After losing long time closer Heath Bell
to the Miami Marlins via free agency earlier in the week, the San Diego Padres acquired Huston Street
from the division-rival Colorado Rockies for a minor league player to be named later.
According to Thomas Harding of MLB.com
, the Padres are expected to pick up a bulk of the $8 million owed to Street next season. Street also has a 2013 option worth $9 million.
Street, 28, spent the past three seasons as the ninth inning closer for the Rockies. During his time in Colorado, Street was 9-9 with a 3.50 ERA, recording 84 saves in 167 1/3 innings. In seven big league seasons, Street has recorded 178 saves in 216 opportunities. Last season for the Rockies, he recorded 29 saves in 33 opportunities. Street has posted 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) over his career, but has been on the decline since 2010, posting 8.6 and 8.5 K/9 respectively.
With Colorado sending Street to Petco Park, it's likely that reliever Rafael Betancourt
will take over as the full-time closer in 2012. Betancourt, 36, recorded eight saves last season while Street was on the disabled list during the month of August. He struck out 73 batters in 62 1/3 innings while posting a 2-0 record with a 2.89 ERA in 2011. In three seasons with Colorado, the veteran is 10-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
From a fantasy standpoint, Street still remains one of the better closers in the game. Although he struggled with home runs (1.54 per nine innings) last season, he's still getting the job done by posting decent strikeout numbers and by not allowing walks to hitters in the ninth inning. Pitchers who call Petco Park home usually see a significant decline in home runs allowed while also experiencing an overall boost in their peripheral pitching numbers. With Street already allowing a low amount of walks to hitters, he'll likely post some terrific numbers in 2012. And as far as Betancourt next season, I wouldn't put much faith in a 36-year old closer without a proven track record. If it doesn't appear that he can get the job done in the ninth inning, the Rockies have relievers Matt Lindstrom
, Matt Belisle
, and Rex Brothers
ready to try and nail the job down.