Jerry Lai/US Presswire
Jim Thome to Dodgers: Like the Jason Giambi move to the Rockies a few weeks earlier, it's tough to see Thome as anything but a pinch hitter for an NL team at this point. The Dodgers aren't going to sit James Loney's glove and his 75 RBIs. Thome played one game at first base in 2007, and hasn't played the position regularly since 2004. The Dodgers compared the Thome addition with what the Phillies did in getting Matt Stairs last season. Stairs did hit a few pinch-hit home runs, including a critical one to win a playoff game at Dodger Stadium. With 23 home runs and 74 RBIs, Thome's fantasy value falls off the table in mixed leagues, and he's not worth very much in NL-only formats.
Jon Garland to Dodgers: Garland will certainly be aided by the change in home ballpark and extra run support, but fantasy owners shouldn't run out to acquire the overly hittable right-hander. He's owned in 4.9 percent of ESPN leagues. It says something about the Dodgers' rotation depth that they could acquire Garland and Vicente Padilla so late in the season and give each a rotation spot, though one of them is likely to lose it when Hiroki Kuroda returns, which could be later this week. Padilla pitched well in his Dodgers debut.
Jose Contreras to Rockies: The White Sox had no need for a pitcher with a 5.42 ERA who was leading the AL in losses, but the Rockies apparently did. Fantasy owners should look away. Even in San Diego, Contreras would try a fantasy owner's patience.
Brad Penny to Giants: Following in the footsteps of John Smoltz and Vicente Padilla, Penny was released from an AL team and landed with a NL contender. Penny cleared waivers and signed with the Giants, will likely replace Joe Martinez in the rotation and could start Saturday in Milwaukee. Penny struggled with the Red Sox, allowing 160 hits in 131 2/3 innings and compiling a 5.61 ERA, but like Smoltz and Padilla is likely to improve his statistics in the NL. Still, he shouldn't be coveted by a fantasy owner.
OK, so somebody must win out in all these trades. Well, the White Sox have room at DH, where Josh Fields could pick up some at-bats. Also, this could allow both Jayson Nix and Chris Getz to receive regular playing time down the stretch. Moving Contreras creates a potential rotation spot for Jake Peavy, but his return is problematic. The team's top ready prospects were moved to San Diego in the Peavy deal. Arizona is going to give Billy Buckner the Garland rotation spot, but there's little upside there. The player they received from the Dodgers is infielder Tony Abreu, who could figure into the second-base picture but isn't a high-upside option. And Boston had already moved on without Penny. Basically, call Aug. 31 kind of a dark day for fantasy owners who relied on Thome, and the pitchers weren't helping too many owners anyway.
• Meanwhile, it's clear the Detroit acquisition of Washburn isn't quite working out. Since coming over in a trade from the Mariners, Washburn has allowed five or more earned runs in four of six outings, and 11 home runs overall. For Seattle, he permitted 11 home runs in 20 starts. His Detroit ERA is 6.81. Look elsewhere for fantasy help. The Tigers might have to consider the same when Armando Galarraga, currently in the minors, is healthy. According to Tigers manager Jim Leyland, Jeremy Bonderman is not a rotation option.
• All wasn't bad for the Tigers, however, as Carlos Guillen homered twice, singled twice and knocked in four runs. Unlike Adam Lind, who had a bigger day with eight RBIs, Guillen is the one available in half of ESPN's leagues. Even with the show of power, Guillen is slugging a mere .405 for the season as he's battled injuries yet again, but this could be a sign he's finally healthy and ready to produce.
• Bad day for the Buccos, as Cincinnati swept a day-night doubleheader and extended the Pittsburgh losing streak to five games. The Pirates scored six runs, three in each game, and Andrew McCutchen hit the team's lone home run. The team did usher in the debut of interesting pitching prospect Daniel McCutchen, unrelated to the center fielder. The pitcher lost in the afternoon, but allowed only three runs in six innings.
• Nice work by the Cubs losing at home to Houston, falling to a game over .500 and holding onto pitchers Rich Harden and Aaron Heilman, each of whom was claimed on waivers over the weekend. Neither ended up being dealt. Harden walked six in five innings and allowed five runs, adding to a trend of miserable pitching at Wrigley Field. Heilman did throw two scoreless innings in relief.
• Vladimir Guerrero continues to flex his muscles and show he has something left. The Angels' designated hitter homered twice and knocked in four runs, his third multi-home run game in three weeks. The Angels' 4-5-6 hitters combined for eight hits in 13 at-bats Monday, in Guerrero, Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales; Angels 4-5-6 hitters lead the majors in batting average, slugging and RBIs this season.
• Closer follies: Chad Qualls was placed on the 60-day DL after he suffered a dislocated kneecap to close Sunday's game, and will need months of recovery time. He should be ready for spring training. Juan Gutierrez picked up the first post-Qualls save, but the team says others will be in the mix. Former Diamondback Jose Valverde earned his 20th save, closing out the Cubs. Valverde struck out a pair, the sixth consecutive outing he's done so. He last blew a save in June. Oakland's Andrew Bailey saved his 21st game. He obviously leads all rookies in the category, but second in saves among first-year pitchers are Gutierrez and Dan Meyer with two.
