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Closer Updates: Cubs, Twins, Tigers

Do I follow @closernews on Twitter for all the latest on closer situations? That's a clown question, bro; of course I do.

I feel like such a dirty hypocrite. I've said since he was on the DL that Carlos Marmol would be reinstated as Cubs closer once he returned. Sure enough, despite not really pitching well enough to warrant the promotion, Marmol is back in the role after picking up a rocky save against the Red Sox.

So, why am I being a phony? Because Marmol has been languishing on the wire in the MLBTR League -- which is an active, relatively competitive league -- and yet I can't pull the trigger on picking him up. He's too up and down for my tastes, and I'm having enough trouble managing my ERA and WHIP with Mat Latos putting up bricks just about every time out. Plus, I have three decent closers in Jim Johnson, Casey Janssen and Tom Wilhelmsen. I "paid" for only one of them on draft day, for those of you keeping score at home. 

So, Marmol remains owned in just 47% of Yahoo! leagues, and if you're desperate for saves -- and can withstand the ocassional nuking to your ratios -- the right-hander is your guy.

Yes, there's plenty reason to think the Cubs' handling of Marmol is in anticipation of a potential deadline trade. After all, if they're going to try to ship him out, they'd be well advised to prop up his value as much as possible. And how strongly could they pitch him if he's not even in the best reliever in his own horrid bullpen? Of course, it's no secret that Marmol has been sharply trending downward for well over a year now, but you can't fault the Cubs for trying to convince everyone otherwise. 

All of which is to say, yes, Marmol might not be for long as Cubs closer -- and that end could just as easily arrive by trade as by ineffectiveness. But in the meanwhile, saves are saves, and if you need 'em, here's an opportunity. Car-Mar was a stud in the not-too-distant past, and stranger things have happened than for a talent arm to take off.

Matt Capps was pretty terrible as Twins closer in 2011, eventually losing his job to Glen Perkins and later Joe Nathan. He's rebounded to some extent this season and has actually flown under the radar as an underwhelming but servicable dirt-cheap closer type.

The news hasn't been great for Capps of late, though. First, he took a loss on Friday while coughing up a pair of earned runs. Then, he was unavailable Saturday and Sunday due to shoulder inflammation. Hmm ... What is it they about correlation and causation, again? Anyway, Twins GM Terry Ryan says Capps is fine, but ya know, I like my team-spun info with a big fat grain of salt.

Meanwhile, Perkins is again looking like a pitcher who is kicking down the dang door for his chase at closing despite his team's protestations over his handedness. Previous generations tied lefties to chairs and threw them in lakes, so impeding Perkins' path to the ninth inning is relative progress. Anyway, Capps might be injured, and even if he's not, he's looking like a sensible trade candidate (though I wonder which contender would consider him an upgrade), so Perkins may see a half-season audition to close before the Twins again bring someone in and bump him down the ladder in 2013.

Perkins is probably gone in most holds leagues, but I think there's room for him as a solid handcuff candidate in standard leagues and a must-add in anything deeper than that. Of course, the Twins could always pull a fast one and filibust a Jared Burton type into the role, but for now I'm assuming talent wins the day.

We should all be so fortunate as Jose Valverde in these ugly times. No matter how close he comes to the verge of losing his job, Jo-Val seems to scrape together a competent-enough string of outings to quell the mob and live to see the light of another day.

But the odds have to catch up to Papa Grande at some point, right? This aggression 4.92 SIERA will not stand, man. I mean, 4.92! That's pretty terrible. The 1.12 K/BB is just as bad. There's not a lot to like here.

In fairness, Valverde has always been one of those guys who manages to confound the advanced ERA estimators. But that was when he had the vaunted ability to miss bats. Now, he's just a big-bellied, skinny-legged, past-his-prime closer who lacks control and the ability to miss bats. Ugh.

Meanwhile, Joaquin Benoit continues his redemption song after an up-and-down first year in Detroit. He continues to rack up whiffs, and his low-low 2.05 ERA is within a stone's throw of his 2.29 SIERA. He's long had the stuff to close. Now, he just need the opportunity to do it.

Come on, Valverde: Give someone else a chance.

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