Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on October 1, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT


Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for the entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which setup men are climbing the depth chart? Any lingering injuries popping up?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Mound meetings

  • Russ Springer stopped the Grant Balfour train. The former worked around a single with a two-run advantage last night, recording a pair of outs, wrapping up the Tampa Bay Rays' win and recording his first save since April 24, 2001. Balfour had pitched on three straight days heading into last night; he looks to be the favorite to shut the door during a weekend game despite manager Joe Maddon's desire to play the matchups.
  • Separate cases of bad luck and good fortune eventually equaled a Florida Marlins save last night. With Florida leading by three heading into the ninth, the Marlins committed two throwing errors, and Leo Nunez gave up unearned runs as a result of each, including a gaffe that came with two outs. Sure, he gave up the hits, but he shouldn't have been put in that position. The last out came after Brendan Donnelly entered with the lead at just one. Donnelly's only pitch thrown resulted in a passed ball, but Atlanta Braves baserunner Matt Diaz was hung up between third and home and was picked off to end the game. Donnelly can thank his D for that save, and you can forgive Nunez for the D failing to back him up - of course, maybe not as easily forgivable if you're chasing saves.
  • A pity finish? The Philadelphia Phillies gave the last out of their NL East-clinching victory to struggling righty Brad Lidge. Will he see a save outing before the fantasy season ends? You're better off if you can avoid that guessing game.
  • Pitching after two days of rest, Matt Thornton whiffed two and gave up no runs in the ninth inning of a doubleheader nightcap for his fourth save this year, and his third in his last three appearances. Octavio Dotel (neck) is possibly done for the season, too, meaning Thornton should remain the No. 1 option for the Chicago White Sox for the final few days.
  • That's more like it. Following the Kyle Farnsworth Show Tuesday, the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Yankees by one run Wednesday, this time with Joakim Soria throwing a scoreless inning for the save.
  • New York Mets CL Francisco Rodriguez
    K-Rod KO'd by salamis
    Should he be called Grand-Rod? Francisco Rodriguez blew a save in grand fashion Wednesday, as Washington Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell cleared the bases with a fence-clearing blast. K-Rod is the first pitcher since Lee Smith to give up two walkoff grand slams in the same year. He has blown seven save chances for the New York Mets this year, matching his '08 total with almost half his closure total of last year.
  • Carlos Marmol allowed just his second home run in 73 innings this year in non-save action Wednesday for the Chicago Cubs. It did nothing to convince the Cubs to bring back Kevin Gregg, who continues to lobby for a fireman job next season.
  • Fernando Rodney pitched for the third time in four days in helping the Detroit Tigers to wrap up a five-run win yesterday. We may not see him close if a situation comes up today. Brandon Lyon has also pitched on back-to-back days but could be in there if needed. The other options aren't as attractive: Ryan Perry, Zach Miner, Fu-Te Ni and a battered Bobby Seay (pectoral).
  • The Minnesota Twins may use stopper Joe Nathan for a four- or five-out save over the final few contests.
  • Rumors speculate Bobby Jenks could be shopped early in the offseason if the White Sox want to chase a closer on the free-agent market.

Also see: Fantasy baseball closer depth charts

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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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