Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Brett Myers, Francisco Cordero, more

by Tim Heaney on July 23, 2012 @ 15:46:03 PDT



Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts'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.

Mound meetings

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Houston Astros dealt Brett Myers to the Chicago White Sox for a few minor-league arms. Myers will be a setup arm for Addison Reed, who's been stumbling but isn't in immediate jeopardy. The elder righty deserves AL-only attention as a dart throw or handcuff, in case the contending Pale Hose decide Reed needs a break. Myers' peripherals note, unfortunately, that he isn't much lineup help if he isn't in line for closure opportunities.


Meanwhile, with Myers shipped away, Houston named Francisco Cordero as their new stopper. Acquired Friday, the 37-year-old right-hander has continued his erosion in 2012. He's merely a stopgap while the 'Stros determine a long-term plan. Keep Wilton Lopez close at hand; CoCo's skills don't say he'll see every save chance over the final two-plus months.


After a rough go last Wednesday, Santiago Casilla settled down in his next appearance, tossing a scoreless frame Saturday while working around a one-out walk for his 24th wrap-up of the year. The San Francisco Giants' continued concern over Sergio Romo's workload stifles the potential that he'll receive more than a handful of stoppage opportunities for the balance of 2012. That's not a bad future for him, but Casilla remains in the driver's seat of this lot.


Brett Myers RP Chicago White Sox
Myers in new digs

A potential wrench in San Fran's situation, on the other hand, is their reported interest in Chris Perez. Will the Cleveland Indians, who despite their recent woes remain in the AL postseason race, want to sell? Per FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, they might consider selling less inspiring veteran pieces, like Derek Lowe.

It's a stretch for both competing squads. Perez, who's in a renaissance season, would cost a pretty penny, and the Giants' bullpen is already capable and has Tommy John patient Brian Wilson at the back end through next season, which makes Perez seem like a luxury unless Wilson develops long-term problems.

Still, you never know what'll happen in the next week: Check Vinnie Pestano's availability in your league ... just in case.


Ryan Cook gave up a run Thursday but wound up closing the door. On Friday, he blew his save chance but backed into a win. On Saturday, he rested, and lefty Sean Doolittle wrapped things up for the Oakland Athletics.

Controversy? Considering Cook had worked on each of the previous three days, probably not, but he's held red flags for a while over his BB/9 (currently 4.68) and BABIP (.147). His FIP (3.30) and xFIP (4.21) say he'll come crashing down even harder soon.

Of course, K-friendly RPs can keep small sample sizes and outperform dark prognoses such as those. Either way, Doolittle has done so much in the strikeout column that he deserves a tuckaway in deep mixed leagues even if he doesn't overtake Cook.


Glen Perkins recorded the Minnesota Twins' save on Friday, which presented the first opp since Matt Capps (shoulder) returned to the DL. In filling the gap, the southpaw trumps Jared Burton, whose workload remains monitored by Minny.


Since being demoted from the closer role last week, John Axford has tossed three scoreless appearances. Granted, he only recorded one out in two batters or less in two of those (both coming over the weekend), but he's looking to be on the right track to regaining the job, in short order, the Milwaukee Brewers gave to Francisco Rodriguez.


Aaron Crow logged a cheapie two-inning save Saturday. He worked the eighth to protect a two-run lead before the Kansas City Royals scored two in the next half-frame. Crow stayed on because of the bigger cushion. Jonathan Broxton's name is being thrown around in trade-deadline chatter, and Greg Holland is still the better option on which to speculate if that change is made.


ESPN's David Schoenfield talks about the deceptive statistical season that Jonathan Papelbon has posted this year, especially in close games. Paps' job is not in danger, considering the Philadelphia Phillies' potentially lost season. But his ERA has jumped from 2.93 to 3.46 over his last eight appearances, which have included a 3-for-5 save-opp performance and three earned runs in his last two games.

Papelbon's swinging-strike rate is way down from 16.8 percent last year to 11.1 this season, likely fueled by his increase in both two-seamers and sinking heaters thrown. His velocity has lost some sizzle - reason(s) unknown - and he's having some bad luck in comparison to previous seasons.

He won't lose his job, and he's still quite good, but unless he alters his approach or finds whatever ails his giddy-up, he's in line to give you less than the non-saves numbers you paid for.


Frank Francisco (oblique) is slated to start a rehab assignment in the New York-Penn League tomorrow. He'll probably need to make it through a few games this week before he's activated by the New York Mets. If all goes well for Frank Squared, expect Bobby Parnell to return to setup duty.


Fun fact: Craig Kimbrel's Friday blown save (solo homer allowed) was only his second of the season and his first since May 2, a stretch of 21 opportunities for the Atlanta Braves.

Other notable weekend saviors

Jim Johnson 2 (30), Orioles
Joel Hanrahan 2 (28), Pirates
Jason Motte (21), Cardinals
Jose Valverde (18), Tigers
Kenley Jansen 2 (18), Dodgers
Aroldis Chapman 2 (17), Reds
Huston Street (16), Padres
Tyler Clippard (16), Nationals
Rafael Betancourt (16), Rockies
Tom Wilhelmsen 2 (10), Mariners









Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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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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