletics

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 46 percent (up 5 percent)
If Dunn's first week with the A's is any indication, he'll sit against most lefties, but owners don't seem to care. He has clubbed three homers over his last eight games, including his White Sox finale, and he has even batted .292 over that span. Given Dunn's history of prodigious strikeout rates, that batting average can't last. Owners are likely picking him up for the home run power, and even in what appears to be his final season, Dunn has a level of power that supersedes park factors. If you need to catch up in the home run category, he could give you a handful before the season's end. Before you pick him up, though, make sure you can afford to take a hit in batting average.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team mixed Rotisserie leagues, 14-team mixed Head-to-Head leagues

Joe Panik, 2B/SS, Giants

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 30 percent (up 8 percent)
Panik offers neither power nor speed, but he's gaining in popularity because he's been cranking out singles faster than the Bee Gees during the disco era. Since the beginning of August, Panik is batting .366, and a recent stretch during which he went 14 for 32 (.438) is most likely what has caught the attention of many of his new owners. Panik does excel at making contact -- he has struck out 23 times in 194 at-bats -- but that's not enough to enable him to maintain his recent level of production. He has hit .411 on balls in play during his five-and-a-half week hot streak, and even though he's a decent line drive hitter, he won't keep that up. Even if you've been well-served by playing the hot hand, starting Panik, even in a deeper mixed league, isn't a move that's likely to pay off. So far, he's providing a high, but empty, batting average, and he may not even offer that much over the rest of the season.
Leagues worth owning him: 18-team mixed Rotisserie leagues, NL-only Head-to-Head leagues

Juan Lagares, OF, Mets

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 29 percent (up 18 percent)
There can only be one reason for Lagares' recent surge in popularity, and it's not his great defense. Lagares is finally showing off the stolen base prowess that he put on display at times during his minor league career. He has nabbed eight bags over his last 10 games. They've been a bit bunchy, though, as three were off Devin Mesoraco in one game and two came against Jarrod Saltalamacchia in another game, and neither catcher has been proficient at throwing out would-be stealers. It's not clear why Lagares is getting the green light more often all of a sudden, but the good news is that he will see Saltalamacchia and the Marlins again next week, as well as Jason Castro (71 steals allowed in 93 attempts) and the Astros in Week 26. As with Dunn, Lagares is worth a flier if you need help in one particular category and have some slack in the others.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team mixed Rotisserie leagues, 15-team mixed Head-to-Head leagues

Derek Holland, SP, Rangers

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 34 percent (up 7 percent)
This past offseason, Holland looked primed to be one of 2014's major breakout candidates, and then he tore up his knee and had microfracture surgery. Last year, he increased his whiff rate while also improving his control and efficiency. Expectations were clearly low for Holland coming off such a long layoff, as he was started in only five percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com for his first week off the DL. In his two starts last week, Holland showed he was ready to pick up where he left off, allowing one run in 14 innings with no walks and a 15 percent whiff rate. As of now, Holland doesn't project to make two starts in either of the final two weeks, but even as a one-start pitcher, he should be owned in all deeper mixed leagues, not to mention AL-only leagues.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team mixed leagues

Yusmeiro Petit, SP/RP, Giants

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 33 percent (up 8 percent)
Petit's current popularity is likely due almost entirely to his two-start status in Week 24, and with a pair of starts at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, he could give owners a healthy return. This will almost certainly be Petit's last two-start week, but that doesn't mean that his current owners should plan on ditching him for the next two-start pitcher du jour. He lines up to make his last two starts of the season against the Padres, first at PETCO Park and then at home. In most deeper leagues, those are matchups that make Petit worth using as a one-start pitcher. With a 9.1 K/9 ratio as a starter, Petit doesn't need a pair of starts to help with Ks.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team mixed leagues

Edward Mujica, RP, Red Sox

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 25 percent (up 22 percent)
Though Mujica has been a superb control pitcher throughout his career, he had limited appeal as a closer. He has not been a big strikeout pitcher, and he could be prone to the long ball, even when pitching in favorable environments. Last season's five-month stint as the Cardinals' ninth-inning man worked out well enough (until it ended in ugly fashion in September), but that's when Mujica was at his strike-throwing best. He's been Red Sox manager John Farrell's choice to replace Uehara, and since late May, we've actually seen a version of Mujica that is much like the one we saw most of last season. Over his last 38 1/3 innings, Mujica has thrown 70 percent of his pitches for strikes and walked nine batters (two of which were intentional walks). In standard and shallow mixed leagues, there are clearly better save options on waivers, but in deeper leagues where saves are scarce, Mujica could be a reliable option -- even more so than Kevin Quackenbush or Eric O'Flaherty.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team mixed leagues

