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The drama in Motown, basically consisting of a blown save by Phil Coke, has led Jim Leyland to declare that Benoit is his "primary closer." It's an interesting title, if you think about it, because the designation "closer" has always implied exclusivity. Leyland has demonstrated no interest in that concept in 2013, so he -- as other managers have before him -- has created a pseudo-hierarchy: Benoit, and then everyone else, depending on the situation.
Not quite yet....
Whiiich pretty much makes Benoit a closer, minus Leyland's whole "Don't hold me to it" undertone. The manager has made it clear that he doesn't want to work Benoit overtime, although data for the reliever's results don't necessarily support Leyland's theory.
Unfortunately, those splits demonstrate only outcomes by number of days of rest (which, for zero days, are impeccable) and not for those on the second, third or fourth day of work in a row, so they're clumped together. Not the whole picture. Bummer. Besides, there's a very good possibility that Leyland is more concerned about the pitcher's somewhat extensive medical record, which he may fear lengthening by overusing Benoit.
No matter the manager's angle, CHS and its partners in crime, KFFL's closer depth charts, acknowledge Benoit's ascension to the job of "primary closer," albeit not quite as creatively (although the pretty colors help). As plenty of rankings (including ours), text and crowd-sourcing have suggested all along, Benoit is the safest and smartest fantasy target in Detroit's bullpen.
Of course, Valverde's addition last week changed that outlook a little. (Incidentally, Leyland had few reservations, at least at the time, about how he deployed Papa Grande, who it should be noted bears no ill will. Phew.) Benoit stands a reasonable chance to retain his role of "primary closer," even once Valverde is on the Tigers' 25-man. But, if Valverde proves to be in good shape -- it sounds that way, so far -- he has just a good a shot at assuming the title -- without the fancy descriptive. Stay tuned.
Any other stoppers in trouble?
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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