Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on July 20, 2010 @ 13:00:00 PDT

 


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.

Key

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

 

Toronto Blue Jays

Closer: Kevin Gregg

Understudy: Jason Frasor

Lurkers: Scott Downs, Shawn Camp

Kansas City Royals RP Joakim Soria
A sight for Yanks' Soria eyes

Gregg melted down both on the mound and while he was being removed Saturday. On Monday, he saved his blowup for strictly the former by giving up two runs on three hits and a walk, blowing a one-run advantage and absorbing the loss. Manager Cito Gaston left Gregg in for the whole ride and reportedly didn't once think about going away from him. Maybe misguided confidence, but confidence nonetheless.

We've seen meltdowns like this from Gregg before that have led to his removal from the role (see 2009). Gaston blamed other Jays more than Gregg, though, so it'll take a continued crash or a trade to boot the righty. His swap value is declining, though.

A New York Yankees scout was at Monday's game, likely scouting Gregg and Downs. After a rough June, Frasor has stepped up in July (1.59 ERA, six K's, one walk in 5 2/3 frames). He'd be the best bet to take over saves duty if Gregg were to depart one way or another; deep leaguers can speculate if they have room.

Downs might be the best bet to be shipped out, unless the Jays demand a high ransom. He's the best arm in Toronto's pen, but he's a lefty. Lefty-on-lefty chances could be there if Gregg is gone or dethroned, but Downs probably won't be in a majority role.

Camp, a more control-based pitcher with uninspiring dominance, has been reliable, but 15 of his 43 appearances have accounted for multiple innings. It's unlikely Toronto wants to consider him to close when he has done an excellent job putting out fires earlier.

Job security score: 4

Health score: 5

Kansas City Royals

Closer: Joakim Soria

Understudy: Kyle Farnsworth

Baltimore Orioles RP Mike Gonzalez
O's should finally have Gonzalez

The Royals hosted the Blue Jays yesterday, when the Yanks were scouting relievers. New York's target? Reportedly, Soria. The Royals' price will likely be high if they were to move the elite stopper, and Farnsworth would probably step in for Royals saves, in that case.

Soria would give the Bombers the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera, but this move would slash Soria's fantasy value to that of what Joba Chamberlain was supposed to do. The Yanks want to focus on improving their 'pen, so they might be willing to pay the price for a more stable present and future.

Ease off the panic button, Soria owners, but stay tuned. If reports of negotiations ramp up, think about tucking Farnsworth away.

Job security score: 5

Health score: 5

Mound meetings

  • Jon Rauch (ankle) will likely miss a few games after a comebacker bruised his right ankle during Monday action. The Twinkies could turn to Matt Guerrier or Jesse Crain; the latter replaced Rauch on Saturday. Maybe if you're chasing saves in a deep AL league, you could take a chance on one, but it isn't recommended for the short-term period, especially since matchups will probably come into play.
  • The Baltimore Orioles are expected to have Mike Gonzalez (shoulder) return from the DL tomorrow. He'll likely have to fight his way back into save chances considering Alfredo Simon's overall effectiveness as O's closer. Deep leaguers can get a jump on Gonzalez speculation if he's on their waiver wire.

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    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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

    During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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