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.
Did your league forget about Leo Nunez? Very possible at this point in the season. Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said he would like to use Nunez in a few save chances before the year ends to give the righty some confidence.
Jansen always ready to chip in
Problem is, Clay Hensley has been steady in the role since taking over, and the Fish might not offer many save opportunities. It's highly unlikely Nunez returns to the team next year; he's arbitration-eligible and could be in line for a nice raise after a decent 2010 season. Either way, check if Nunez is available - his potential for even one save chance could help turn the tides in your favor.
- Kenley Jansen wrapped up a save for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. He came in with one runner on, nobody out and LA clinging to a two-run lead. He worked around a walk to induce a pop-out and two K's.
Hong-Chih Kuo closed things out Thursday and was likely held out to avoid working on back-to-back days. Jansen is a worthy saves gamble for the final week.
- Joel Hanrahan returned to the saves column Saturday, giving up a run on a walk and a hit but escaping for a two-run Pittsburgh Pirates victory. Evan Meek came on for the eighth inning, working around a walk but getting out of an inning that involved facing the Houston Astros' Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee.
Both Hanrahan and Meek should be owned as the Buccos continue auditioning them for 2011 closer duties.
- Drew Storen picked up the Washington Nationals' save Sunday with a 1-2-3 performance, fanning the last two batters. He displayed his slider and his sinker, which looked improved.
Sean Burnett, however, isn't making the 2011 closer decision an easy one; he isn't prone to damage by right-handed hitters thanks to his slider use against them, and he has been the most consistent reliever in Washington's bullpen. Don't overlook Burnett if you need saves in the final week.
- No in-house reliever is making a better case for the Arizona Diamondbacks' 2011 closer job than Juan Gutierrez. Following his Sunday wrap-up, the righty has converted his last 13 save chances tracing back to July 10 and his last 10 from Aug. 31, when he took closer duties and ran with them, on.
There's a chance Sam Demel could be inserted into the role or Arizona could look outside the organization for bullpen help (desperately needed). Still, Guti looks like the best option to build around at the back end.
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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