The most bitter, saddest evening ever would occur if Vinnie Pestano, Jonny Venters, David Robertson, Francisco Rodriguez and Joaquin Benoit ever hung out together. These guys are more than likely superior pitchers to the glamour boysÂ anointedÂ the closer, but they’ve been regulated to set up roles and obscurity. Vinnie Pestano is stuck behind big, fat Chris Perez. The same Chris Perez who throws a fastball, a curveball, a beanball and a pitch in the dirt. Actually, Chris Perez has been more than just competent this year. He’s…a good closer. Somehow. Of the relievers listed, Vinnie must be by far the least fun to be around. Jonny Venters is at least stuck behind a guy who may or may not be the next truly great closer. David Robertson actually held a closer job for all of five minutes before getting hurt. Sergio Romo is too nice of a guy to tell Santiago Casilla that he’s not very good. He just offers encouragement and cleans up Santiago’s messes.
Some men take advantage of chances, but others blow them. Let’s see what happened in the week that was week 12.
It was reported that Andrew Bailey â€œdidnâ€™t feel greatâ€ after a bullpen session on Friday. Heâ€™ll likely go back to a long toss program sometime soon, but this really shouldnâ€™t have an impact on his ETA. Heâ€™s still likely to return after the all-star break…assuming this isnâ€™t more than normal soreness.
Itâ€™s safe to stop worrying about Tigers closer Jose Valverde. Papa Grande tossed a scoreless inning in a non-save appearance on Tuesday. He looked fine and should be good to go for the immediate future.
Ernesto Frieri is certainly acting like the closer in Los Angeles. Frieri has notched nine saves and Scott Downs appears to be an afterthought in the Angels bullpen. Frieri has likely pitched himself onto the all-star team this year. Heâ€™s rocking a 0.80 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP. His K:BB is only 56:18 in 33 2/3 innings. They call that a â€œhot streak.â€
Remember when we told you Matt Capps wasnâ€™t headed for the DL? Yeah, well, sorry. Capps hit the DL and the Twins announced that Glen Perkins and Jared Burton would share the closer role. Burton immediately notched two saves and looks like the guy to own if you absolutely have to own a Twins reliever. Cappsâ€™ MRI came back reasonably clean, so heâ€™ll likely be back in the Twins bullpen sooner rather than later.
Oakland closer Ryan Cook bounced back with two saves this week after an ugly blown save against the Giants over the weekend. It happens to everyone. Cook is still quality and Grant Balfour is still stuck behind him on the depth chart. Not much to worry about here…for now.
The Bartender, Tom Wilhelmsen, is still holding down the closerâ€™s job in Seattle. Brandon League is still breathing down his neck, but Wilhelmsen hasnâ€™t faltered yet. League has a six-game scoreless streak and appears to be over his early season issues. League will likely get saves again at some point, but itâ€™s impossible to know when. Heâ€™s worth a stash if you have a roster spot, but itâ€™s safe to cut him loose if you need the roster space…assuming you havenâ€™t cut League a long, long time ago.
Kyle Farnsworth is set to return to Rays bullpen over the weekend. The only problem is that Fernando Rodney is firmly entrenched as the closer. Farnsy might get a couple save chances at some point should Rodney realize that heâ€™s Fernando Rodney, but heâ€™s not even worth a stash at this point.
Sergio Santos was originally supposed to be out for 2-4 weeks, but itâ€™s looking like itâ€™s going to be 2-4 months. Santos started a long toss program early in the month, but was shut down after some shoulder soreness. Heâ€™s resumed throwing long toss again, but heâ€™s still not close to a return and thereâ€™s no timetable. Casey Janssen could very well hold on to the closer job in Toronto for the rest of the year. Janssen is 8-9 in save opportunities with 28 Kâ€™s in 28 2/3 innings. Janssen has been one of the few bright spots on the embattled Blue Jays pitching staff. Thereâ€™s no reason to take him out of the role even if he struggles. Itâ€™s not like the Jays have a wealth of guys looking to take over his job. When your competition is Francisco Cordero, well, there isnâ€™t any competition.
Carlos Marmol has managed to keep his job as closer for two weeks. The Cubs might as well leave him there, hope that he strings together a competent month and then deal him to contender in need. If May and early June taught us anything, itâ€™s that the Cubs simply donâ€™t have anyone worth using in the role.
Aroldis Chapman appeared to be on the ropes. First he blew a save, then he came down with back issues and then he followed that…with another blown save. Chapman walked one, struck out three and nailed down the save in his most recent chance against Milwaukee on Tuesday. He followed his save with a pair of victory somersaults. Owning Chapman is like using a public toilet in Tijuana. You donâ€™t know what to expect and youâ€™re really terrified.
Astros closer Brett Myers earned his first save since his five-run depantsing on Tuesday against San Diego. Myers is still the guy in Houston until/if he gets traded. Brandon Lyon has been quietly solid in a set-up role. Lyon has a 29:8 K:BB ratio in 31 games with a 2.79 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Heâ€™s likely next in line for saves in Houston if youâ€™re really in the mood to stash a middle reliever while hoping Myers gets traded.
Marlins closer Heath Bell absolutely exploded again on Monday. Bell was tagged for four runs on three hits and a walk. The worst part was that it was a non-save situation. Thanks a lot, Ozzie. Bell came back on Wednesday and earned a save with a scoreless inning against the same Cardinals that annihilated him. Heâ€™s still the guy in Miami. Steve Cishek has been competent this year, but he has seven earned runs over his last four appearances.
Brewers closer John Axford took another loss on Tuesday against Cincinnati. Axford came into a tie game and promptly gave up a solo homer to Drew Stubbs. Axford is really struggling this month and looks like taking a flyer on K-Rod might be a good idea at this point. K-Rod hasnâ€™t been lights out this year, but there are rumors swirling that heâ€™s bored in the set-up role. Changing things up in the bullpen might get Francisco Rodriguez out of the funk he appears to be in.
Mets closer Frank Francisco hit the DL with a strained oblique. Heâ€™ll need a few weeks on the shelf and it looks like Bobby Parnell will finally get a crack at the closer role in his absence. Jon Rauch isnâ€™t worth a stash unless heâ€™s earning saves. Just leave him on the wire unless youâ€™re desperate.
Sergio Romo notched his fourth save of the season as Santiago Casilla was given the night off. Casilla is still the man in San Francisco, but his workload has been fairly heavy this year. It was time to give him a day off and Romo took advantage. Romo is still the setup guy until Casilla needs to be replaced.
We end with the Washington Nationals as is tradition here at Blown Opportunities. Drew Storen might throw in a simulated game this week. Hey now! Do simulated saves count in fantasy? No? Itâ€™s safe to ignore Storen for a few more weeks. Meanwhile, manager Davey Johnson has indicated that Tyler Clippard has earned his trust and might hang on to the job even if/when Storen comes back. Clippard is 12 out of 13 in save opportunities this year. Former closer Henry Rodriguez is still on a rehab assignment as he works his way back from a finger injury. Heâ€™ll be back soon, but he wonâ€™t be closing any time soon. Brad Lidge? Heâ€™s still looking for a job.