Sunday, April 6, 2008

Save situations, April 6

I've always found closers to be fascinating. Of course you've got your old reliables, like Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera, who once again look like sure things this season. And then there's everybody else ... guys who've had bad luck, guys who could implode at any second, and teams whose closer situation is about as stable as being Spinal Tap's drummer.

This year I'll periodically check out some "save situations" around the league. Let's take our first look:

g We knew something was up when Chad Cordero wasn't ready to go in the Nationals' opener, and now he's been put on the DL with a sore shoulder. Enter Jon Rauch, the Nats' pretty solid set-up guy who will close in Cordero's absence. Cordero could be back soon, but you never really know with these kind of injuries. Washington has also been trying to deal Cordero for an eternity, so even if he comes back to pitch soon, Rauch might be worth holding onto if you can spare the roster spot.

g Will Todd Jones ever get a save this season? Randy Flores has one. Miguel Batista does too, and he's a starter. But Jones (above) still has a big, fat zero in the saves column ... of course, it doesn't help that the Tigers haven't won yet, either. I wouldn't panic though. Whenever Detroit breaks out of this funk, Jones is still capable of saving 40 games. Trust me.

g JJ Putz, arguably fantasy's best closer last year, is on the DL with a rib injury, and while it's supposed to be mild, there's no timetable for his return. Bummer, huh? Mark Lowe is supposed to fill in for Putz, and although the aforementioned Batista just happened to pick up a save for the Mariners earlier this week, Lowe should still be the go-to guy in the ninth until Putz returns. Definitely grab him if you're a Putz owner (or you want to see a Putz owner have a panic attack).

g Brandon Lyon's had a mixed debut as the Diamondbacks' closer. He's got one save, but he's blown another and has a 13.50 ERA in three appearances. The D-backs took a bit of a risk by dealing Jose Valverde in the offseason and giving Lyon the promotion, and while it's still early, I'm keeping serious tabs on set-up guy Tony Pena.

No comments: