There’s a reason I keep saying that you never go for a closer in the draft. They don’t pitch enough innings and they don’t provide much value. Their performances are too unpredictable to rely on, as most closers in the non-Rivera category tend to be replaced by July.
For your sake, I hope you didn’t draft Joakim Soria or Ryan Madson, as they’re both going to need Tommy John surgery. Soria we already knew about, but as John Fay recently tweeted Madson will require Tommy John surgery as well. This is a huge blow to the Cincinnati Reds staff, as Madson is only guaranteed for a one year deal. Madson has a mutual option for 2013, but given that he’ll be coming off TJ surgery it’s unlikely the Reds will agree to accept the $11 million option. It’s much more likely they’ll have to buy him out for $2.5 million. He was thought to be a bargain this offseason, but now he’s out for the year.
Soria’s injury is extremely bad timing for the Kansas City Royals. The Royals had club options for Soria, but his injury might force them to decline them as it’s unlikely he’d be back until the middle of next season. While they weren’t expected to contend, the Royals needed a strong year from Soria so they could trade him to a contender or so that they could feel confident about using him after a poor 2011.
These are some fairly damaging injuries to your fantasy teams, so it’s important to take a look at some replacements:
Sean Marshall, Cincinnati Reds – Marshall was traded to the Reds in the offseason, and that move looks a lot better after hearing the news about Madson. Marshall has been one of the most effective relievers in the game over the past two years, putting up a 2.45 ERA (2.05 FIP) along with a strikeout rate over 10 and a groundball rate nearing 55%.
While he doesn’t have “closer” experience,Marshall is instantly one of the best options at closer. He strikes out a ton of hitters, keep his ERA down, and now he’s on pace to close for a contending team. If you haven’t already grabbed up Marshall, do it quickly. You won’t find a better bargain this late in fantasy baseball.
Jon Broxton, Kansas City – The Royals wisely added Broxton in the offseason, and it looks like he’ll be given a shot at the closer role. He’s struggled for the past few years, but if he’s used properly he could be a fantastic addition to the Royals pen.
2009 was his best season, as Broxton saved 36 games with a 2.61 ERA, striking out 114 batters in 76 innings. If he can come anything close to performing like that, he’ll be a steal.
Greg Holland, Kansas City – Broxton is the safer bet for the Royals closing gig, but keep an eye out for Holland. He’s been positively filthy since he joined the Royals, striking out 11.10 K/9 while keeping his ERA under 3. With Soria out of the way, he’s clearly the closer of the future. If Broxton struggles, look forHolland to take over.
Bryan Lutz discusses the impact of losing Ryan Madson.