The New York Mets have been searching for a decent closer ever since Billy Wagner was traded to the Boston Red Sox. The trade was yet another horrific one for the Mets, who received Chris Carter and Eddie Lora. Carter had some time in the majors, but was beyond insignificant. Lora was released after hitting an astonishing .088 with the Kingsport Mets in 2010.
Since Wagner’s departure, the Mets have been dealing with horrific closers who couldn’t finish a game even if they were paid millions of dollars to do the job. Oh…wait, they are paid millions. Oops.
Francisco Rodriguez (then, still known as K-Rod) was signed by the Mets in 2009 and pitched rather well until he began having anger issues. Rodriguez punched his father-in-law during a game and after that, was strongly disliked by Mets fans. The incident became a distraction and caused “K-Rod” to blow saves left and right. He basically went from future Hall of Fame member to being someone no one wanted to have any part of. Well, now the joke is on the Mets, once again. Since leaving the team in 2009, Rodriguez has an ERA of 2.70.
The Mets went and signed Frank Francisco after they were unable to find a closer within the organization. This just made things worse for the team and played a role in the Mets being a sub- .500 team since 2008. That was their last big season; they won 89 games. This year, Francisco has been hurt for nearly all of the season and maybe it’s better that way. During Spring training, the leading candidate for the closer’s job was Bobby Parnell and he’s been terrific so far.
Parnell used to throw his fastball at 100 mph but with almost no control. He’s reduced his velocity down to about 95 mph but when he needs it he can add a little gas in strikeout situations, which is a key reason he has a 2.16 ERA this season. However, Parnell is out with a strained neck for the foreseeable future. LaTroy Hawkins took over his role for a few games, but he is injured as well.
David Aardsma has been ineffective in the role, so the Mets called up a young guy by the name of Gonzalez Germen, and he’s been amazing. Germen was far from outstanding at Triple-A Las Vegas with a 5.52 ERA over 44 innings. Yet, moving up to the majors appears to inspired the 25-year-old from the Dominican Republic. Germen has appeared in 13 games with the Mets so far, finishing four of them including his first career save against the San Diego Padres. Expect Germen to continue closing as long as Parnell is out, making him a definite pick up in all Fantasy formats. The Mets have been playing some close games lately, so the potential for Germen to garner some saves makes him worth adding to your Fantasy team.
Greg Biffle Looks to Complete the Michigan Sweep in NASCAR:
Greg Biffle is a wheel man. He may not be the 2005 Biffle, when he won six races with Doug Richert on his pit box, but he still has what it takes to win.
Biffle is currently ninth in points. The driver of the No. 16 Ford Fusion is barely holding a spot in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup with just three races left before the 12 driver cutoff. He does have a win this year, which occurred at the same spot where NASCAR returns to this weekend. That spot? The Michigan International Speedway.
It’s arguably Biffle’s best track since four of his 19 career wins have come at Michigan. If Biffle can seal the deal this weekend, it would be his third straight win there and may just be the extra push he needs to help make it into NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. However, lately Biffle just hasn’t seen the success which he carried after his Michigan win back in June.
Biffle only has two top-10 finishes since his win at Michigan. He ran well in the high speed race at Pocono, but Michigan is arguably the fastest track on the circuit with laps averaging over 200 mph. Biffle is expected to run very strong this weekend and Fantasy NASCAR owners should pick him up as fast as they can.
Over the past six races at Michigan, Biffle has led 332 laps and hasn’t finished worse than 20th in those starts. Considering that Michigan is in the backyard of Ford Racing, there’s always an extra emphasis for the Roush-Fenway Racing cars to perform well and Biffle usually does just that. However, Fantasy owners should keep an eye out for the Toyota’s this weekend who were very strong in practice after struggling mightily in the June race.
Brandon Myers Looks to be the Next Jeremy Shockey for the New York Giants:
The New York Giants always have good tight ends. Fantasy Football owners can know for sure that Eli Manning can and will deliver to to his big man, which is usually his best receiver during clutch situations.
This year, the Giants have a pretty stout offense. With Manning entering his 10th season, the team has a veteran to lead their offense throughout the season (as long as he doesn’t get hurt of course). Manning hasn’t missed a game since 2004 and assures Giants receivers that they’ll each get a fair share of receptions.
Jeremy Shockey used to be his favorite target. Those two combined for four straight years (2004-2007) with at least 615 yards. Since Shockey left the team, they’ve had Kevin Boss and Martellus Bennett at the top of the depth chart in the tight end position. With Boss going to the Oakland Raiders a few years ago, the Giants haven’t had the best of tight ends, but they’ve been able to manage.
Bennett had a great year for the Giants last year, gathering 626 yards on 55 receptions. However, he left the team and signed on with the Chicago Bears. The Giants decided to sign Brandon Myers from the Raiders instead of going over to Bear Pascoe who’s only been targeted 39 times in his 50 career games in the NFL.
Myers should be a key part of the Giants’ offense in 2013. He’s a versatile tight end that may be able to surpass 650 yards this year, which would equalize the amount he used to throw to Shockey. However, he’s probably not going to have as great of a year as he did with the Raiders last season since Manning has one of the best receiving tandems in the NFL. Fantasy Football owners might want to pick him up as their top tight end and if he’s available in the late rounds, a good back up as well.