Pecking Order: Rivera, Nathan still top dogs
Fantasy owners also should take heed, because even Wagner could be closing in Boston -- and racking up saves -- by the final week of the regular season. It's only a matter of a tired arm or a random injury. Sure, it's a kind of a long shot that Papelbon himself goes down, but so was the idea that
There are certainly complicated arbitration issues involved with the prospect of Wagner getting a closer's job in 2010. If he's offered arbitration and declines to become a free agent, he could easily end up pitching for the Nationals or Orioles next year, two teams that desperately need a closer and would love to sign him on the cheap. The guy obviously wants to keep pitching, and after his concerns about 2010 and the dustup with Papelbon, I'm convinced he loves the game, not the money. Keep tabs on how Wagner, who busted his butt to get ready to pitch this season, performs the rest of 2009. He might be a great late-round value in 2010, especially for those of you who draft early.
Brad Lidge surrendered another game-winning hit on Tuesday, his ninth blown save this season. Charlie Manuel refuses to concede that it bothers him. Brett Myers (torn labrum in hip/eye injury) is hitting 94 on gun and is scheduled to make a rehab appearance this week in Double-A. It'll be his third rehab outing and he could be back with the Phillies in early September. Frank Francisco had another debacle versus the Yanks, yielding 3 hits, a walk and two earned runs before Melky Cabrera lined into a game-ending double play. Retiring AL East hitters is not his thing.
Scott Downs returned to action and is, for now, sharing closing duties with Jason Frasor in Toronto. He'll be eased back into the role, but might not take it over unless Frasor's shoulder tendonitis gets worse. In Florida, it appears Leo Nunez (8.28 K/9, 2.50 K/BB) still has the edge over Matt Lindstrom, who hasn't been too effective (7.30 K/9, 4.86 BB/9) and has struggled with injuries this season.