Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on July 22, 2010 @ 12:25:00 PDT

 


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.

Key

Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

 

Chicago White Sox

Closer: Committee

Understudy: Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz

Lurkers: Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos

Chicago White Sox RP Bobby Jenks
Can Jenks battle back again?

After Jenks blew the save in the 11th last night (two runs on three hits while recording just one out), manager Ozzie Guillen said the closer job is open. Jenks has erased massive June progress with a rough road trip: seven runs (six earned) allowed in 2 2/3 frames (four appearances).

Guillen cited any of the above four as possibilities to close. Jenks owners must hold tight; Ozzie tested him with a committee threat earlier in the season, but Jenks returned to closing after a brief break.

Speculators: Putz's right-handedness and experience in the role makes him the next target. Thornton has done the job in a pinch before, but odds are he might often be saved for lefty situations before a save chance arrives.

Santos can be an AL-only target and a watch list commodity elsewhere; the Sox are high on him, and if he takes the reins, they might just run with him.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Jon Rauch (ankle) was available for the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, but he wasn't needed in their 6-0 victory. He should be back on the mound within the next few days.
  • Are Jose Valverde's lofty peripherals starting their downturn? He has a 4.70 ERA with a 1.82 WHIP in 7 2/3 July frames. In all fairness, the Detroit Tigers have offered Valverde just one save chance - a successful July 10 opp - and his grounder rate remains at a ridiculous level. He has been used a bunch, too, so maybe he just needs a break.
    Valverde remains steady, though, even if he declines a bit. If you aren't in a position to give up saves, riding out a drop-off won't hurt, especially since he still helps out in K's. If you're in a solid standing in the category, though, maybe you can use Valverde as trade bait to address other areas.
  • Though chances he'll be traded by the July 31 deadline are shaky, the DLed Kerry Wood (blister) reportedly remains a legit possibility to be discarded in some fashion via the August 31 waiver trade deadline. The Cleveland Indians have to be pleased with what Chris Perez has given them in comparison to Wood's struggles with health and performance. Both relievers must be retained until Cleveland makes its decision on Wood.
  • Michael Wuertz, next in line for Oakland Athletics saves, performed those duties last night. Andrew Bailey threw two innings in Tuesday's game and was unavailable. For you AL-only, ratio relief-seeking or saves-desperate owners: Wuertz is rounding into form with a 0.96 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP in his last 9 1/3 frames. 
  • The Tampa Bay Rays' Rafael Soriano responded to a Tuesday BS - just his second of the season - with a tidy scoreless inning for the Wednesday closure. He has walked just three batters since May 15 - all have come within the last four outings.
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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