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.
How have recent deals and signing affected players' fantasy values?
Carlos Quentin | San Diego Padres | OF | Acquired via Trade Quentin was acquired earlier this week for minor-league talent and will slot into the middle of the order for San Diego. Unfortunately, while the Padres didn’t give up a whole lot to acquire him, he is a poor fit for the team, and his fantasy owners will not be made happy about the move. Going from one of the most favorable hitter’s parks in baseball to one of the least will destroy much of Quentin’s value. Because he hasn’t posted a batting average about .254 since 2008 (when he hit a healthy .288), power is all he has to offer, and now that may become scarce—think maybe 15 home runs this year, possibly 20 if he can manage to play an entire season healthily.
Perhaps more than anything else, though, this gives Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman an automatic “Go to bench, do not pass Go, do not collect $200” card. They’ll no longer be vying for playing time in left field in 2012, and right field is expected to be occupied by a Will Venable/Chris Denorfia platoon. That throws Blanks and Guzman back into the first-base mix. Yonder Alonso still has to be considered the favorite there, but this deal certainly doesn’t do him any favors either between Blanks, Guzman, and Anthony Rizzo nipping at his heels. The only guys actually gaining in all of this are the Padres number two and three hitters (Cameron Maybin? Chase Headley? Orlando Hudson?), who figure to score a few more runs with Quentin behind them.
Before you believe everything your team's general manager says, remember these great moments in GM-speak, featuring half-truths, misdirections, and statements that turned out to be false.
Baseball fans will believe almost anything if they’re starved enough for news. No source is too far removed from the situation, no rumor too far-fetched to attract attention as long as it arrives on a slow news day and can be expressed in 140 characters. Ruben Amaro thinks Vernon Wells could be the Phillies’ answer in left field and wants to offer him an extension? You don't say. Brian Sabean is considering signing a hitter? Now you’re pushing it, but sure, it could happen. A team is talking about trading Zack Greinke for Jeff Francoeur? Okay, so no one would actually say that. (Wait—someone did.)
When a piece of information is couched in conditionals and comes to us through multiple intermediaries—a writer plus someone he knows who knows someone else—we don’t expect perfect accuracy. Anonymously sourced tidbits are generally something to discuss and dream about, not something you can count on. But surely we can trust the men whose job it is to put their clubs together. After all, who would know better what’s in a team’s plans than the man in charge of making them? Can’t we take what a GM says as gospel?
A look at the kind of investment $1 players are in fantasy league.
Dollar days in a fantasy auction are a true melting pot of individuals. They include the young, the old, the promising, and the worn down. They include the well-known, the little-known, and a lot of second catchers and middle reliever sleepers as well. Some owners are quite comfortable going into dollar days with five roster spots left while others avoid rostering any dollar players because they do not want to hand over any leverage to the other owners as they try to fill their final roster spots.
The new Astros GM is steering the ship away from overvaluing fungible relievers.
Devout “Seinfeld” fans undoubtedly remember the scene when Jerry tells George, “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” New Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow heeded that advice on Wednesday when he agreed to trade reliever Mark Melancon to the Red Sox for infielder Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland.
The Astros were baseball’s worst team last season, after four years under previous GM Ed Wade, who was fired in November after owner Jim Crane took over the franchise. Wade’s most glaring flaw was an odd propensity for overvaluing relievers, often at the expense of prospects or other parts of his major-league roster. Not surprisingly, Luhnow was determined to immediately change course.
Mike looks at the shaky situation in Minnesota and welcomes two high strikeout setup men to VP.
I spent my holiday weekend in the middle of the country, mainly driving from Ohio through Indiana to southern Illinois. If nothing else, I learned this: 80 percent of radio stations in that part of the country are, at any given time, carrying a St. Louis Cardinals game.Nothing at all wrong with that.
Mark Melancon and Vicente Padilla are too popular to remain on the list, but Mike has found new relievers for you to keep an eye on
We all got a little spoiled last week with Vicente Padilla and Mark Melancon each suddenly ascending to fantasy relevance--it's a little thin this week as far as new closers go. Still, if you look hard enough, there are a few names of interest out there for your fantasy bullpen.
A new Astro and yet another Cardinal join the VP list, while the bullpen situations in Chicago and Baltimore gain clarity.
If there is anything I’ve learned from writing this piece, it’s that you never, ever need to reach for closers in the draft. Sure, you want to make sure you get at least one of the top guys if only for peace of mind, but look who we’re talking about this week. Mark Melancon? Vicente Padilla? Eduardo Sanchez? We’re only a month into the season, these guys look like they could be viable closing options, and I guarantee you no one was thinking about them at draft time. We’ll keep seeing this, too–almost certainly, later in the season at least one arm will get ninth inning duties who you’ve never even heard of right now.
There was plenty of shuffling around on the waiver wire this week, especially for NL clubs in search of a new third baseman.
Domonic Brown is back, and then is immediately sent to Triple-A. Pablo Sandoval incurs the same injury Brown had, and now we finally know what is wrong with Ryan Zimmerman. Ben Zobrist does in one day what Hanley Ramirez has barely done all season and Dustin Moseley’s deal with the devil continues (although apparently he forgot to include run support in those negotiations). In all, it was just another crazy week in the Tout Wars leagues.