If your league’s waiver wire looks anything like the ones in my leagues, then you know how slim the pick’ns are out there. Even the slightest inkling of a quality bat, and your league is jumping on it like a fat kid on cake. But if it’s saves you’re looking for, then the waiver wire is your friend as the revolving door of closers is making more rotations than most fantasy owners would like. Here’s a look at two of the most recent options to explore…
Dale Thayer, SD |RP| Ownership: ESPN – 4.0% Yahoo – 7.0%
When Huston Street left the game last Friday and was diagnosed with a strained right shoulder, fantasy owners everywhere ran out to pick up Andrew Cashner who was expected to immediately slot in as the interim closer for the Padres. However, when Cashner taxed his arm in an appearance on Sunday night, he was deemed unavailable to pitch on Monday. When faced with a save opportunity, manager Bud Black turned to 31-year old Dale Thayer, a journeyman reliever whose facial hair seems to get more press than his pitching. Thayer responded with a 1-2-3 inning to close out the win.
On Tuesday, Black tipped his hand early and let fantasy owners know who they should seek out on their waiver wire when he used Luke Gregerson in the seventh inning and Cashner in the eighth. Thayer was again given the opportunity again, and although he made it a little more interesting this time around, he pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save in as many nights.
Given the fact that Cashner, Gregerson and even Brad Brach all seem to have better stuff than Thayer, the choice here is a bit surprising. But Black seems to want to stick with it until it doesn’t work. He won’t dazzle you with strikeouts as he owns a measly 5.4 K/9 and hasn’t put up a double digit mark since 2008 when he was with the Rays’ Triple-A team, but he is a solid ground ball pitcher (50% this year, 44.4% the year before) with a 94 mph fastball along with a quality slider and decent changeup. We’ve seen a number of situations where the better reliever is used earlier an in more pressing situations, so why should this one be any different? If you need immediate saves help, Thayer looks like your guy.
Jason Frasor, TOR |RP| Ownership: ESPN – 0.0% Yahoo – 1.0%
This one is more speculative on my part as Francisco Cordero, interim closer for the Blue Jays, blew yet another save opportunity on Tuesday and has now given up eight runs in 3.1 innings over four appearances. In a nutshell, he’s been a disaster and the Jays are going to need to bring someone else in to start closing out games. The two candidates most likely to fill that role would be Frasor and Darren Oliver. Both are certainly capable, and while Oliver’s numbers look a little better right now, once their GB/FB rates level off and regress back to their means, most of their peripherals will look about equal. So with that, I give the edge to Frasor for having served in this role for the Blue Jays before. If you have the bench space, then perhaps picking up both would serve you well, but if you have to choose one over the other, then I would go with Frasor.