Bulls

Fantasy Baseball Category Killers: Saves

Fantasy Baseball Category Killers: Saves

By Rob Steingall
CSNChicago.com

Brandon League, Mariners: It appears League is climbing his way out of manager Eric Wedge's doghouse, as the manager said recently that he'd be putting his former closer back in the roll sooner than later. Those words should have you immediately rushing to your league waiver wire, especially if you're in the hunt for saves.

Jose Valverde, Tigers: The Tigers closer simply hasn't been very good this year after posting an epic '11 campaign. The good news here is that he's locked down his last three saves without giving up a run, so things could be turning around. He may be doctoring the baseball http:mlb.sbnation.com20126113078206jose-valverde-spitball-detroit-tigers..., but why should we care? He's on the discount shelf right now, so buy if the price is right.  

Huston Street, Padres: He was pitching well before his injury, and has picked right up after returning from the disabled list, collecting a save and win in his first two appearances. His job is safe as long as he's healthy, which seems to always been the problem. Street is a high riskhigh reward option moving forward, but one stock I'd be happy to own.

Ryan Cook, Athletics: When Brian Fuentes is your closer, you'd better be all over the next in line when the inevitable implosion occurs, and Cook looks like that guy. While Grant Balfour also lurks, the A's would be better served to have a cheap young option in the ninth, making Cook the obvious candidate moving forward.
Jason Motte, Cardinals: He's been shaky the past few weeks (6.75 ERA), and his most recent performance (1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) could have fantasy owners looking to dump him. Motte stills plays on a very good Cardinals team and has plenty of job security, so capitalize on the opportunity to grab him on the cheap.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan was joined by Ben Finfer, David Haugh and Mark Lazerus to discuss the Bulls not tanking well and the Blackhawks tanking too well.

Plus, Alshon Jeffery is heading to the Super Bowl while the Bears stay home. And is the hot stove league about to heat up with Yu Darvish?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

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AP

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Chris Gimenez, come on down.

The 35-year-old catcher isn't exactly a household name, but he's been signed by the Cubs to add backstop depth, according to Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs didn't have much depth in the catching department beyond Willson Contreras and inexperienced rookie Victor Caratini and while Gimenez doesn't light up the stat column, he's a link to Yu Darvish that could give the Cubs a unique advantage in that domain:

Darvish and Gimenez played together with the Texas Rangers in 2014-15 (though Darvish was hurt in 2015) and Gimenez has been shedding some light on what the free-agent pitcher may be thinking this winter. Is this Part II of a David Ross-Jon Lester personal catcher situation?

That may be reading a bit too much into things, as the Cubs were always going to sign a veteran catcher to provide depth beyond the unproven Caratini. They saw how important that was in 2017 when Alex Avila spent roughly a month as the starter when Contreras was hurt.

The link between Gimenez and Darvish is real, but the frontline starter has also made 48 starts over the last two seasons while throwing to a catcher not named Gimenez. And the free agent catching market is pretty thin beyond Avila and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom should earn starter's money or close to it.

Gimenez has played 361 games in the big leagues over the last nine seasons as a journeyman, with stops in Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, Cleveland (again), Texas (again), Cleveland (again) and then Minnesota last year. He played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey while in Tampa Bay.

Gimenez turned in a career season in 2017 with the Twins, notching new highs in games played (74), at-bats (186), runs (28), hits (41), homers (7), RBI (16) and walks (33).

He has a career .218 batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, .345 slugging and .654 OPS. 

But Gimenez isn't just a catcher. He's made nine appearances as a pitcher over the last few years, including six in 2017, where he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Gimenez will probably compete with Caratini for the backup catcher role in Chicago and can lend a veteran presence. He's also the best bet to take for first position player to pitch in a game in 2018.