It’s funny.  Two years ago I found myself in desperate need of saves in August, and my league rules limited my options for trades (in August you can only trade with a team two spots from you in the standings). 

With excess power, I was able to coerce the team behind me to trade me Jonathan Papelbon and Melvin Mora in exchange for Ryan Braun and Jonathan Sanchez.

I knew the owner, and I knew his love for home runs and strikeout potential.  Plus, let’s be honest, on paper the deal looks lopsided in the wrong direction from my perspective.  However, there was a huge need I needed to fill.

The deal panned out, as I went on to take home the title.  Surprisingly, that had as much to do with the performance of Mora (despite missing time in September), who hit .418 with eight HR and 32 RBI in August that year (in August and September, Braun hit a total of eight HR and 25 RBI) as Papelbon locking down saves (he was one of the best closers in the league that season).

I never would’ve predicted that, and I wouldn’t have predicted actually picking up the now 38-year-old Mora for the final week of the 2010 season.  In baseball, however, strange things happen.

Mora is supposed to be a utility option for the Rockies, but injuries and struggles have forced him into the lineup on a regular basis of late, and he has certainly delivered. 

In his last five games (through Sunday) he has gone 6-15 with two HRs, seven RBIs, and three runs.  In fact, he’s spent some time hitting fifth, behind Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.  In other words, if teams ever decide to stop pitching to them, Mora is going to get the opportunity to make them pay.

Overall in September (83 AB), he’s hit .325 with three HRs, 17 RBIs, and 11 runs.  He’s just been hot, and there really is no reason to ignore it.

With eligibility at 1B, 2B, and 3B, chances are those in deeper formats have a need to plug him in.  It’s hard to imagine, but he actually is a viable option over the final week of the season.

He has some tough matchups over the final week, with the Dodgers and Cardinals on the schedule.  Over a three-day span the Rockies may get to face Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, and Chris Carpenter.  It’s “may” because there is now talk that Wainwright may not make his final start due to a sore elbow (plus, there’s no guarantee he’s in the lineup every game).

At this time of year, you can’t judge a player strictly by his matchups because you really never know.  Any bump or bruise could cause a manager to sit them down.  At any time, thanks to deep bullpens from expanded rosters, a manager could decide to limit the number of innings of his starter.

When you are hot you are hot and you can’t simply ignore it.  It doesn’t matter who the player is, when the chance is there to catch lightning in a bottle, it is worth trying to take advantage of.

I’m not about to say Mora is a must-use option, but depending on your format there is potential value there.  My league is a 13-team league with 33-man rosters (23 active, 10 bench).  In a league like that, he’s worth taking a shot with if you need someone for the last few days.

In daily leagues, he’s certainly worth grabbing if you know he’s starting and plugging him in.

What are your thoughts on Mora?  Would you consider using him over the final week?  Why or why not?

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