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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fantasy baseball: Francisco Rodriguez's value soars

K-Rod is back.

OK, he's probably not back to being the pitcher who averaged 42 saves from 2005 to 2010 and struck out a combined 496 batters in 401 1/3 innings in that span.

But Francisco Rodriguez has returned to the closer's role.

Tuesday, the Brewers replaced John Axford with Rodriguez in the ninth-inning role, a day after the former blew his sixth save since May 11.

Since that date, Axford is 10-for-16 in save chances and has a 5.27 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Before that blown save, he had converted 49 consecutive save opportunities and was coming off a fantastic 2011 season in which he was 46-for-48 in saves, had a 1.95 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 86 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings.

Prior to Tuesday, Rodriguez was available in more than 97 percent of the leagues on If he's available in a category league in which you compete, you should acquire him even if you don't need a closer. (Think trade bait.)

Rodriguez has been pretty ordinary in a setup role this season for Milwaukee. He has a 3.67 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 39 Ks in 41 2/3 innings.

He was very effective last season, though, posting a 2.64 ERA and 79 Ks in 71 2/3 innings with the Mets and Brewers.

If you're worried about using a roster spot on Rodriguez and then watching as Axford gets his former job back in two weeks, don't.

There are rumors Rodriguez will be traded to a closer-needy team before the July 31 deadline. One rumor that gained steam recently was a Rodriguez reunion with the Mets. (And what fun that could be.)

And what better way to raise his trade value than to have him save a handful of games in the next two weeks?

If Rodriguez is traded, you might also get lucky and have him go to a team such as the Mets, who have had 22 saves in their 46 victories and have Frank Francisco and his 4.97 ERA on the disabled list.

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