During the regular season, the Closer Hot Seat will be your go-to guide for Major League Baseball's bullpen chatter. During spring training, KFFL's Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Session will get you tuned up for the fantasy baseball saves chase. Camp happenings don't always impact closer battles, but if there's MLB news you should know for your fantasy baseball draft, you'll find it here.
It appears that the source for CBS Sports' Jon Heyman missed the mark on Brian Fuentes. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser tweeted not much later that the Oakland Athletics were naming Grant Balfour closer to open the 2012 season.
For fantasy baseball purposes, this is merely a formality. It has no plausible effect on the values of any of the pitchers whom the A's were at one point considering for the role. The development could drive up Balfour's ADP and price while having the opposite effect on Fuentes', Fautino De Los Santos' and the already injured Joey Devine's, however. The latter three didn't cost much to begin with, even in AL leagues.
Sniffle, cough: Storen sick
The A's declaration doesn't change the fact that Balfour hasn't held the job for any significant period of time in his career. Time spent doesn't matter, but having the mentality to close does to no small degree, despite the fact that some people prefer to believe that psychology and performance have no bearing on each other.
Balfour, 34, has locked down games before. In his career, he's pitched better in save situations than in non-; last year, he was efficient regardless of the sitch. And, the right-hander's performance, statistically, has improved steadily in the past couple of years. These are the reasons that Balfour should've been your primary target all along and what cement him as the safest choice in Oaktown.
Rotisserie baseball players wait patiently today for Dr. Lewis Yocum's opinion on Joakim Soria's elbow.
The Kansas City Royals aren't wasting any time fortifying their bullpen, however. Ned Yost has dropped Aaron Crow from the running for a rotation spot and has put him back in the relief role in which he flourished for most of last season.
If reports on Jonathan Broxton's mid-90s velocity and sharp slider are accurate, then, as Tim ruled yesterday, the burly right-hander is probably the favorite to claim save opportunities initially. Greg Holland's marks could see some correction, but, as Mark Simon points out on ESPN, he's perfectly capable of filling - and perhaps more qualified to fill - the role, as he did to wrap up 2011.
Throw Crow's name into the mix for AL-only speculators, who could also play around with Tim Collins and Louis Coleman (my personal fav, but not for saves, unfortunately) for a buck or with a reserve pick. When KC went away from Soria for a brief spell last year, Crow was Yost's man, but the righty didn't get a chance to make an impression. He probably won't again, especially since KC still entertains the idea of testing him as a starter in the long term, but one never knows for sure.
Drew Storen was diagnosed with strep throat, an illness he's apparently had for nearly a week. Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo believes that Storen still has enough time to prepare for the season. This isn't a big deal to the club since they planned to take it easy on Storen because in 2011 he pitched 75 1/3 stanzas, a hefty workload for any reliever.
No explanation for why Storen hasn't appeared in an exhibition game since March 7, though. With proper treatment, strep throat usually goes away in about a week. But, no reason to assume it's anything other than the light practice load, and no reason to downgrade him on your fantasy baseball cheat sheets.
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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