Back in the saddle: Feliz to close in Texas

Feliz saved 72 games for the Rangers in 2010-11.

Wednesday’s big baseball news was the trade that saw the Rangers send Joakim Soria to the Tigers for RP Corey Knebel and pitching prospect Jake Thompson. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said after the deal Joe Nathan would still serve as his team’s closer, meaning that Soria’s fantasy value takes a huge hit with his move to a setup role. Yes, Nathan has been shaky, so Soria might get saves for the Tigers at some point. But with nine-and-a-half weeks remaining in the season, do you really want to wait? I see no problem waiving Soria in 12-team mixed leagues; you can hold him in deeper formats if you don’t see much help on the wire, or if you have bench space.

If you need to replace Soria’s saves – or anyone else’s, for that matter – run to your free-agent pool to pick up Neftali Feliz, who is owned in 2.8 percent of leagues. Feliz will take over the closer’s role in Texas, and even though he’s just been OK since getting called up from the minors earlier this month, a closer is a closer if the manager says he is. The Rangers will give Feliz every chance to prove himself in the role, since it’s not like they’re playing for anything meaningful at this point.

Wednesday’s studs & duds

Stud: A’s OF Yoenis Cespedes hit two home runs and knocked in five runs before leaving the game with a sprained right thumb. We should know more today about Cespedes’ prognosis. 


Stud: Brewers 1B Mark Reynolds hit a couple of homers of his own, and has 16 for the season. If only he wasn’t batting .207.

Stud: Alex Cobb threw seven shutout innings while whiffing 10 Cardinals. In related news, I love Alex Cobb.

Dud: Jonathan Papelbon gave up three runs in the ninth inning to blow a save for the Phillies, angering his own fantasy owners in addition to A.J. Burnett’s.

News & notes

Ryan Zimmerman’s hamstring strain is "pretty substantial" according to the Nationals, so his DL stint could be a long one. We might see a Danny Espinosa/Zach Walters platoon at second base while Zimmerman is out, with Anthony Rendon moving back to third base.

Hanley Ramirez (hand) was out of the Dodgers’ lineup again on Wednesday, and is still day to day. Yasiel Puig appeared as a pinch hitter and played the outfield, which suggests that he’ll be back in the lineup on Friday.

The Astros placed rookie OF George Springer (quad) on the DL. Look for an L.J. Hoes/Marc Krauss platoon in left field while Springer is out. Krauss has decent power and will be the busier half of this platoon, AL-only owners.

Taijuan Walker gave up two runs but walked six batters in five innings, and was sent to the minors after the game because the Mariners won’t need a fifth starter until August 2. The Tacoma News Tribune suggests that James Paxton, and not Walker, will get that early August start. Manager Lloyd McClendon was already frustrated with Walker, and Wednesday’s start clearly didn’t help the cause.

Padres OF Cameron Maybin has been suspended for 25 games due to a possibly inadvertent positive drug test. Since Maybin is terrible, this shouldn’t concern fantasy owners.

Streaming starters

Mike Leake got knocked around by the Brewers, so we’re down to 58-42 for the season. Today’s pick is Blue Jays’ rookie Marcus Stroman (14.2 percent owned) versus the Red Sox, and Friday’s selection is Pittsburgh’s underrated Charlie Morton (19.9 percent owned) at Colorado. Morton’s not bad, and he’s pretty much the only reasonable streaming option for the day.

See you back here tomorrow morning.