Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Fernando Salas, Kyle McClellan, more

by Tim Heaney on July 28, 2011 @ 11:00:52 PDT


What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.


Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)


St. Louis Cardinals

Closer: Fernando Salas

Understudy: Eduardo Sanchez (DL), Kyle McClellan

Lurkers: Lance Lynn, Octavio Dotel, Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte

It's going to be a nail-biting weekend for Salas owners.

One would presume the Cardinals were done with the reliever market after acquiring setup pieces Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski from the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday. But news is still floating that Heath Bell would prefer to land in St. Louis if the San Diego Padres ship him out.

Kyle McClellan, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Run KMC a sleeper for saves

Oh, and McClellan volunteered to move back to the 'pen, where he gained the staff's trust in previous years. Pitching Dumbledore Dave Duncan said he wouldn't hesitate to use McClellan in the ninth inning. There's another internal fix that would preclude them from more RP shopping. Lance Lynn was recently named as the chief setup option, but that was before McClellan joined the relief army. Don't expect Duncan to stick to his Lynn guns with one of his favorite pitchers back in the fray.

The Cards would be hard-pressed not to at least be in talks right now involving Bell. But would St. Louis yearn to acquire someone that could simply be a rental, and would they pay Bell big bucks to keep him after 2011? Since Jason Isringhausen left following 2008, St. Louis hasn't spent big bucks on a closer, instead riding Ryan Franklin while attempting to cultivate Motte, McClellan and Boggs, among others, for the role. Is this a continuing philosophy, or something they want to change?

McClellan could be worth a cheap gamble in deep leagues. If no other option is added and Salas falters, Run KMC likely would take over. Salas owners should hang on; you probably won't get a fair price if you try to ship him before Sunday anyway. Though the Texas Rangers seem to be more heavily involved in Bell talks, the Gateway City remains a possibility, at least in the media. You were warned.

Job security score: 3

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • The rumor mill is churning out an interesting (perplexing?) note: The Washington Nationals have reportedly considered trading Drew Storen to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Denard Span. If he wound up in Minny, Storen would probably set up Nathan this season before taking over in 2012, unless the Twinkies plan to keep their 36-year-old savior past 2011.
    Hypothetical: Tyler Clippard would take over in DC if he stays and Storen leaves. But the former, along with southpaw Sean Burnett, is involved in trade rumors. If they depart, it'd be a mess. Maybe flamethrower Henry Rodriguez gets a chance in that event. That being said, this site would be surprised if this trade goes down. We just want you to be prepared if it arises.
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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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