Many fantasy owners and I share the same philosophy on draft day, "Never pay for saves." Drafting an elite closer such as K-rod in the fifth round is a complete waste, considering you could have drafted quality starting pitchers such as Zambrano, Haren, or Halladay. Relief pitchers barely affect your team's ERA, WHIP, and K totals at the end of each week, while the starting pitchers previously mentioned deliver solid numbers for those areas.
So who to draft or pick up off the waiver wire if your looking for cheap saves? Pick up these potential closers who are waiting in the wings.
Masa Kobayashi - The Indians close Joe Borowski was sent to the DL with a strained tricep, or should I say shellshock. Borowski has given up three home runs in the four innings he has pitched this season, including a walkoff grand slam by the Angels' Torii Hunter, and Manny Ramirez's two-run blast in the top of the ninth inning last night. Although the Indian skipper is known for letting Borowski work out the kinks and continue closing through hard times, his trip to the DL lets him experiment with other options. Although Rafael Betancourt is next in line, his peripherals are hardly better than Borowski's. Who's next? Masa Kobayashi. He's looked solid in the 4.1 innings he's pitched this season, only walking one batter and showing great control. He'll pick up a few saves in Borowski's abscence, and once Joe's back, say hello to being a setup man.
Brian Fuentes - He was the undisputed closer in Colorado 2 seasons ago, but much has happened since then. He is now the setup man for the erratic, but effective Manny Corpas. But Corpas has hardly looked on the ball so far this season, giving up a run and walking two batters in the 9th last Sunday vs. Arizona, not to mention already blowing a save on the April 6th against the same team. Give Corpas about 5 more bad outings, and back comes Fuentes.
Salomon Torres - He's the setup man for Eric Gagne. You know what will inevitably happen to Gagne. Enough said.
Scot Shields - It is true that K-rod is really pissed at the Angels. He wants more money, blah blah blah. And he's not looked like K-rod at all, rather like Armando Benitez. In 5 innings of work hes given up 4 earned runs, and walked 5 batters. I'm not saying K-rod will be de-throned, I'm just saying it is very possible, and good ole' reliable Scot Shields will get alot of save opportunities with the pennant seeking team of the Angels.