Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Jason Grilli back, Rafael Soriano settling down, more

by Tim Heaney on September 4, 2013 @ 11:25:24 PDT

 

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A setback on Saturday (two runs on two hits, including a homer) was Jim Henderson's first blown save since June 30. In that window, he'd converted 12 straight chances. Tuesday night, his next duty, wasn't much better: He entered a tied contest but allowed a solo jack, his opponents' third bleacher bomb in his last four games.

New York Yankees RP Mariano Rivera
Mo still content to kick it after '13

The Milwaukee Brewers, merely playing out the string on 2013, will have to see more of this before yanking him from the job. Their trade of John Axford sets Hendo up to keep his ninth-inning title heading into 2014. Of course, they'll leave the door open for evaluation if Henderson keeps slipping.

Brandon Kintzler and Rob Wooten occupy the chief setup spots, with Kintzler, thanks to his 20 holds on the year, looking like the top backup plan if both are retained.

***

Joshua Fields (6.07 ERA) and Chia-Jen Lo (5.25 ERA) carry horrific ERAs. Thing is, they're headed in different directions.

Fields has a 2.16 ERA in his last eight games while collecting one save and three holds. To be fair to Lo, his figure stood at 2.45 before he yielded a grand slam in the ninth that broke a knotted tilt Monday. Of course, he now has a 13.50 ERA over his last five contests (1-for-2 in SVO); in three of them, he's allowed at least one earned run.

Fantasy owners should consider that Fields is pitching like he deserves to take the lead in this two-man committee. Proactive owners in need of any saves possible should make a move now.

***

Most New York Yankees fans have already tried (::author raises hand::), but Joe Girardi told the media he wants to advise Mariano Rivera to reconsider his impending retirement, or at least take time this offseason to think about it.

The 43-year-old right-hander, who's been on a memorable league-wide farewell tour that included All-Star Game MVP accolades, reaffirmed his decision Tuesday after registering his 40th save of the year. He's reached that milestone nine times, tied for the big-league record with Trevor Hoffman.

If the Bombers can't convince No. 42 to try breaking that mark, David Robertson stands as the presumptive favorite to take over. Don't count out outside help or dark horse Phil Hughes, who was just demoted to the 'pen and could be re-signed on a cheaper pact if there's no interest from other clubs for him to start. He was a highly successful setup man in Pinstripes not long ago, and his stuff plays better in relief.

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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 the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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