Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Addison Reed, J.J. Putz, Ernesto Frieri, more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 24, 2012 @ 16:09:36 PDT

 


KFFL.com'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 White Sox

Closer: Addison Reed
Understudy/Fill-in: Matt Thornton
Lurkers: Hector Santiago, Jesse Crain

On Wednesday evening, Robin Ventura finally relented. Word is, he couldn't bear the ridicule spewing from Closer Hot Seat. He kept looking down at his feet, shuffled them some, scratched his head and mumbled a line that was inaudible the first couple of times. Reed is his closer, OK! Damn!

Thank you. Own him, if possible. Although his job security grade will remain low for some time, it's only because he has to build credentials. The money is on a slow but steady rise in that figure.

Job security score: 2
Health score:
5

Mound meetings

Nick Piecoro reported that Kirk Gibson was pretty clear about how much he supports his closer, J.J. Putz. It's basically just confirmation of what the Closer Hot Seat and, likely, many fantasy owners believed would be the case.

Arizona Diamondbacks RP J.J. Putz
Putz's leash shortening?

Unfortunately, once a manager has to answer direct questions from the media about whether the identity of the closer will change - even when the response is unequivocal - his closer's job security decreases a little. That's just how it works, unfortunately. It's up to the Arizona Diamondbacks' designated ninth-inning man to stave off the buzzards from here on out.

There really isn't much need to tuck away David Hernandez, yet, beyond NL formats (where he should've been owned already) and 15-team mixers, though. Putz owners in 12-team mixed affairs may want to do so, just to feel secure.

***

After he recorded his first career save, on Wednesday night against the Oakland Athletics, Ernesto Frieri couldn't wipe the grin off his face, according to Michael Martinez. The right-hander with an array of strikeout material has performed so well wherever he's been that a shot to close was almost inevitable.

Still, a shot to close isn't what he has, per se. Frieri and Scott Downs form a reliable duo at the back end of the bullpen of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

And, in May, deposed closer Jordan Walden has pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings with only three walks and six strikeouts. He's been much more efficient since his lone blown save chance, which came near the end of April and is what seemingly lost him the job.

Martinez called this arrangement a three-headed monster, which implies that all three of these relievers will receive consideration in late-innings circumstances. That seems fair. Frieri may want to lead the crew, but his mates will do the job, too.

***

Rafael Dolis lost all control in Wednesday night's loss to the Houston Astros. He came on in the eighth to attempt to keep the Chicago Cubs within one run of the Houston Astros heading into the ninth.

The right-hander failed to hold it together once the 'Stros put together a couple of two-out hits to plate a run. He walked the next two Houston hitters and hit another. The sequence resulted in two more runs and his removal.

Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk held "rust" responsible for Dolis' performance, according to the Chicago Tribune. It's a fair point; the rookie had worked only once in the past week prior to that contest.

Still, Dolis has given up runs in four of his past five appearances, which span the last two weeks and include a blown save chance as well as a loss. He needs to work more frequently, because he relies so heavily on his darting fastball and must be able to command it.

Don't be surprised to see Dolis work again soon and more consistently, if Quirk is raising the issue. If Dolis struggles in a save sitch and James Russell is available, don't be surprised if it's because Dale Sveum saved his left-hander for that occurrence. And Carlos Marmol (strained hammy) threw a sim game this week, so he'll be back pretty soon.

***

Joe Girardi: Rafael Soriano is the New York Yankees' closer "for now." He won't declare anything beyond when David Robertson (strained oblique) returns before Robertson returns. Have some patience, will ya, people?

Seems like the smart way to go about it. Robertson began rehab work on Thursday and could be activated at the beginning of June. How many save opportunities the Yanks generate between now and then will help Girardi figure things out. Soriano owners are crossing their fingers for a 4-for-4 week coming up.

***

With his deal-sealer on Wednesday, Alfredo Aceves has made five appearances and has recorded four saves in the past week. He's allowed four hits and a walk, with three K's, in that time. Bobby Valentine asked Aceves to get four outs in three of those games, all of them resulting in saves.

Is the Boston Red Sox's skipper taking some liberties with one of his most reliable relievers? Bobby V may not have a ton of confidence in the length of his bullpen, and he could stand to lighten up a bit on his closer, huh? Thankfully, Aceves has a rubber arm, so this is far from a concern for now. And he's converted nine straight opportunities.

One Boston analyst even thinks that Valentine would stick with Aceves if Andrew Bailey (thumb surgery) came back today. Aceves is on a roll, for sure, but Jerry Remy acknowledges that a lot can happen between now and when Bailey is actually ready. Agreed. As hasty as it was to assume that Aceves can't close because of a few nightmarish outings early on, it's much too soon to declare the righty here to stay, although he looks great.

***

Huston Street (lat strain) has been playing catch for several days and is reportedly ready to stretch it out with some long toss. Figuring in a rehab assignment, he could return to the San Diego Padres in early June, or at least by mid-June.

***

Heath Bell's eventual setup man is getting closer. Reportedly, Juan Oviedo (remember: Leo Nunez!) has received a pardon from the U.S. State Department for copping to falsifying his identity and has secured a work visa.

That means he can re-enter the U.S. and begin work at extended spring training for the Miami Marlins. There's also an MLB suspension of something like 60 days looming, though. NL fantasy players can start dusting off Oviedo's plaque on the free-agent list, at least, if he's available.

This may be a sign that Roberto Hernandez (nee Fausto Carmona) will receive similar clearance to rejoin the Cleveland Indians, perhaps sometime within the next month. That's not quite as interesting, though.

Other Wednesday saviors

Chris Perez (15), Indians
Frank Francisco (12), Mets
Brandon League (9), Mariners
Jason Motte (8), Cardinals
John Axford (7), Brewers
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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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