July 26, 2012

The Waiver Wire is here to offer up the choicest cuts of waiver wire goodness, paying attention to mixed, as well as AL- and NL-only leagues. Every league is different, and some players listed here may not be available if you play in a deep mixed league. However, we'll try to address everyone's needs, whether the depth of your league resembles a kiddie pool or the Atlantic Ocean.

Jayson Werth, Nationals -- Werth, on the DL with a broken left wrist, began a rehab assignment over the weekend, starting out at High-A Potomac. Barring any setbacks, he's expected to return to Washington during the first or second week of August. He struggled in his first season with the Nats after signing a huge contract, but had a strong first month in 2012 before injuring his wrist. In 27 games this year, Werth is hitting .276/.372/.439 with three homers and 12 RBI. He should find a spot on rosters in all but the most shallow leagues.

Francisco Cordero, Astros -- After spending most of the year as a middling setup man, two trades have thrust Cordero back into the closing spotlight. The first sent him to Houston from Toronto, where it appeared he'd set up for Brett Myers. One day later, the Astros shipped Myers to the White Sox, clearing the way for Cordero to close again. He hasn't exactly been lights-out this year, posting a 6.25 ERA and 1.86 WHIP in 36 innings, but he's sitting in the closer's chair in Houston, and sometimes that's all that matters for fantasy owners. Given the fact that his only real competition in Houston is 29-year-old Wilton Lopez, another guy who likely won't factor into the mix if and when the Astros are competitive again, Cordero should have a relatively firm hold on the job.

Sergio Romo, Giants -- Santiago Casilla has been a train wreck lately, allowing seven runs in his last 7.2 innings, a stretch that covers nine outings. Manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti will re-consider San Francisco's bullpen arrangement, and the man most likely to benefit from a possible shuffle is Romo. The right-hander has been dominant this year, sporting a 0.60 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in 30 innings. He has fanned 35 batters while walking just eight, and has surrendered just one homer to Casilla's six. There's no doubt Romo has the stuff to close, and with the Giants locked up in a tight division battle with the Dodgers, they can't afford to be throwing a question mark out there at the end of games. The bet here is Romo takes over the closer's job in short order.

Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies -- Chacin threw a three-inning simulated game on Saturday, throwing about 45 pitches as he continues his comeback from a pectoral injury. He reported no issues during or after the session, and the Rockies believe he might be able to forgo a rehab assignment and return directly to the big league club after one more simulated game. Chacin has struggled mightily this year, but he was a revelation for the Rockies in 2011, posting a 3.62 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 150 strikeouts in 194 innings. With Colorado out of contention, they'll likely want to see what they have in Chacin for the future, so he'll have a long leash.

Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, Tigers -- Just a reminder that these two were dealt to Detroit from Miami earlier this week. These are guys who warrant emptying your free-agent bidding budget, so make a move for them as necessary.

Carlos Villanueva, Blue Jays -- Villanueva has been effective in four starts for Toronto, allowing six runs in 23.1 innings while striking out 26 batters. He should remain in the rotation for the time being.

Brett Myers, White Sox -- Addison Reed remains the closer on the South Side, but Myers is worth an add early on in his tenure with the White Sox, just in case Reed falters and manager Robin Ventura gets an itchy trigger finger.

Steve Lombardozzi, Nationals -- With Ian Desmond hitting the DL for at least a month, Danny Espinosa will shift to short and Lombardozzi will be the regular starter at second base. He's hitting .265/.316/.335 this year.

Matt Harvey, Mets -- Harvey will make his major league debut Thursday against the Diamondbacks. He's 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 110 innings at Triple-A Buffalo this year.

Chat with me on Twitter, @MBeller.

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