Adam Lind, Blue Jays
Fantasy owners love the 18-10 final score, assuming they don't have pitchers going. Lind homered twice and knocked in eight runs, keeping him on path to glide over 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the season. Lind and Rod Barajas were the first teammates in Blue Jays history to each swat two home runs and knock in five or more runs in the same game.
Andy Pettitte, Yankees
Hard to believe this veteran lefty was talking retirement in the spring, but Pettitte is having another reliable season. Pettitte retired the first 20 Orioles and ended up with eight strong innings of two-hit ball. Melvin Mora touched him for a home run. Pettitte didn't lose any of his six August starts, and he's still available in 30 percent of ESPN leagues.
Fantasy owners were probably shying away from Nick Blackburn no matter the venue, but his win Monday gave him a career winning percentage in home games of .700 (14-6), while his road record is a dismal 6-16, for a .273 winning percentage. No active major leaguer sports as large a split in home versus road winning percentage.
• The Reds made multiple moves to their roster, among them activating Johnny Cueto from the DL, bringing up swingman Ramon Ramirez and placing outfielder Laynce Nix on the disabled list. Among those sent to the minors was rookie pitcher Matt Maloney, who was hit hard by the Dodgers this weekend. Cueto pitched five strong innings against the Pirates, scattering three hits and striking out five. The last time Cueto had a start remotely that good was July 1.
• The Nationals called up Justin Maxwell to fill the spot vacated by Ronnie Belliard, who was dealt to the Dodgers over the weekend. Maxwell has had chances in the majors before, but hefty strikeout totals continue to dog the center fielder. There's no questioning the upside, though, as Maxwell hit 13 home runs and stole 35 bases for Triple-A Syracuse. He'll be 26 in November, and his future could be as a fourth outfielder somewhere.
• Back in the spring Ryan Freel seemed like a cheap source of steals for Baltimore. He's had stints with the Orioles, Cubs and Royals this season, not hitting or running anywhere he's been, and after signing with the Texas Rangers on Friday, he's already been released. Freel might find work with his fifth organization of the season soon, but fantasy owners can move on.
• Click here for all of the latest MLB transactions.
Buster Olney: He's going to come up and make a start in the upcoming doubleheader against the Yankees. My guess would be that down the stretch, if Davis is one of the five best Tampa Bay pitchers, he'll keep getting the ball.
-- Full chat transcript
Tuesday's fantasy chat schedule:
Fantasy Football with AJ Mass, 11 a.m. ET
Fantasy Baseball with Brendan Roberts, 3 p.m. ET
• Look for Matt Murton to get another call to return to the Rockies soon, but will it matter? Murton really can't do much more for Triple-A Colorado Springs. He homered twice and knocked in six runs Monday in a 11-4 win over Portland. Murton is hitting .320 for the Sky Sox and has 77 RBIs in 90 games. There isn't much room for playing time with the big club, however. Jason Giambi doubled, walked and scored twice, and in six games with his new organization he's hitting .444 with a 1.417 OPS.
• A few Brewers bidding for the September call-up helped Triple-A Nashville top Louisville in 12 innings. Forgotten shortstop J.J. Hardy homered in the first inning off Todd Wellemeyer, who didn't get out of the inning. Hardy's future with the Brewers is problematic. Mat Gamel had two hits and two walks, and since he still has a future with the Brewers, look for him in the majors this week. Finally, Corey Patterson -- remember him? -- homered and stole a base, and he's hitting .345 in 25 games for the Sounds, but there's little indication he'll steal playing time from Mike Cameron in Milwaukee.
• Matt Joyce was a sleeper for the Rays this season, but the big club didn't seem all that interested after trading breakout pitcher Edwin Jackson to Detroit to get him. Joyce has played in 11 games for Tampa Bay. He hit his 16th home run for Triple-A Durham, adding in 13 stolen bases and a .276 batting average. The Rays should give him some September at-bats.
• Tim Hudson will make his season debut after coming back from Tommy John surgery. Hudson last pitched in a game July 23, 2008, coincidentally against the Florida Marlins. Hudson is available in more than 90 percent of ESPN standard leagues.
• Meanwhile, Carlos Carrasco makes his first major league start in any season, as the Indians take on the first-place Detroit Tigers. Carrasco pitched well for Triple-A Columbus after being acquired in the Cliff Lee trade from Philadelphia.
• It's not the first start in the majors this year for Andy Sonnanstine, but it's a pretty important one as the Rays, third in the wild-card race, host the Red Sox. Sonnanstine was demoted to Triple-A in June after recording a 6.61 ERA in 18 games. Right-handed batters in the bigs are hitting .370 off him this season. Let's just say the Red Sox have some right-handed batters.
• For more on Tuesday's games, check Daily Notes.