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Closing Time: Moving on from Prince Fielder; stumping for Adam Ottavino

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Slugger on the sidelines (USAT)

I don't know what the Texas Rangers can do to fix their rotten luck. They've pissed off some baseball gods, apparently. When it comes to man games lost in 2014, the Rangers are in a cursed class of their own.

Prince Fielder's news was the shot heard round the baseball world Thursday – he's headed for neck surgery and unlikely to play again this season. A timetable of 3-4 months is being discussed, which would basically end his year.

At least Fielder owners can move forward, get a little closure. Everyone knows Fielder wasn't hitting a lick this year; in a season of big-name busts, he's been one of the largest flops. But it's never fun to write about this kind of news. Baseball's more fun with Prince Fielder on the field.

Texas downed a double shot of bad news Thursday; Jurickson Profar's year is just about done, too. He's had a setback with his right shoulder and figures to miss 2-3 additional months. Maybe he'll do something with the club late in the year. Unless you have zero opportunity cost to keeping Profar (unlimited DL spots, say), you might as well cut him in any non-keeper format.

Most melancholy Fielder owners will be acquiring a new cornerman this weekend, so let's get an emergency Shuffle Up into play. Here's my current price-only view of the corner landscape. The regular elements of Closing Time will follow after the shopping cart.

Disclaimers: Assume a 5x5 scoring system, as always. Play to this point is merely an audition, we're trying to price things starting now. Players at the same figure are considered even. Don't obsess over the numbers in a vacuum, just use them to see how the players relate to one another. Catchers aren't included here; they'll get their own shuffle when it comes up in the rotation.

(Minor leaguers and unsigned players are kept from this list, including Kendrys Morales. But the Rangers should give him a call, don't you think? In some formats, he's a reasonable stash-and-hope play.)

$32 Miguel Cabrera
$32 Paul Goldschmidt
$27 Freddie Freeman
$26 Edwin Encarnacion
$25 Victor Martinez
$25 Adrian Gonzalez
$24 Josh Donaldson
$24 Albert Pujols
$23 Chris Davis
$21 Adrian Beltre
$20 David Wright
$20 Evan Longoria
$20 Justin Morneau
$19 David Ortiz
$18 Brandon Moss
$18 Nolan Arenado
$17 Daniel Murphy
$17 Mike Napoli
$16 Anthony Rizzo
$16 Mark Teixeira
$16 Matt Adams
$15 Allen Craig
$15 Michael Cuddyer
$15 Matt Carpenter
$14 Manny Machado
$14 Eric Hosmer
$13 Pedro Alvarez
$12 Michael Morse
$12 Pablo Sandoval
$11 Todd Frazier
$11 Anthony Rendon
$11 Matt Dominguez
$11 Billy Butler
$10 Garrett Jones
$10 Adam Dunn
$9 Emilio Bonifacio
$9 Kyle Seager
$9 Martin Prado
$9 Nick Swisher
$8 James Loney
$8 Ryan Howard
$8 Brett Lawrie
$8 Chase Headley
$7 Trevor Plouffe
$7 Xander Bogaerts
$7 Lucas Duda
$7 Adam Lind
$6 Ike Davis
$6 Nick Castellanos
$5 Conor Gillaspie
$5 Jedd Gyorko
$5 Justin Smoak
$5 Juan Francisco
$4 Casey McGehee
$4 Mark Reynolds
$4 Mitch Moreland
$3 Lonnie Chisenhall
$3 Chris Johnson
$2 DJ LeMahieu
$2 Mike Aviles
$2 Chris Colabello
$2 Cody Asche
$2 Gaby Sanchez
$2 Eric Chavez
$2 Chris Parmelee
$2 C.J. Cron
$2 Eric Campbell
$1 Mike Olt
$1 Sean Rodriguez
$1 Marcus Semien
$1 Eduardo Escobar
$1 Alberto Callaspo
$1 Chris Carter
$1 Kelly Johnson
$1 Danny Valencia
$1 Eduardo Nunez
$0 Luis Valbuena
$0 David Freese
$0 Lyle Overbay
$0 Paul Konerko
$0 Yonder Alonso
$0 Wilmer Flores

