Friday, February 16, 2007

Cheap Closers

A lot of agita goes into the decision over whether or not to keep a cheap closer, and Scotts over at Alex Patton's discussion forum asks about whether or not he should keep Seth McClung at $5 or whether he should try to trade him.

What do you folks think about Seth McClung? I've got him at $5 in an AL only 4x4 league. Keep or trade? If I keep him, I practically have to buy a second closer, as McClung's saves alone aren't likely to make much of a dent in the Saves category. Although he doesn't have much competition, it seems safer to trade him because we know that he might not pitch well enough to keep the job. Then again, he could turn into another JJ Putz, and Rotoman's numbers indicate that he likes him at least a little.

I don't see this as much of a problem.

I wrote about A.L. closers back on
January 7. I wrote that McClung scares me. And he still does. But that doesn't mean that he isn't an absolute no-brainer at $5.

What Scotts sees as a potential problem I see as a boon. Keeping McClung at $5 allows you a lot of flexibility in the auction. You can draft another closer and finish Top 3 in the category for $35-45. Or you can just keep McClung, hope to finish in the middle of the pack, but not worry about spending full price to compete in a category.

Trade him? Sure, that's always an option as well. Scotts' implication is that he'd dump saves if he trades McClung, and I would agree with that analysis. Spending $60-70 on two top closers will win you saves, but there's no guarantee that will win you any other category.

But you don't have to trade him or draft another closer. That's a false choice. Keeping McClung at $5 and standing pat gives you a $25 advantage over an owner with zero closers who drafts one on Auction Day. That's $25 you can use for power, speed, starting pitching or something else that your opponent will be sucking into a closer.

Yes, McClung is most certainly a risk. But so is Joe Borowski, who will probably go for $20-25 on Auction Day. A $5 closer who sinks is not going to sink your team along with him.

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