Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on April 13, 2011 @ 14:19:15 PDT


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


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


Chicago White Sox

Closer: Matt Thornton

Understudy: Chris Sale, Sergio Santos

Lurkers: Jesse Crain

St. Louis Cardinals RP Jason Motte
Is Motte really a fallback plan?

Though he doesn't think any of these relievers have the closer-typical "crazy" demeanor, Ozzie Guillen will be keeping his options open. Thornton remains in the picture, but he won't receive the bulk of the save chances.

Turns out, even if Juan Pierre had caught the game-changing, one-out fly ball on Monday, Ozzie said he was planning to replace Thornton with Crain for the next batter no matter what because there were three righties coming up and Thornton was being hit hard. Sale and Santos also made good cases for themselves with strong Tuesday performances.

Hang on to the southpaw, but start picking away the speculative arms on your waiver wire.

Job security score: 2

Health score: 5

St. Louis Cardinals

Closer: Ryan Franklin

Understudy: Miguel Batista

Lurkers: Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Trever Miller, Fernando Salas

Tony La Russa reiterated his hesitation to put Boggs or Motte into the closer role right now. Reports speculate Batista or Miller would be the likely candidates to fill in if Franklin stumbles further.

Going for the 40-year-old Batista: He has been used in tight late-inning spots and has the experience TLR craves (his 31 saves in 2005 still count). Plus, La Russa doesn't require big K/9 ability from his closer, as proven by Franklin's presence there.

If you can sneak Batista cheaply onto your deep roster while dropping a no-strings commodity, fine. If you miss out because someone drops a big bid on him just because of these reports, no reason to cry.

Chasing saves has its limits; don't overextend yourself for him or Miller, the Cards' lefty specialist. Motte and Boggs don't have La Russa's confidence right now, but both are better long-term investments than Batista because of their stuff; maybe one winds up convincing TLR later on in the season. Unfortunately, their similar abilities and development paths put them in a stalemate as to who is the better speculation. Both need to do more with their much-celebrated "stuff." Boggs probably has better command of his, but Motte has had more time in the late innings.

Of course, if Franklin rights the ship soon - even just one outing to justify La Russa's confidence - this kafuffle could easily quiet down. Stay tuned.

Job security score: 5

Health score: 5

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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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