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

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


Pages 1 | 2 | all'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):
1 (unstable)
5 (untouchable)
Health Outlook (HO):
1 (fragile)
5 (durable)
: Up
+: Added
INJ: Injured
: Down
M: Minors
DL: Disabled List

Boston Red Sox
Koji Uehara

John Farrell informed Hanrahan on Tuesday that the reliever would be the setup man to Bailey, at least for the time being, when he returned from the disabled list that evening. Of course, Hanrahan would be the Boston Red Sox's first option to step in if Bailey were to be unavailable.

Arizona Diamondbacks RP J.J. Putz
Tired arm, not dull stuff

So, naturally, Hanrahan was on the mound on Thursday to open the bottom of the ninth in a save situation against the Toronto Blue Jays, even though Bailey hadn't pitched since Sunday. Right on ... no, actually, ahead of cue -- not the news, of course, because why would they tell us? -- Bailey "felt a little something last time (he) pitched." Yep, that'd be on Sunday.

Bailey said the club just wants to be smart about it, a reasonable determination, especially when handling a hurler with his kind of injury history. Basically, the call is "mild biceps discomfort," something Bailey says he's never experienced before this and something that didn't dissipate as of a side session he'd had sometime between Sunday and Thursday.

Bailey was clearly a tad uncomfortable when discussing the injury, but that could be for a range of reasons that don't include anxiety about his health record. That's what his fantasy owners have, though, so they'll be biting their nails while they wait for the next few days to pass.

If the problem is truly "very minor," as Bailey stated, then roto and head-to-head gamers will sigh with relief by next week. If it's not, it won't surprise anyone, and those who own Hanrahan for exactly this reason will feel plenty of justification. Not so much for their faith in Hanny as their lack of faith in Bailey. It's no time to panic, but it should be quite awhile before either of these relievers is free-agent bait in fantasy leagues.

Arizona Diamondbacks
J.J. Putz David Hernandez Heath Bell
Matt Reynolds

Putz gave up a home run to Pablo Sandoval on Tuesday night that amounted to the closer's fourth blown save opp of the season. He, along with Arizona Diamondbacks teammates as well as Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers, has had to answer plenty of questions about his 2013 record until this point. None of them says he's worried.

Last week, CHS touched on the frustrations that seem to be par for Putz's course at this stage of his career. The skipper's manager and GM have maintained their faith through this latest stretch because, they say, the team's bullpen, particularly Putz, has been overworked. The closer either warmed up or pitched in eight of Arizona's last 11 contests. In general, the Snakes' relievers are either mentally or physically fatigued.

OK, CHS ragged on Putz last week -- fairly, it insists, because Putz simply isn't a consistently dominant pitcher at his age -- but these are legit reasons and likely not just excuses. Hernandez and Bell have really been put through the paces lately, too. And failure doesn't require replacement as much as an evaluation of what went wrong.

Putz owners will remain concerned, but there is probably no need to sound the alarm. Other relievers should receive future opportunities to vulture saves, however. It should be pretty clear to the D'backs by now that Putz needs to be handled differently, if not that that they also need more bullpen depth.

Mound Meetings await....

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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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