Courtesy Injury Ranks - Not For Debate
$25 Jose Abreu
$21 Joey Votto
$13 Aramis Ramirez
$12 Ryan Zimmerman
$11 Brandon Belt
$11 Mark Trumbo
$7 Adam LaRoche
$5 Juan Uribe
$2 Kevin Kouzmanoff
$2 Corey Hart
$1 Maicer Izturis
$0 Will Middlebrooks
$0 Prince Fielder

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Agent Zero (USAT)

There's a lot to like about Colorado reliever Adam Ottavino, a man succeeding despite his treacherous work environment. No. 0 in your program, No. 1 in your hearts. A 1.40 ERA and 0.78 WHIP will obviously play in any format. Ottavino pounds the strike zone (two walks all year) and misses plenty of at-bats (about a strikeout per inning).

The 28-year-old has the look of a potential closer down the line. So tell us, Walt Weiss, how soon is now? Here's some intel from the Denver Post.

Ottavino has been so good this year, Weiss said he may consider the right-handed reliever for the Rockies' closer job at some point. Ottavino leads the pitching staff with 22 appearances and a 1.40 ERA."I wouldn't rule it out," Weiss said.

"There's enough stuff — he's been dominant this year. He's one of those wipeout right-handed relievers. So he's a great matchup guy. But he certainly has the stuff to, down the road, pitch in that role."

"It is a mentality, there's no doubt about it," Weiss said. "That may be the toughest part of the job. You never truly know until a guy has to go out there in the ninth inning to finish games . . . but as far as stuff, the makeup, mentality, looking at Otto now, I wouldn't rule it out."

There's no imminent change, mind you: LaTroy Hawkins is 10-for-11 in save chances this year and Weiss endorsed him Thursday. But heck, Hawkins is 41 years old and has a 4.41 ERA. You can't fool everyone forever.

Format context is everything when it comes to our save-chasing ways; one size will never fit all when offering relief advice. Some leagues are more passive with the pursuit (allowing you to watch a picture develop), while others require a pint of blood for every potential closer (you better jump before the other guy does). In the former, you're merely monitoring Ottavino. In blood-for-saves, you might want to make a move now. Hawkins is older than a Jurassic Park fossil, and Rex Brothers has to deal with the bias against left-handed closers. Ottavino is ready to ship in 93 percent of Yahoo leagues.

If you like your closers further down the development line, Thursday's slate offered up some handshake targets. Mets righty Jenrry Mejia had a clean ninth inning against the Dodgers, while Ronald Belisario had another white-knuckle conversion in Chicago (2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 28 pitches; now exhale, Chris Sale). If I had to pick between this pair, Mejia wins the point and click. (Is Full Pack Don Stanhouse consulting with the White Sox? Nothing comes easy here.)

It was encouraging to see Trevor Rosenthal back to his lights-out ways; he needed just 11 pitches (eight strikes) to brush aside Arizona. I still expect Rosenthal to be a full-season option for the Cardinals, no matter the other options in St. Louis (waving at you, Jason Motte).

Petco Park is supposed to be death valley for hitters, but Seth Smith apparently didn't get the memo. He cranked homer No. 6 in Thursday's loss to the Cubs, and check out Smith's Petco line: .423/.505/.769, four homers, 13 walks against 15 strikeouts. Slugging at the sandbox.

Okay, you know what an outlier looks like. And Smith hasn't hit much on the road (.212, though the K/BB is still decent). But what I like most about Smith is the job security he's earned – the Padres view him as a regular part of the lineup, and they usually slot him third in the order. We've had a few Smith bulletins through the year, but seeing that modest 38-percent ownership tag, one more is necessary. This is a hitter who can help you.

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