The Oakland Athletics have activated relief pitcher Ryan Cook from the disabled list after he was bothered by a shoulder issue during the spring, and he’ll now step back into the set-up role he had in 2013 ahead of new closer Jim Johnson. Johnson got his first save of the season on Sunday against the Seattle Mariners, and he has not allowed a run in each of his last two games after allowing five runs in his first two appearances of the season (one loss, one blown save).
Should fantasy baseball owners consider adding Cook now that he is healthy?
Cook went just 2-for-9 in save opportunities in 2013, but otherwise he was a solid fantasy asset in deeper leagues with six wins, a 2.54 ERA, a 9.0 K/9 rate and 23 holds over 71 appearances (67.1 innings). He had 14 saves for Oakland in 2012, along with a 2.09 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP, but he blew seven saves that year as well and an elevated strand rate (80 percent in each of the last two seasons) has helped keep his ERA down.
Johnson is coming off back-to-back 50-save seasons for the Baltimore Orioles, with 101 total saves over that span, so Oakland manager Bob Melvin has obviously not pulled the plug on him and fantasy owners need to keep him in their lineups until further notice. But if Johnson can’t completely shake his early-season struggles a change may be forced to happen at some point, and Cook has closer-worthy peripheral skills that should put him first in line to take over the role.
Cook is worth adding and stashing in deep mixed leagues right now, particularly as a potential closer “handcuff” to Johnson, and as should be expected he’s widely available (six percent ownership in Yahoo! leagues) with his delayed start to the season.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.