StrategyJune 26, 2009

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Closer Complex: Trading Replacements

By Matthew Robertson

Continuing on the theme of injury from last week’s Closer Complex, another closer has recently been supplanted because of a physical hardship and a few fantasy players are already thinking about possible trades that could happen. This has led many people wondering who will get closer roles in the present and as well as the future. The possibility of relievers getting traded is something I’ll touch on here and will expand upon closer to the July 31 trade deadline.

The Florida Marlins recently placed closer Matt Lindstrom on the DL with a sprained right elbow. Now, any injury to someone’s throwing elbow automatically sends fear through any fantasy owner, and the Marlins are anticipated to treat Lindstrom very carefully until he’s deemed fully healed. This precaution has many thinking that the flame-throwing closer will not return until mid-August. This opening has thus led many to speculate as to whom will fill in as the Florida closer. Most believe that setup man Leo Nunez is the logical replacement but Dan Meyer and Renyel Pinto should also become factors. Nunez has been ailing himself, and that is likely the reason that Dan Meyer got the save opportunity the other night. Still, if a tough lefty matchup enters the ninth inning, then I think Meyer and Pinto may see a chance. I think this will be a 70% Nunez/20% Meyer/10% Pinto split, with a healthy Nunez seeing the majority of saves as long as he proves effective, which I think will be the biggest question, as Nunez has proven to be very hittable at times.

The MLB trade deadline is about a month away and I thought it’d be pertinent to identify a few current closers that could be on the move. The first potential closer trade candidate is Colorado’s Huston Street, as he’s going to be very expensive in coming arbitration years, and I think he’d actually close on most teams if acquired. Street has been pitching well of late, Corpas is on the DL, and the Rockies are surging so Street may not be dealt after all. The next guy to look at is Houston’s Jose Valverde, as he’s a pending FA and has expressed interest in testing the free agent market. Thus, this would leave many to believe that the non-contending Astros would do well to move him while they could. Like Street, Valverde would likely close wherever he’d go, but this would leave an opening for LaTroy Hawkins, Chris Sampson, or even Felipe Paulino. The last closer to possibly traded is Baltimore’s George Sherrill, as he’s simply a left-handed setup man forced to close. A lot depends on the healthiness and effectiveness of Chris Ray, but still, the Orioles are not going to contend and relief pitching will likely be valued at a premium near the end of July.

Matthew Robertson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Matthew in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Havok1517.
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