In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.
Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.
Closer: Phil Coke
Understudy: Ryan Perry
Lurkers: Jose Valverde (elbow)
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Coke will close out games, "hopefully temporarily," until Valverde comes back from elbow tendonitis, in a few days if not more. Leyland is hoping that even more so after Coke let a four-run lead evaporate on three hits and two walks in one-third of an inning Sunday.
The Tigs eventually pulled it out, but it did Coke no favors in preventing Perry from receiving another opportunity to close. There has been no talk of shutting Valverde down for the rest of 2010, but with Detroit out of the playoff race, it isn't out of the question.
Leyland's anointment of Coke makes him the first choice if you must pursue. Either way, this isn't a pretty situation for the fantasy stretch run.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 4
Closer: Fernando Rodney
Understudy: Jordan Walden
Lurkers: Kevin Jepsen
Rodney's line on Saturday, his second straight day of work: one run allowed on three hits in one inning, and his third blown save in his last six chances.
The righty was given the day off Sunday, and Walden stepped in for the closure by retiring the typically tough Carl Crawford. Well, he literally stepped in for it; the batted ball ricocheted off his leg and to first baseman Juan Rivera.
Rodney has a 6.48 ERA this month, typically his roughest during the year (career 5.10 ERA, 22-for-34 in save tries in September). Manager Mike Scioscia backed up his stopper, though, saying he's still throwing the ball well. Walden and Jepsen have both been solid this month, but they probably would be interchangeable the next time Rodney needs a break - brief or extended. The Halos look content to keep throwing 'Do-Rod out there.
Job security score: 4
Health score: 5
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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