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Traded: Matt Lindstrom to the Astros

According to Peter Gammons of ESPN, the Houston Astros have acquired reliever Matt Lindstrom from the Florida Marlins.

After Kevin Gregg was dealt to the Cubs last year, Lindstrom started the 2009 season as the Marlins closer. In 54 games with the Marlins last season, Lindstrom recorded 15 saves in 17 chances. He posted a 5.89 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, and 39 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. Lindstrom missed 38 days from late June to early August after suffering a right elbow strain.

After going on the disabled list, Lindstrom returned to the Marlins only to find Leo Nunez occupying the closers role. Lindstrom only had one save opportunity in August and September, and he converted it. Seeing that Nunez was good enough to close for them and Lindstrom was eligible for arbitration, the Marlins made the decision to deal him to save some money.

Lindstrom is one of those guys I have always liked, even though the numbers tell me I shouldn’t. It must be his sexy fastball, which clocks in at an average 96.6 MPH. Lindstrom also throws a slider, and a rare splitter.

In Houston, Lindstrom looks to be the closer, as of now. The Astros have expressed interest in bringing back Jose Valverde, but if they have another closer option that scenario looks less likely. If Lindstrom gets the first shot at closing and runs with it, expect 25+ saves with an ERA over 4.30. and a WHIP close to 1.50. These numbers aren’t spectacular, but Lindstrom provides solid strikeouts (7.42 K/9 last year), so he is ownable as a lower tier closer.

In Florida, Nunez seems to have the hold on the closers job going into next season. He saved 26 games in 33 chances, striking out 60 batters in 68.2 innings in 2009. He is a lower tier closer like Lindstrom, but I would rather have Nunez on my fantasy squad than Lindstrom.