The Sports Network reports the Baltimore Orioles placed closer George Sherrill (shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, Aug. 19, with left shoulder inflammation.
Sherrill should be considered one of the bigger fantasy surprises of the year based on the lack of value he was thought to have at the start of the season. He came over to the Orioles from the Seattle Mariners in the trade involving starting pitcher Erik Bedard (shoulder) and was named closer in March. He is 3-5 with 31 saves, a 4.47 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. He has struck out 54 batters and walked 30 batters in 50 1/3 innings.
He has blown six saves this season and has struggled since pitching 2 1/3 innings of relief work in the All-Star Game. He is 1-1 with three saves, a 5.91 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP in 10 appearances since the midsummer classic. He posted a 6.75 ERA in July and has a 6.35 ERA in August. Opponents have hit .295 against him in the second half compared to .221 before the All-Star break.
The Orioles backdated the move to Saturday, Aug. 16, and the organization will fill the roster spot Wednesday, Aug. 20.
From a fantasy perspective, Sherrill has been a reliable No. 3 closer this season. He has followed in the long line of closers that have been bit by the injury bug over the last several weeks, making owners scramble for a short-term replacement. Although the end of the season is approaching, owners should place Sherrill on the disabled list if they have the roster room because he is expected to return in early September.
Owners in very shallow leagues can think about dropping him, but it is not advisable to drop a closer for his replacement pitcher in a closer-by-committee situation. Sherrill has pitched more than one inning just five times all season, and it's possible he could be worn down in part from his All-Star appearance.
The Orioles may turn to relief pitcher Jim Johnson to take over the closer's role while Sherrill is out. He is 2-4 with one save, a 2.37 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 50 appearances. He does not have the greatest strikeout-to-walk ratio, fanning 35 batters and walking 27 batters in 64 2/3 innings.
Johnson reportedly would have been the closer during the game Monday, Aug. 18, because Sherrill wasn't healthy, but the Orioles didn't produce a save situation. Owners looking to replace Sherrill should grab Johnson in all formats since he has good short-term value.
Another player who could see save opportunities is relief pitcher Jamie Walker. He has struggled this season, going 1-0 with a 5.10 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 46 appearances. He has struck out 21 batters and walked eight batters in 30 innings.
The soft-tossing 37-year-old saved seven games last year as the O's looked for a dependable stopper and could be a fallback plan this time around. He could be used against left-handed batters if the team decides to use a closer-by-committee. Walker does not have much value in mixed leagues but is worth picking up in deep AL-only leagues.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
Don't miss these great reports....