Jose Ramirez, 2B/SS, Indians

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 17 percent (up 7 percent)
Many owners may think of Ramirez as "the guy who is playing shortstop for the Indians instead of Francisco Lindor," but as his growing ownership rate shows, he's good for more than just blocking the path of a highly- anticipated prospect. Since taking over for Asdrubal Cabrera at the trade deadline, Ramirez has hit .269 and is 8 for 8 in stolen bases. The steals in particular give Cabrera value in Roto formats, and his relative aversion to strikeouts (18 Ks in 119 at-bats since July 31) helps him in points leagues. He's been a top 12 shortstop in both formats since becoming a regular, and given how thin the position is, he is still incredibly underowned. As long as he keeps running, there's no reason why Ramirez can't maintain this level of production.
Leagues worth owning him: 12-team mixed Rotisserie leagues, 14-team mixed Head-to-Head leagues

American League options

Danny Valencia, 1B/2B/3B, Blue Jays

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 2 percent (up 1 percent)
The Blue Jays have now done what the Brewers, Braves and Reds have done before them: given up on Juan Francisco's one-dimensional game. Valencia, as a result, has inherited the starting job at third base, and with Brett Lawrie (oblique) out for the season, he can be expected to play there virtually every day from here on out. Though Valencia hasn't shown much power since coming over from the Royals in late July, last season's stint with the Orioles (eight home runs in 52 games) showed that the Jays might not miss that much power with Francisco gone. He is certainly a better contact hitter, and perhaps the biggest point in Valencia's favor is that he is eligible at first base, second base and third base. Valencia is unlikely to help mixed league Roto owners catch up in a particular category, and his lack of walks hurts his value in points leagues. However, he can ably fill a hole at any infield slot (except for shortstop) in AL-only leagues.
Leagues worth owning him: AL-only

National League options

Matt den Dekker, OF, Mets

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 3 percent (up 2 percent)
Left field has been a merry-go-round for the Mets all season, but for about a month now, den Dekker has been getting the bulk of the playing time there. He has hit .217 with six extra-base hits -- all doubles -- in 115 at-bats, and den Dekker is not a strong candidate to hit for a high average or with much power going forward. He does have some stolen base potential, though he hasn't broken out like Lagares has recently. For the minor gains you'd get in that category, he's probably not worth the lack of production you'd get otherwise in Roto leagues. However, den Dekker can draw a walk, so he does have some appeal for owners in NL-only points leagues.
Leagues worth owning him: NL-only Head-to-Head leagues, deep NL-only Rotisserie leagues

Player you might reconsider dropping

Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins

Ownership in CBSSports.com leagues: 32 percent (down 5 percent)
Arcia was slow to get untracked after an early-season wrist injury and brief minor league demotion, but he started the second half on fire. In his first 27 games after the All-Star break, Arcia got on base at a mere .298 clip, but he made up for it with nine home runs, seven doubles and 22 RBI. In the two-plus weeks since that stretch, Arcia has turned cold, going just 5 for 45 (.111) with one homer. Arcia is striking out at a furious pace (17 Ks in 45 at-bats), but he was doing much of the same during his hot streak. It was largely deep-league owners who picked up Arcia in the first place, and in those formats, a batting average slump is not a good reason to drop him. He offers power that is hard to find on waivers in those formats, and he could unleash it any time.
Leagues worth owning him: 14-team mixed Rotisserie leagues, 16-team mixed Head-to-Head leagues

Q&A

SS is a mess...who's the best option; Aybar, Bogaerts, Hardy, Baez, A. Cabrera? Currently running with B. Miller at the moment. -- @Patrick_J_27

AM: A week or two ago, I would have recommended Baez, but in crunch time and with him mired in an awful slump, you can't afford to wait around for a rebound. Hardy's back injury concerns me, but otherwise he'd be my next choice. Of the remaining four options, I'd go with Cabrera, as he offers the best combination of power, stolen base and run production potential.