Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: John Axford-Francisco Rodriguez tag team, more

by Tim Heaney on July 13, 2011 @ 12:32:48 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.


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


Milwaukee Brewers

Closer: John Axford

Understudy: Francisco Rodriguez

The Brew Crew acquired K-Rod from the Mets for cash considerations and two players to be named later. Doug Melvin originally said Axford would remain closer and that Milwaukee wouldn't let Rodriguez's $17.5 million option vest for 2012. It would require him to finish - not save - 21 more games.

A report from's Adam McCalvy, though, quotes skipper Ron Roenicke saying Ax and Rodriguez will share the closer role. Hmm. Maybe the organization has yet to get on the same page, but the fact they're keeping their new toy in the saves loop makes Rodriguez worth holding in your league, at least until this clears up.

Chicago White Sox RP Sergio Santos
Santos: Doing just fine

The initial prognosis was that Axford hasn't done anything to lose his job, and Milwaukee was just going to plug in Rodriguez when Axford needed a day off before sending him on his way after the season. That might be what Roenicke was referring to when he said they'd "share." We learned as children that sharing isn't always equal. Maybe they're just appeasing Rodriguez with a piece of candy for their playoff race.

Axford should continue to be in the lead here because he's been effective for the last one and a half seasons, and Rodriguez presents a daunting financial albatross that Milwaukee can avoid by saving him for even non-hold situations. Hang on to both. Maybe handcuff them if you don't have to sell off a limb, but that's a more necessary plight for Rodriguez owners.

Job security score: 3

Health score: 5

New York Mets

Closer: Bobby Parnell

Understudy: Jason Isringhausen

With Rodriguez out of New York, expect Parnell to get the first shot. He has impressed the staff since he returned from the DL and the minors; the 26-year-old has a worthy fastball and K/9 to wrap up victories.

Isringhausen's renaissance season has come thanks to his cutter. Though he has the closing track record and the trust of Terry Collins, he doesn't have the overpowering stuff of Parnell and might even be trade bait, for whatever little the Mets would get in return. So even if he starts out with the gig, there's a decent chance it will not last long.

Parnell offers the better fantasy return (read: strikeouts) even if it's a time share. It's hard to think the Mets will shut the youngster out of opps completely, especially since they're starting to think about the future, which definitely isn't Isringhausen.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • Don't be overly concerned about Sergio Santos' 6.06 ERA since May ended; it was skewed by two early-June blowups for the Chicago White Sox closer. Removing those two games, he has a 2.54 ERA and 24 K's in that window of 14 2/3 frames.
    He's still a K-happy reliever with raw stuff who'll occasionally run into problems with control. Given the way the 'pen has streamlined in the last few months, Ozzie Guillen probably won't shake things up anytime soon.
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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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