St. Louis Cardinals bullpen becomes committee effort

by Tim Piotrowski on August 6, 2008 @ 15:34:13 PDT


The Associated Press reports the St. Louis Cardinals will use a closer-by-committee approach. The Cardinals have 27 blown saves this season.

The Cardinals have not fared well in save situations this season. Their 27 blown saves lead the major leagues. The season started with Jason Isringhausen in the closer's role, but he was taken out of the job because of his struggles. He was replaced by relief pitcher Ryan Franklin, who had early success but also eventually struggled with blown saves. Isringhausen recently regained his job but has quickly lost the job again.

The Cardinals' closing situation is now really hard to project because of the difficulties they have endured this season. From a fantasy perspective, it might be wisest to avoid St. Louis' bullpen arms.

Manager Tony La Russa said Isringhuasen will still be an option to close. He still has some value in most fantasy leagues, so owners in deep mixed leagues should stash him on their rosters. However, in shallower leagues, owners can drop him unless they are extremely desperate for saves.

The other options out of the bullpen that could see some save opportunities include Franklin, recently recalled relief pitcher Chris Perez and relief pitcher Kyle McClellan. Franklin is 4-4 with 14 saves, a 3.56 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 53 appearances. Perez is 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP in 23 appearances this season; he is still viewed as the potential closer of the future. McClellan is 2-5 with a 2.77 ERA, a 1.25 ERA and one save.

For owners who are desperate for saves, McClellan is likely the best person to pick up out of the group based on his stats this season. Perez is intriguing if he's able to demonstrate some reliability in his second big-league go-round. However, owners should also keep an eye on the situation to see if one pitcher gets most of the opportunities. All three are speculative options in National League-only leagues.

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About Tim Piotrowski

Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.

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