How will the saves picture play out?
It's, luckily, a situation you won't have to address at a prime cost, regardless of format. This will probably land as one of the final saves pictures to fall off your draft board.
Parnell will state his case to close
General manager Sandy Alderson has hesitated in giving the role to health and performance risk Frank Francisco. A balky elbow that cut short his 2012, and eventually required knife work, was thrown on the already towering injury pile. In fairness, Francisco's indicators say he wasn't "5.53 ERA" bad, but the numerous blowups that create that obviously hurt his owners' bottom line.
Frank Squared usually has bouts with job security but often does just enough to bide himself some time. His strikeout ability champions his ninth-inning ability, and he's muted his fly-ball problems with several years of high pop-up rates. But he's often still hit quite hard, even when without injury, and he's actually been nibbling more over the past two seasons. Even if his control improves, his reluctance to challenge hitters puts his K/9 at risk.
Bobby Parnell hit his stride as a reliever last year, garnering seven closures and doing the deed with Francisco sidelined. He boasts an attractive grounder-K duo that has blossomed thanks to his vast arsenal, bred from his past starter's experience. The two-seamer and curveball have been particularly successful for him.
New York is also close to signing Brandon Lyon, who fanned 9.30 per nine last year ... wait, what? He hadn't struck out 7.00-plus per nine since 2003. Well, he was finally recovered from a 2011 rotator cuff tear and had his surprisingly widespread offerings working in middle relief and some setup work. He's still primarily control-based, and his tepid velocity says there's risk to buying that dominance again. But he may surprise and net at least a few wrap-ups, regardless of where he signs.
Josh Edgin carries similar low-cost intrigue, but his left-handedness likely limits his upward mobility. Jeurys Familia will work from the bullpen and may make some noise here later in the year, but mixed leaguers can simply tuck his name away.
Parnell holds the most complete package to back, but if all these RPs are healthy, will they prefer to keep Parnell's situations flexible so he can put out pre-ninth fires? Francisco's contract, unfortunately, may speak volumes for his candidacy if his spring performance is at least a step forward. Trusting a full season of that, of course ... you should never be ready for that.
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, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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