Thursday, December 24, 2009

Glaus, Rodney, Capps

The Braves are playing the market that includes players who would have been considered extremely high injury risks.  We have to trust, to some degree, that their medical people are doing everything possible to verify that a player is ready to go and that they are better qualified than we are to know just how healthy a player currently is.  It's the reason why we upgraded Billy Wagner's projected innings in our second edition of the forecasts compared to what we had in the first.  There's no way Atlanta gives out big dollars for Wagner and calls him their closer if they're not sure he's currently healthy and a much lower injury risk than his past couple of years would lead us to believe.

So, we can apply that to their next rumored deal that's coming soon and that is signing free agent Troy Glaus to become their first baseman.  In our first couple of sets, we rated the free agent Glaus as a huge injury risk and we weren't even sure he'd find a team.  Assuming the Braves confirm that his shoulder isn't a problem, we're still not going to be forecasting a Troy Glaus anywhere close to the one who used to put up those huge power numbers.  If this deal pans out and he ends up with the Braves, passes a physical and officially signs and gets the nod at first base, we'll likely upgrade him to about 350-400 at bats, this a reflection of the risk of new or recurring injury regardless of a physical.  Over that span, think around 15 home runs, 50-55 RBI and an average just below .250.

That would still make him interesting as many fantasy games will qualify him at third base.  It will not be automatic, though, even though that's the position we all think of when we think of Troy Glaus' name.  He played 8 games at third last year and appeared as a pinch hitter the same number of times with 2 games at first.  Technically, given how little he played in the majors in 2009, it would be appropriate to look at last year's minor league stats and in that case, Glaus did play third base more than any other position.

Most online sources are now reporting that Fernando Rodney just signed with the Angels.  Once it's confirmed, his projected fantasy value will take a huge hit as he'll now have to compete with last year's saves leader in Brian Fuentes.  It will be popular to look at Fuentes' ERA last year (3.93) and presume that Rodney should get a chance to replace him but consider that Rodney himself picked up 37 saves while posting a 4.40 ERA and Rodney's career ERA is 4.28 vs. Fuentes' 3.47.  In fact, Rodney hasn't had an ERA as low as Fuentes did last year since 2006 and in his entire career, he's had a grand total of one season with an ERA as low as Fuentes' career ERA is, a career Fuentes has spent mostly in hitter-friendly Colorado.  For these and other reasons, I believe that the Angels will stick with Fuentes as their closer and Rodney's fantasy value goes way down.

The possible signing of Matt Capps we talked about in the previous issue looks official as Capps has agreed to join the Nationals.  I like this deal for both Washington and for what it does to Capps' projected value.  Though he hasn't officially been introduced as the new closer, at least not as of press time, he does seem to be a much better fit than Brian Bruney and I fully expect to downgrade Bruney to no better than setup man status in the next edition.  A healthy Capps who is given the closer's role from day one here would be projected for around 25 saves with an ERA in the mid to high 3's.  As I said before, he's a better pitcher than he appeared last year.

At the risk of doing the politically incorrect, to those who happen to celebrate this occasion, let me extend a very Merry Christmas to all from the entire Baseball Notebook team.