2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Week 12 Closer Report
Welcome back to The Fantasy Fix’s Closer Report for Week 12. Hey look, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are back on the list again this week. We’ve got some other minor movements as well as some confounding handcuff issues in Boston, St. Louis and Oakland. Follow along to see where we are today.
Remember, we’ve moved the Fantasy Fix Closer Report Chart to its full time home right here.
As always, feel free to ask a question in the comments below or shoot me a note on Twitter.
David Carpenter was put on the DL on Tuesday with a strained right biceps. It is not clear how long he’ll be out, but it looks like rookie Jordan Walden has strengthened his hold on the handcuff role to Craig Kimbrel. I was also probably a bit too excited to slide Shae Simmons into a higher leverage role as Anthony Varvaro should continue to hold down seventh inning duties while Simmons lurks on the outside.
J.J. Putz was designated for assignment on Friday afternoon. He’s going to pass through waivers unclaimed, but it’s likely some bullpen-starved team will give him a chance after he’s a free agent. There isn’t much exciting in the D’backs pen, but dropping Putz does bring Oliver Perez closer to the lead chair in Arizona.
Boston Red Sox
When Koji Uehara needed a break, it was Edward Mujica and not Junichi Tazawa who got the nod. Indeed, Tazawa pitched the eighth before ceding the ninth to Mujica. Mujica had been terrible for much of the year, however, he’s given up runs in only one of his seven appearances this month and only three times since May 1. And since May 1, he’s got a 3.63 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 17 1 /3 innings. He’s still get struck by the home run ball (four in that same period), but it looks like he’s the handcuff now for the Sox. I’ve also slid him back into the 2015 closer’s role as he’s signed for 2015 and Uehara is not.
Chicago White Sox
Nate Jones has been doing some conditioning and throwing work and notes in this piece that he hopes he can be back in August. He also says “…no date has been set.” I wouldn’t count on Jones contributing to your fantasy team in 2014 though he still makes a reasonable dynasty stash.
Joe Nathan had a perfect inning (with three strikeouts) on Thursday night to pick up his first save in June. The Tigers are paying him to close and he’ll continue to do so until the wheels come completely off.
Los Angeles Angels
Look who’s back on the hot seat – Ernesto Frieri. He’s now given up runs in three straight appearances after a run of three straight save conversions. This bullpen has the feeling that it won’t ever be settled all year long. Mike Scioscia says they don’t have a defined closer. And that was clear when he brought Cam Bedrosian into the 10 th inning (Joe Smith pitched the ninth) on Thursday night. Bedrosian was kind enough to load the bases and hand the ball over to Frieri who promptly served up a grand slam to the scuffling Nick Swisher.
Frieri is sill probably the favorite for saves (and he’ll continue to have wild peaks and valleys). It’s also clear the Scioscia wanted to give Bedrosian a shot with Frieri waiting in the wings should things not go well. My guess is that Smith gets the next chance and could go on a short term run of saves, but Scioscia will try to get Frieri back in there the first chance he can. And Bedrosian hasn’t shown he’s major league
Los Angeles Dodgers
I’ve swapped Chris Perez and Brian Wilson on the chart moving Wilson into the handcuff role has he’s been pitching the eighth inning role more often lately and Chris Perez has been appearing almost exclusively in low leverage situations and appearing rarely. Over the last 14 days, Wilson has been one of the more effective Dodgers’ relievers.
Glen Perkins was held out of a save opportunity on Wednesday, but came back Thursday night to pick one up. It seems his back stiffness was a minor issue. Casey Fien was called on to pick up the save with Perkins out (Jared Burton and Brian Duensing pitched the ninth in a tie game) and failed to get to the job done. Perkins’ job is safe.
New York Mets
Jenrry Mejia was pulled on Wednesday night from a save opportunity after giving up two hits, a HBP and a run. The Mets called on lefty Dana Eveland to get Matt Adams and he did and picked up the save. Eveland certainly has been effective his role, but this was clearly a matchup save for him. Nothing changes for me in the Mets’ bullpen.
New York Yankees
Adam Warren picked up a save this week with both David Robertson and Dellin Betances not available. There has even been talk of putting Warren in the starting rotation if Vidal Nuno continues to struggle. Again, no change to the pen as I see it right now.
Dan Otero picked up a save when Sean Doolittle was unavailable. As a result, I’ve put Otero into the handcuff role for now. Luke Gregerson came in for the eighth and picked up the hold prior to Otero’s save.
What seemed inevitable happened Thursday afternoon as Jason Grilli was temporarily relieved of his closing duties. Mark Melancon steps in and has a shot to take the job and run with it. He’s been the best pitcher in the Pirates’ pen over the last 30 days. I would invest heavily in Melancon if I could – Grilli may not see the role the rest of the year. Tony Watson slides up as well and could see the odd save chance.
St. Louis Cardinals
Pat Neshek picked up another save this week when Jason Motte couldn’t keep the Mets’ from rallying. I still think Motte is the handcuff for Trevor Rosenthal. However, Neshek has been fantastic all season long (even if a bit lucky) and Motte hasn’t gotten his feet under him yet after the Tommy John surgery. If Rosenthal struggled, I’d be surprised if the Cards didn’t go with the closer experience in Motte, but Neshek is a threat now.
Also, Carlos Martinez has temporarily shifted out of the bullpen to pick up a couple of starts. I think he’ll slot back into the ‘pen in time, but for now he’s in the rotation.
San Francisco Giants
Since Sergio Romo’s picked up back to back blown saves against the Rockies last Friday and Saturday night he hasn’t pitched. He wasn’t available Sunday, but still has not pitched since though there hasn’t been a need for him. Perhaps the time off will do Romo good.
Tampa Bay Rays
The last three saves for the Rays have been captured by Grant Balfour, Jake McGee and Juan Carlos Oviedo. It is a pure committee at this point. Taking a look at the last 14 days it seems that Grant Balfour has been the best reliever (and quite unlucky) and Oviedo has been nearly the mirror image of Balfour (effective, but lucky). That said, it’s a results-based business and Balfour has struggled this year. I still think McGee gets the shot to closer next year, but the Rays are a small-market team and will likely do what they can to keep the arbitration dollars down for a youngster like McGee.
2014 Closer – The current closer
Handcuff Option – This is the guy who I believe will step into the closer role if the current closer loses his job.
Other Option – Another arm in the pen who could close if the manager chooses to go a different route. And to clarify – this may be the lefty specialist who steps in for match up saves along the way.
Dark Horse Option – If all hell breaks loose in the pen, this guy could get a shot this year.
2015 Closer – This guy should be in the closer’s role on Opening Day 2014.
And if you are looking for the chart, we’ve moved it to its permanent home right here. Updates will be made daily so be sure to check back each day to see any movement.
Thanks as always for reading.