Francisco Liriano - Liriano is heading intra-division, as the White Sox took a gamble on the 28 year old lefty, sending Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez, two decent to fair prospects, over to the Twins. Liriano was pasted by those same White Sox on Monday, but the two starts prior to that he fanned 25 in 14 innings of work, which pretty much sums up his strengths and weaknesses. The swinging strike% of 13.4 and the sub-70% contact rate show you that his stuff is still there, but a few years of sketchy control and declining GB rates have me wondering how he'll fare in Chi-town with a much less forgiving home field than Minnesota's. The potential for improvement is enormous, particularly if you buy that he wasn't concentrating all that well on the potential 100-loss Twins. I'm inclined to take the risk here on the likelihood of more wins and the huge K rate.
Matt Harrison - Harrison is definitely a guy I'd be talking up in deadline deals if I owned him, as he has navigated the first 2 games of a very difficult 6-game scheduling stretch for him about as expected. Harrison had a pretty easy schedule prior to last week, but two starts against the White Sox and Angels have seen him allow 15 hits, 9 runs, and 3 homers in 13 innings. Harrison has a 3.75 FIP ERA right now before the rest of this stretch starts, and I can't see his next 4 starts (LAA, BOS, NYY, TOR) helping that figure very much. I am strongly in favor of selling high here if possible.
Chris Carter - As I'd hoped, the A's are finding a way to get Carter into the lineup most days, and he's rewarded them recently by homering three times in the last four games. He is still striking out around 30% of the time, but the walks and homers that he provides are pretty helpful for an Athletic offense that is vastly revamped from prior (punchless) years. Carter remains an AVG risk, but the HR and RBI may very well be worth it....particularly if your league rewards OBP over AVG.
Jon Lester - Lester wasn't terrible yesterday against a horribly depleted Yankee lineup, but he still managed to allow a couple of homers to complete non-entities (Chris Stewart and Jayson Nix) en route to his 4th straight non-quality start. Lester definitely has not been himself since the beginning of July, posting a FB% of at least 50 in his last 5 starts while allowing 10 walks and 7 homers over 14 innings in his last three outings. Although an unfortunate strand rate is partially to blame for his lofty ERA, Lester is clearly a different guy since the end of 2010...much more of a mid-rotation starter than a frontline arm. His velocity is down a touch and with it the K rate and GB rate, and the continually improving control is not enough to offset everything else. It's possible that there is an injury or mechanical issue, but it's at least as possible that Lester is simply a 3.80-4.00 ERA starter now.
Sam Deduno - Deduno tossed his second straight quality start yesterday, going 7 innings and allowing just two singles and a run in a 12-5 win over Cleveland. As is typically the case for Deduno, there were a bunch of walks and strikeouts (5 and 6 respectively), and therein lies the problem and the potential for the 29 year old. Deduno gets a bunch of groundballs and has had excellent K rates at almost every step of his career, but the control issues are, to put it bluntly, significant. As a pitcher that works primarily off of his breaking stuff that doesn't control his fastball well, he makes me a bit nervous, but his upside is fairly significant for a relative no-name. I would risk a roster spot on him in the deepest of formats if I had one available, but in more shallow leagues the BB rate would likely keep me away.