Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on July 26, 2010 @ 12:50:00 PDT

 


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.

Key

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

 

Chicago White Sox

Closer: Committee

Understudy: Bobby Jenks, J.J. Putz

Lurkers: Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos

The White Sox didn't have a chance to showcase a new closer alignment this weekend, logging a non-save victory Friday and losing Saturday and Sunday to the Oakland Athletics. Putz pitched the seventh - his 26th straight scoreless appearance - and Jenks managed the eighth with a shutout cameo.

Jenks, however, might once again put an end to this committee experiment. Manager Ozzie Guillen said Jenks pitched more aggressively Sunday and that Jenks probably needs one more quality outing to reclaim the role. The late-inning South Side fun might be over before it starts ... again.

Job security score: 1

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Chicago White Sox RP Bobby Jenks
    Jenks: nearly back in the saddle
    Back spasms have sidelined Andrew Bailey of late. He hasn't pitched since Tuesday, when he first suffered the injury. Bailey logged two innings in that game - only the third time all year he had been asked to do that by the Oakland Athletics.
    The righty hopes to return to action Tuesday. The off-day Monday should help. Michael Wuertz, Oakland's saves backup, has stepped in twice in the last week to close things out; he did so Sunday with a scoreless frame and has allowed just one run in his last 13 mound trips.
  • Jon Rauch returned to an in-game mound Saturday for the Minnesota Twins after a bum ankle kept him sidelined. He hasn't had a save chance since the break and was roughed up in his first two second-half outings. He threw shutout work, navigating around a hit and a walk, in one inning of non-save responsibility Saturday.
  • Baltimore Orioles stopper Alfredo Simon notched a scoreless one-inning save Friday after a two-day breather. As shaky as he has been in spots, Simon has wrapped up 14 of his 16 chances in 2010.
    Mike Gonzalez
    , meanwhile, let one cross on one hit and one walk. In both of his post-DL appearances, he has entered in low-pressure situations. The O's won't rush to throw him into any fires. Simon's job remains safe.
  • Kevin Gregg recorded two saves over the weekend for the Toronto Blue Jays - each coming in a perfect inning. Scott Downs, meanwhile, is drawing a flurry of trade rumors, which numerous teams expected at least to be sniffing around for him.
    Jason Frasor remains a decent speculative pickup in deep leagues - Downs probably has the best chance of leaving, despite Toronto's reportedly high asking price. Gregg has done his job, but it doesn't hurt to think ahead if this situation is blown up.
  • Garrett Olson swiped a five-out save Saturday for the Seattle Mariners. The lefty setup man recorded the last two outs in the eighth to preserve a one-run lead. The M's padded the lead before Olson shut things down.
    David Aardsma rejoined the party Sunday with a perfect inning. He has converted his two July save opps; before July 18, his last chance came on June 22. Contenders are looking at Aardsma - likely for setup help - and he isn't seeing many chances in his current home. His fantasy trade value is low.
  • With a Saturday save, the Kansas City Royals' Joakim Soria showed his goods once again to the New York Yankees, who made a big play to acquire him. The Royals might not be inclined to trade away the reliever; his contract provides the Royals with ample control and monetary breathing room.
  • Jose Valverde pitched both contests in Sunday's Detroit Tigers doubleheader. He lost the first contest by giving up two runs on a homer, but Papa Grande closed out the second outing despite yielding a solo jack.
    Good news: He combined for just 30 pitches. Bad news: Safe to say Valverde's owners hate to see him throw twice in one day. He might not be available if a save sitch comes up Monday, and keep an eye on any potential fatigue in the near future.
  • A rough July (8.00 ERA, two homers in nine innings) has knocked Neftali Feliz's numbers out of whack. After throwing a scoreless save inning Friday, the Texas Rangers' youngster allowed two singles and a run-scoring groundout to start the inning.
    Maybe he's tiring a little, but Rangers general manager Jon Daniels confirmed Feliz has "solidified himself as a closer for the next few months." Continue to ride Feliz. Happiness is contagious, after all.
  • Tony Sipp recorded a cheap save when Friday's Cleveland Indians contest became a rain-shortened victory. Chris Perez, the Tribe's interim (soon permanent?) closer, hasn't seen a save chance since Tuesday. He worked around a hit Sunday in a shutout frame during non-save work. Keep an eye on Kerry Wood's (finger) chances of being shipped out this week.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays called on Rafael Soriano Saturday and Sunday. The righty obliged with two scoreless one-frame closures. He might not be used Monday if a save chance arises.
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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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