Matt Stroup

Baseball Daily Dose

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K-Rod Closing Carousel

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

As it turns out, the biggest fantasy headline of All-Star Tuesday had nothing to do with anyone who was actually playing in the game, as news broke first thing Wednesday morning that Francisco Rodriguez had been dealt to the Brewers in exchange for two players to be named. Here's the fallout for the relievers affected by the deal:

K-Rod: Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt asked GM Doug Melvin if Rodriguez or John Axford would be the Milwaukee closer going forward, and Melvin was somewhat noncommittal, saying "I talked to John [Axford] and I told him not to worry about it. I told him roles will be dictated by games and by [manager] Ron [Roenicke]." In other words, K-Rod does have a chance to close some games in Milwaukee, but outright taking the role from John Axford isn't likely, especially since Rodriguez's $17.5 million option kicks in if he finishes 21 more games this year. All things considered, fantasy owners should hold onto Rodriguez in mixed leagues until we see how this begins to play out over the next couple of weeks.

John Axford: Still the best bet to lead the Milwaukee bullpen in saves from here on out, and could fend off a closing platoon with Rodriguez entirely, especially since Axford is carrying a 1.29 ERA since May 22 and hasn't blown a save since April 18. With that said, it's not crazy to think that the Brewers may give K-Rod some save chances here and there to keep him happy.

Bobby Parnell: Appears to be first in line to take over as closer for the Mets, and should be added immediately in all formats. It remains to be seen how the hard-thrower will respond to his first gig as a closer, but his 2.92 ERA and 30/9 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings are positive indicators that he'll have some success. Jason Isringhausen, who leads the Mets in holds, could also get a shot, but logic would dictate that the Mets should give the much-younger Parnell the first chance.

In other Tuesday news…

  • Miguel Cabrera left the All-Star game early with side stiffness, which is not something that fantasy owners or Tigers fans wanted to hear. As of first thing Wednesday morning there was no word on the severity of the injury, but an update (and hopefully a positive one) should be coming soon.

  • In another unwanted piece of All-Star injury news, Josh Beckett was scratched from an appearance in Tuesday's game after feeling soreness in his left knee. However, Beckett told that he would have been able to pitch in a regular season game, and when asked if he'd miss a start, he said, "I don't think so."

  • Some happy news on the Carlos Gonzalez front: Per beat writer Troy Renck, CarGo has been diagnosed with a deep bone bruise on his right wrist, but no fracture. Gonzalez was expected to receive a cortisone shot Tuesday and take batting practice Wednesday. Presumably, if all goes well, he could be back in the lineup on Thursday, though the Rockies may exercise a little bit of caution.

  • Updates on two injured Mets: Per Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork, David Wright (back) won't begin his rehab assignment until Friday, and since he's expected to need 30 to 40 at-bats before being activated, he's likely out until at least July 22. Meanwhile, Jose Reyes (hamstring) reportedly could be back the first day he's eligible on July 18.

  • Jon Lester (lat) is expected to begin playing catch on Thursday, and told the Boston Herald that he's hoping to be back "in the next week or so." However, Lester also added that "I would imagine if come the time I start throwing if we have any issues with this, we're going to make sure it's right to get through September and October instead of worrying about July." In other words, it's not guaranteed that Lester will be back when eligible on July 21.

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    All-Star game quick hits: Adrian Gonzalez drove in the AL's only run with a solo homer off Cliff LeePrince Fielder earned MVP honors with his fourth inning three-run shot off the top of the wall in left center … Heath Bell earned style points with his eighth inning sprint from the bullpen and slide on the infield grass.

    Pitcher injury notes: Brad Lidge (shoulder) may need as many as six more rehab appearances before returning, according to the Philadelphia InquirerEduardo Sanchez (shoulder) won't be activated immediately after the All-Star break … Fausto Carmona (quad) could return as soon as Monday.

    Position player injury notes: Shane Victorino (thumb) is aiming to return when eligible on July 19 … Ryan Braun (calf) is targeting a return on Thursday … Martin Prado (staph infection) remains on course to return for Atlanta's first game after the break on Friday … Placido Polanco (back) is also expected to return on Friday.

    Editor's Note: For exclusive columns, rankings, projections and more, check out Rotoworld's MLB Season Pass.

    Miscellaneous notes: The Dodgers acquired Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named or cash, but the 33-year-old and his 666 OPS are unlikely to make an impact beyond NL-Only leagues … David Ortiz told the Boston Herald that he's looking for at least a two-year deal with a third-year option this offseason … Speaking of Ortiz (and Kevin Gregg), MLB is expected to rule on their brawl this week, possibly on Thursday, with suspensions likely looming for both … The Cubs promoted outfield prospect Brett Jackson and infield prospect Ryan Flaherty to Triple-A … Sean McAdam of was told by a source that there's "Nothing" to reports that the Cubs may trade Matt Garza to the Red Sox … Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals could have interest in trading with the Rays, who have had a "long-standing interest" in Colby Rasmus.

  • Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
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