Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Leo Nunez and Joakim Soria trade talk, Ryan Madson update

by Tim Heaney on July 14, 2011 @ 13:42:36 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)


Florida Marlins

Closer: Leo Nunez

Understudy: Edward Mujica, Mike Dunn

Lurkers: Steve Cishek, Burke Badenhop, Jose Ceda, Randy Choate

Speculation says that because he's in line for a salary increase via arbitration at the end of the season, Nunez looks like a prime candidate to be dealt by July 31. Without Nunez, this closer construction wouldn't be pretty.

Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City Royals
Royally affordable

This could come down to the reliable, versatile Mujica and the promising K southpaw Dunn. The former hasn't come close to matching his 9.30 K/9 from last season but has pristine control and a history of passable dominance; however, his ability to spot-start could limit his reach here. The latter can ring up plenty of hitters but holds an unattractive walk rate; luckily, that isn't necessary a deal-breaker for a closer.

Cishek recorded a save when Nunez was out thanks to back issues, and Badenhop, who has rejuvenated his big-league career as a reliever, has logged the only other Marlins closure this season. Both have displayed capable ground-ball inducement. Cishek's velocity and K/9 fit the mold. Badenhop's? Not as much, but he at least has some semblance of middle- and late-innings trust.

Flame-throwing prospect Jhan Marinez, one of the gems of Florida's system, can overpower bats and would enter this list upon a call-up. His future role is undetermined, though, and he needs more farm seasoning. Ceda owns a similar profile and rawness. Ryan Webb has appeared mostly in mop-up duty and hasn't shown overwhelming closer skills.

Choate is involved in trade rumors, also, and would probably only be considered if it's a lefty-on-lefty matchup and Dunn is unavailable.

Sitting in the NL East's basement, Florida wouldn't rush to decide on a stopper if they ship out Nunez; they'll probably try numerous options to see what works but may just settle on a committee to play out the 2011 string. Go with Mujica and Dunn first if you have to speculate, but know that there probably will be some movement in this hierarchy if Nunez isn't a Marlin.

Owners of Florida's current fireman should start planning for life without him if they need to stay afloat in the SV column.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 5

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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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