Torres closes out career with bang

November, 12, 2008
My colleague Matthew Berry likes to preach about not paying for saves at the draft. Well, you won't have to worry about paying too much for Salomon Torres next year; the veteran reliever surprisingly announced his retirement Tuesday.

Salomon TorresJerry Lai/US PresswireSalomon Torres was quite the bargain with his 28 saves in 2008, but now he's just a fantasy memory.
Torres was a textbook example of why you don't have to overpay for saves at the draft. While he recorded 12 saves in both 2006 and 2007, he was on nobody's fantasy radar to start 2008 since he was buried deep in the Brewers' bullpen. But Torres eventually assumed the closer's role after Eric Gagne flamed out, and he ended up with a career-best 28 saves -- great stats for a guy who was most likely a waiver-wire pickup, even in NL-only leagues. There are always guys like this who emerge every year, as saves seemingly can pop up from anywhere.

Keeper-league owners are probably the most disappointed by this move, because they won't be able to retain Torres and his potential for more saves at a cheap price. Otherwise, Torres' 2008 exploits likely would've led him to be overpriced heading into 2009 drafts because there would be no guarantee he would keep that role for the whole season. Heck, he might not have been assured the job even coming out of spring training. Remember, while Torres got his share of saves, he never did spend an entire season as his team's primary closer and he struggled badly in September, posting an 8.53 ERA. His retirement saves many fantasy owners the trouble of overpaying for his saves again (Torres had 12 saves for Pittsburgh late in 2006, and was drafted relatively highly in 2007, only to lose the job to Matt Capps later that season).

Torres' retirement also means yet another closer situation is up for grabs this winter. And unlike the Padres, for example, there is no obvious in-house candidate to take over, especially with fellow relievers Gagne, Guillermo Mota and Brian Shouse becoming free agents. If the Brewers sign a notable free-agent closer, such as Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes or Trevor Hoffman, or make a trade for an established stopper, then fantasy owners should care. Otherwise, knowing who the Brewers closer might be at the start of spring training or even the start of the season is only mildly relevant.

Milwaukee has a recent history of digging up closers from seemingly out of nowhere. Besides Torres, guys like Derrick Turnbow, Dan Kolb and Mike DeJean stepped into the role and piled up enough saves to please fantasy owners, considering the low prices. (And some fantasy owners still remember overpaying for Mike Adams in 2005 because he was tabbed the Opening Day closer, only to lose the job for good a week later to Turnbow.) It's possible the next Brewers closer will be another bargain reliever who works his way into the spotlight, so it might be worth keeping an eye on their moves this offseason if only to file away names for later use.

To Salomon Torres, best of luck on the retirement. Fantasy owners are grateful that he ended his big-league career on a high note, saving them from potential disappointment in 2009. But while Torres may be gone, there are plenty of guys just like him ready to take his place as a cheap source of saves off the waiver wire.

James Quintong is an editor for ESPN Fantasy.


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