David Price (SP-TB). Price took the hill for a matinee against the Mariners on Monday and pitched well, allowing only 3 ER over 8 IP on 7 hits with 1 walk and 10 Ks. However, he received absolutely no support from the feeble Rays' offense and suffered his 6th loss in a 3-0 defeat. Price's ERA now sits at 3.97, with a 1.15 WHIP and a 111/10 K/BB ratio over 99.2 innings. Price has pitched in horrible luck to this point, as his BABIP is .332 and his strand rate is 67.9%. Price has thus pitched much better than his numbers would indicate, as evidenced by his 2.97 FIP and 2.67 xFIP. Price owners probably have no choice but to hold on and wait for Price's numbers to normalize (which should happen as Price's ERA should come down and he is likely to maintain his elite K rate (he has an excellent 10.6% swinging strike rate), as attempting a trade right now would likely result in getting only pennies on the dollar in return.
Jake Peavy (SP-BOS). Peavy turned in a solid outing against the Orioles on Monday night, throwing 7 plus innings and giving up 4 ER (one of which scored after he left the game) on 8 hits and 1 walk while striking out 8. Peavy's season ERA now sits at 4.76. What you see has been pretty much what you have gotten from Peavy as he has gotten the results he has deserved. He entered tonight's game with a .300 BABIP and a 73.4% strand rate, which means his ERA is right where it should be, which is borne out by his 4.56 FIP and 4.44 xFIP. Peavy's days of being a dominant starter are likely over, as he has seen significant slippage in his K rate (down to 6.66 per 9 innings), his BB rate (up to 3.63 per 9) and his fastball velocity (down to 89.6 MPH). Especially in light of the division in which Peavy pitches, there are likely better options available on the waiver wire in most mixed leagues.
Grant Balfour (RP-TB). After getting lit up for 5 runs in only one inning and taking the loss against the Mariners on Sunday, Balfour has been removed as the Rays' closer, as manager Joe Maddon has indicated that he wants Balfour to "get his confidence back" by pitching is lower leverage situations. Balfour's performance to this point has been, in the most charitable terms possible, poor. His ERA stands at 6.46 and he is striking out only 7.99 batters per nine, while at the same time walking 7.61 batters per nine, resulting in a horrifying 1.05 K/BB ratio. Nor do his other peripherals offer much hope of improvement as, although his strand rate of 61.8% is low, he is benefiting from a .266 BABIP, which essentially cancel each other out, as evidenced by his 5.06 FIP and 5.19 xFIP. It would not be a shock if there is an injury in play here, as Balfour's FB velocity is down almost 2 MPH from last year. Assuming he is not hurt and he can show some improvement, the Rays will probably return Balfour to the closer position at some point in an effort to enhance his trade value in what has become a lost season for Tampa Bay, but I wouldn't advise holding onto Balfour based on that possibility, as even if he does get his job back, he is not likely to garner many saves pitching for what has turned out to be a shockingly bad Rays team.
Erasmo Ramirez (SP-SEA). Ramirez got the start against the Rays on Monday afternoon and, despite being staked to an early 3-0 lead, was unable to make it through five innings. Ramirez lasted 4.2 innings and gave up 0 ER, thanks to Joe Biemel bailing him out of a first and third jam in the bottom of the 5th. Ramirez was very inefficient, needing 88 pitches to cover those 4.2 innings, as he walked 5 and allowed 4 hits while striking out 5. The "Eraser" has been a popular fantasy sleeper for the past two years, but it may be time to put the theory that Ramirez can be a viable fantasy starter to rest. While he did put up solid numbers in 2012, the last two years have been, to put it mildly, disastrous. Ramirez has posted FIPs of 4.83 last year and 6.20 so far this year and his strike zone command has slipped dramatically (5.0 BB% in his solid 2012 and 8.7% so far in 2014). There is simply nothing to indicate that the light is going to come on for Ramirez, and it does not seem likely that the Mariners, who are in contention for a playoff spot for the first time in a long time, will keep sending him out there, especially since James Paxton and Taijuan Walker should be ready to rejoin/join the Seattle rotation soon.
Jake McGee (RP-TB). With Balfour out as the Rays' closer, it's time to start the speculation as to his replacement. Joe Maddon has indicated that he will use the dreaded "committee," at least initially, but those who want to speculate on saves should look closely at McGee, as he has flashed the most closer-worthy skills in the Rays' bullpen this year. McGee has been dominant, with a 1.59 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 10.48 K/9 rate and 1.91 BB/9 rate so far in 2014 and these numbers look to be maintainable, given his 1.49 FIP and 2.65 xFIP (which is higher because McGee has yet to give up a HR on the season). McGee's numbers are certainly more closer-worthy than those of Juan Carlos Oviedo, his likely competition for the job, who has posted a walk rate of more than 4 per 9 in limited action. However, McGee suffers from being left-handed, and many managers are reluctant to go with a lefty closer. One need look no farther than the success Sean Doolittle has enjoyed since being anointed the full-time closer to realize that this bias is unwarranted. McGee should be snapped up immediately in any AL-only leagues in which he is available and mixed leaguers who have deeper benches and who are in need of saves should also strongly consider adding him. Standard mixed leaguers, however, may want to wait and see how this situation plays out before adding McGee.