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Minnesota Twins closer, Joe Nathan, has a significant tear in his right elbow's ulnar collateral ligament. This is the type of injury that usually requires Tommy John Surgery. The Twins and Nathan are choosing to explore rehab and strengthening the surrounding muscles before committing to the operation which would certainly end Nathan's 2010 season and put his 2011 season in jeopardy. I have serious doubts that the surgery will work. I am not a doctor but we've seen this situation before and it almost never works out.
This news certainly sucks for those that have already drafted Nathan (not to mention Nathan himself and the Twins). The question on most fantasy-oriented minds is who will replace Nathan as closer while he is rehabbing/recovering. There are two options. The most popular choice at the moment is Jon Rauch, who has closer stuff and has closed before for short periods with the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks. The other option is Matt Guerrier who has been a very effective reliever (even if a little lucky in 2009) for the Twins.
I like both options. I believe the Twins will make Jon Rauch as their first choice because of his prior experience. He does have a bit of an injury history however. So picking up Guerrier as insurance or as a late round/low cost saves option makes a lot of sense. Jon Rauch will provide you with typical closer stats - strikeouts in bunches and quality ratios. Guerrier will cost less and could potentially provide even better ratios but the strikeouts will not be as impressive.
There are a few other options worth a buck at the end of your auction or a reserve round pick - Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain, and Jose Mijares. All three have great stuff with different things keeping them from being ideal options. Neshek is coming off Tommy John Surgery and pitchers usually require at least a few months on the mound before they rediscover their former stuff (if they ever do). Jesse Crain isn't the fireballing closer candidate he used to be but is still an effective reliever and his name has been linked with closer opportunities before. Jose Mijares certainly has the stuff but is the only (certain) lefty in the pen and lacks experience.
UPDATE: The Advanced Fantasy Baseball Community Leagues
The response to the AFBCL has been overwhelming. There are a few owners who have been sent invitations who have not yet accepted. I plan to give them another day or so to accept before I give their spots away. There seems to be enough interest to have a second league, though I'm not certain about prizes just yet. If you are interested but figured all the spots were filled go ahead and send me an e-mail expressing your interest. If you have already sent one, no need to send another, I'll assume you are for now.
The All Sleeper Teams Are Coming This Weekend
The fifth annual All Sleeper Teams article will be released this weekend. This is the most packed edition yet. There are more sleeper teams (categories) and dozens and dozens of sleepers with longer write-ups than in past years. You do not want to miss this piece before your draft or auction so be certain to sign up for e-mails or the RSS Feed, links are available in the sidebar on the main page of the blog.
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