Welcome to the first FAABwire series for the 2012 season. This article will cover the top pickups of the week and how much FAAB (Free agent acquisition budget) you should spend. The FAABwire series is mostly catered to twelve and fifteen team mixed league formats. Each week I will focus on players that are owned in under thirty-four percent of CBS leagues. FAAB bids are of course very specific to individual leagues, so I will give you ballpark bids of what it should take to acquire each player based on a one thousand dollar budget. Throughout the week, feel free to tweet players at me that I can discuss is the column. @MarkusPotter
Hector Santiago, RP, Chicago White Sox (24% owned) (FAAB: $325)
Robin Ventura hinted earlier in the week that Crain would pitch in the seventh inning and Matt Thornton in the eighth. Santiago threw a perfect ninth against the Rangers on Saturday, which almost certainly will afford Santiago the next save opportunity. The Chicago Tribune reported that Ventura anointed Santiago as the closer, but there is some debate about this quote. Remember that Sergio Santos emerged out of nowhere last year, and the same may happen with Santiago. I would make an aggressive bid here hoping that Santiago will run away with this job. The only warning is Addison Reed who owns the better skill set.
Raul Ibanez, DH/OF, New York Yankees (28% owned) (FAAB: $95)
Ibanez will usually be the starting DH against right-handed pitchers. Yankee stadium has allowed the most home runs to right field giving Ibanez a twenty home run upside. Ibanez has some skills regression, but don't give up on the old guy just yet.
Cody Ross, OF, Boston Red Sox (29% owned) (FAAB: $90)
Ross will be starting almost every day according to Bobby Valentine. He could see a platoon quickly, but until then take advantage of a player that is oft ignored. There is not a ton of upside here, but a respectable average with close to 20 home runs is within bounds.
David Murphy, OF, Texas Rangers (15% owned) (FAAB: $85)
Murphy used to be the best fourth outfielder in the game, but is now starting every day for the Rangers. Murphy is a 15 SB/15 HR type player that should hit .280 in potent offense. I would gladly pencil him in as my fifth out fielder in fifteen-team leagues.
Sean Rodriquez, SS/2B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays (26% owned) (FAAB bid: $80)
On Wednesday Joe Maddon said that Rodriguez will be the starting shortstop for the Rays. There is a 15HR/13SB upside here. For now I would only expect a .240 BA, but there is clearly value to be had here.
Fernando Rodney (19% owned) (FAAB $75)
You don’t have so say anything!!! I have owned Rodney many times. But the fact of the matter is that Maddon has used him twice and he is two for two. Go get him! In 2009 as a Tigers he converted 37 of 38 save opportunities. Peralta, McGee, and Howell are all lurking, but for now Rodney looks to be the guy.
Vinnie Pestano, RP, Cleveland Indians (27% owned) (FAAB: $70)
Simply put, Chris Perez was one of the worst relievers last year in terms of K/9 and BB/9. Pestano has his warts, but has a better skill set than Perez. If you are a Perez owner consider tripling the FAAB recommendation listed above.
Juan Nicasio, SP, Colorado Rockies (31% owned) (FAAB: $65)
Nicasio is slated to pitch today against the Astros. His ownership will soon skyrocket. Grab him while the price is low. I am expecting a 3.55 ERA, elite WHIP with a close to 8K/9.
Chris Johnson, 3B, Houston Astros (9% owned) (FAAB: $15)
Johnson was never an elite prospect, but right now he has the gig in Houston. Johnson is known for his hot streaks so ride him while he's hot! He has some pop, some speed, and could put up a respectable average.
Kris Medlen, RP, Atlanta Braves (3% owned) (FAAB: $1)
There is still a way that Medlen could work his way into the Braves rotation and he has the skills to perform like a solid #3 starter. Upside is an ERA barely north of 3.00. Medlen could even be your last pitcher who has value as a middle reliever.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Arizona Diamond Backs (N/A% owned) (FAAB: $1)
I list the ownership as n/a as keeper leagues drive the ownership levels way up. Only Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter are holding back the future ace. Bauer is not your everyday prospect. His advanced feel for pitching should translate to the majors immediately. Stash him on your bench now before you have to spend $450.
Johnny Damon, OF, Free Agent (5% owned) (FAAB: $1)
Maybe it's simply Scott Boras hype, but the fearless agent promises that Damon will have a job by months end. If you have a bench spot available I would stash him for a few weeks. Chances are he would out produce the player you currently have as your 5th outfielder in a fifteen-team league. Damon could still be a 15/15 guy with a respectable average, if he gets a job.
Wilin Rosario, C, Colorado Rockies (14% owned) (FAAB: $5)
Rosario will be the primary backup to Ramon Hernandez to start the season. The much-hyped prospect has a great deal of raw power and a huge arm to allow him to find at bats behind the plate. Rosario could gain more and more at bats as the season continues. In two catcher leagues, grab him quickly.