Youâ€™ve waited long enough to start speculating for saves. Itâ€™s time to start scraping the bottom of the barrel. If that means adding Mitchell Boggs and buying a voodoo doll of Jason Motte, so be it. If that means adding Vinnie Pestano(Free Vinnie!) and inviting Chris Perez to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, so be it. Even if it means hiding Tyler Clippardâ€™s safety goggles to get Drew Storen or Henry Rodriguez a few looks in the ninth inning, so be it.
Fantasy championships are won and lost in the next three months. Weâ€™ve reached the point of the season where you do what you need to in order to get that league title. No one will think any less of you…as long as its within the rules of the league…of course.
The Boston Globe is reporting that Andrew Bailey is unlikely to return until August or September and heâ€™ll likely work as a set-up guy for Alfredo Aceves when(if?) he does come back. Itâ€™s been safe to cut Bailey for a while, especially if you need the DL slot for a guy who might actually pitch this season. If youâ€™re digging for saves, itâ€™s time to look elsewhere.
Detroit closer Jose Valverde has looked like a guy who is a couple bad outings away from losing his job all year. Valverde came in during a non-save situation last Saturday and predictably made the game a lot closer than it was. Valverde owns a 25:19 K:BB ratio in 36 games with guys like Joaquin Benoit and Brayan Villarreal striking out more than a batter per inning with sick peripheral stats. Valverde clearly isnâ€™t the guy he used to be and could very well either spend some time on the DL or just get replaced in the second half. Benoit and Villarreal are the handcuffs, in that order.
Jonathan Broxton could very well end up with a new address by the end of July. He has a reasonable contract and he appears to be healthy. The Mets have been mentioned as potential suitors thanks to the injury to Frank Francisco and general suckiness of the rest of their bullpen. Aaron Crow and Greg Holland are the two guys in the KC bullpen worth speculating on. Crow has pitched better than his 4.04 ERA would indicate and heâ€™s striking out 8.58 batters per nine innings. Holland is striking out 13.35 batter per nine, but heâ€™s struggled with command and owns a 6.07 BB/9. Tim Collins has enjoyed the best results out of the KC bullpen, but heâ€™s struggled to get into hold situations, let alone saves.
Matt Capps has been activated and appears to be another trade candidate heading into the July 31st deadline. Capps is 14 out of 15 in save chances, but heâ€™ll need to prove that the shoulder is healthy before any potential trade talks can really get rolling. Itâ€™s probably a good idea to hang on to guys like Glen Perkins and Jared Burton in case Capps winds up on another roster in the next few weeks.
Sergio Santos is set to start throwing off a mound again soon. Not a mound used in a major league game, but a mound nonetheless. Meanwhile, Casey Janssen has gone out and claimed the Blue Jays closer job. Janssen is 12 for 13 in save chances and is striking out more than a batter per inning. Janssen actually appears to be one of the safer options in fantasy baseball right now.
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol had another fantastic meltdown in a non-save situation on July 6th. The Cubs would more than likely love to deal Marmol in the next few weeks, but it may be hard to find a match. It would be hard for a contender to add Marmol due to his contract and his general lack of effectiveness. Heâ€™s likely stuck in Chicago through 2013. Shawn Camp and James Russell will likely form some sort of â€œcommitteeâ€ should the impossible happen and some contender decides to roll with Marmol.
Current Houston Astros closer Brett Myers is also the subject of trade speculation. Myers has a team option for $10 million with a $3 million buy out for next year and heâ€™s still owed about half of his $11 million salary for 2012. There are a lot of names in the Houston bullpen. Seriously, thatâ€™s all the analysis there is. Theyâ€™ve really got a lot of names. The only two relievers that fantasy GMs should concern themselves with are Brandon Lyon(assuming he doesnâ€™t get shipped out as well) and Wilton Lopez. Lopez owns a 26:4 K:BB ratio with a 2.51 ERA in 2012. Heâ€™s the guy fantasy GMs should target if a trade occurs.
Miami manager Ozzie Guillen announced that Marlins will switch to a closer by committee for the near future. He didnâ€™t say exactly who would be involved in the committee, but the usual suspects will likely be Heath Bell, Steve Cishek and Randy Choate. The pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez(Juan Carlos Oviedo) will also be in the mix at some point as well. Oviedo is set to start a rehab assignment on Monday at High-A. He could be back with the big club in a few weeks.
Injured Mets closer Frank Francisco started a rehab assignment on Wednesday. Heâ€™s scheduled to make four appearances in the minors and should be back by next week. Bobby Parnell has looked competent in Franciscoâ€™s stead, but heâ€™s only racked up two saves. He looks like a pitcher who could be a competent closer, but heâ€™ll have to wait for a full-time opportunity to present itself.
Embattled Giants closer Santiago Casilla should be good to go. Well, as good to go as Santiago Casilla can get. Casilla was unavailable for the weekend before the break due to blisters. It sounds like heâ€™s been able to heal up and should be back to finding a way to look unbelievably shaky while posting competent numbers. Sergio Romo should be owned as a handcuff with Jeremy Affeldt as a possible save vulture.
So much for Jason Motte being on thin ice in St. Louis. Motte has converted six consecutive save chances since June 25th. Mitchell Boggs or Fernando Salas might still be worth a handcuff, but Motte appears to be safe for now.
It sounds like Drew Storen is almost ready to come back. Storen looks like a reliable option compared to the ongoing saga that is Andrew Bailey. Storen gave up a wild pitch and a solo homer during a two-inning outing on Thursday, but he also struck out five. All Tyler Clippard has done is go 14-15 in save chances and earn the full-time job even when Storen comes back. Storen is the handcuff, but itâ€™s clearly Clippardâ€™s job until he loses it.