Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Save situations, April 16: Bye-bye, Borowski

Looks like Joe Borowski's days as a fantasy producer could be numbered. The Indians closer has been put on the DL with a strained triceps, an injury the team's kept secret and partially explains his eye-popping 18.00 ERA and .412 batting average against this season.

Borwoski's been something of an enigma these past few years, a guy who piles up saves and escapes ninth-inning jam after ninth-inning jam, all while giving his manager and fans serious nausea. Yet he's somehow been able to hold onto his job. That may change with Rafael Betancourt, one of the league's best set-up men last year, taking over closing duties in Cleveland. Betancourt doesn't have a great history closing out games (12 of 29 in save opportunities), but he may very well take hold of the job and run with it.

The smart move here is to put Borowski on your DL slot and grab Betancourt if he's available. The Indians say Borowski will resume closing duties when (if) he returns, and although his ratios stink, you probably drafted him purely for saves, and he led the AL in those last year. The bottom line is you want whoever's pitching the ninth inning for the Indians, because there will be plenty of saves to be had.

Elsewhere in closer country:

g The Braves' closing carousel continues. First Rafael Soriano goes on the DL, now replacement Peter Moylan joins him. Just like Soriano, Moylan has an elbow strain, although this one's believed to be much worse, and he's scheduled to take a dreaded visit to Dr. James Andrews, often the baseball equivalent of your girlfriend telling you she just wants to be friends. The good news is Soriano should be back shortly, so Moylan's short-lived fantasy worthiness has probably expired with just one save to his credit this year. Looks like Manny Acosta gets the save chances in the interim by default until Soriano returns.

g The Mariners are taking their sweet old time in getting J.J. Putz (ribcage) back in their bullpen. Seattle's closer-by-committee approach with Putz out has been pretty maddening, so I'd probably look elsewhere in the meantime.

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