With a few drafts in the books, I’ve started to add some players off the free agent wire, mostly relievers. Here are a few possible sources of cheap saves to look at if you’ve already drafted or to target in the late rounds if your draft day has yet to come.
With Andrew Bailey heading to see Dr. Andrews, which is not usually a good thing, Brian Fuentes is the guy to grab. He has the “closer experience” and continues to get the job done despite so-so K/BB numbers. Fuentes is still very effective against left-handed batters, but much less so against righties. Because of that, adding Grant Balfour isn’t a bad idea if you can’t snag Fuentes.
Will Neftali Feliz start or not? I have a feeling that Nolan Ryan may have approached Feliz in a dark alley with a raised fist and told him that he “should reconsider starting if he knows what’s good for him.” Feliz now says he’s focused on starting, which makes Alexi Ogando, who is also working as a starter this spring, the best speculative add at this point. Ogando has the classic big-fastball/slider combo that can be dominant out of the pen. Mark Lowe has also been mentioned as a candidate.
Wanting to start off every paragraph with a W, we head to Washington, where the word on the street is that Drew Storen may not even make the team out of spring training. Count me in as one of the few people not crazy about him as a closer this season anyway. Instead, the “bullpen-by-commitee” line has been used by Jim Riggleman, but most managers like to simply name a closer at some point (Think of the situation in Minnesota last year). Tyler Clippard is the first name to look at, as he spend most of the 2010 season in the set-up role. However, Sean Burnett came on strong late last season and may also see some time. Both pitchers have big question marks (Clippard’s 91 innings pitched out of the bullpen and Burnett’s mediocre numbers against right-handed batters), so I’ll give the edge to the right-handed Clippard, but it’s a risky situation either way.