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)
Closer: Carlos Marmol
Understudy: Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood
Our Cubs check-ins typically coincide with Marmol blow-ups. In blowing his second save in three chances, Marmol walked four batters while also giving up a bases-clearing double and failing to record an out. Two of his runners inherited by Wood were also plated.
Mike Quade said post-game that Marmol is still the team's closer, but he also proclaimed that he's not sure if he'll use the wild righty if a Friday save chance arises; he may call on Marshall or Wood.
Parnell still best option
Marmol posts dynamic output swings; following his May 31 disaster, Quade wasn't relenting about keeping his stopper in the job. In his 16 outings after that game and headed into July 8, Marmol posted a 0.52 ERA with 22 K's and eight walks in 17 1/3 innings. The walks, you expect, even in his successful games.
So goes another season of owning this talented but erratic strikeout artist. This potential rest Friday isn't a demotion - more likely just a day to rest. Given his propensity to lose command of his arsenal, maybe Marmol will also lose a few save chances down the stretch. Quade hinted that Marshall could see some ninth-inning looks, especially if Chicago is facing tough lefty bats.
Marmol said he'll watch video to see if there are any mechanical issues - a quick fix there could have him back on his sometimes scary track. His bumps aren't enough to convince you to sell him off in your league, especially seeing the way he bounced back after his last save-pocalypse.
The Cubbies aren't competing, and it'll take a complete loss of his skills for them to consider a permanent closer change. While it's possible, it's hardly a fantasy bet you should make for 2011 by investing heavily in Marshall or Wood, though the former is worth a desperation pick-up.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 5
Closer: Jon Rauch
Understudy: Frank Francisco
Lurkers: Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor
John Farrell said before Thursday's game that Rauch will be taking over the duties for the time being. The (once again) deposed Francisco, who has yielded five earned runs over his last three appearances, has more work to do to regain Farrell's confidence.
Rauch isn't much better (4.34 ERA this season); it just seems like Toronto wants to keep Dotel and Frasor, the best skills option of these four, in their middle-relief roles. The skyscraper is the grab, but don't expect Rauch to hang on to the job for the rest of the season. This job has been chiefly dictated by Francisco's availability, so it might not be that long before Frank Frank is back in the ninth.
But don't forget to keep Dotel and Frasor on your watch list - maybe the long-term thinking will take over in Toronto and they'll consider one of those two.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 5
- The New York Mets hinted at their plans without Francisco Rodriguez, which could be a closing committee between Bobby Parnell, Jason Isringhausen and Pedro Beato. The first two have been discussed at length, and Parnell remains your first target here, even though Izzy is slated to get the first save look Friday; the Mets are probably looking to build up the latter's trade value ASAP.
Don't go chasing Beato in mixed leagues unless yours is of the cavernous variety and you're casting a wide net. He hadn't struck out many in the minors until Triple-A last season, which was still a moderate 7.54 per nine. A closer should be more overpowering, especially with a decent fastball like Beato's. You should be fine here if you stick with the listed order mentioned above.
- J.J. Putz (elbow) won't return to the Arizona Diamondbacks until next week, at the earliest. The righty felt good after throwing 30 pitches in a Thursday workout at Chase Field but will have to pitch in back-to-back rehab games before being activated. David Hernandez has more shelf life as the Snakes' stopper and should be held by most save chasers even after the injury-prone Putz returns.
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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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