Joseph White, of The Associated Press, reports Washington Nationals relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan has lost his job as the team's closer.
In a corresponding move, manager Manny Acta has announced that reliever Mike MacDougal will be the team's new closer.
This is the second time this season Hanrahan has lost the closer's job. He was moved to middle relief in late April but was reinstalled as the closer in mid-May. In three appearances in June, the right-hander has allowed six runs and 10 hits in three innings while suffering one loss in that span.
So far this season, he is 0-3 with five saves, three blown saves and a 6.84 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. He has struck out 31 batters and walked 12 in that span. Hanrahan had a nice 2008 season and was fairly valuable for owners. He was 6-3 with nine saves, four blown saves and a 3.95 ERA in 84 1/3 innings.
MacDougal will now be the man asked to close the door on potential victories in the ninth inning. He has appeared in four games since his call-up from Triple-A Syracuse. The right-hander has allowed two unearned runs on two hits in 2 2/3 innings. He has experience as a closer; he posted two seasons of at least 20 saves with Kansas City Royals earlier in the decade, so he knows how to handle the situation.
From a fantasy perspective, Hanrahan sees his value all but decimated with the demotion in the bullpen. Owners in mixed leagues should drop him because he has very little value without the save chances. Owners in any league should strongly consider dropping him unless they are very desperate for saves in a very deep NL-only league; remember, though, Hanrahan regaining opportunities is a long shot.
MacDougal has impressed the Nats with his improved fastball movement and his noticeably aggressive at-bat approach since his arrival. He should be added immediately in every format; however, you may want to weigh the risk that he'll hurt your ratios, given he struggled for the Chicago White Sox earlier this season.
About Tim Piotrowski
Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.
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