So Eric Gagne has been pitching in discomfort all spring? With the reach of the internet, I am surprised this never got out.
That aside, Danys Baez goes from the most expensive middle reliever in my book to a full-fledged closer. Why? Isn't Gagne expected back this season?
Right now, he is, but that does not change the fact Baez is a free agent after the season and will look to sign as a closer somewhere. This makes "full-priced" reasonable. $20-$25 for a closer next year is not unprotectable.
It is that reason that I was going to make him the most expensive middle reliever this year. $12 or $13 now for a 2007 closer is a gamble I would take. (Newest frontrunner: Joey Devine.)
With Baez' elevation to the closer job, Yhancy Brazoban steps back into the back-up closer role he lost when DB was acquired from the Devil Rays this spring.
As important is drafting/grabbing/keeping an eye on Jonathan Broxton. He is the new closer in AAA Las Vegas after spending most of his minor league career as a starter. He was recalled late last season and made several appearances with the Dodgers as a reliever. In 13 innings, he struck out 22!
He also walked 12, so some caution is necessary, but his minor league walk totals, while a little high, are manageable with that type of k-rate.
Minor league totals to chew on:
12 homeruns allowed