It's just another weekday, you're getting through it. Maybe you're daydreaming of the Yu Darvish debut, or maybe you're getting ready for Mayday Milone to drop in Oakland. You're not Rappin' Rodney these days, you're picking him up (and saying a silent prayer). Baseball's back, so we're all in a good mood.
Not so fast, Washington.
Nationals beat writer Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post sounded the alarm at 5:08 pm ET:
Drew Storen will visit Dr. James Andrews after feeling tenderness in his elbow during a sim game. Nats fear bone chip.
And then there's this follow-up Tweet from Kilgore:
Davey on Storen: "It doesn't sound good to me." Fact that Storen rested so long, then felt same elbow pain, is a bad sign.
And one more word from Killer (I don't know if anyone calls him Killer, but they should — underrated nickname):
Storen had an arthrogram (the "wet MRI"), which should rule out Tommy John. But bone chips could require surgery. That's what [Jason] Marquis had.
Okay, so it sounds pretty dim on Storen. I'm certainly no doctor, but we can all read between the lines. Get prepared for the worst here. But in some leagues, it presents a couple of interesting buying opportunities; hard-throwing relievers with a mix of upside and downside. Get out your Lincoln Penny, it's time to make a coin flip.
Tyler Clippard is one of the best relievers in baseball, but the club has made it clear in the past that it prefers him as the dynamic set-up ace, not the push-button stat-grabber. Clippard is not likely to get the ninth inning unless the team is painted into a corner (or completely reverses direction from its previous stance). That leaves Brad Lidge (38 percent owned, got the save Thursday) and Henry Rodriguez (27 percent owned, shook hands Saturday) as viable options, ready to battle it out.
Lidge has the "proven closer in the past" tag, if that matters to anyone. But he's also had a score of physical problems (and gopher-ball problems) in the last few seasons, and he's 35. If you've played fantasy baseball for a few years now, you know the risks when you Walk the Lidge.
Rodriguez has an electric arsenal, but too often he doesn't know where it's going. He piled up 70 strikeouts and 45 walks over 65.2 innings last year. He mostly had it going in the Saturday save, striking out three against one walk.
I'm just speculating from 550 miles away, but if given the choice of Lidge or Rodriguez as a pickup right now, I'm trying Rodriguez. He's only 25, he's got a higher upside, and sometimes the light clicks on with young fireballers. That said, there's always the chance Lidge gets control of this job, or Johnson keeps using both of them. I can't promise anything definitive here.
At the end of it all, it will come down to performance on the field. No matter what Johnson offers Monday night or for the rest of the week, Lidge and Rodriguez will both have a chance to mark their territory. Let the best man win. Place your bets, save chasers.
- Drew Storen