Braves/Pirates Trade Spin

Updated: January 17, 2007, 6:27 PM ET
Tristan Cockcroft's Take

While neither Adam LaRoche nor Mike Gonzalez is widely considered a prominent name, for fantasy, it's a fairly significant deal. Ultimately, anytime a closer changes teams, and Gonzalez did lead the Pirates with 24 saves in 2006, it's news, because saves represents one-fifth of the Rotisserie pitching categories, and really, it's the most volatile of the five.

In Atlanta, Gonzalez might possess the best arm of the team's many relievers, but he's not the most experienced closer on the roster. That honor goes to Bob Wickman, the former Cleveland stopper whose lifetime WHIP (1.396) has his critics constantly calling for his job. Wickman's 247 career saves and $6.5-million contract, though, keep him safe, and chances are, it's former Mariner closer-in-waiting Rafael Soriano who'd rank second in line. That puts Gonzalez third on the depth chart in a bullpen that's as a whole much deeper than it was in 2006, and it means for fantasy, the deal takes him from top-20 closer to an ERA/WHIP specialist, something most valuable mainly in 4x4 or NL-only formats.


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