Discussion

Bullpens: Top 10 'non-save' RP options

Updated: March 11, 2013, 5:23 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
The weekend announcement from New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera that this would be his final big league season doesn't change anything from a fantasy baseball perspective. The beloved Rivera remains a trusted fantasy option, and is appropriately being selected sixth among current relief pitchers in ESPN average live drafts, and in the top 100 overall. It won't be me choosing a closer that early, but I also don't see much risk. Not only is Rivera's body of work outstanding, but he injured his knee early enough last season that he's now fully recovered, with the pending Opening Day not even in question. Rivera tossed a perfect inning Saturday, striking out two, and while it's rare that we project a 43-year-old to produce at such a high level again and again and again, in his case, it fits.

Of course, for those in dynasty formats, this news only confirms that Rivera will not be helping fantasy owners in 2014, so while one should always aim to win now, it's reasonable to seek out others in longer-term formats. One of the relievers likely to come in greater demand is Yankees setup man David Robertson, the presumed next in line. It's tough to argue the case against Robertson, an elite strikeout reliever certainly capable of moving his act to the ninth inning when given the chance. This transition might have occurred last May when Rivera was hurt, but Robertson was sputtering a bit with health and performance, and the experienced Rafael Soriano got the job done in the role.

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