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Aceves & Pierre: Waiver Wire

The regular season may have officially started with the Mariners and Athletics last week, but the rest of the league kicks off the year a few days from now. Here’s an early-season waiver wire for you folks itching to do some fantasy roster tinkering…

Alfredo Aceves | SP, RP | Red Sox | Owned: 18% Yahoo! and 3.0% ESPN

The valuable swingman could soon take on an even more valuable role, at least in terms of fantasy worth. Andrew Bailey is dealing with a thumb issue and could start the season on the DL, and Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com says there’s a chance Aceves will get the nod in the ninth inning in his stead. The move is not yet official, and in fact Bailey to the DL isn’t even confirmed yet. This one is a little open-ended.

Even if the Red Sox decide to go with Mark Melancon at closer while Bailey’s on the shelf, Aceves figures to carry the bulk of the setup load. His strikeout numbers (6.32 K/9 and 16.9 K%) weren’t great last year and they weren’t much better (7.39 K/9 and 20.5 K%) during his best season with the Yankees in 2009. That was pre-back injury as well, so the whiffs aren’t guaranteed to tick back up. You will get a ton of something out of Aceves though, and the unknown right know is whether it will be holds, saves, or vulture wins.

Late Update: According to Mike Silverman, Aceves may have to start the second game of the season because Josh Beckett has a thumb injury. Even more reason to grab Aceves and Melancon as well.

Juan Pierre | OF | Phillies | Owned: 5% Yahoo! and 0.5% ESPN

Pierre has managed to remain fantasy relevant through the years thanks to his always reliable stolen base total, though his 27 steals (in 44 tries) in 2011 was the lowest total of his career. The Phillies officially added him to their roster over the weekend, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that manager Charlie Manuel essentially came out and said that if Pierre hits, he’ll play. Given the injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, Pierre would bat leadoff with Jimmy Rollins sliding down to third.

Base stealers tend to decline rapidly and Pierre is already 34 (35 in August), so he’s definitely in the danger zone. Those 68 steals (in 86 chances) in 2010 could have been his last hurrah as a premier fantasy stolen base threat, but I’m certain he’s going to get the green light in Philadelphia if he does indeed see regular playing time. With John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix as his primary left field competition, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pierre got more than a handful of starts a week, especially since Mayberry can play first.