Have you ever heard of handcuffing? Of course you have. How about the theory, 3 MR are worth more than a SP? Well, I’m going to combine the two and take a look around a few bullpens and see who may be worth targeting as some last round picks. Believe in MDS, there is no point in drafting some bum like Jon Garland or Brad Penny (who are being called sleepers/bargains) when you can get better stats from dozens of players who go undrafted.
Handcuffing has been a term used for fantasy football, but you can handcuff closers too (esp in leagues that count holds). It’s better to handcuff your closers, but who wants to handcuff Octavio Dotel with Joel Hanrahan? Now that is wasting a bench spot. Handcuffing other ppl’s closers can pay off too.
Last year, if you picked up Michael Wuertz, Matt Thornton and Sean Burnett you would have accumulated the stats of a SP1. We’re talking 14 Wins, 9 Saves, 2.80 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 232 Ks in 208.2 Innings. Plus you could have named your team Genital Wuertz. I want you to say hello to my Tim Lincecum Frankenstein Monster, built completely from bits and spare parts found from the free agent bin.
With these two powers combined, they summon the Earth’s greatest champion, Captain Planet. Ok, maybe not, but we can still take out some Boss Hogs and reduce the pollution caused by the Zack Dukes of the fantasy world. Every team’s bullpen is a different situation. Lets take a look around.
LA Dodgers- Jonathan Broxton will not be on any of my teams. He is too expensive, but you can still reap profit from his understudies and piss off the Broxton owner. Last year Troncoso, Belisario, Kuo and Sherrill would have given you 12 Wins, 7 Saves, 2.26 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 173 Ks in 211 Innings. This same situation plays out in Boston, New York, Minnesota and Oakland. I love Oakland relievers!
San Diego Padres- Heath Bell is a great closer and should be included in the above example, but he will likely be traded and where he goes is any one’s guess. He could very well lose his save opportunities. This is a must handcuff and San Diego is a great place for relievers. Mujica, Gregerson and Adams will be 3 amigos who should be useful. Kerry Wood is another who could very well be traded and Chris Perez is a worthy handcuff.
California Angels (I still play RBI baseball)- Brian Fuentes is just one of those guys who could lose his job b/c he sucks. Of course Mike Scioscia gives his guys a long leash, but Fernando Rodney is still someone who should at least be on the watch list. He isn’t very good himself so I wouldn’t endorse him as someone to use. Scot Shields is interesting tho, but he is coming off knee surgery last May so nothing is a guarantee. I’m not messing around with the Cincy bullpen either.
Washington Nationals- Matt Capps is ok, but you won’t be asking yourself if you’ve entered the Twilight Zone when he loses his job. Bruney, Burnett, Clippard and Drew Storen (eventually) should be useful as handcuffs. Seattle and Toronto have similar situations.
Philadelphia Phillies- Brad Lidge, what can I say? He should have lost his job numerous times last year. Ryan Madson will likely be saving games for the first few weeks of the season and will be useful after that. Other teams with good chances of injury to the closer and useful handcuffs: Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
Every team’s bullpen is a different situation, so do your homework. These handcuffs are basically free and you don’t need to get married to them. Toss em if they’re not performing, there are plenty of useful MR options out there. Protect your interests, mix and match and have some fun creating your own 3 headed Frankenstein. Be careful if you handcuff another man’s closer tho, if an injury happens, hell come knocking on your door with a pitchfork in hand.