Cheap offensive help

This week in the Spotlight we have a mixed bag of fantasy baseball odds and ends. In need of a few more saves? Perhaps a catcher? Maybe you're looking to trade for some cheap offensive help? Well, we should have you covered in this edition of the Fantasy Spotlight.

Oakland Athletics

For a team coming off a season with Keith Foulke as closer, Arthur Rhodes has been shaky, and his recent shoulder injury isn't helping matters. Luckily for Rhodes however, his bum shoulder is on his non-throwing arm, so it shouldn't be cause for any long-term problems. The real concern for Arthur, who, despite blowing just two saves so far, already has people talking about who might replace him. For much of those first couple months, Rhodes has taken to the Joe Table School of closing. In this approach, you allow as many base runners as possible without completely collapsing. With a WHIP of 1.80 (not to mention those four homers allowed already), it's clear that Arthur is doing this quite well.

So, the question becomes, who could take over and start notching the saves in Oaktown? Well, for the short-term at least, it looks like Jim Mecir could be the man, should Rhodes get demoted. Mecir, a long time setup man, already has two saves this month. When looking at adding Jimmy, keep in mind that his 8.49 ERA is deceiving since he allowed nine earned runs in just one inning pitched over the course of two games a few weeks ago. Over his career, Mecir has converted less than half of his save opportunities (12/37), so if Rhodes does get the axe, the A's might need to look elsewhere for a long-term fix. Rumor has it that they might consider taking Rich Harden down the path Eric Gagne traveled a few years ago, where you take a young starter and make him a closer. That's something to keep in mind if Mecir fails, but for now, it looks like Jim Mecir is the closer in waiting and those desperate for saves should consider signing him.

Cleveland Indians

A young catcher that can hit? It may seem like an oxymoron and rarity at best, but no one bothered to tell Victor Martinez that. With a line of .262/6/22, the 25-year-old Martinez is emerging as a quality alternative for those stuck with an offensive liability behind the dish. Victor is especially hot right now, hitting .289 with two dingers and 13 RBI so far in May, so if you're in need of a new catcher, Martinez is a prime candidate as a replacement. Since he doesn't have much of a track record, it's hard to say Martinez can be counted on for solid production from here on out, but at the very least he should be a positive addition for a little while longer, and could even develop into a nice bit of trade bait.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

You probably won't find Aubrey Huff on the waiver wire in your league, even though his trade value most likely isn't much more than whomever you would drop for him. The bottom line on Huff is that he's pretty much been this year's version of Pat Burrell. However, unlike Burrell, Aubrey's time spent hovering around the Mendoza line could be short lived. He's been showing a few signs of life recently, hitting .273 with a homer and seven RBI over the last seven days, which is a step in the right direction. If you're a fantasy owner that likes to gamble, then trading for Huff now while he's at a bargain basement price could end up pay huge dividends over the next few months.

Philadelphia Phillies

Arthur Rhodes isn't the only closer with aches and pains. The Fightin' Phils' own Billy Wagner has been battling back spasms in his upper back, something he has experienced in the past, over the last week or so. Just as Wagner recovered from the back spasms, he suffered a strained groin while warming up in the bullpen and has been placed on the DL. The man most likely to profit from Wagner missing time is Tim Worrell. Like Mecir, Worrell is a setup man by trade, though he did compile 38 saves in Rob Nen's absence last season with the Giants.

Also like the Oakland case, plan C is a young arm that should be starting. Unfortunately for Ryan Madson, there are no vacancies in the rotation right now (that could change if Myers doesn't keep it together, but that's a subject for another day). So, Madson has had to make his way as a middle reliever, and has proven to be one of the best the Phils have right now. Ryan tallied his first career save the other day, and could find a few more in his stat column by season's end if he remains in the bullpen. Worrell remains the option ahead of Madson though, and should be added.

That'll do it for this week. Remember, if you have any questions, whether it's trade advice, who to drop, or anything in between, feel free to drop me a line by sending an e-mail to . Just be sure to put "Fantasy Spotlight" in the subject line. Until next time, I'm out.

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