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How To Deal With the Loss of a Closer

Yesterday's trade of Bob Wickman to the Braves for a minor league prospect negatively affects at least one team - the Ken Ray owner in a mixed league.  It does so to two in AL- and NL-only leagues - Wickman's owner in the AL-only one and Ken Ray's in the NL-only one.

Unfortunately for me, I'm not only a fantasy sports writer, but I'm also a client.  (Or should I have said, "Physician heal thyself"?)

Anyhow, I lost Bob Wickman in my AL-only league, and this is how I dealt with the loss.

I check my standings in the Saves category to determine the most points I can expect in to maintain assuming everything remained the same i.e. I could not gain any more.  In my case it is 4 points.

Next, I check how many teams are below me and by how much - three teams by 6, 7 and 15 saves.

Then, I check each of those teams' rosters to see if I can reasonably expect them to pass me now that I lost a source of Saves.

In this case, the team trailing me by 7 Saves has three closers (MacDougal, Carmona and Putz) and the one trailing by 6 has Chris Ray.  The last place team does not have a closer.

I still have Brian Meadows.

With that information, I consider it likely, if I did nothing else, that I'd lose two points.  A 15 save lead over a team with no closers has little chance of passing anyone.

What to do?

(1) I can stand pat knowing the team with three closers was likely to pass me anyhow even if Wickman remained an AL closer.  In reality, then, the loss of Wickman only cost me one point in the standings.

(2) I can try to deal for another closer.

(3) I can punt saves knowing Meadows value is likely worth more than the one point I'd lose if I kept him.

I am inclined to take option (1) as the pitcher filling the role of closer changes and having one already would allow me to move-up if I had a second.  This also leaves option (2) open as well.

To generalize from my specific situation to a general one, the way to analyze the loss of a key contributor is the following:

1.    To identify the categories they effect.  
2.    Assume no further gains in those categories.  
3.    Determine who is behind you in those categories.
4.    Check the rosters of those teams to see if you can reasonably conclude they can pass you.
5.    Finally, adjust your strategy to reflect the new reality.