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Beginning To Look For Back-Up Closers & News On Chad Billingsley

With Opening Day 10 tens away and most teams getting their Spring rosters to more manageable levels, we can begin looking at the roles relievers are expected to play.  Todd Jones pitched the 7th and 8th to build arm strength in yesterday's game against the Atlanta Braves.  More interesting, though, is who Jim Leyland used to close out the 9th - Denny Bautista.  Baustista blew the save chance and took the loss, but, with the injury to Fernando Rodney, fantasy players need to watch who the Tigers use to finish games.  Preferably, the watching who is used in the 8th inning once Jones is pitching the 9th.

Here are the other teams that have used their closers in their expected roles so far along with the pitcher who threw the 8th inning.

  1. Seattle Mariners:  JJ Putz and Sean Green
  2. Baltimore Orioles: George Sherrill and Jamie Walker
  3. New York Mets: Billy Wagner and Aaron Heilman

In other news, I heard Buster Olney as a guest on ESPN's Fantasy Focus podcast.  He had some interesting things to say about the Los Angeles Dodgers and one thing about a fantasy sleeper at SS.

About the Dodgers:

  • The club has soured somewhat on Andy LaRoche prior to his injury.  "Soured" may not be the right word, but it was clear some of the Dodgers' brass does not think as highly of him as most of the baseball commentariat.
  • Juan Pierre is likely to get his ABs because manager Joe Torre has a soft spot for veterans.  He used the Yankees' refusal to bring back Bernie Williams last season becuase GM Brain Cashman knew Torre would play him at the developmental expense of younger players.
  • Finally, Buster reports scouts have seen Chand Billingsley this Spring and believe he is hiding an injury.
The fantasy sleeper?  Atlanta Braves SS Yuniel Escobar who looks like he is going to hit for more power than most expect.  If he can hit 15 HRs, then his AVG-only attraction goes out the window.  The added power could cascade into more Runs and RBIs.