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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Aroldis Chapman, Addison Reed, Jose Valverde, Frank Francisco, more

By Nicholas Minnix
Edited by Keith Hernandez

What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.

Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

Cincinnati Reds

Closer: Aroldis Chapman
Understudy/Fill-in: Sean Marshall

On Saturday, Dusty Baker mentioned to the media that he was considering the change. On Sunday morning, he was finished contemplating, and he chose a new closer.

Fantasy owners were aware of the possibility that Marshall wouldn't retain his job. Baker never seemed completely sold on the left-hander as his closer.

The skipper put roto players on notice when he removed Marshall from a save opportunity against the Milwaukee Brewers less than two weeks ago and handed the chance to righty Logan Ondrusek. Baker essentially sealed the vet's fate when he took that step again, on Saturday against the New York Yankees, this time allowing right-hander Jose Arredondo to finish the job.

We know that Chapman, 24, has the goods to succeed in this role in the long run. Considering how good he's been in 2012 (22 1/3 innings, 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 39 strikeouts), it seems ridiculous to think that he'll relinquish the role to anyone this season. The only question that may realistically affect Chapman's status as closer is whether the Reds want to test him in the rotation next year.

Incidentally, Arredondo has been brilliant for most of this season and was once considered a possible closer. He's in the first year of a two-year pact and would have to be an option, should Cincy ponder the use of Chapman as a starter in 2013.

Job security score: 2
Health score:
5

Mound meetings

On Friday against the Chicago Cubs, in the second save chance the Chicago White Sox created since they put Chris Sale back in the rotation and Robin Ventura declared a closing committee, Addison Reed once again received the call. Once again, Reed slammed the door and left no doubt that he's suited for that job.

Although southpaws Matt Thornton and Hector Santiago may see a save opp or two before anybody can declare Reed the winner, let's take a moment to state the obvious: Ventura has always wanted to look like the smart guy and doesn't want to admit that Reed is the best choice. No? OK, fine. For now, call it, the Reedmittee, copyright KFFL's Tim Heaney.

Please don't be in a league where Reed is still available.

***

The Detroit Tigers have encountered only one save situation since Jose Valverde strained a muscle in his lower back last Tuesday. Joaquin Benoit converted it, on Sunday, although the Pittsburgh Pirates grinded out a run against him.

Jim Leyland believes that Tuesday is a reasonable date to expect his regular closer to be available. The right-hander worked out a couple of times this past weekend but still reported a bit of tightness in the muscle on Sunday morning.

It wouldn't be a surprise if Detroit played it safe and waited an extra day or three, if Valverde feels any - any - signs of that tweak. Those with weekly lineups should have loaded him but understand if it doesn't happen right away.

***

On Sunday, Frank Francisco made another save situation pretty interesting by allowing a walk and a single to open the ninth frame. After that, he struck out the side and seemed to leave no doubt about who was in charge. He apparently hit 98 mph.

This was a positive entry in the righty's ledger, considering his recently shaky status as closer. New York Mets manager Terry Collins believes that his ninth-inning man was a bit more motivated to close one out in this series. As if he needed more fuel for his fire at the Rogers Centre, fans of his old club, the Toronto Blue Jays, didn't greet him too kindly, either.

***

The Chicago Cubs have sent Carlos Marmol (strained hamstring) to Triple-A Iowa for a rehab assignment beginning Monday. The club expects to get him back this weekend.

Rafael Dolis seems to intrigue his club, but the righty hasn't been 100 percent reliable. He has the kind of heavy, hard-to-hit stuff that would enable him to succeed, despite what naysayers put forth, but he's also a little wild and very green. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, and if you have the space, it can't hurt to tuck aside Marmol.

***

Brad Lidge is scheduled to throw a Wednesday bullpen session, which would be his first since he had surgery for a hernia at the beginning of the month. The target date for his return is still in the middle of June, at which point he could be close to figuring into the saves picture, depending on how Henry Rodriguez is performing. It's much too soon to count on that, though.

***

Usually, Baltimore Orioles fans hear Kevin Gregg's name announced and don't want to look. Don't look now, but Gregg has pitched lights-out ball recently.

In the righty's last seven appearances (9 1/3 innings), he's allowed just three hits, three walks and zero - correct, zero - runs. And he's fanned eight. Some changes he instituted in spring training may finally be taking hold, and the O's may finally have a legit Gregg to deal - or, even crazier, keep.

Other notable weekend saviors

Jim Johnson (15), Orioles
Craig Kimbrel 2 (13), Braves
Chris Perez (13), Indians
Fernando Rodney (13), Rays No way Kyle Farnsworth gets the job back
Jonathan Papelbon (12), Phillies Felt good to get one vs. his old team
Brett Myers (10), Astros
Santiago Casilla (10), Giants
Joel Hanrahan (9), Pirates
Joe Nathan (9), Twins
Matt Capps (9), Twins
Alfredo Aceves (9), Red Sox
J.J. Putz 2 (9), Diamondbacks Nice and clean, both of 'em
Dale Thayer (5), Padres
Kenley Jansen (4), Dodgers BS, W on Friday, to go with Sunday lockdown
Heath Bell 2 (5), Marlins 2 inherited runners scored on Sunday, but encouraging
Pedro Strop (3), Orioles Johnson wasn't available on Friday


 


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