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.
- Still looking for an option from the Arizona Diamondbacks' bullpen? So is interim manager Kirk Gibson. Chad Qualls threw a scoreless inning Saturday in non-save work. Juan Gutierrez took a step back with a two-run gaffe Sunday, also in unimportant duty.
This situation remains a mess. The D-backs will continue their auditions, which could be aided by the trade deadline; maybe a contender will view one of Arizona's arms as bridge help.
Leo Nunez, who tallied a pair of Florida Marlins saves this weekend, has walked only four batters since April 24, a stretch of 32 appearances. The Boston Red Sox reportedly contacted the Marlins about acquiring Nunez to serve as a setup man to Jonathan Papelbon.
J-Brox was on the rocks Sunday
If he were traded, the Marlins' pen could resemble the Diamondbacks' - a crapshoot without inspiring options, despite Florida relievers' 19-inning scoreless streak.
- Octavio Dotel threw a scoreless inning in a non-save sitch Saturday, his first appearance of the second half. The Pittsburgh Pirates' righty blew his last two save chances before the All-Star break.
The perennially rebuilding Pirates could listen to trade offers for Dotel, who could eventually wind up as a setup option for a contender. The Evan Meek watch for saves continues, but don't forget about Joel Hanrahan.
In his first action since saving the National League's victory in the All-Star Game, Jonathan Broxton took the loss with a blown save attempt Sunday, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings (44 pitches). The Los Angeles Dodgers' closer has given up at least one run in four of his last seven appearances.
There's no job security risk here. Manager Joe Torre put in Broxton for the eighth inning to get the final two outs, and the Dodgers' setup corps was depleted. Broxton probably tired out on a hot day, too. Brox had completed his last 18 save opps.
- Two shutout innings over the weekend helped Trevor Hoffman's line, which since May 18 (his last save opp) stands with a 3.38 ERA and 10 K's in 16 frames. It isn't a great line, but he has shown improvement in low-pressure situations.
John Axford, meanwhile, did nothing to jeopardize his hold on the job Saturday, recording a four-out save. He's perfect in 11 chances this year.
- The Cincinnati Reds' Francisco Cordero worked around a walk to throw a one-inning scoreless save Friday. Despite becoming more hittable, Cordero has notched eight of his last nine closure opportunities.
- Francisco Rodriguez backed into a win Sunday in a wild affair. A seemingly botched call at home plate took way what would've been the winning run for the San Francisco Giants, allowing K-Rod's New York Mets to pull ahead in the 10th.
K-Rod has thrown 67 pitches in the last two days and might not be available if the Mets need a closure Monday.
- After a five-day layoff, Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless ninth Saturday, working around a walk to record a K and notch his seventh save of the season and second straight opportunity. He had previously blown three of his last four shots before July 11.
- In Lidge's game, Carlos Marmol melted down for the Chicago Cubs, allowing four runs on five walks and a hit in two-thirds of a frame for the loss and blown save chance. Maybe he was throwing his slider too often. Anyway, move along. No long-term worries here - just a bump in the road.
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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