2014 Fantasy BaseballChris Garosi

2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Week 21 Closer Report

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox

We are a couple of days late this week with the Closer Report for Week 21. News is generally slow this time of year, but we had a couple of things happen over the weekend so I’m glad I waited until Monday to publish.  This may be the last column of the season as once rosters expand bullpens become a quagmire of arms. 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.

Also, my look at the 2015 closers is still here.

As always, feel free to ask a question in the comments below or shoot me a note on Twitter.

Boston Red Sox

Koji Uehara has now given up runs in three straight appearances including a cringe-worthy outing against the Mariners on Friday night where he gave up five runs with two outs in the inning. Edward Mujica cleaned up the mess on Friday night and got the final out.

For each run that Uehara gives up, he floats farther away from being on the team in 2015. As I’ve noted previously, Mujica is signed through 2015 at a reasonable salary of $4.5M. If he continues to pitch well, the Sox may feel comfortable moving with Mujica as the closer next year and saving some money on Uehara.

Cincinnati Reds

Aroldis Chapman had a bit of a shoulder issue earlier in the week, but seems to have recovered. Again, monitor his workload over the last month as we head in to the offseason. The Reds will likely take it easy on Chapman as they have nothing to play for in 2014.

Houston Astros

Chad Qualls missed a couple of games this week with some back issues. He’s not getting many save chances as the Astros aren’t winning many games. Old friend Jose Veras picked up a save in Qualls’ absence. As a result I’ve slotted Veras in front of Tony Sipp behind Qualls in the pen.

Kansas City Royals

Greg Holland noted last week that he’s feeling some fatigue. I imagine that Ned Yost will attempt to limit Holland’s usage, but that may not be easy as the Royals push for the playoffs for the first time since Harry Truman was president – or something like that.

I doubt there is any effect this year for Holland, but be aware for 2015 drafts and in dynasty/keeper leagues that Holland’s workload in 2014 could negatively affect his 2015 value.

Milwaukee Brewers

Francisco Rodriguez continues to muddle toward the end of the season. His last month has been adequate, but he’s still giving up too many HRs.

Don’t forget young David Goforth as a potential closer next year. He’s been our dark horse for saves for the last few months and just this week Bernie Pleskoff posted a nice scouting profile over at MLB.com. In the deepest of leagues, he’s worth a speculative addition going into 2015.

Oakland A’s

Sean Doolittle hit the DL on Sunday with an oblique injury. Those types of injuries are notoriously slow to heal and it could be the case that Doolittle is out for most of the rest of the season.

Late breaking news has Eric O’Flaherty taking on the closer’s role while Doolittle is out with the reason being the A’s would like to keep others in their current roles. The reasoning makes some sense, so O’Flaherty could be the add. I’m sure the San Francisco Chronicle knows more than I do…

However, I’ve slid Luke Gregerson into the role while Doolittle is out as that is (a) where a lot of the speculation is at this point and (b) Dan Otero had recently been demoted. Otero was recalled with Doolittle’s move to the DL. I think Gregerson gets a shot, but he’s not been good in that role over the last couple of years. Otero could see his way in (he did grab a save back in June when Doolittle was unavailable.

We could see Ryan Cook as well as he’s seemed to have righted the ship over the last month.  Fernando Abad has also pitched well and could be a dark horse to see opportunities.

I’d go with Gregerson as the first choice and make him your waiver claim for saves down the stretch for the A’s. Just realize that the A’s could go a number of different ways if they so choose with O’Flaherty being a real challenge to Gregerson’s number one waiver priority.

San Diego Padres

Joaquin Benoit has (like Chapman) shoulder issues, though his seem a bit more dire. He’s not hit the DL yet, but he hasn’t pitched since the 13 th of August until he got back on the mound today and picked up a save. He’s not a spring chicken so the shoulder injury is a cause for concern.

Kevin Quackenbush picked up the only save while Benoit was sidelined so Quackenbush has moved into the handcuff role for now and would be worth a pickup if Benoit ‘s shoulder doesn’t heal well.

Tampa Bay Rays

Brad Boxberger’s save on Sunday (as well as his work for the entirety of the year) puts him into the handcuff role for Tampa Bay. He’s been lights out all year long and could be in the mix to close next year as the Rays are anything if conventional in the way they set up their pen.

Toronto Blue Jays

Sergio Santos was recalled this week. If you recall, I was on the Santos train early in the season as I believed he’d pitch well enough as the closer to keep Casey Janssen in a setup role when he returned from the DL. I was of course incorrect as Santos imploded and was ultimately waived and re-signed by the Jays.

Janssen has struggled over the last month though I don’t see the Jays making a move at this point. Santos pitched pretty well at AAA after his release though his walk rate is still too high (14%). If he can get his walk rate down to 10% or so he becomes a viable option. Until that point, he’s best left on the waiver wire.

Washington Nationals

The Nats’ setup man and closer have been their two worst pitchers over the last two weeks. Tyler Clippard’s struggles don’t worry me as much as Rafael Soriano’s do. Monitor their work over the next week or so as we could see a changing of the guard for the Nats as they head into the playoffs.

Definitions

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.

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