Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Carlos Marmol, Heath Bell, more

by Nicholas Minnix on July 22, 2011 @ 14:37:35 PDT


What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.


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


Chicago Cubs

Closer: Carlos Marmol

Understudy: Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood

Update: On Friday afternoon, just a few hours after the team's official website reported that Mike Quade had declared Marmol was again his closer, Marshall pitched the ninth inning of the Cubs' 4-2 win against the Houston Astros. He had no real trouble locking things down. Quade utilized Marmol to dispatch a pair of right-handed batters in the eighth; he did so via the K.

The manager then called on Marshall in the ninth, despite the fact that the 'Stros' leadoff man in the final frame was also a right-handed hitter, who incidentally was replaced by a right-handed hitter. In fact, with the pitcher due up second, Marshall was about to face two right-handed pinch hitters and Michael Bourn, a lefty swinger, naturally.

Carlos Marmol, RP, Chicago Cubs
Not so fast, Marmol owners

Marshall's brief stint as acting closer didn't go so well thanks to a Tuesday blow-up. That and Marmol's improvements in side sessions seemed like key ingredients to a restoration of preseason order in the bullpen. Instead, Quade apparently considered Friday's game the final test. "He's a closer and he pitched like it today."

Marmol struck out two (as well as walked a pair) in his lone appearance between this Friday and last, on Monday. He hadn't fanned anyone in his six games prior to that one and in July (5 1/3 innings) yielded five hits, eight runs and nine walks, with only 4 K's, before this development. Yeah, his last few were that bad. But he seems to be back on track.

It won't hurt fantasy owners to hang on to Marshall, at least in deep leagues. Presumably, we can take Quade at his word, but he rightfully has faith in Marshall. Given how quickly Marmol was allowed to regain his post, though, the closer should be fairly safe moving forward.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • The Philadelphia Phillies activated Brad Lidge (elbow soreness his most recent ailment) from the disabled list on Friday. There was some uncertainty about whether the club would see it the way that Lidge did - that he's ready after his 7 2/3 rehab frames in the minors - so apparently they're convinced. He struck out 10 and was extremely happy with his slider, his linchpin offering. The fastball velocity is still a question mark.
    Lidge won't see save opportunities right away, naturally. With the way that Antonio Bastardo has pitched and Ryan Madson performed as closer earlier this year, he might not for the rest of the season. The Phils will certainly buy out the 2008 perfectionist's option for 2012, so where he serves them from here on out is of little consequence. It's OK to stash Lidge in deep leagues, if you have room, but it should be for naught.
  • FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports that the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be the most interested clubs in Jason Isringhausen. On Thursday, SI's Jon Heyman reported that the New York Mets had decided to keep him.
    Sure, they might - but only if they don't get a decent offer. Izzy would have value as a mentor to Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato, but if anyone says the organization won't add something of value in exchange for a player who's unsigned beyond this season, he's posturing to some extent. One of those two young relievers - Parnell first - should get a crack in the ninth, at some point.
  • Heyman added the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Cincinnati Reds, in case they weren't on the ledger, to the list of teams interested in the San Diego Padres' Heath Bell. That docket definitely included the Texas Rangers; the St. Louis Cardinals as well as the Philadelphia Phillies, at one time, had done some sniffing. Oh, how one loves trade rumors. It's too late to trade him, so cross your fingers.
  • Will Mike Adams stay, or will he go? The right-hander shot down a report that San Diego Padres owner Jeff Moorad told Adams he wasn't going anywhere. Buuut ... Heyman had this quote from GM Jed Hoyer: "We'd have to be blown away ... no player is untouchable, but our strong preference is to hold Mike." He remains a target for post-Bell closing value.
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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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