Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL

by Tim Heaney on July 30, 2010 @ 13:00:00 PDT

 


In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

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

 

Washington Nationals

Closer: Committee

Understudy: Drew Storen

Lurkers: Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett

Philadelphia Phillies RP Ryan Madson
Notice served with Madson, J.C. Romero?

The Nats traded Matt Capps and said save duties will be split between Storen, Clippard and Burnett. Let's be realistic. Though it might start out with that split, Storen's presence increased the Nats' comfort with trading Capps.

Storen should be added in all leagues. If they decide the long term is actually the present, they won't hesitate to throw Storen in there.

Clippard has been the eighth-inning option for most of the season. Burnett, the seventh. Both could be desperation fantasy additions in cavernous setups. However, Clippard has severely declined from his early-season success. Burnett has better skills than Clippard, but the latter might see more chances by default because of his more frequent eighth-inning use.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 5

Philadelphia Phillies

Closer: Brad Lidge

Understudy: Ryan Madson

Lurkers: J.C. Romero, Jose Contreras

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel kept Madson in Thursday's game to start the ninth inning with a one-run lead. Madson, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, allowed a leadoff double and was promptly removed so J.C. Romero could face two left-handed hitters.

Romero then allowed a single and a run-scoring groundout to lose the lead. Closer Brad Lidge, who hadn't appeared since Monday, came in to pitch the 10th and held the game at a tie.

Washington Nationals RP Drew Storen
Storen: It's time to rise above

Manuel told reporters he planned to have Madson and Romero start the ninth in that order because of the impending lefty bats. Lidge made things interesting in his last two save chances, during which he combined to throw 64 pitches, so maybe Manuel was just giving him a break.

Or, maybe it was a message to Lidge that Manuel won't be tied down to him and will go in another direction for security. Sound familiar? Don't panic just yet, but it might get worse if Lidge keeps putting himself in trouble during save opps like he had been recently.

Job security score: 3

Health score: 3

Mound meetings

  • Huston Street (abdomen) tossed a scoreless inning in non-save work Thursday, his first outing since being hit with a liner during pregame workouts Tuesday. His pregnant wife's impending delivery might keep him out of action in the near future, though. Keep tabs on Hot off the Wire for the latest there.
  • Keep an eye on the Pittsburgh Pirates' bullpen as we approach the trade deadline. Octavio Dotel still has rumors floating. A reminder: If Dotel is traded, reports say Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan are expected to split duties until one emerges. You should secure at least one of these arms as soon as possible, with Meek being the safer target.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks could help narrow down their current committee via the trade deadline. They're not sure if they want to trade Aaron Heilman, but Chad Qualls has been receiving interest recently.
    The D-backs haven't offered a traditional save since July 20 (Juan Gutierrez's closure) and haven't had anyone stand out since then. Gutierrez remains the best bet for post-July 31 D-backs closures if he isn't traded, but this is still an ugly situation.
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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