Deals like this week's blockbuster are rare for any team. What are the day-in, day-out moves that Alex Anthopoulus has tended to make, and is likely to continue to make, to finish building a contender?
In last week’s Lineup Card, we identified 13 areas of need facing selected teams this winter. One of those teams—the only team with two entries in the article—was the Toronto Blue Jays. One Toronto entry was about how the starting rotation would need help. (Evidently, Alex Anthopoulos agreed.) The other entry, by Colin Wyers was a bit more broad. What the Blue Jays needed, according to Colin, was “something other than a reliever.”
Look at Toronto’s transaction logs leading up to that Lineup Card, and you’ll see what Colin meant:
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With all of the big-name free-agent closers off the market, how are things shaking out at the end of each team's bullpen?
Now that the Blue Jays have signed Francisco Cordero, all of the legitimate closer candidates are now off the free-agent market. As such, now makes for a good time to check out how things look now that the closer carousel has stopped spinning.
Just because you're out in your fantasy league doesn't mean you shouldn't go shopping for potential ninth-inning guys.
For the past four years, I’ve written an article at the end of each season discussing one of my favorite keeper league strategies: stashing potential closers. Today, I’m going to do the same, explaining the strategy and then trying to figure out which middle relievers are poised to step into the ninth-inning role.
The Strategy All keeper leagues are different, but if you are in one where your leaguemates make a habit of keeping top closers, this strategy will be especially good for you. In these leagues, when auction day or draft day rolls around, the number of closers will be limited. Those who haven't kept a top closer will be bidding against each other for the leftovers, the second-tier closers. By default, their prices will rise, quite possibly above their raw value. This can trickle down the list of closers until Kevin Gregg is being auctioned for some crazy amount, like $18.
An Athletic and a Royal join the pack, while a late-inning Angel bids farewell.
Since I’m constantly suggesting that you can always find saves throughout the season and therefore shouldn’t spend too much in the draft to secure them, I thought I’d put my convictions to the test. In one of my main leagues, I’m leading the group in saves by a wide margin. Only one of my current relievers was acquired in the draft, Pittsburgh’s Joel Hanrahan, and though I’ve always been high on him, even he was a pretty late pick. Otherwise, I’ve been able to pick and choose with the names that have popped up in this column throughout the season, and it’s served me pretty well. I hope you’ve found value in it as well, but as always, feel free to speak up in the comments if there’s something we can do to serve you better.
The Jays keep making moves, and Texas tries to fill a hole.
Welcome to this week’s “Value Picks”, in which we cease to pretend we’re going to talk about other teams and just acknowledge that now and forever, we’re just going to bring you the latest and greatest in Toronto Blue Jay news. We’ve had six articles since we returned from postseason hiatus, and in that time we’ve already looked at five relievers who have either just arrived in Toronto or just left. That doesn’t even include Frank Francisco, who was originally discussed on December 2nd as a Ranger, and who features prominently today.
Late-inning stoppers can be one of the most high-risk positions you need to fill when building your team.
Now that we've finished with the starting pitchers and the positional players, it's time to rank the closers. There are a few teams that haven't finalized their closer role yet, and in those cases I took the candidate that is most likely to secure the job, rather than listing all of them. The number of saves a closer might get was obviously a big factor, but just as with starting pitchers, ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts have a great deal of influence on the rankings. Luckily, there seems to be a good number of closers this year who are capable of helping you on all fronts, based on PECOTA's projections.