Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Jim Henderson, Kyuji Fujikawa, more

by Nicholas Minnix on April 9, 2013 @ 12:38:19 PDT

 

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Mound meetings

Jason Motte has been telling folks that he's been feeling better while he rests and waits for answers regarding his elbow and forearm discomfort. That's only natural. Medical personnel waited for the inflammation in the area to subside so that they could perform a follow-up MRI. The St. Louis Cardinals expect to know more about his time table once they receive the results of such an exam, which Motte is scheduled for today.

St. Louis Cardinals RP Jason Motte
Brace yourself

Motte owners should already have braced themselves for the worst possible news: an eventual recommendation of Tommy John surgery. The procedure is seemingly inevitable for the right-hander, considering the type of wear he's sustained. It's probably just a question of how far into the future -- two weeks, two months, two years, longer? -- it'll be.

Perhaps multiple weeks of rest will do the trick. If so, Mitchell Boggs may keep it together long enough to do the job in the interim. Yesterday's meltdown in the ninth against the Cincinnati Reds was a snowballing pile of feces to which the entire contributed. Trevor Rosenthal gave up a run in the frame prior that tied the tilt. He's already done so twice in 2013.

The Cardinals are faced with the very real possibility that a longer-term solution is necessary. Boggs is a solid reliever, but his lack of purely dominant stuff and experience retiring hitters in so many other ways limits his upside. Rosenthal, by way of need and because he has the kind of stuff that would change the dynamic of the ninth, may very well end up following Adam Wainwright's path to the rotation -- by detour as closer. Pick him up.

***

Ned Yost is sticking by his closer, Greg Holland, who blew a save chance on Saturday and nearly did on Sunday before the skipper called on nasty right-hander Kelvin Herrera to bail out the Kansas City Royals. Neither of those relievers was available on Monday, when Aaron Crow did the duty.

Yost is right about Holland: He started slowly last year (although that turned out to be injury-related), and he has the goods to get the job done. Slow starts are forgivable for only so long, however -- especially when your team has a number of legit alternatives, like the pair already mentioned in this blurb.

Holland's job security grade has decreased, but a change isn't imminent. A pretty clean appearance or two would certainly keep the peasants placated, though. Herrera should be owned because of his marvelous skill set in most formats, either way.

***

Jim Leyland doesn't want the media to pigeonhole him. "Now, I'm not saying (Joaquin Benoit) is the closer," the manager told the press when attempting to clarify how he'll handle save situations for the time being.

Of course, what he's saying is, Benoit will close, as long as the righty is available, especially if the opponent's lineup has alternating sticks due up, because he can get hitters from both sides of the dish out. Managers frequently make such a pitcher's obstacle course a priority when they fill out their lineup cards nowadays.

So, all along, Benoit, the reliever with the most dependable record and skills of the bunch, has been the one to own. Shocking. Of course, others may snipe an opp here and there, but it's probably only AL-only managers who should be pursuing those vultures.

Jose Valverde may alter the arrangement sometime after he joins the parent club, especially if he's indeed overcome last season's mild health and control problems, as his camp claims. Benoit's performance and Leyland's comfort level will tell the rest of the story.

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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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