« Silver League Update: Scrambling For Saves | Main | April 17, 2012 »

Closer Updates: Angels, Marlins, Rays,

Say what you will about Keith Olbermann's politics, but the man knows baseball, as evidenced by his faith in @closernews for the latest on bullpen situations. You should follow, too, if you don't already.

Angels
Mike Scioscia doesn't like anyone, and fantasy owners are no exception. First, he had the nerve to quick-hook Jordan Walden out of the closer's role after a poor but not awful start to the season. Now, he's settled into a really frustrating pattern of randomly assigning save opportunities to Scott Downs on some days and Ernesto Frieri on others. Ugh.

And that's kind of where this thing is right now: a weird platoon, of sorts. While many of these committee situations are resolved by attrition, you'd have a heck of a time figuring out which of Downs or Frieri will slump first. Downs may be more subject to the vagaries of the BABIP Monster based on his groundballing ways, but it hasn't hurt him yet, and while Frieri boasts a ridiculous strikeout rate (16.28 K/9), he doesn't have the sharpest control (4.76 BB/9), so you could easily envision a situation in which he issues a walk and a homer or something.

The Halos could always defer to Frieri by falling back on his pedigree as a prototypical closer type, but Scioscia has proven he's not a slave to dogma. So, for now, both pitchers must be owned until some other pattern emerges -- and don't forget that Walden is still lurking back there, too, for those of you who are speculating in super-deep or holds formats.

Marlins
It's nearly impossible to correctly recount all the twists and turns in this saga, with Miami still struggling to find ninth-inning stability. The Marlins have determined that Heath Bell will see their save chances so long as he's pitching, and the results have been painful. It's tough to determine from where I sit whether he has simply aged in dog years or is perhaps injured, but this one doesn't look to be "working itself out."

Bell was pulled from save chances on consecutive nights on Friday and Saturday, getting himself into a mess in both games before being bailed out by Steve Cishek and Randy Choate, respectively. Predictably, he received a save chance two days later, on Monday, and converted a clean one. Go figure.

I've written here before that the Marlins will stick with Bell, so I don't want to belabor that point, but in the meanwhile, the supporting players in the bullpen could continue to vulture saves when Bell clearly "doesn't have it" or is in the midst of one of his brief demotions. Cishek, in particular, makes for a strong target in deeper leagues, as he'll contribute nicely in strikeouts and ratios. Randy Choate is an option, too, though circumstances will have to conspire to reward his LOOGY-ness.

Rays
Tampa Bay's bullpen has been surprisingly settled this season. Fernando Rodney was only the Rays' second option to close after Kyle Farnsworth went down with an elbow injury -- Joel Peralta got first crack but threw up a couple of clunkers. But Fern-Rod has acquitted himself quite nicely, parlaying a repertoire tweak into newfound ninth-inning success the way Farnsworth did last season. The Rays must have realized that coaching up busted-out closers is the new market inefficiency, eh?

Anyway, Rodney's rare flareup over the weekend shouldn't incite panic yet; he ought to be perfectly secure in his standing as Tampa's closer. Farnsworth, meanwhile, is on the rehab trail and expects to be back from the DL by the end of June. It'll be a bitter pill for the loyal owners who held onto K-Farns after his injury, but I don't expect him to get his job back once he returns. Rodney has simply pitched too well to be stripped of the gig now.

Worth Noting: Cubs right-hander Rafael Dolis' inevitable regression arrived swiftly and pronouncedly, resulting in his demotion to Triple-A Iowa. He can safely be cut in all leagues, obviously. Chicago will look to James Russell and perhaps Shawn Camp in the ninth inning for the immediate future, but Carlos Marmol has been activated off the DL and will challenge for the job at some point, depending on how soon he can find any semblance of a groove. If you notice him string together even two consecutive easy outings, it's probably worth it to pounce. ... Sergio Santos is not progressing much in his return from shoulder inflammation, so it looks like Casey Janssen should hold onto the closer's job in Toronto through mid-June at least.


Full Story |  Comments (0) | Categories:


Site Map     Contact     About     Advertise     Privacy Policy     MLB Trade Rumors     Rss Feed