Brian Wilson injures ribcage, will auction off green shoes to help relief efforts in Japan

San Francisco Giants pitchers Brian Wilson (L) and Tim Lincecum stretch before the start of Game 3 of Major League Baseball’s World Series in Arlington, Texas, October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

A headline like that can only involve Brian Wilson.

The 2010 MLB saves leader wore a pair of green shoes during a spring training game against the Angels on Thursday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. He will auction off said green spikes, with all the proceeds going to help the relief efforts in Japan. (Visit his website for the deets.)

In a small twist of irony, the green kicks didn’t bring him much luck. Wilson strained a ribcage muscle in the same game and might miss Opening Day now. He will be re-evaluated on Monday and if he’s out for an extended period of time, there’s reason to believe he could start the season on the DL.

Fantasy Spin: Owners trying to prepare for their upcoming draft can probably draft Wilson with confidence, although it might not be a bad idea to snag Sergio Romo or Jeremy Affeldt with one of your last picks because they would fill in for the breaded one if need be. Affeldt collected four saves last year for the Giants, but Romo is actually the more logical choice to take over the ninth inning duties. He was lights out down the stretch last year as Wilson’s setup man, finishing with an impressive 2.18 ERA and a 5.00 K/BB ratio.

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Baseballs are seen before they are used for batting practice during the New York Yankees’ spring training camp at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, February 24, 2011 REUTERS/Steve Nesius (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

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We Got Game: The MLB All-35+ Draft

If you’re anything like me, I hate it when my favorite team signs an aging veteran free agent. I’ve uttered the phrase, “Please God don’t let them sign that crusty old vet,” too many times to count.

But those “crusty old vets” hold a ton of importance to a team’s success, especially in baseball where World Series-winning rosters usually have a mixture of both youth and veteran experience. Take the World Champion Giants for example. They won because of their young pitching, but it wasn’t Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner who wound up holding the World Series MVP Trophy at the end. It was 35-year-old Edgar Renteria, who was cursed by the SF faithful for being yet another horrible Brian Sabean signing, but wound up being a Fall Classic hero.

Today’s media doesn’t pay enough homage to the older MLB players. In fact, when fellow TSR contributor David Medsker and I were brainstorming ideas for a new feature, the first thing I brought up was that we should do an all 24-and-younger MLB team comprised of…well the idea is pretty self explanatory.

It wasn’t until David and I exhausted that idea before he sent me an e-mail that simply read: “Has anyone done an all 35-and-over team?”

Perfect. The moment I read it I burst into laughter. Could you imagine compiling a team of players that were only 35 years or older when present day teams usually build around youth? I love it.

Unfortunately, the guys over at Off Base Percentage beat us to the punch by compiling their own 35-plus year old team, so David and I decided to actually hold a live draft in order to make two teams. (Take that OBP.)

Below is a round-by-round breakdown of our all 35-and-older MLB draft. We selected a player for every infield position, plus three outfield positions, four starting pitchers (we only had eight to choose from), three relievers, one DH and two bench spots. Once the draft started, David and I quickly developed different strategies for building our rosters, so it was interesting to see how the draft played out. Take a look and let us know if you would have gone a different route.

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2011 Fantasy Outlook: What to make of Chase Utley’s knee

All 2011 Fantasy Articles | 2011 Position Rankings

Man, Chase Utley has become a yearly case study for fantasy owners, hasn’t he?

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley waits on a pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 2, 2010 in Denver. The Phillies lead the NL Wild Card race. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

Two years ago Utley was coming off offseason hip surgery and owners were afraid to draft him, even at a thin second base position. Last year, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained thumb at the end of June and for the first time in five years he failed to score at least 90 runs.

Now there are reports that the patellar tendonitis that he’s been battling in his knee may be worse than the Phillies initially thought. He recently received a cortisone injection and even GM Ruben Amaro said the knee hasn’t responded as the club hoped it would. The second baseman took batting practice over the weekend, but there’s no timetable for his participation in spring games and therefore, fantasy owners are left with yet another Chase Utley conundrum.

Assuming you were planning on targeting him before the knee injury became an even bigger concern, do you still draft him in the second round (which is what his ADP is in a 12-team league)? Do you pass on him altogether and target the next best options in Dustin Pedroia, Dan Uggla or Ian Kinsler? Do you hope he falls and then scoop him up later when he represents more value?

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Relievers

San Francisco Giants Brian Wilson throws the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers in the World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco on October 27, 2010. The Giants defeated the Rangers 11-7. UPI/Terry Schmitt

All 2011 Fantasy Articles | 2011 Position Rankings

Ah, the fantasy closer. They’ll screw with you just as bad as that hot chick you used to have a thing for back in high school.

Damn she looks good today…No wait, it’s a trick. She’s making me think that I need her to become a winner. Well I don’t. I don’t need her. I’ll just go out with two less attractive girls and I’ll be just fine. Or…yeah, I don’t need any girl! I’m going to punt girls altogether and focus on other things like schoolwork, sports and hanging out with my friends. I don’t need her – I don’t need any of them!..Oh, but look at her. She’s everything I need. She’s way better than two less attractive girls or no girls at all and hey, if she breaks my heart it’s okay. Sure, I would have passed on the two less attractive girls but then I can take on three really, really, really less attractive girls that still might give me what I need in the end. It wouldn’t be so bad…wait, NO! I don’t need her! Stay away from me you freaking serpent woman!

And the cycle continues year after year.

Look, no matter how you want to tackle the conundrum that is the fantasy closer, just make sure you have a plan of attack. If you want to take one of the top guys in the sixth or seventh round, fine. Just know going into your draft whether or not you’re going to invest in saves or take your chances with two or three guys that you select later in your draft. (Or, punt the stat altogether and load up on offense and starters.)

If you want our advice, draft two or three closers in the 12th round and beyond and call it a day. Maybe the combination of Brian Wilson and Huston Street will get you 80 saves, but a trio of Francisco Rodriguez, Leo Nunez and Joel Hanrahan could rack up the same amount and here’s the kicker: you wouldn’t need to invest picks in the seventh and 13th rounds to acquire K-Rod/Nunez/Hanrahan (who can all be had in the 14th round or later).

If you want to take our advice and select closers later in your draft, here are five pitchers to keep an eye on. All of them are projected to go in the 13th round or later in 12-team leagues.

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