Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat

by Tim Heaney on August 18, 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.


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

Chicago Cubs

Closer: Carlos Marmol, Angel Guzman

Next in line: John Grabow

Other possibilities: Kevin Gregg

Gregg in all likelihood blew his last chance as the Cubs closer. In just two-thirds of an inning, he allowed two walks, two hits and four runs with a 1-0 lead in the ninth, including a three-run dinger to put the period on the evening. This was his third blunder in his last five opportunities, and he has surrendered 12 homers this season. 

Kevin Gregg, Chicago Cubs
The end could be near for Gregg

After the game, Cubbies skipper Lou Piniella hinted of an impending change, which could involve Marmol, Guzman or Grabow - possibly a combination of them - to shut the door. Lou should make an announcement Tuesday.

It's safe to expect Gregg's departure from his rocky role.

This depth chart is what we expect Lou to do. Marmol is probably owned in many leagues, but scoop him up if he's available. Though he'll probably provide just as many adventures in walks as Gregg has with homers, Marmol is the best bet to be the first saves choice.

Guzman may see a chance, too, and offers better peripherals than the highly touted Marmol. If Marmol is already owned, Guzman should be next on your list. If you're not desperate for saves, Guzman makes for the better addition.

It's still worth retaining Gregg in mixed setups until an official announcement is made, in case they decide at the last minute that they'll keep him there. That's doubtful, though. Without saves, Gregg is a fantasy hangnail. If you own him, count your blessings that he lasted this long and move on if the Cubs do the same.

Job Security score: 2

Health score: 3

Mound meetings

  • Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell reiterated he is sticking with Matt Capps at closer despite the righty's struggles. Capps worked a perfect inning Monday in a non-save situation. He said he's throwing with mid-90s velocity on his heat. The Buccos have only won three of their last 20 games, and Capps has only a trio of save opportunities since the All-Star game.
  • Joel Hanrahan probably has been quietly challenging Capps' hold on the job; he has a 1.42 ERA in his last 14 games but was lousy as the Washington Nationals' closer. Maybe he's best suited as a setup man.
  • Brian Fuentes didn't have much of a chance to be hit hard Monday. He retired the lone batter he faced for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after the Baltimore Orioles cut the lead to three with a two-run jack off Jose Arredondo.
  • Since his blowup Friday, Frank Francisco's line for the Texas Rangers: two frames, four strikeouts, two saves. That's all the stat sheet says. That being said, he has now pitched in three of the last four games; don't be surprised if C.J. Wilson gets the call if needed tonight.
  • The Chicago White Sox's Bobby Jenks, who has pitched two of the last three days, rebounded from his Sunday gaffe to shut down the Kansas City Royals in a spotless inning; he induced three grounders on only eight tosses, seven of which were strikes.
  • Working on the same schedule as Jenks, Andrew Bailey punched out the New York Yankees Monday with a perfect frame for the Oakland Athletics.

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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