Mike examines whether games-finished clauses are indicative of future save opportunties.
When I was a small child everything I knew about baseball came from either the back of a baseball card or what the local color guys for the Yankees and Mets told me on TV. During this impressionable age, I remember reading about Steve Stone winning the Cy Young Award in 1980 and how he earned a $10,000 bonus for his trouble. As an impressionable lad, I figured that for Stone to have this bonus in his contract he had to be an excellent pitcher. Some superficial research told me that this wasn’t the case at all; Stone was a solid-but-unspectacular pitcher. As I learned from the back of this particular baseball card, the bonus clause was put into the contract, but it was something the Orioles figured he’d never collect.
“It was like an insurance salesman telling you, ‘We’ll give you $50,000 if an elephant falls on you,’ because he knows darn well an elephant isn’t going to fall on you,” Stone said at the time.
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Investing in top non-closers now could save you loads of money next draft day.
For the past five years, as the season winds down, I’ve made it a habit of discussing one of my favorite keeper league strategies: stashing potential closers. This, of course, isn’t viable in every single keeper league based on format, depth, and rule quirks, but in leagues where it is, it can be a powerful way of accruing cheap value for your 2013 squad before the 2012 season even ends.
As I discussed the strategy in detail last season, I’ll simply repost for those who are new to BP:
Glen Perkins and Greg Holland make their VP bid this week.
I had such high hopes for Pirates swing man Brad Lincoln (Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 2%, CBS 9%), but his past three outings have been starts, and the results have been ugly: 11 2/3 innings, 13 earned runs, 10 strikeouts, 23 hits (!), and four walks. It’s time for the Bucs to mercy-kill this experiment and return Lincoln to his rightful place as their long reliever. He’ll serve the team—and fantasy owners—far better in that role.
Dale Thayer doesn't do much, but he does one thing, and that might be all it takes to be a successful reliever.
Every closer needs a signature something. Dale Thayer is instantly recognizable thanks to his Wyatt Earp-inspired mustache, and so when he takes the mound people know that the Padres are calling upon their closer. It’s a temporary gig, just until Huston Street returns, but it did lead to a more permanent role as a guinea pig. So long as Thayer is in the major leagues, he can help test the fungibility of relievers. One case won’t make much of a difference in a battle fought with constant fervor, but Thayer remains perfect for the role. After all, teams have viewed him as fungible dating back to his days as an undrafted collegiate. Thayer has survived exposure to the Rule 5 drafts, trades, outright assignments, and multiple minor-league free agencies. This closing thing? This closing thing is nothing.
The first thing you notice about Thayer is his velocity. Despite being listed at six feet, he can hit 95 mph on the gun. He goes to work with a three-pitch arsenal: the fastball, a slider, and a changeup. Here’s how a typical Thayer at-bat goes. He starts with a fastball away for a strike. Then he goes to the slider or the changeup, either as a bait pitch or in the zone. Once he gets to two strikes, he will try to get the batter to chase one of those pitches again. If the temptation proves fruitless, Thayer might elevate a fastball in attempt to coax a late swing.
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.
Taking a peek at the players who were stealthily good in the NL in 2010.
With Major League Baseball about to enter its official awards season, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some players who will not be regaled with hardware but who performed admirably under the radar. These players were sneakily effective, eliciting “he was that good” reactions much more frequently than confident head nods upon glancing at their end-of-season statistics. In some cases, the players derived much of their success in the field while others managed to put together all-around great campaigns while lacking publicity. Others might not have performed at a star level but finished with noteworthy numbers relative to their production a year ago.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
The Rockies knot things up while Los Dos Angeles take leads in their respective series.
Jim Tracy is going to win the NL Manager of the Year Award, because when you take over a team in May and that team plays .600 baseball under you and makes the playoffs, that's just the way it goes. When I wrote about the Rockies in July, I noted that their success seemed in part to be due to personnel decisions Tracy had made, largely in improving the defense.
A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.