Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - NL
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.
Understudy: Drew Storen
The Nats traded Matt Capps and said save duties will be split between Storen, Clippard and Burnett. Let's be realistic. Though it might start out with that split, Storen's presence increased the Nats' comfort with trading Capps.
Storen should be added in all leagues. If they decide the long term is actually the present, they won't hesitate to throw Storen in there.
Clippard has been the eighth-inning option for most of the season. Burnett, the seventh. Both could be desperation fantasy additions in cavernous setups. However, Clippard has severely declined from his early-season success. Burnett has better skills than Clippard, but the latter might see more chances by default because of his more frequent eighth-inning use.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 5
Closer: Brad Lidge
Understudy: Ryan Madson
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel kept Madson in Thursday's game to start the ninth inning with a one-run lead. Madson, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, allowed a leadoff double and was promptly removed so J.C. Romero could face two left-handed hitters.
Romero then allowed a single and a run-scoring groundout to lose the lead. Closer Brad Lidge, who hadn't appeared since Monday, came in to pitch the 10th and held the game at a tie.
Manuel told reporters he planned to have Madson and Romero start the ninth in that order because of the impending lefty bats. Lidge made things interesting in his last two save chances, during which he combined to throw 64 pitches, so maybe Manuel was just giving him a break.
Or, maybe it was a message to Lidge that Manuel won't be tied down to him and will go in another direction for security. Sound familiar? Don't panic just yet, but it might get worse if Lidge keeps putting himself in trouble during save opps like he had been recently.
Job security score: 3
Health score: 3
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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