Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Andrew Bailey, Javier Lopez, John Axford, Dale Thayer

by Tim Heaney on August 27, 2012 @ 11:12:52 PDT'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)

Boston Red Sox

Closer: Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Bailey
Understudy/Fill-in: Mark Melancon

San Francisco Giants RP Javier Lopez
Lopez freed

Aceves reflected the attitude of his fantasy owners Friday. The righty was not used to close out the Red Sox's Friday win. He didn't take too kindly to that. Bobby Valentine didn't take kindly to Aceves' reaction, and the pitcher was suspended for three games. Peter Abraham has the gossip, some of which stems from the happenings in Boston's Thursday marathon.

Who took Aceves' place Friday? Bailey, who stayed on for 1 1/3 innings of shutout work and netted his first wrap-up of 2012. He also appeared Saturday and didn't give up a run in non-save duty. Melancon stepped in Sunday because they didn't want to push Bailey; the replacement for the replacement also logged a scoreless inning to pick up a closure of his own.

Changing of the guard? After Aceves returns, it might be possible. He's hardly been as smooth as Bailey has been in Bailey's limited work (one run, four K's, one free pass in 4 1/3 stanzas). Boston has little to lose by re-installing Bailey a little earlier than expected, and Aceves' attitude may not do him any favors.

Luckily, Bailey's performance will probably be a sufficient reason for Boston to return him, at least in a quasi-regular fashion, to the role for which they acquired him last offseason. He should not be on anymore waiver wires.

Job security score: 1
Health score:

Mound meetings

Having Jose Mijares on board has allowed Bruce Bochy to utilize Javier Lopez in save situations of late. The latter wrote his latest entry for the San Francisco Giants' committee Friday by going four outs to register his fourth save of the year and third last week.

Had Lopez not retired three lefty lumber swingers and switch-hitter Chipper Jones, the second hitter in that parade, Dan Uggla would've stepped up next, meaning the southpaw would've been lifted for Clay Hensley.

Mijares' presence gives more credence for his fellow lefty hurler being used as the top closer for his handedness in this gathering. Though he'll still share opps with Sergio Romo and others, therefore limiting his ceiling, Lopez should be scooped up in dual-universe formats at this time of year when every semi-regular savior should be owned.


After back-to-back lock-ups, John Axford stumbled Friday by allowing a three-run lead to dwindle to one, before being yanked in favor of Kameron Loe, who fanned the final batter to steal the save. Jim Henderson and Francisco Rodriguez had pitched earlier in the game, but Loe probably has pulled ahead of them on the hierarchy.

Axford remains the priority option but not the everyday closer. Loe is worth a grab in deep mixed leagues for the possibility of situations like this arising, or him grabbing the job all for himself sometime in the final month-plus.


Dale Thayer was on paternity leave this weekend, so when the San Diego Padres needed a hero Sunday, they held out for Luke Gregerson. He was, indeed, strong and fast, working around one hit to record four scoreless outs to wrap things up.

Thayer will be activated Monday, though, so Gregerson will return to backup duty. He might poach another opp or two before Huston Street (calf) returns, if he does, but don't make Gregerson a mixed-league priority yet.

Other notable weekend saviors

Jim Johnson (39), Orioles  
Chris Perez (33), Indians  
Rafael Soriano 2 (33), Yankees Escaped bases-loaded jam Fri., liner to pitching hand Sun.
Jason Motte (30), Cardinals Allowed 2 baserunners Fri., but wiggled out
Jonathan Papelbon 2 (29), Phillies  
Rafael Betancourt (26), Rockies  
Jose Valverde (26), Tigers  
Addison Reed (24), White Sox BS Fri. and allowed HR Sat., but converted that one. Safe for now despite scuffles
Frank Francisco (21), Mets Clean IP, for once, Sat.
Carlos Marmol (16), Cubs  
Grant Balfour 2 (14), Athletics Allowed run Fri. but escaped. 7-for-7 since reclaiming gig
Steve Cishek (11), Marlins Heath Bell still on the outside looking in
Glen Perkins (8), Twins Previous SV: Aug. 7, proof that "bad team" stereotype sometimes works
Greg Holland (7), Royals  
Wilton Lopez (2), Astros Also gave up walk-off tater Sun. in tied contest
Shawn Camp (2), Cubs Scoreless 8th enough in rain-shortened game
Josh Lindblom (1), Phillies Paps needed rest after 3 straight nights of work
Garrett Richards (1), Angels Stepped in for 'pen taxed by Thur. marathon
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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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