David Price (SP - Rays) - Price just never really got his momentum under him this year. He was sitting on 3 straight quality starts heading into yesterday, only to allow 5 ER in 5.0 IP. He didn't factor into the decision and stays at 9-7. For awhile it was the home/away split that was giving him fits. But after quality starts against the Yankees and the Tigers on the road, we quickly threw that out of the window. Price becomes a very risky start in the last week of the year as he'll face the Yankees on Friday night at home. Of course, the Yankees may be sporting a watered-down lineup, so it may not be as bad as it looks. Keep a look at the lineup the Yankees march out on the field for the next few days and then make a gametime decision with Price.
Matt Thornton (RP - White Sox) - If you haven't noticed, Matt Thornton is the go-to guy for all save opportunities in Chicago for this week. Withe Jenks down, Thornton has already seen significant action as the new closer. He had two saves over the weekend against the Tigers, shutting them down on Friday night and, despite allowing 2 ER in 1.1 IP on Sunday, earning the save. He's a hard-throwing lefty and probably the best option for the ChiSox for the next week. Octavio Dotel may get a look or two if Thornton pitches in consecutive games, but it would just be a one-off situation. Thornton is your guy.
David Huff (SP - Indians) - David Huff just continues to quietly put up quality starts for the Indians in the final few weeks of the year. Yesterday was easily Huff's best performance of the season, throwing 8.0 shutout innings while allowing just 5 hits and 2 walks. It was his 5th straight quality start and he has lowered his ERA from 6.80 to 5.61 during that time frame. While he is pitching well, he has also faced some of the weaker hitting teams in the league in those 5 starts, including the Royals twice, the Orioles, and the A's. His last start of the year will be against the Red Sox which may not be a bad spot start for the weekend. The Red Sox will probably play a lot of their extended roster guys to rest for the playoffs, so it may not be your typical powerful Red Sox lineup.
Russel Branyan (1B - Mariners) - It may be time to pull the plug on Branyan (if you haven't already). Branyan has been out since late August with a bad back and the Mariners were holding on to the hope that he may be back with the team for this week. Manager Don Wakamatsu basically indicated that the team is running out of time to get Branyan back in time for the final game of the year. I won't officially close the book on Branyan, but even after missing an entire month of time, he still hit over 30 HR and drove in 76 RBI for the Mariners this season. Branyan always had that power potential, but never quite had the playing time or the health to let it materialize. This year was different. He'll be a risky pick in 2010 with doubts of his health and the likelihood of him repeating it again. With 1B always deep, I'll let other fantasy owners take a chance on Branyan at too high of a price tag. He would have to drop down the draft board for me to give him a look.
Daniel Hudson (SP - White Sox) - Hudson was a little wild on Sunday, walking 5 in 6.0 IP, but he still converted a quality start with just 2 ER allowed. It was his first win of the season as he allowed 3 hits and struck out 4 against the Tigers. He'll see the Tigers again this weekend and could be considered for a spot-start if you really need the innings in the final weekend of the year. A 2nd time through the Tigers lineup could be dangerous for the 22-year-old rookie, but he still may be one of the better cheap options on the wires for weekend starts.
There are over 100 player news blurbs posted in the member area each morning. Members can read the rest of today's player news by clicking here. Not a member? <a href="http://www.fantistics.com/join/join.php3"> Join today.