Closing Time: Now pinch hitting, No. 25, Jim Thome

Scott Pianowski

Say this for Jim Thome(notes), he wants a championship badly. It's just not a fantasy championship he's after.

Thome agreed to waive his no-trade clause Monday as the White Sox dealt him to the Dodgers for non-prospect infielder Justin Fuller (from Chicago's side, it's a salary dump all the way). Thome hasn't played a lot of first base in the last five years (the last appearance came in 2007) and although he might spell James Loney(notes) at the corner now and then, it's doubtful he'll be an everyday guy for Joe Torre's crew. Said a different way, Thome's fantasy value probably expired late Monday night.

The Dodgers weren't done adding secondary pieces to their puzzle; they also grabbed Jon Garland from the Diamondbacks in exchange for a player to be named later. Los Angeles receives a respectable if underwhelming No. 5 starter in this swap, while the Snakes save about $1.16 million. It's a favorable park move for Garland, but I can't imagine giving him any streaming love down the stretch unless the matchup sets up perfectly.

The most important save chance for any would-be closer is the first one as the main guy, and with that we had all eyes on Juan Gutierrez(notes) as he stepped into the fray at Chavez Ravine on Monday. Gutierrez only needed eight pitches to set the Dodgers down in order, the fourth Arizona reliever to throw up a bagel on the night (following Esmerling Vazquez, Daniel Schlereth(notes) and Blaine Boyer(notes)). Possession is nine-tenths of the law in save chasing, so roll with Gutierrez until he gives you a strong reason not to.

That established, we also have to consider that A.J. Hinch uttered the "committee" word before Monday's game, and while he basically made Gutierrez the chair of that committee, he also said he wouldn't hesitate to use Gutierrez earlier in games if the situation merited it. Kudos to Hinch for not letting the save rule get in the way of intelligent bullpen management.

The Giants were surprisingly mum on the John Smoltz(notes) lottery a few weeks back but they decided to dive in on Brad Penny(notes), signing the failed Boston starter for the remainder of the season. Penny was mediocre to begin with in the first half but things really fell apart for him after the break (7.82 ERA, 1.66 WHIP. .323 BAA). If the National League environment magically makes Penny fantasy-viable again, maybe it's time to just admit that the NL is playing inferior baseball these days. It's interesting to note that Penny chose the Giants over the Twins; make of that what you will.

J.J. Hardy(notes) is back in Milwaukee and figures to fall into a time share with Alcides Esacobar; that essentially kills the value of both guys in most mixed leagues. Hardy didn't post anything great in his three weeks at Triple-A, assembling a .246/.279/.415 line. Escobar is hitting .286 in his 17-game trial with the Brew Crew but he's only got two walks and one steal over that span.

Carlos Beltran(notes) (knee) will be wearing a Brooklyn Cyclones jersey Wednesday as he starts a rehab assignment. I don't see what the Mets possibly gain by running Beltran back on the field this year but he's their high-priced property, not mine (albeit my Friends & Family club wouldn't mind a few weeks of Beltran production). David Wright(notes) is expected to start for New York on Tuesday, wearing a new piece of headgear.

Whisper to a Stream - Wednesday: If you want to buy into Homer Bailey's(notes) last two turns (15 IP, 1 ER, 11 K), at least the matchup looks good, at home against Pittsburgh. … The Royals have gone 4-14 in Brian Bannister's(notes) last 18 turns, which has me strongly considering some Trevor Cahill(notes) play at Oakland. … John Lannan(notes) is one of those sneaky lefties who stays perpetually under the radar; I'll try him at San Diego. … Tommy Hunter's(notes) track record looks solid but after the keg tapper Toronto and Texas played Monday night, I'm petrified to go anywhere near Arlington.

Injury Blog: Brandon Phillips(notes) has been playing through a hairline fracture in his wrist, putting him at risk of an early-season shutdown. It didn't seem to bother him so much Monday night; he went 3-for-4 with a homer as the Reds completed a sweep of the Pirates. … The MRI came back negative on Jake Peavy's(notes) elbow; he's got a bruise and soreness but nothing worse than that. He plans to do some throwing Tuesday to see where he's at. … Ichiro Suzuki(notes) (calf) took batting practice Monday but nonetheless was given another day to rest. … Adrian Beltre(notes) (let's just not talk about it) could be back with the Mariners as soon as Tuesday. … Hiroki Kuroda(notes) (concussion) might be ready to pitch for the Dodgers by the weekend. … So much for the Kyle Blanks(notes) story; he's got a partial tear in his plantar fascia and his right foot is going to be placed in a cast. We'll revisit the slugger next spring. … Jeff Francoeur(notes) wants to keep playing despite a nagging quad injury and a bum thumb that will need surgery after the season. … Nick Johnson(notes) (hamstring) will begin his minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday. … Johnny Cueto(notes) (shoulder) came off the DL with five strong innings against the Bucs.