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Closer Updates: Mets, Twins, Reds

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Mets
The fantasy vultures were circling the Mets' bullpen earlier this season, when Frank Francisco was struggling mightily. Francisco settled down a bit since then, but the fantasy opportunists have now gotten their revenge with Double-F being placed on the 15-day DL due to an oblique strain.

Unlike Mets bullpen shakeups of past, manager Terry Collins left little room for doubt or debate this time, swiftly naming Bobby Parnell as Francisco's fill-in. After a few seasons of ups and downs since breaking into the bigs 2008, Parnell finally seems to have put it all together this year, maintaining strong strikeout, walk and groundball rates: 9.0 K/9, 2.32 BB/9, and 54.7% GB. Mix those tasty ingredients together in a SIERA salad, and you're left with a 2.66 mark (compared to a 3.19 ERA). That'll play.

If he's on your wire, don't hesitate to snatch Parnell (owned in 25% of Yahoo! leagues), even if you're not especially in need of saves. He's certainly capable of racking up a handful of saves for your team, but you could also try to flip him to a saves-needy owner in your league with the promise that this is more than a 10-day or two-week cameo. Francisco, remember, is dealing with an oblique strain, which often sideline afflicted players beyond the 15-day minimum stay on the DL. The Yankees' David Robertson, for example, missed more than a month with the same injury.

It's probably too soon to say whether Parnell could hold onto the job when Francisco returns, but my instinct is that he'd have to pitch exceptionally well to do that. So, for now, assume the gig is Parnell's for about a month. There's plenty of value in that.

Twins
Gosh, there's a lot to say about this situation, and without a lot of "effort," this could quickly devolve into an expletive-laden diatribe. But, I'll play nice.

First, the unequivocal: Matt Capps has been placed on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation. I wish I had a better grip on how long he might be out, but I'm pretty sure it's a case-by-case situation with an injury like this. Sergio Santos, for one, has been out since April due to shoulder inflammation, but that seems to be one extreme on the spectrum. So, stash Capps on your DL if you own him, although nothing's promised in terms of when he comes back or whether he closes if/when he does come back, as far as I'm concerned.

Now, as for his fill-in(s). I touted Glen Perkins here last week, and sure enough he picked up the Twins' first two saves in Capps' stead. But then Ron Gardenhire got all fancy on us, calling on Jared Burton for the next two saves in what was a matchups-based decision. The strategy makes perfect sense in real life but does little for us fantasy types. Ugh, there's nothing worse than a closer platoon.

The deal is that, yes, both Perkins and Burton should be owned. Reading the tea leaves, I don't think one will see the majority of save opps, unless perhaps one suffers through an ill-timed and pronounced slump. So, for owners who are in good standing in saves, I see no harm in grabbing only one or neither of these fellows and instead using the roster space for something else. But for those in need in saves, one -- or both -- of these guys can help you.

Frustrating, yes. But chasing saves is a dirty business. 

Reds
What the heck has happened to Aroldis Chapman? The left-hander kicked down the door to grab closing duties for the Reds, but he's struggled mightily of late, allowing runs in five of his past seven outings -- with reports surfacing of a minor back ailment, to boot.

Chapman is obviously in incredible talent; you don't need me to tell you that. But I do wonder about whether he's cut out to hold onto closing duties for the balance of the season, mostly because he seems awfully tricky to handle in terms of usage. In particular, both he and the Reds seem averse to pitching him on three consecutive days, which is not so much a problem in terms of lost save opportunities as what it might suggest about his durability.

I own deposed closer Sean Marshall in my primary league, although admittedly that's more because the league counts holds than because I suspect a shakeup is imminent. However, I am definitely concerned about Chapman right now, and I would be sure to handcuff Marshall to him if I owned Chapman in a standard league. Marshall, for what it's worth, has rounded back into form after his early-season struggles.

Quickly
The Blue Jays transferred Santos to the 60-day DL in what was mostly a procedural move. Santos has resumed playing catch, although it seems like Toronto is moving the right-hander along slowly. I'd be surprised if he were back before late July, and even then I'm not sure he gets his job back from Casey Janssen. ... Drew Storen is progressing nicely in his return from elbow surgery, but Nationals manager Davey Johnson said D-Sto will return as a setup man. That's not a surprising decision considering how well Tyler Clippard has pitched, although Storen owners will want to hold him as long as possible. ... A's closer Ryan Cook suffered his first meltdown over the weekend but rebounded nicely his next time out. He wasn't going to pitch to a sub-1.00 ERA all season but should have plenty of leash as Oakland's closer considering his upside and the underwhelming alternatives. ... The Diamondbacks bought out a couple arbitration years for setup man David Hernandez, perhaps an indication that they plan on using him as their closer once J.J. Putz moves on. That could be as soon as next season, for those of you in keeper leagues, although the club holds a $6.5MM option on Putz for 2013.


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