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.
|Job security (JS) score
||1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
|Health (H) score
||1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)
Closer: Michael Wuertz
Understudy: Craig Breslow
Lurkers: Andrew Bailey (elbow)
Bailey has been shut down for a few days with elbow soreness; he'll make the dreaded visit to Dr. James Andrews this week. The right-hander believes it's another case of tennis elbow, which bothered him earlier this year; he said the problem isn't on the inside of the elbow. Bailey underwent Tommy John surgery in college. Still, it wouldn't be surprising if "a few days" turns into "the rest of the season."
In Monday's affair, Oakland used Wuertz in the eighth, and Breslow picked up the save. The righty Wuertz faced four right-handed batters: the Chicago White Sox's Alex Rios, Paul Konerko, Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones. Oakland likely valued those outs enough to use Wuertz early.
Breslow faced all righty bats, too, and excels against both batter's boxes, but Wuertz remains the better bet for most of the chances without Bailey. Wuertz sports a 2.92 ERA and 29 K's in 24 2/3 innings since June ended and went 5-for-5 in closing out contests after Bailey was sidelined in late July.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 4
An MRI on Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde (elbow) showed no structural damage in his elbow, but there's still no timetable for his return. Phil Coke rebounded from a rough Sunday outing with a scoreless save in two-thirds of an inning Monday.
Another shot to Bailey's owners
Ryan Perry started the ninth inning, retiring the leadoff batter, but the next batter singled; both sticks were righties. Coke then came on to finish it by retiring the next two batters. Expect this potentially messy situation to continue; maybe next time they won't take Perry out.
- From the unsurprising file: Bobby Jenks will miss the Chicago White Sox's six-game road trip, and Jenks reportedly won't throw for the duration of the West Coast stint. Ozzie Guillen thinks the righty could pitch again this year, but it still looks like Chris Sale's show for another week, with Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz sprinkled in.
- Fernando Rodney rewarded Mike Scioscia's confidence in him by delivering a scoreless save Monday for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The struggling righty worked around a leadoff single and a hit batsman by inducing a ground-out and two K's.
Though Jordan Walden and Kevin Jepsen are still worth speculation in deep leagues, Rodney's leash probably remains long enough to finish out the season in the role.
Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL
Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL
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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