The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim inked Ryan Madson to a one-year, prove-it pact Tuesday. The right-hander missed all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery, which was performed by Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum. That had to have factored into the signing, knowing that Anaheim's trusted knife man has the beat on Madson's health.
If the new Halos hurler's recovery goes well, expect him to take the closer job from Ernesto Frieri. That's not a given, considering the recovery path and how effective and dominant Frieri was on the whole last season, but some summer bumps in Frieri's road (which included some platooning with Scott Downs) have reminded Anaheim that they want a proven option in save sitches.
Plus, Mike Scioscia probably views Frieri the same way the Washington Nationals viewed Tyler Clippard early last year - they want him to merely be the contingency closer and utilize his dominance in tighter setup spots.
Madson's timetable is a positive; he had the procedure in early spring last year. The turnaround for a reliever to regain his normal stuff is, all things equal, shorter, so he should be good to go most of the year. Assuming he's given the role - and this may require a March competition - he's a midrange option in mixed drafts that could pay off with at least a sizeable chunk of his elite skills at the right price. The cost will depend on how good his form - not his stat line - looks in Tempe.
Even if Frieri is sent back to a Sergio Romo level of setup man output - plentiful K's, difference-making ERA and WHIP - that's handy in deep mixers. Given that he'd be replaced by a post-TJS arm, the K-friendly, BB-plagued righty ranks as one of the best save understudies to own in fantasy. In some situations, you're probably wise to pair the RPs on your squad.
Carlos Ruiz's 25-game Adderall-fueled suspension makes him this year's Salvador Perez: the sidelined catcher that's worth a stash in two-backstop leagues even though he's expected to miss the first month or so of the campaign.
Receivers' power takes longer to develop than that for other positions, and the 16 homers Ruiz launched last year aren't completely fake, but heading into his age-34 season, that HR/FB of 15.1 is about as lofty as the greenies made him.
Expect his tater total to split the difference with the six he hit in '11, or the eight he mashed in '10. That's not a bad C2 line.
Some, however, will overpay for a BA that's more likely to come back toward his career .275 than stay above that alluring .300 bracket. Let them.
Oh, and NL-only leaguers can look forward to Erik Kratz and/or whoever else they..... zzzzzzzzzzzzz
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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