July 18, 2012
Relievers for 7/18/12
Former Angels and Mets stopper Francisco Rodriguez (Yahoo! 17%, ESPN 3%, CBS 15%) is now the man in Milwaukee. K-Rod is no longer the pitcher he once was—he’s currently striking out a career low 8.4 per nine—but is still adequate enough of a reliever to string together some saves. With recent performance often a key factor in determining who gets first crack in these kinds of situations, it’s worth noting that Rodriguez brought a five-outing scoreless stretch into Tuesday’s action. K-Rod could be traded before July 31, so fair warning on that, but otherwise he’s a must-own for saves-needy owners.
Mariano Rivera (Yahoo! 20%, ESPN 16%, CBS 19%) says he wants to return from major knee surgery this season. While a comeback seems unlikely, Mo is one of a very small handful of players on whom I’m not about to call B.S. Fortunately, this one is pretty cut and dry: if you don’t have room in a DL slot or on a very deep bench, don’t bother stashing Rivera. If he does come back, it’ll only be for a couple weeks in September, meaning there are almost certainly better uses of a roster spot in the meanwhile. A couple saves in September, however, can sometimes be the difference between winning a league… or not.
Jonathan Broxton has had his name come up in a lot of trade rumors recently, and on surface he seems like an ideal candidate: one-year contract, below-market salary, closing experience, reasonable proximity to prime. With the caveat that there is no such thing as a surefire trade candidate (see: Heath Bell, 2011), I still think Greg Holland (Yahoo! 9%, ESPN 1%, CBS 9%) is a worthwhile add for saves vultures. Holland has bounced in and out of this space a couple times this season, but this time he’ll be here till after the dust settles on August 1. The right-hander has not been as good this season as he was last, but he was neck-and-neck with Brox to take over closing duties when Joakim Soria went down, and since returning from an early DL stint on May 12, he’s posted a 1.75 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings, albeit with a too-high 1.41 WHIP. Aaron Crow could be an option too, but I think Holland gets first crack.
As expected, Steve Cishek (Yahoo! 22%, ESPN 20%, CBS 22%) claimed the Marlins’ first save chance after manager Ozzie Guillen declared a committee, logging a sweet five-outer. What wasn’t expected, though, is that the next save chance went to Mike Dunn, a strong-armed left-hander with little control or command. I’m still touting Cishek as the guy to own and hope Dunn’s save was a red herring, but in fairness to Guillen, he did say it’d be a committee, and so I can’t promise that owning Cishek will be a headache-free experience. I wouldn’t bother with Dunn, however.