Roto Arcade

Closing Time: Pull the plug on K-Rod; Marlins open for business

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Let's end this dance (USP)

Get out the scorebook, it's time for a list. I hope you're a fan of crooked numbers.

Six hits, five runs, six walks, four strikeouts, eight outs, 12 men reaching base. Line drives 40 percent of the time. A .462/.600/.615 slash line. That's the Francisco Rodriguez log since he took over the Milwaukee closing gig last week. Even with two conversions in three attempts, it's been a hot mess.

K-Rod was fortunate enough to skate past the Cardinals twice last week, but he wasn't able to Houdini his way past the Phillies on Monday (despite holding a three-run lead). Three hits and three walks led to four runs. Rodriguez was so distraught about the defeat, he Tweeted a two-part apology to Milwaukee fans after the game. (When it comes to closer accountability, I prefer the old school method.)

The Brewers front office was hoping K-Rod would take the job and run with it, ostensibly so it could shop Rodriguez to bullpen-needy contenders. But those other teams are unlikely to be fooled by Rodriguez's numbers. He's currently carrying a 4.47 ERA and 1.60 WHIP for the year, and he's petrified to trust his stuff in the strike zone. What team needs a right-handed arsonist like that?

John Axford is a dog with different fleas (4.91/1.51), but he'll probably be back in the Milwaukee closing chair pretty soon. He hasn't allowed a run since his demotion, recording 10 outs against just three base runners. Manager Ron Roenicke made it clear all along that the club wants to eventually return Axford to the ninth, and the results from the last week might be forcing the flip quicker than anyone expected.

There's not much else worth discussing in this collection of relievers; there's no Bullpen Mechanic on retainer. Kameron Loe (3.86/1.31) has the best numbers but they're far from elite. Lefty Manny Parra (3.92/1.42) has been sharp in some moments, but he walks too many batters and righties are hitting .315 against him. Say what you want about Roenicke's curious game management, but it's not like he's overlooking some lights-out option.

If you haven't dropped Rodriguez yet, you will be doing it soon enough. I know we need to fight for every save in deeper leagues, but there are better places to do it. Don't light your ratio stats on fire.

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Call the bullpen, maybe (AP)

As bad as the Brewers bullpen has been (4.59 ERA as a group), four teams actually have worse ERAs. The Cubs check in next, though they can feel good about Carlos Marmol's reinvention (10 straight save conversions, go stock up on non-perishable items). Philly is 28th - no matter how much you want to criticize Charlie Manuel, he doesn't have a lot of options. The Astros are 29th, like anyone really cares. Keep packing for the move.

And then there's the Mets in dead last. It's a crying shame when you consider that New York's starting staff is seventh in ERA. The Metropolitans could be a legitimate playoff contender this year with adequate relief, but the bullpen continues to burn to the ground. The relief ERA is 5.92 for the month and 5.16 for the year.

Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato combined to give away Monday's 8-2 loss to Washington, allowing six runs in the tenth inning (Beato was dispatched to the minors after the game). Bobby Parnell worked a scoreless ninth but he hasn't been a savior (one clean inning all month, two blown saves). And it doesn't look like Frank Francisco is close to returning; a sore knee is holding back his oblique rehab, and he won't throw Tuesday as initially scheduled.

Anyone have a cell number on Billy Wagner? Did Jon Rauch's scary neck tattoo jinx the relief staff?

New York's 1-9 skid might shift the team's plan for the trading season; at 47-49, the Mets don't look like legitimate playoff contenders. A few weeks ago this team looked like potential buyers, but it's time to get into the sell line. It's a shame Johan Santana's season unraveled over the last month, because it would be a great time to try to move part of his contract (I can't see how you'd find someone willing to take on all of it).

Streaming starters is one of the fun daily parts of roto, but the Wednesday slate is a tricky one to navigate. You know I'm in on Homer Bailey (36 percent) at Houston, we discussed this last week. But a lot of other streaming options are in rough positions.

Oakland righty A.J. Griffin (eight percent) has been a fun story, but I can't use him at Toronto. Luke Hochevar (seven percent) could be in for a long night against Trout and Company. Derek Holland (55 percent) isn't anywhere near the Circle of Trust right now, and Boston is a tricky matchup. I wouldn't start Ricky Nolasco or Aaron Harang on a dare. Let's wait for better options.

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Planet Hanley (AP)

Hanley Ramirez 2012 is starting to look like Nomar Garciaparra 2004, another case of Dead Infielder Walking. The talented but mercurial Miami star is doing all he can to wear out his welcome with the Marlins, and the club seems willing to discuss a deal. You get the idea the Infante-Sanchez trade from Monday was just the tip of the iceberg for Miami, a club that desperately wants to shake up its organization. I don't buy that there's anything between the Marlins and Red Sox on this, but my gut feel says Ramirez will be moved in the next week.

The Infante deal did clear up one bit of South Florida gridlock: Emilio Bonifacio moves to second base and Justin Ruggiano is now unblocked in the outfield. I know the Quad-A label is hard to remove in a lot of cases, but I still see Ruggiano as someone who will be a handy speed-power option for anyone in a medium or deeper mixed league.

While teams are kicking the tires on Ramirez, they should get a look at Josh Johnson; he's considered on the block as well. The oft-injured righty is still an ace on the right night, as we saw Monday against Atlanta (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 K). Chipper Jones called it "perfect game stuff." Johnson left after six innings because of a finger injury, but he should be okay going forward. The usual speculation caveats apply here: hope for an NL landing spot if a trade goes down, and for the love of all things good and holy, please keep him out of the AL East.

I'm always on the lookout for a new Swiss Army Knife, and the Mets have an interesting one with Jordany Valdespin. The unheralded infielder from San Pedro de Macoris (that's a hotbed for infield talent, as you know) has given the Mets 91 fun and productive at-bats: .286-18-6-20-4. Unfortunately, it's taken 46 games for Johnny Spin to get to those totals, but he could be a subway starter (and not just a token one) going forward.

With Lucas Duda a few days away from his inevitable and confirmed demotion to the minors, Valdespin might see regular time in the outfield. He also qualifies at second and short in Yahoo! leagues, and he's ready to grab in 98 percent of our world. Ready to let another underdog into your number-chasing life? Keep an open mind.

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