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)
Understudy: Aaron Heilman
Lurkers: Sam Demel, Juan Gutierrez, Jordan Norberto
Arizona suffered through Wednesday blowup outings of 1 1/3 innings by Demel (four runs, four hits) and Heilman (loss, blown save on four runs and five hits). The duo helped blow a four-run lead and eventually the game in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
Though Heilman remains the front-runner in this committee, manager Kirk Gibson refuses to make it official, and the activation of Gutierrez (shoulder) gives 'Zona another closing option.
Guti has had a rough year but has shown flashes of dominance and recorded two saves in July. Deep league speculators can roll the dice as long as they recognize he isn't a sure thing.
Job security score: 1
Health score: 4
Hisanori Takahashi was called upon to protect a tied game for the New York Mets last night and recorded the final two outs to send the game to extra innings. The closer-for-now pitched a scoreless 10th, too, and Manny Acosta eventually picked up the closure in the 14th inning.
Gutierrez's return spooked the comp
Don't run out to pick up Acosta in mixed yet; the Mets still hold too many options if they need to someone other than Tak, and it was an extra-inning affair, so they were running out of options.
- Despite throwing a 1-2-3 inning on Tuesday - his first since July 27 - Jonathan Broxton still needs to show manager Joe Torre more before returning to closing. On the bright side, Broxton faced the minimum despite allowing a hit Wednesday, and Torre noted that Broxton looked more relaxed Tuesday.
Octavio Dotel, meanwhile, walked three batters and threw three wild pitches, one of which allowed the losing run to score in the 10th Wednesday. The plan of Hong-Chih Kuo and Dotel hasn't gone well so far, and continued problems might speed up Broxton's return to closing, even if it'd be earlier than desired.
- David Hasselhoff was roasted this past weekend. Trevor Hoffman, the Milwaukee Brewers' No. 1a closer, put out a fire Wednesday after John Axford was backed into a bases-loaded jam.
While allowing a hit and a walk, Ax was tagged with one unearned tally and also allowed an inherited runner to score. Hoff didn't need much time, fanning the only batter he faced on three pitches with two outs and the sacks jacked to record his first save since Aug. 7.
- The Houston Astros placed Matt Lindstrom (back) on the 15-day disabled list. The fact that his back spasms had been affecting his delivery prompted the move. Save opps will continue to run through Brandon Lyon - and likely Wilton Lopez when Lyon needs a rest.
- Leo Nunez recorded his first save since July 31 with a scoreless Wednesday inning. The Florida Marlins' righty allowed a four-pitch leadoff walk, but he struck out two to preserve the one-run win.
Since the Marlins outwardly considered using a closing committee if Nunez kept struggling, Nunez has pitched just three times. Results? No hits, one walk, five K's.
- Sean Burnett absorbed the Washington Nationals loss Wednesday. He allowed a single during his second inning of work (the ninth frame), and Tyler Clippard allowed the inherited runner to score. Burnett remains a decent bet for Nationals saves, along with Drew Storen.
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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