Cardinals’ closer Jason Motte has been shut down for the remainder of spring training and is almost certain to begin the season on the disabled list. The team said that Motte has suffered a mild elbow strain and will not resume throwing until after the season begins.
Hard-throwing right-hander Mitchell Boggs will slide into the closer’s role, but it is unclear how long he will remain there. The Cardinals have set no timetable for Motte’s return.
The sudden injury will shake up Fantasy drafts and leagues that have already drafted. Motte was one of the elite-level closers — a position known in recent years for volatility and turnover.
Boggs has been drafted mostly in leagues that use holds as a category. He owns a 95+ mph fastball and had a very effective 2012, going 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and held opponents to a .207 batting average. He has good control and has had a 7.2 K/9 ratio in each of the last two seasons. He has the potential to be a very good closer, though he won’t provide an exaggerated K total, as Motte has. Because he is a mostly unknown quantity, expect Boggs to be available deep in drafts this week, though owners who need saves may reach for him. You should start thinking about him around #175, though not knowing how long he will hold the ninth inning job should temper any enthusiasm you have regarding his availability.
Jason Motte has an average draft position (ADP) of 96 this spring, according to the National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC). His ADP should tumble immediately and owners who are not averse to risk should look elsewhere. Elbow injuries seldom end well or allow a pitcher to return to dominance when he returns.