Jack Etkin, of the Rocky Mountain News, reports Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has announced relief pitcher Brian Fuentes will be the team's closer.
The change was made because of recent poor performance by former closer Manny Corpas. Corpas so far this season is 4-for-8 in save opportunities and has blown three saves in his last four relief appearances. He had back-to-back blown saves Tuesday, April 22, and Wednesday, April 23, in which he gave up a combined five runs in two innings while picking up a loss in one of those games.
The irony is that Corpas took over the closer's job last season when Fuentes struggled, and now the roles are reversed. Fuentes lost the position last season when he blew four consecutive saves at the end of June and was demoted in the bullpen. He finished last season with a 3-5 record and a 3.08 ERA along with 20 saves - all recorded before the All-Star break. Corpas finished last season at 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA and picked up 19 saves.
Fuentes has pitched pretty well in the setup role so far this season. In 12 appearances, he is 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings; he allowed all three of his opponents' runs in one appearance. Hitters are only batting .200 against him. Fuentes has struck out eight batters but has walked five.
From a fantasy perspective, some owners probably knew in advance a change could be coming if Corpas continued to struggle closing out games. Now that the change has occurred, Fuentes likely will be a popular waiver wire pickup in some leagues - if he hasn't been grabbed already. Fuentes has shown in the past that he could be a reliable closer. He recorded at least 30 saves in both 2005 and 2006, but his struggles last season may put him on a shorter leash for now.
For Corpas owners in shallow leagues, they should pick up Fuentes immediately and drop Corpas from their roster. However, in deeper leagues, Corpas owners should try to keep him while also picking up Fuentes if they have the roster space to handcuff the position.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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