2014 Fantasy BaseballChris Garosi

2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Week 14 Closer Report

Welcome back to The Fantasy Fix’s Closer Report for Week 14. Last week was full of small shocks along the closer ranks. So far, it’s been pretty quiet since the Angels-Pirates trade and demotion of Ronald Belisario from the closer’s role in Chicago. 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.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Addison Reed keeps struggling and Kirk Gibson keeps backing him. After Tuesday night’s blown save, Gibson said:

“Why would you ask? What, because a guy had a tough inning? I think he’s been pretty good. He’s done a pretty good job for us. We’ve had no discussions about removing him. You might feel differently, but we don’t.”

Well then…nothing to see here. Again, if Reed ends up losing some of his grittiness, Brad Ziegler remains the handcuff.

Boston Red Sox

After struggling a bit Tuesday night, Koji Uehara mentioned that he might be suffering from a bit of fatigue. And the hits just keep on coming for the Red Sox. As I’ve noted previously, Edward Mujica looks to be the handcuff based on usage when Uehara hasn’t been available or was relieved. I still believe that Junichi Tazawa makes a better choice based on skills, but the closer’s role isn’t always decided by which pitcher has the best skills.

Chicago White Sox

There hasn’t been any clarity around the White Sox closing situation since last week’s report. I’ve put Zach Putnam at the front of the line, but Jake Petricka is a close 1A. Until we see some definitive usage patterns, it’s a crapshoot as this bullpen has been for the entire season. Petricka has a bit better pedigree, but was just recently converted to reliever whereas Putnam lacks Petricka’s prospect panache, but has been relieving for most of his career. Both have been effective this season, but Putnam has a slightly higher K%, lower BB% and better peripherals on the season than Petricka.

Houston Astros

Chad Qualls was used in the eighth inning with the Astros up 2-1 against the heart of the Detroit Tigers’  order. He gave up a two out double, but got Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter to end the inning unscathed. He ceded the ninth to Jerome Williams who imploded and was promptly released.

Other than Bo Porter’s desire to have Qualls face the more talented batters, it doesn’t seem to me there has been any change in the Astros’ pen. Qualls is still the closer and has a shot to keep the job next year as well as he’s signed to a cheap deal. He’s also an option to be dealt at the deadline so we’ll continue to monitor the Astros’ wheelings and dealings.

There is no timetable for Jesse Crain’s return. If you are holding him for some reason, dump him. I’d be stunned if he pitches this season. And if he does, even more stunned if contributes positive value.

Josh Fields is also back from the minors, but looks to be buried a bit on the depth chart at the moment.

Los Angeles Angels

Joe Smith has converted five straight save chances and I’ve now made that job Smith’s officially on the closer chart. There is nothing murky about that pen at the moment as long as Smith continues to deal.

Milwaukee Brewers

Jim Henderson resumed his rehab assignment on Thursday. Francisco Rodriguez has cooled a bit from his ridiculous start so don’t forget about Henderson.

San Diego Padres

Interestingly, it came out this week that Joaquin Benoit is likely to be dealt this year, but Huston Street will stay on the Padres. Benoit is clearly available. I envisioned it to be the reverse, but that’s probably one of the many reasons I’m not an MLB General Manager.

San Francisco Giants

Sergio Romo was temporarily removed from the closer’s role last weekend. I’ve never really like his one trick show – I’ve always thought he’d succumb to injury with the sheer volume of sliders he throws .However, ineffectiveness has gotten him first. He’ll get every change to regain the role. But, this is an opportune time to remind you that Romo is a free agent after this season while Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt are both signed to team friendly deals beyond this year. Casilla is the play for me (he’s done the job previously) – I think he gets the next save opportunity and has a chance to audition for the gig next year.

Tampa Bay Rays

Jake McGee nailed down the save Friday night after Brad Boxberger and Joel Peralta pitched three innings of shutout ball ahead of him. McGee continues to be my recommendation for closer in Tampa Bay.

Texas Rangers

Neftali Feliz was recalled from AAA on Friday afternoon. However, he’s not here to take over from Joakim Soria. Soria could certainly be dealt and if that were the case I could see Feliz getting the first shot to close if he continues his recent minor league effectiveness in the majors.

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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