Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Andrew Bailey, J.J. Putz, more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 3, 2013 @ 12:38:12 PDT


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Mound meetings

Milwaukee Brewers RP John Axford
Not getting job back soon

The St. Louis Cardinals turned to Edward Mujica for a save on three straight days this week. On Tuesday, he put the Cincinnati Reds on lockdown by fanning the side without allowing a runner. The right-hander encountered a little more trouble on Wednesday and Thursday, however, when he gave up a run in each of his appearances, one against Cincy and the other versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

Despite CHS's occasional endorsement of Trevor Rosenthal for the long run, it won't quibble about these incidents for Mujica. The right-hander wasn't rattled in the latter two games and handled his biz. That's exactly what Mike Matheny wants to see in the absence of Jason Motte.

Speaking of, Motte (partially torn UCL) continues to take small steps forward, and he has an outstanding attitude. He's experiencing no pain. Meanwhile, the Cards demoted deposed interim closer Mitchell Boggs and called up top prospect Carlos Martinez to fortify the 'pen. Boggs has no fantasy value. Martinez will probably pitch in the sixth and seventh frames initially and is unlikely to have fantasy value any time soon, but he's on the Rosenthal path to relevance.


So much for being close to regaining that closer's role: John Axford had pitched well for a couple of weeks, a period in which he had recovered his lost velocity, but he screwed up again on Wednesday. Tom Haudricourt reported the worst part about this gaffe: Axford's location wasn't the problem. To be fair, he seemed to endure a little bad luck in the appearance, but the righty can't afford to put himself in these situations and depend on fortune.

The Milwaukee Brewers have reached the point at which they're not even committed to him as the setup man. The closer is Jim Henderson, Ron Roenicke told the team's official site, and the skipper will determine who pitches in the seventh and eighth frames based largely on the opposing team's lineup. Henderson has gained some long-term traction from this news, no question.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Francisco Rodriguez took the first step toward joining the club following his signing: He secured a work visa. Yep, it'll be awhile before K-Rod has a chance to screw with things unsuccessfully.


Bobby Parnell was reportedly a little peeved that his manager didn't go to him in a save situation on Tuesday evening. He took it out on the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night, when another SVO popped up. The righty dispatched the Fish on seven pitches, striking out one, to get his third save of 2013.

There doesn't appear to be any drama here, so don't worry about that. New York Mets manager Terry Collins made a call. He played it safe. OK. TC was happy to see how his closer responded, too. Parnell is slowly earning his stripes.


Chicago Cubs reliever Kyuji Fujikawa (strained right forearm) threw a second bullpen session on Thursday and is scheduled to pitch in a rehab outing for Triple-A Iowa on Sunday. If all goes well, fantasy owners should have him back before next weekend.

Kevin Gregg's performance since his signing and while Fujikawa has been sidelined will probably complicate the club's hierarchy in the bullpen. The outcome won't be simple to predict. Gregg won't hurt his chances of continuing to appear in save situations if the ditching of his cutter has truly made him a little more effective. Fujikawa has virtually no track record, but the Cubs haven't seen him pitch at 100 percent in many big league games.

Carlos Marmol may get an opportunity here and there because of availability conflicts, of course, and according to the manager, this is still a committee situation. If Gregg and Fujikawa are healthy and pitching well, however, Marmol can't be Dale Sveum's first choice, at least in the short term.

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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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