Losing Joakim Soria isn't a death blow to the Royals' ninth-inning hopes.
When is losing your closer—not long ago considered one of the best closers in the league—not a big deal? What if you have a possible replacement on your roster whose rookie season was historically good?
Bob Dutton, the Royals beat writer for The Kansas City Star, reported on Friday that Joakim Soria had decided to undergo Tommy John surgery and would miss the entire 2012 season. Soria previously needed a UCL replacement procedure in 2003 while in the low minors with the Dodgers, three years before the Royals plucked him out of the Padres’ farm system in the Rule 5 draft.
The Royals' bullpen suffers a couple of blows, and the pain around the rest of the league is plentiful.
Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres (Right Knee Surgery)
Quentin has had a difficult time staying healthy, and he’s starting his injury train early this year. The outfielder will undergo arthroscopic surgery today to fix a torn meniscus and remove loose bodies from his right knee. Meniscal injuries can cause pain, swelling, or a clicking sensation depending on the type, size, and location of the tear. If left untreated, meniscal tears can lead to arthritis. Loose bodies can also act as irritants and lead to arthritis.
The procedure is straightforward. The surgeon will remove the loose bodies and try to stitch the torn meniscus back together but will most likely have to trim the torn portion because the tissue is degenerated beyond repair. Standard recovery is four to six weeks, but it could vary if there are additional injuries not seen on the MRI. With the recovery expected to be four to six weeks, we should see Quentin back in mid- to late April. When Quentin returns to the outfield, his knee might flare up or swell.
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.
Do his early-season struggles suggest that Royals closer Joakim Soria's best days lie behind him, or can he succeed with a different style?
Joakim Soria has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball over the past four years. From 2007 to 2010, he put up a 2.01 ERA with 281 strikeouts against only 70 walks and 182 hits in 255 innings. Over that period, he held the opposition scoreless in 82 percent of the games he entered, and he allowed multiple runs only five percent of the time. For comparison, Mariano Rivera had a 2.05 ERA over those four years, held the opposition scoreless 83 percent of the time, and allowed multiple runs five percent of the time. Even while fighting (and usually failing) to avoid the basement in the AL Central, the Royals could claim a truly elite closer in Soria, the rare All-Star on a perennial cellar dweller.