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: 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.
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
- The Baltimore Orioles' Kevin Gregg was suspended four games for his involvement in a recent bean-and-brawl incident with David Ortiz. If he doesn't appeal, it'll begin Thursday. Koji Uehara, an already worthwhile speculation stash, will likely step in for any save chances.
- Joakim Soria trade speculation surfaces nearly every season. The Kansas City Royals' reliever reportedly has the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves on his no-trade list.
That's chiefly a formality, though, and Soria's contract is favorable. The team holds annual options on him through the 2014 season, with none of them exceeding the $8.75 million listed for the final campaign. It would be surprising if KC, who flashed signs of a contending team this year, would swap their stopper this July.
- Ryan Madson threw a scoreless rehab frame Wednesday for high Single-A Clearwater. The Philadelphia Phillies' closer could return as soon as this weekend to bump the excellent Antonio Bastardo from relief duty.
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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