Consolation prizes were handed out last week following Mark Teixeira’s signing with the New York Yankees. Apparently if you lost out on Tex, you were required to use the money needed to sign him on some pitching with varying degrees of talent.
Every team that was in the bidding war for Teixeira made moves for pitchers between Christmas and New Year’s. Luckily, we are not so hungover today that we can’t break down what every move means for your fantasy baseball drafts in 2009.
Brian Fuentes becomes an Angel: The Angels lost K-Rod and Tex, but they got Fuentes. In 2008, Fuentes didn’t hold the closer job all year, but still managed to log 30 saves in 67 appearances. There’s no question Fuentes becomes a solid second closer in fantasy baseball now that he’s on a team like Anaheim. He went 1-5 with 82 strikeouts, a 2.73 ERA, and 1.10 WHIP in 62.7 innings last year. Even with those solid numbers, he is not a closer you want as the “ace” of your bullpen. With the amount of save opportunities he is bound to see as the Angels stopper, you have to consider him as a no. 2 closer after all of the top stoppers have been drafted.
Brad Penny joins the Red Sox: If there is a “sleeper free agent” out there, could it be Brad Penny? Right shoulder soreness is never a good thing for a right handed pitcher. That said, Penny’s track record seems to warrant more than a 1-year, $5 million dollar deal.
2008 was injury-plagued for Penny, and his stats were awful. In 17 starts he went 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA, 51 strikeouts and a 1.63 WHIP in 94.7 innings. The previous seasons, however, he was nasty. In ’06 and ’07, he logged nearly 400 innings and went 32-13 in 66 starts. Comparatively, A.J. Burnett doesn’t come close to those numbers.
In Boston’s rotation, Penny will likely be the no. 4 pitcher behind Josh Beckett, Dice-K, and John Lester. He will move up our 2009 pitcher rankings (currently no. 34), but not too far. Consider him a no. 3 starter in 2009.
Daniel Cabrera signs with the Washington Nationals: Cabrera has always been one of those pitchers that shows glimpses of greatness in-between periods of being awesomely awful. Expect his ERA to drop and his strikeouts to increase now that he has moved to the National League. Cabrera used to have value as a sleeper because of his potential for high strikeout totals. However, with numbers like he put up in 2008 (8-10, 5.25 ERA, 95 strikeouts, 1.61 WHIP in 180 innings) do not waste a draft spot on him next year.
Mark Hendrickson signs with the Baltimore Orioles: Mark Hendrickson was one of our favorite two-start pitcher pickups early in the season, but he hit the skids in the 2nd half of the season and spent some time in the bullpen. He went 7-8 with a 5.45 ERA, 81 strikeouts, and a 1.47 WHIP in 36 appearances (19 starts) for the Marlins in 2008. Considering the fact that most pitchers that go from the NL to the AL experience growing pains, we do not recommend keeping your eye on Hendrickson as a player to draft in 2009.