Over 50,000 Yahoo! fantasy owners picked up Francisco Rodriguez at some point this week, and they've already picked up a couple of saves. Bully for them, bully for you. Go check the standings, enjoy your forward move in the handshake column. Bask in the glow.
Moment over? Good. Now it's time to trade K-Rod. And if the Brewers are wise, they're thinking the same thing.
Both of Rodriguez's saves this week have been white-knuckle rides, Thursday's most notably. He allowed a ringing double to Carlos Beltran and also walked three batters, one forcing in a run. Only 19 of K-Rod's 35 pitches were strikes, and that's including a couple of chummy calls he got from home plate umpire Todd Tichenor. The Brewers didn't win this game so much as they survived it.
You don't need me to tell you that a 3.71 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP are ugly (and they're also the worst ratios of Rodriguez's career). There's not much in the stat profile that stands behind Rodriguez. The strikeout rate (a strong 8.7/9) is still the worst of his career, and his walk rate (4.3) is the highest it's been in three years. The HR/9 count is his worst in nine seasons. Batters are hitting line drives against K-Rod 26 percent of the time.
The pro-Rodriguez crowd will remind you that John Axford has been even worse (true) and that possession of the closing job is most of the battle in the saves chase (also true). And we also have to acknowledge that K-Rod was on fumes Wednesday, working for the fourth consecutive game. But let's not lose sight of the big picture here. The Brewers would like to rid themselves of Rodriguez's bloated contract, and manager Ron Roenicke admits the team would like to get Axford back into the ninth inning at some point this year. Rodriguez looks like a ninth-inning rental, nothing past that, and I can't imagine he's tied to a long leash if and when the blown saves start happening.
Maybe you can package Rodriguez to the Axford-owning team, or perhaps you can ship him to a club that's desperate in saves. In most leagues, any closer has a value for that one glorious stat he produces. It's time to sell before the bottom drops out.
I know, I know, in some leagues this might not be possible. Maybe in your pool, everyone gets it. Maybe as you see it, everyone follows the advice in this column (I know that isn't true, but some people claim it). But if 50,000 people bothered to pick up Rodriguez this week, surely a few potential trade partners can be located.
This is your wake-up call. Saves never sleep, pal. Get to work.
• Lorenzo Cain was a key name on my March sleeper list, a name that ultimately didn't pan out. A hip problem in April forced him to the DL and he missed most of the first half. You can't wait around for guys like that in typical mixers, so I washed myself of the Cain pick rather quickly.
Those that stayed unwashed, maybe they knew something. Cain is able, again.
The 26-year-old outfielder returned to the Royals a week ago and he's been terrific. Cain homered in each of the last two games, and he's on a 9-for-19 run over the past week, with two doubles, five runs, six RBIs. Ned Yost hasn't been shy with the lineup card; he's slotted Cain fifth, fifth and fourth in the outfielder's last three starts. Perhaps a sneaky-useful second half is on the way, a plus batting average with some pop and some speed. Cain is ready to add in 89 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• Jayson Werth is another injured outfielder off the radar, but he's closing in on a return date. Werth hasn't played since May 6 because of a broken wrist, but he's just about ready to begin a rehab assignment.
Obviously Werth has let a lot of fantasy owners down since he joined the Nats last year, but this is still an intriguing power and speed option when healthy, and he was hitting a respectable .276 when he got hurt (with three homers, three steals). Sometimes you need a short memory in this fake game, amigos. Werth is still available to stash in 55 percent of Yahoo! pools.
• Is Doug Fister finally back to full health and ready to spark our fantasy teams? I'd love for that to be the case; I was riding the wave last year, when he joined the Tigers and went on a ballistic second-half run. Fister has reeled off three straight victories this month, and his last two wins are particularly impressive because they came at Baltimore (hey, the Orioles are respectable) and against Los Angeles (the Mike Trout show is never easy to stop). Fister allowed just one run in each of the last two starts, piling up 18 strikeouts against just two walks.
I realize Detroit's infield defense is a horror show, but I'll be surprised if the Tigers don't add an upgrade or two for those positions between now and Aug 1. Fister works against Cleveland next Tuesday, a strong place to use him (no matter who's in the Motown lineup). He's still unclaimed freight (it's great) in about half of Yahoo! leagues
Speed Round: According to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, there's no magic innings number for Stephen Strasburg this year. Rizzo also says he's the only person who will decide when Strasburg will be shut down for the year . . . What does Santiago Casilla need to do before the Giants take the ninth inning away from him? He blew his fifth save of the year Wednesday, though it turned into a vulture win. The club has a very deep bullpen after Casilla, so this is one city where a committee absolutely makes sense . . . Jason Kubel is apparently healthy again, as he went deep twice in Cincinnati . . . To no one's surprise, wild Trevor Bauer was optioned to Triple-A. No rebuttal yet from the hashtag crowd . . . The Marlins closing committee will have to do without Juan Carlos Ovideo, or Leo Nunez, or both. The closer to be named later is dealing with elbow problems and has been shut down for the year . . . Eric Hosmer has been dropped to sixth in the Kansas City lineup Thursday, which is what should happen when you put up almost four months of .222/.292/.356 ugliness. Billy Butler is hitting third, Mike Moustakas fourth, and Cain fifth . . . Let's hear it for shortstop Josh Rutledge, who's on a tidy 6-for-20 run for the Rockies since joining the club last week. He's also stolen a couple of bases, intriguing given that he's been hitting eighth for his entire time in The Show (normally No. 8 batters don't run much in the NL, being in front of the pitcher's spot and all). He might be worth a deep-league slot next week, when the Rockies play three games in Arizona and three in Coors Field . . . The roto party isn't over yet: Brad Evans is here to talk backfields, bullpens and Kenny Britt. Click through, below. The Noise wants to help you help you.