Janssen, Fuentes, and Thayer are discussed in this week's Value Picks
The debate between the old and new schools as to the usefulness of defined bullpen roles is as strong as ever, and with such a high turnover rate in the early going of this season, both sides have had plenty of fodder to build their arguments. For those of us who partake in fantasy leagues, however, such philosophical pedantry is a mere luxury. Chasing saves, after all, is a dirty game, so let’s have a look at some relievers of interest.
The mud hit the fan over the last week, and now a manager may find himself on the hot seat.
Here's a little insight into the prime source of AL West managerial turnover over the last decade: From 2001-present, Los Angeles (Mike Scioscia), Oakland (Art Howe, Ken Macha, and Bob Geren), and Texas (Jerry Narron, Buck Showalter, and Ron Washington) have collectively used only seven managers. Seattle, on the other hand, has run through seven managers from 2003-present. Accordingly, most of the talk of clubhouse discontent, unfulfilled potential on the field and the like has centered on the Mariners over the last several years. That was due to change at some point, and change it has, with an ugly situation very rapidly materializing out in Oakland as player-borne allegations have inundated the current Bob Geren regime.
The public nastiness began late Monday night when closer Brian Fuentes, still incredulous at having been summoned into a tied game in the eighth inning, blasted his skipper following a late-inning 4-1 loss at Anaheim: "The games in San Francisco were unorthodox managing. I thought it was a National League thing. But tonight was pretty unbelievable. ... I get up in the seventh inning. I have no idea. I didn't stretch. If there was some sort of communication beforehand, I'd be ready, which I was. I was heated up. I was ready. ... But there's just a lack of communication. I don't think anybody knows what direction (Geren) is headed." The next day, Geren demoted Fuentes as an apparent disciplinary measure and installed Grant Balfour as his new closer. Fuentes apologized to Geren behind closed doors for the public outburst, and all was (purportedly) forgiven.
With spring training inching toward a close, closer battles are starting to wind down as well.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, where I admit to the fact that I have the day off of work but may be the only person in the country who is stepping out for reasons that don’t involve either green-tinted festivities or the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. (I’ll watch Boston U get crushed in the first round, and then turn spring training back on, in case you’re wondering.) After a day spent looking at outfielders, we’re back to the bullpen, where there’s much to discuss.
Though five ranked free agents are still looking for homes, teams are still wary of giving up compensation picks.
Relief pitchers and designated hitters have more in common than it appears at first blush. Sure, when they face off they are tasked with opposing goals, but at a basic level both are asked to sit for large sections of the game, then hop up to ply their trade at a moment’s notice.
The Angels left-hander talks about the pressures of closing among a variety of subjects.
Brian Fuentes is a thinking man’s closer. The Angels left-hander has a deceptive delivery and underrated stuff, but above all he has a cerebral approach to the game. Originally drafted by Seattle, the 34-year-old Fuentes made a name for himself in Colorado, saving 111 games over a four-year stretch, before signing a free-agent contract with the Sons of Gene Autry prior to the 2009 season. Last year’s American League saves leader with 48, the laid-back and always-thoughtful Fuentes is a four-time All-Star.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 14 American League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. National League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
It's a fourth spin in six years for these two teams, but will the outcome change this time around?
Well, this certainly seems familiar. One of the reliable features of a divisional playoff slate that involves twice as many ballclubs and wild-card teams makes for a few rematches, so it's not too much of a surprise that we get to see the Red Sox and Angels square off for a fourth time in six years in October. Perhaps it's the easy isolation of living in the Midwest, but there seems to be little of the overwrought provincial self-absorption for Angels fans, where they might deserve to be filled with equal parts trepidation and anticipation. Where the hysterics of Red Sox Nation would treat three series losses to the same opponent in five years in October-the very same opponent from the epic '86 ALCS no less-there seems to be no such elaborate attention devoted the equally desperate concerns of Angels fans for having to be the ones who have seen their team fight and falter before the Red Sox in those three LDS matchups. It can't be taken as too much of a surprise; no doubt there are Rangers fans still bitter over how their team was squashed thrice in four seasons by the Yankees in the late '90s, and no doubt Yankees fans, those East Coast sophisticates, were like so many crushers and enjoyed the stomping, and Red Sox fans are no doubt no different when it comes to their post-season entertainments.