Weekly FAAB check-in: The cost of a closer
Were you able to snag Devin Mesoraco, Martin Perez or Eric Young off the waiver wire this week? Lucky you. In leagues where they weren't available, the biggest bids went to the closers ... again.
After two weeks, I was down to $75.
That's one-fourth of my budget in one-thirteenth of the season. Granted, you should expect to spend more at the beginning of the season, when everyone is flush with cash, no one is out of the running and any potential pickup could have a lasting impact. But one of the biggest reasons why I finished second in this league last year is because I didn't save enough dollars for the endgame. I never knew helplessness until I saw the one owner within striking distance outbid me for every player of note by $1 week after week. And with that fresh in my memory, I'm already feeling the need to pace myself.
Good thing the waiver wire wasn't exactly bursting at the seams this week.
Maybe in a league where Devin Mesoraco was still available or no one had caught on to Martin Perez yet, I would have needed to go the extra dollar. Maybe in a league where stolen bases tend to slip through the cracks, Eric Young would only now be on everyone's radar. Maybe in a league with more of an eye on yesterday than tomorrow, Ike Davis would have been a hot ticket item with his new opportunity in Pittsburgh. But this league isn't that league.
This league is the league that goes all out for closers, with newcomers to the role consistently earning the biggest bids.
Which made the little I spent this week well worth the investment.
Kyle Farnsworth , RP, New York Mets : I bid $5. The winner bid $16. Yeah, I would have been willing to take on Farnsworth if the rest of the league had left him to me, but predictably, that didn't happen, his diminishing stuff and tenuous hold on the closer role clearly no deterrent to those in pursuit of saves. While I can't dispute he's better than Jose Valverde , who forfeited the job to Farnsworth after blowing one save in three opportunities, he's another de facto pick awarded the job not because he earned it, but because the Mets had to make a change. No longer overpowering but always erratic, he could ultimately lose the job to Gonzalez Germen or Vic Black , if not Valverde himself at some point.
The kicker is that the winner of Farnsworth dropped Valverde for him ... after spending $26 on Valverde just two weeks ago. So he's now spent $42 -- or nearly half his budget -- attempting to pin down a closer situation that I suspect will continue to elude him. With 23 more of these bid-offs ahead of us, I'm calling his approach short-sided.
Before I bury this owner, though, I should note he's the one who overtook me late last year and is currently in the lead now. So either he knows exactly what he's doing, or I'm about to do to him what he did to me last year. I have to leapfrog a couple other owners first, though.
Jim Johnson , RP, Oakland Athletics : I won with a $3 bid. When someone dropped Johnson for Luke Gregerson last week, I thought it was short-sighted and said in this very space I hoped to claim him for cheap next week. Of course, if I had known Gregerson and Sean Doolittle would each blow a save while Johnson himself threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings over the course of that week, I would have assumed I wouldn't get the chance. That the Athletics didn't go back to Johnson raises some doubt about whether or not they will, which kept the bidding relatively low. Even though I bid less on him than Farnsworth, Johnson is the one I wanted. The Athletics acquired him to be their closer and are paying him to be their closer, so once he convinces him he can get the job done, which he's well on his way to doing, he'll get his second chance. And once he gets that second chance, his track record suggests he'll make good on it.
A closer by design offers far more assurances than a closer by accident. Maybe Johnson doesn't have the job right now, but particularly in a Rotisserie league, I'll opt for the long-term play.
Derek Dietrich , 2B, Miami Marlins : I bid $0. The bid didn't go through. I had only one player I was willing to drop this week, so when the Johnson bid went through, the Dietrich bid became moot. But the player I would have dropped for him was Chris Owings , who you may remember last week I paid $6 to get, seeing him as the only worthy replacement for what appeared to be an injured Dustin Pedroia . What a difference a week makes. Dietrich may not have Owings' job security, facing a possible demotion when Rafael Furcal returns from a hamstring injury, but if he's shown enough to stick around even in a utility role, I like what he brings to the table more. He hit 20 homers in 433 at-bats between the majors and minors last year and has shown more patience at the plate then he did in the lower levels. He's certainly not a priority pickup and may not be that much of an upgrade over Owings, really, but if I have a free roster spot, I'm intrigued enough by Dietrich's skill set to invest in him now.
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