Detroit Tigers RP Joel Zumaya the latest to close

by Ryan Dodson on August 6, 2008 @ 07:27:56 PDT


The Detroit News reports Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya will serve as the team's closer for the time being. However, manager Jim Leyland didn't rule out other pitchers getting a chance from time to time.

Zumaya is having a tough season in 2008 as he has walked 18 batters and given up 22 hits in 21 1/3 innings for an ugly 1.88 WHIP. He has a decent ERA at 2.95, though, and has struck out 21 batters.

Zumaya has one save and three blown saves, two of which came in non-traditional save situations as a setup man. The final one, which occurred Tuesday, Aug. 5, came in the right-hander's first appearance as the anointed closer. He entered the 14th inning with a two-run lead against the Chicago White Sox but surrendered a three-run, walkoff home run as part of a four-run meltdown; only one run was earned.

Zumaya has the repertoire to be a dominant closer, but he has yet to stay healthy. He also has not demonstrated the dominance that most associate with a 100 mph fastball. However, this could be an audition for the closing job next season.

Reliever Fernando Rodney vacates the closer role after blowing both save chances in his short-lived closer stint. He pitched three shutout innings Tuesday, Aug. 5, and struck out five in the process. He's unlikely to be available to pitch for a few days, but he could figure into save chances again soon.

Relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth, acquired from the New York Yankees before the non-waiver trade deadline, could also figure into the mix. He hasn't been terribly impressive since joining the Tigers, though; he has allowed four earned runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings in a Detroit uniform.

Setup man Bobby Seay has had the best season of any Tigers reliever, with a 2.35 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings. If Zumaya and Rodney fail, he could see some save chances.

Former closer Todd Jones (shoulder) isn't expected to start throwing until later this week at the earliest. He appears to be a couple of weeks from returning, but he could figure into the situation later.

Pick up Zumaya in all formats. Rodney should be owned in AL-only formats and put on a watch list in mixed leagues. Owners could keep an eye on Farnsworth, too, but it's best to avoid him in setups other than AL-only. Seay is worthwhile in AL-only formats for his good ERA, but the journeyman appears to be a long shot for the closer role for now. Jones isn't worth owning unless he's the closer because he doesn't provide help in any category but saves.

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About Ryan Dodson

Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.

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