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.
|Job security (JS) score
||1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
|Health (H) score
||1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)
Closer: Matt Capps
Understudy: Jon Rauch
Who's the best bet behind Bailey?
Rauch's closer hat was just knocked off - probably unfairly. The newly acquired Capps will take over save duties.
Deep leaguers should hold on to Rauch despite his seemingly gutted value. Look closer: Capps has been streaky in the past, and he moves to the AL, the worse move for a pitcher.
Job security score: 3
Health score: 5
Closer: Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow
Understudy: Brad Ziegler
Lurkers: Andrew Bailey (back)
Bailey is likely headed to the DL Friday. An intercostal strain is tricky and might keep Bailey out longer than the minimum dictated by a retroactive DL placement (for him, July 21).
Wuertz and Breslow are the likely recipients of save chances. Wuertz has more experience closing for Oakland, but Breslow has better skills. It's extremely possible this becomes a saves share.
Wuertz should be your first target based on his Oakland experience, but don't ignore Breslow as a consolation prize.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 4
The Cleveland Indians' Kerry Wood (finger) could be activated today. The righty threw a scoreless rehab inning (all eight pitches were strikes) with Double-A Akron Thursday. Even when Wood comes back, retain Chris Perez, especially in deep leagues. Wood still could be swapped before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline, if he isn't somehow shipped out before tomorrow's non-waiver cut-off.
Now bustin' Capps in AL Central
- Alfredo Simon worked around two hits to slam the door for the Baltimore Orioles last night. But while Simon continues to be consistent while tap dancing through trouble, Mike Gonzalez threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings on just 12 pitches and boasts a 1.93 ERA with three K's in 4 2/3 frames since his return from the DL.
The lefty's fastball sat in the mid-90s and touched 96 mph. Though the road to saves still goes through Simon, Gonzalez should be added anywhere he's available. It doesn't hurt to be cautious and forward-thinking.
- The Seattle Mariners showcased David Aardsma in non-save work yesterday; he worked around a walk to throw a scoreless frame. The M's have received interest from other squads for Aardsma and Brandon League. If Aardsma leaves, League would likely step in.
If both Aardsma and League are shipped out, good luck. Shawn Kelley (elbow) continues his rehab, and he could step in for closures after he returns, which could be sometime within the next few weeks. He has the stuff to shut the door. If not him, it could be a cluster of options.
- Closer Rafael Soriano and relievers Grant Balfour and Joaquin Benoit were all unavailable for the Tampa Bay Rays last night. Dan Wheeler stepped up for a perfect two-inning save while striking out two.
- Don't forget about the Toronto Blue Jays' possible trade deadline action. Scott Downs has received the most interest and seems likeliest to leave. If stopper Kevin Gregg departs, Jason Frasor would probably see at least the majority of stoppages, barring another move.
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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