Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL
In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.
Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.
Closer: Kevin Gregg
Understudy: Jason Frasor
Gregg melted down both on the mound and while he was being removed Saturday. On Monday, he saved his blowup for strictly the former by giving up two runs on three hits and a walk, blowing a one-run advantage and absorbing the loss. Manager Cito Gaston left Gregg in for the whole ride and reportedly didn't once think about going away from him. Maybe misguided confidence, but confidence nonetheless.
We've seen meltdowns like this from Gregg before that have led to his removal from the role (see 2009). Gaston blamed other Jays more than Gregg, though, so it'll take a continued crash or a trade to boot the righty. His swap value is declining, though.
A New York Yankees scout was at Monday's game, likely scouting Gregg and Downs. After a rough June, Frasor has stepped up in July (1.59 ERA, six K's, one walk in 5 2/3 frames). He'd be the best bet to take over saves duty if Gregg were to depart one way or another; deep leaguers can speculate if they have room.
Downs might be the best bet to be shipped out, unless the Jays demand a high ransom. He's the best arm in Toronto's pen, but he's a lefty. Lefty-on-lefty chances could be there if Gregg is gone or dethroned, but Downs probably won't be in a majority role.
Camp, a more control-based pitcher with uninspiring dominance, has been reliable, but 15 of his 43 appearances have accounted for multiple innings. It's unlikely Toronto wants to consider him to close when he has done an excellent job putting out fires earlier.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 5
Closer: Joakim Soria
Understudy: Kyle Farnsworth
The Royals hosted the Blue Jays yesterday, when the Yanks were scouting relievers. New York's target? Reportedly, Soria. The Royals' price will likely be high if they were to move the elite stopper, and Farnsworth would probably step in for Royals saves, in that case.
Soria would give the Bombers the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera, but this move would slash Soria's fantasy value to that of what Joba Chamberlain was supposed to do. The Yanks want to focus on improving their 'pen, so they might be willing to pay the price for a more stable present and future.
Ease off the panic button, Soria owners, but stay tuned. If reports of negotiations ramp up, think about tucking Farnsworth away.
Job security score: 5
Health score: 5
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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