Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Addison Reed, Joe Nathan, more

by Tim Heaney on September 17, 2012 @ 10:57:35 PDT

 

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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.

Mound meetings

Texas Rangers RP Joe Nathan
Nathan's dogging arm

Remember when Nick warned you one week ago about Addison Reed's shakiness? Well, the stopper played himself into more trouble ... and out of a Saturday Chicago White Sox save spot.

Having not pitched since last Monday, he gave up one hit and two walks, leaving with the bases loaded without recording an out. Southpaw Matt Thornton, his replacement, came in to face lefty stick Justin Morneau. Thornton allowed an inherited runner to score but did so by inducing a GIDP. A groundout by the next batter, righty hitter Trevor Plouffe, ended the game with Chicago still on top.

Though Reed was hitting 95 mph during his rough outing, his 12.86 ERA over his last nine games might point to fatigue, despite the pitcher and manager Robin Ventura recently insisting Reed feels fine.

My colleague said it best: If you don't need saves help, it's best to bench Reed to prevent him from hindering your chances in the other pitching categories. Thornton, meanwhile, hasn't yielded a tally in his last six appearances and might be used more for Reed's job, though he'd probably yield to Brett Myers often, as well. It'd be tricky for fantasy scroungers without Reed.

***

Joe Nathan expects to be available on Tuesday. The 37-year-old had a period of dead arm over the weekend and was rested. He had clocked in each day Tuesday through Thursday. Koji Uehara stepped in Sunday for his first save of the year.

The Texas Rangers want to play it safe with Nathan considering they're set up to make the postseason, but Nathan's fatigue brought along with it an expected correction to his ridiculously elite first-half statistics. If Nathan has to miss more time, they'd probably go with a combo of Uehara, Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams (back) that would frustrate fantasy owners. Ogando would probably be the primary option.

***

The Los Angeles Dodgers will get back the heart of their bullpen Tuesday. Kenley Jansen's irregular heartbeat kept him out for a few weeks, but he worked a simulated game on Friday and stopped his blood-thinning medication, a prerequisite to taking the mound again. He might not be the savior immediately, but expect him to get back to those duties after getting his pulse back up, which'll leave Brandon League as a setup option.

***

Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) might be returning to Cincinnati Reds action in a few days. The lefty participated in long toss and threw 40 pitches Friday. They might not use him in every spot when he returns because Cincy is prepping for October and will want to conserve him for that.

Jonathan Broxton, who did the deed Sunday in a scoreless inning, may still notch at least another save. Don't drop him if you're clinging to every last hope in the category.

***

After sitting out earlier in the week due to back stiffness, J.J. Putz appeared Saturday and threw a 1-2-3 frame complete with two strikeouts. Though it was non-save work, he'll be back in Arizona Diamondbacks chances soon enough. The Snakes might still toss in David Hernandez as the backup plan if they don't believe Putz can comfortably make an appearance on back-to-back days.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim RP Ernesto Frieri
Frieri snuffed out?

Ernesto Frieri gave up back-to-back jacks to blow a Saturday gem from Zack Greinke. Both Kansas City Royals hitters told the media they were sitting on a Frieri fastball, on which the righty often leans during his appearances. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reliever has blown just three of 22 save spots this year, and that setback was the first time he'd allowed a run in seven games, and the second time in his last 12.

Kevin Jepsen took his place Sunday, though, because Frieri had stepped on the mound in each of the previous two days. The fill-in wrapped things up for his second save of the year.

As for Frieri, GM Jerry Dipoto thinks Frieri is just fine with his repertoire the way it is, though similar pitch favoring helped boot Jordan Walden from the closer gig. Frieri's stuff is more polished, and he's been effective at inducing empty hacks. The righty might not see every chance from here on out, but that's how it's been all year anyway.

***

Huston Street (calf) has thrown a simulated game sometime in the past few days and still aims to return to game action. The San Diego Padres have had Luke Gregerson as the main savior in Street's sideline time. He tossed a perfect ninth Saturday for his eighth save of the year.

***

Jason Motte stumbled Saturday for what was then his second botch job in three save chances. The righty allowed two runs on three hits in two-thirds of a frame for the St. Louis Cardinals while also taking the loss. He recovered Sunday, though, working around a walk for his 35th save of the year in a 23-pitch game.

It's doubtful St. Louis would yank him at this point, especially since he bounced back immediately after his Saturday failure. Refer to the same article in which Nick talked about Reed for more on what Motte's fantasy value looks like.

Other notable weekend saviors

Fernando Rodney (43), Rays  
Jim Johnson (43), Orioles 1-out job with 2 on base Sun.
Rafael Soriano 2 (40), Yankees  
Craig Kimbrel (36), Braves Also netted W Fri.
Joel Hanrahan (35), Pirates 2 R, 2 H, 3 BB Sat. but got it done
Jose Valverde (31), Tigers BS on 3rd straight workday Sun.: 2 R, 3 H, 2 BB
Rafael Betancourt (29), Rockies  
John Axford (29), Brewers  
Tom Wilhelmsen (27), Mariners  
Carlos Marmol (20), Cubs  
Grant Balfour 2 (19), Athletics Danced around 1 H Fri., 1 H and 1 BB Sat.
Steve Cishek (14), Marlins 13-for-14 on SVO since booting Heath Bell
Sergio Romo (11), Giants Worked around 2 H in 4-out appearance
Wilton Lopez (6), Astros  
Andrew Bailey 2 (4), Red Sox Good sign with SV on back-to-back days
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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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