Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: David Robertson, Henry Rodriguez, Frank Francisco, more

by Tim Heaney on May 15, 2012 @ 12:14:53 PDT


What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft?'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

David Robertson was scheduled to undergo an MRI early Tuesday after complaining of left oblique soreness during his Friday appearance and while playing catch over the weekend. Joe Girardi kept the right-hander out of Monday action, instead having Rafael Soriano log the New York Yankees' save, a scoreless, one-K frame.

The Bombers should be getting the results on D-Rob's tests back today. If he has to miss time, Soriano would step in as the full-time stopper. He's still widely available. D-Rob owners and save poachers alike should remedy that if he's on their league's wire.


Chicago White Sox RP Addison Reed
Reed ... in the lead?

Though he professed faith in his embattled stopper after Monday's contest, Davey Johnson pulled Henry Rodriguez from a save chance, during which the right-handed flamethrower walked the bases loaded, including the leadoff hitter. Sean Burnett came in to induce a double play and wiggle out of the jam to notch his first save of the season.

H-Rod's control has been his undoing. He had danced around his high walk rate by leaning on his heat. Rodriguez has appeared on each of the last three days (59 pitches, five walks total) and won't be available Tuesday; his frequent schedule might've tired him out. Johnson seemingly understands that and still wants Rodriguez to be the main fill-in before Drew Storen (elbow) returns.

But the manager might give H-Rod more time off if he wants to keep him fresh. Burnett, considering his role as holds collector, probably would get the call in such cases, including today.

Maybe since they'll knowingly rest Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard would get a Tuesday opp, but he seems locked into eighth-inning utility because that's Johnson's preference. Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen could earn consideration, as well, but they're too far down the depth chart to worry about in mixed leagues.


Frank Francisco at least temporarily backed up Terry Collins' confidence ... by keeping the New York Mets on edge Monday. He allowed a leadoff single, a one-out RBI one-bagger and a walk before recording a backwards K and a fly-out for a rough protection of a three-run advantage. As Nick noted yesterday, Jon Rauch and Bobby Parnell wait in the wings. Frank Frank's tightrope walk only betrayed him twice; both just happened to come in the same weekend, and he has mostly been working around them on the way to sealing the deal.

Regardless, Parnell has endeared himself to the fan base and perhaps media; one writer speculates Collins could hand the job to the young righty sometime this summer. But by many accounts, Parnell's personality doesn't fit the closer gig, which might be holding back Collins. Still, skip didn't want to predict what the bullpen would look like when the warmer months arrive, so he's not cementing Francisco by any means for the long term.

Rauch would probably step in first, considering his own solid season thus far, the fact he was warming up when Francisco was struggling, and Collins' apparent reluctance to trust Parnell. Rauch's hold on the understudy gig - and Francisco's on the top label - will dwindle, however, if Parnell bolsters his stock as the season wears on.


The Chicago White Sox lined up their backend trio yesterday with Hector Santiago in the seventh, Matt Thornton in the eighth and Addison Reed to wrap up the save. Reed rebounded from his Sunday demolition, which came when Chicago was in a two-run hole in the ninth. Last night, he worked around a one-out single and a two-out walk, easing the pain of his Sunday train wreck.

Given the frequent track changes Robin Ventura has shown lately, it's hard to say Reed has jumped into the lead with much certainty. Thornton was brought in to face Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder; maybe Ventura would've pitched him in the ninth had they been due up then.

But Reed has posted the last three successful conversions for the Pale Hose, and maybe it's another case of Ventura wanting to cover his backside - start leaning in one direction while also leaving an out to back away.

Reed, Thornton and Santiago - in that order - should be your hierarchy when planning for saves throughout the year, as long as you acknowledge RV's waffling could complicate it in the short term and, say, put Thornton in front. Or Santiago. Yup. Good luck.


Rafael Dolis' fourth save of the season, a perfect Monday inning, reflected that Dale Sveum appears confident in the right-hander facing lefty sticks; he retired Skip Schumaker, the switch-hitting Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal to end things.

Southpaw James Russell had warmed up in the eighth but didn't enter the game, maybe because there was only one left-handed lumber carrier due up. Though Sveum said Russell might spell Dolis more often, especially in matchup cases, the fact that it didn't happen this time speaks for Dolis' standing. Russell can still be clung to in deep mixed leagues but not necessarily thrown into lineups.


Sean Marshall worked around a leadoff single, recording a flyout and striking out two to log his sixth save of the year yesterday. The Cincinnati Reds' stopper probably can exhale a little now, as he probably bought himself a bit more time to get Dusty Baker and Aroldis Chapman off his back.


On Monday Ron Gardenhire went to Matt Capps in the top of the ninth in a tied ballgame. Capps, riding a streak of five scoreless appearances, gave up a run on two hits to absorb the Minnesota Twins' loss. Gardy doesn't seem like the type to move away from doing that in those situations, and he's still backing Capps, despite how shaky the right-hander can often be.

Other Monday saviors

Chris Perez (12), Indians
Jonathan Broxton (8), Royals
Santiago Casilla (8), Giants
Joel Hanrahan (7), Pirates
Kenley Jansen (4), Dodgers
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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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