Positional flexibility is a handy thing to have when rosters aren’t particularly deep with bench space. But this time of year, I find it awfully useful to have one, if not two, players that have multi-multi position eligibility in my daily transaction leagues where I’m trying to maximize games played.
Why? For some reason, I always seem to have amnesia about this little late-season problem, but as teams start to fade into Bolivian, they tend to be more careful when little aches and pains crop up rather than risk some kind of catastrophic injury. Other players might see extra rest, just because it seems like a good idea. See Giancarlo Stanton, Dexter Fowler, Darwin Barney, Carlos Gonzalez, among others.
Alternatively, as teams start to lock up playoff spots, they tend to do the same thing. Now, with the new playoff system, that’s becoming less of an issue, but take the Reds for instance, who were in no great hurry to bring back Joey Votto since they were running away with the division title. And heck, we are also getting into late September which has already brought us six rain outs, so having a flexible player stashed away on your bench can help fill games in a pinch. And I’ve said it before, so apologies for beating this drum, but if you’re in a dog fight in any particular category, there’s just nothing worse than leaving games on the table.
Looking at the waiver wire, there’s actually a good number of players that fit the bill.
Solano almost certainly qualifies as “nifty (little)” on the synonyms for average scale. Eligible at 2B, 3B, SS, and OF – you can do just about anything with him except close baseball games. He typically hits out of the 2 or 7 hole in the lineup, which provides opportunities for some runs scored or some RBI. He has a little bit of speed, he should hit for a decent enough average, but has little chance of hitting a home run. He’s owned in just 6% of Yahoo leagues and 13% of ESPN leagues. Plug. And. Play.
This might be due to the proliferation of dead teams, but Ciriaco is owned in less than a third of ESPN leagues and fewer than 20% of Yahoo leagues. Eligible at SS, 2B, and 3B, Ciriaco has cooled a bit since his smoking debut, but he’s playing everyday, he’s got potential to grab you a good number of steals and runs, and he hits for a respectable average. Depending on your league format, it’s even possible that Ciriaco is eligible in the outfield, which only adds to his value.
He only qualifies at 2B and SS, but should you have any hope of poaching a point or two in stolen bases, he’s a nice guy to have around for the final sprint. His overall numbers don’t won’t make you lose your sensibilities, but over his last 22 games, Cabrera has been part of the overall San Diego offense-reclamation-project, hitting .278/.337/.670, stealing 13 bases in that time span. He can score you runs, he can help with steals, he’s not a black hole in batting average. He’s owned in 9% of Yahoo and 11% of ESPN leagues, so he’s widely available. If you’re still clinging to Stephen Drew, Mike Aviles, Zack Cozart, or you need someone to fill in for Yunel Escobar during his sensitivity training — Cabrera might be your man. And just for fun – Cabrera using his noodle: