2014 MLB Fantasy Fixer-Uppers Week 3
There's an old adage in fantasy baseball circles that has proven to be wildly accurate this year: Don't pay for saves. Has there ever been a month where the closer carousel has spun round and round quite like it has this April? If there is, I certainly can't think of one. It is almost unthinkable to see how many closers have been either hurt, ineffective or lost their job so far. If you are one of those owners who paid for saves, well, maybe you are scrambling to scoop up the next available closer. If you aren't one of those but are looking to add someone who can rack up saves, well, you've both come to the right place.
Luke Gregerson, RP, Oakland A's (35% owned ESPN leagues)
Oakland turned heads this offseason when they eschewed their Moneyball persona and acquired the $10 million man Jim Johnson from Baltimore to close things out in the Coliseum. The early results? Well, they couldn't be worse. Jim Johnson was pulled form his closer role early on and the A's have gone to a closer by committee but Gregerson seems to be getting the most looks so far. His strikeout numbers are down from the beginning of his career but if he is racking up those saves it means he is a player worth rostering.
Kyle Farnsworth, RP, New York Mets (29% owned)
The Mets back end of the bullpen situation is a prime example of why you shouldn't pay for saves. Bobby Parnell was as locked into a closer role as anyone else out there until he blew out his elbow immediately after the season started. One Tommy John surgery later and the Mets needed a new closer. Insert Jose Valverde who has been atrocious the last two seasons. That worked for a few days until it didn't. Up next is Farnsworth who does have some closing experience (55 career saves). Terry Collins will be handing him the ball for now in the 9th inning but this carousel may keep spinning all year for the Mets.
Hector Rondon, Chicago Cubs, RP (4% owned)
OK, let's face it. The Cubs stink on ice. But someone has to close out the games they do win right? It appears to be Rondon's turn as he has picked up the Cubs last save opportunity. He strikes out a better per inning and though he may lose his job to Jose Veras once he figures things out it could be handed back to him if Veras is flipped at the trade deadline as most people expect. This could be a short and long term help to your team. Definitely a player worth keeping an eye on.
Jordan Walden, Atlanta Braves, RP (0.2% owned)
Am I reaching for this one? Maybe. But maybe not. Most people will agree that if Craig Kimbrel is not the best closer in baseball he is in the conversation. Well, Kimbrel has battled some shoulder soreness which caused him to miss a few games and was pulled in one save opportunity this week and then promptly blew his next chance. I'm guessing this isn't the last we hear of Kimbrel's shoulder and as a Braves fan that scares the bajeezus out of me. That being said, Walden has been terrific out of the pen for Atlanta and he completed the aforementioned save Kimbrel was lifted from. Walden had a fine rookie season with the Angels and looked like their closer for the future but he was promptly traded to Atlanta. If you are a Kimbrel owner I would stash Walden now.
*Special Mention Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays, RP, (73% owned / DL eligible)
If Janssen is available in your league and you have an open disabled list spot grab him now. The fact that is is available in a quarter of leagues out there is absurd. The Jays bullpen needs help and Janssen is the man for the job. He may be eased back into the closer's role but once he is healthy the saves will be his for the taking.