Baseball may have taken a break for the last three days, but that doesn't mean we've done the same on the waiver wire. The first real trade of the deadline season highlighted a day that featured a bland All-Star Game, throwing two reliable closers into a timeshare and leaving a vacancy in its wake. Just like it spiced up the day that is supposed to feature the world's greatest baseball players facing off in a game that counts, it spiced up a slow-ish week on the waiver wire.
Bobby Parnell, Mets -- With Francisco Rodriguez now in Milwaukee, Terry Collins needs a new man to turn to in the ninth inning. Nothing is yet certain, but I'm buying Parnell. The flame-throwing righty is striking out nearly 11 batters per nine innings this season and has a ground-ball rate right at 50 percent. As the supposed closer of the future, there's no time like the present to see how he fares in the role. Jason Isringhausen is the other realistic option for Collins, but the Mets already trail the Braves by 7.5 games for the Wild Card and will likely be without Jose Reyes until August. There isn't much reason to hand over the closer's job to a 38-year-old who won't have a role with the team once it's ready to contend again.
Ty Wigginton, Rockies -- All Wigginton really does is give you about two homers a week with an 80-run, 80-RBI pace all while qualifying at four positions. Oh, he also chips in the occasional steal. He has cooled off a bit since a monstrous end to June, but he has proved to be a consistent producer when given the playing time. That appears safe in Colorado, meaning he should be able to find a roster spot, especially with owners struggling at second and/or third base.
Freddie Freeman, Braves -- Before a 2-for-13 weekend series against the Phillies prior to the All-Star break, Freeman's slash line reached a high water mark in across the board production for the season, coming in at .279/.354/.472. In the last 16 games leading into the break, Freeman belted six homers and drove in 16 runs. He ended June with a 27.7 line-drive rate for the month, and even a brief slowdown in July couldn't get his season LD percentage below 22 percent. Going forward, I prefer him over Gaby Sanchez, Adam Lind and Todd Helton.
Roger Bernadina, Nationals -- So this guy is still owned in only about one of every 10 leagues across the country, huh? It appears I have an inflated sense of my own sway over our beloved hobby. In the two weeks leading up to the All-Star break, Bernadina went 13-for-46 (.282), scored nine runs, hit a homer and swiped a pair of bags to give him 13 steals in 14 chances this year. Even with Rick Ankiel back, he remains a lineup fixture, firmly entrenched atop the Nationals order. He's not a savior, but he's damn well better than owned-in-one-tenth-of-leagues. He should be universally owned in leagues that use five outfielders and is an option in three-outfielder leagues, as well.
Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals -- Wang continues to impress during a string of rehab starts in the minors. He should be in the Nationals rotation in the next few weeks.
Chase d'Arnaud, Pirates -- With Ronny Cedeno shelved indefinitely with a concussion, d'Arnaud has taken over as Pittsburgh's starting shortstop. He's 7-for-22 in his last five games and has already stolen five bases without getting caught despite getting on base in just 17 of his 72 plate appearances.
Tyler Flowers, White Sox -- With Ramon Castro now out, Flowers figures to get the call. He's hitting .261/.390/.500 with 15 homers and 32 RBI with Triple-A Charlotte this year.
Dustin McGowan, Blue Jays -- McGowan has made three appearances on his current rehab assignment, and while the results have been mixed (four earned runs, four strikeouts in 4.2 innings), the important part is that he hasn't reported any health issues. He also allowed three of those earned runs in his first appearance.
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