The calendar is about to flip into August and already closers are on the move. Weâ€™ve got one closer who wonâ€™t be closing any more and one disgraced closer who has lucked his way into a job again. Oh and Sergio Santos is still hurt. So is Andrew Bailey. It wouldnâ€™t be a Blown Opportunities column if Santos and Bailey arenâ€™t mentioned.
Weâ€™re officially at the point of the year that everyone has blown a save or two. Everyone has been on thin ice(looking at you, Santiago Casilla) at one point or another. Itâ€™s almost time for teams to start looking to 2013. A few relievers will be dealt and a few closer jobs will be vacated and filled by this time next week. Thereâ€™s still time to speculate for saves, but this could be your last chance to snag a guy who will rack up double digit saves by the end of the year.
Baltimoreâ€™s Jim Johnson bounced back nicely after a few nightmare outings last week. Johnson has recorded four saves since giving up eight runs(six earned) over two days. Johnson is fine and heâ€™s still one of the safer options in fantasy. Heâ€™s about as entrenched in a job as a closer can get in 2012.
Andrew Bailey is going to need six or seven rehab outings before coming back to the big club in a setup role. If youâ€™re already speculating on saves for 2013, Bailey is your guy.
Tigers closer Jose Valverde is suffering from an ailing back. It looks like heâ€™s going to avoid the DL(for now), but Joaquin Benoit and Brayan Villerreal deserve to be on a roster while Valverde is unavailable. Valverde should be back before the weekend.
There are a host of teams looking for bullpen help and Jonathan Broxton is likely to be dealt in the next few days. Itâ€™s unlikely that heâ€™ll be dealt and put into the closerâ€™s role on his new team immediately. Greg Holland and Aaron Crow are the two names who will be in the mix once(if?) Broxton gets dealt. Holland will likely get the buzz, but Aaron Crow could be the name that fantasy GMs need to focus on. Crow hasnâ€™t had the control issues that Holland has suffered through this year. Managers will likely choose the guy who doesnâ€™t walk batters over the guy who walks every other batter he sees. Holland could get the job initially, but closers in 2012 appear meant to be replaced. Holland is untested in the ninth inning and his 5.26 BB/9 wonâ€™t help.
Brett Myers is out in Houston and Francisco Cordero is in. Myers has virtually zero fantasy value in any league that doesnâ€™t count holds. Itâ€™s been safe send Myers to the waiver wire since the deal was made. Francisco Cordero is now the closer in Houston. Cordero isnâ€™t the same guy that he was when he was racking up 40 save seasons. Heâ€™s lost a few clicks on the fastball, but his luck metrics indicate that heâ€™s been a little unlucky. Heâ€™s posted a .361 BABIP with a 17.8% HR:FB ratio. Both of those numbers are well above his career average. That being said, he probably wonâ€™t finish August with the closer job. Wilton Lopez looks like the most obvious choice to get a shot at saves, if CoCo struggles. Lopez is posting a 6.00 K:BB ratio in 37 appearances. The choices after Lopez get ugly in a hurry. Francisco Abad, anyone? No?
Steve Cishek has two saves in the past two weeks! Everyone rush out and add him! Cishek appears to be the best option in a mediocre Miami bullpen. Miami is trying hard to move Heath Bell before the deadline, but itâ€™s going to be hard to find a match willing to take on those dollars and years. Bell will likely get yet another crack at saves by the end of the year just because itâ€™s what heâ€™s being paid a ton of money to do. Cishek and Michael Dunn are the two guys likely to get looks in the ninth inning until Bell has begged his way back into the role. Dunn will probably get the short end of the stick in this platoon.
Francisco Rodriguez has Â given up five runs over his last two outings with an amazing blown save. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has said that heâ€™s not ready to put John Axford back in the ninth inning. Heâ€™ll be back there again if K-Rod continues to look like a guy whoâ€™s mind isnâ€™t into baseball anymore. Â
Constantly injured Mets closer Frank Francisco just started a rehab assignment. Itâ€™s believed that heâ€™ll only need a few outings before being back up with the big club. It wouldnâ€™t be earth-shattering news if Frank was reactivated after the weekend. Be prepared to adjust your lineups soon.
Santiago Casilla is still the Giants closer and the Giants donâ€™t have any plans to put Sergio Romo into the closer role. Itâ€™s still safe to keep the â€œFree Sergioâ€ banners up at your house. Romo has been one of the best relievers in baseball this year. Casilla has been competent while filling in for the personality that used to be Brian Wilson, but a few high profile blow ups have hurt his stock. Casilla has a save and W in his last two outings. Heâ€™s probably safe until this gets revisited in the next week or so.
Washington Nationals former closer Drew Storen looked solid in his first appearance of 2012 on July 19th, but has struggled in his next outing. Storenâ€™s velocity isnâ€™t all the way back yet. His average fastball is only at 91.9 MPH. Last year? Over 95. Again, if youâ€™re speculating for saves in 2013, Storen will likely be useful. Too bad itâ€™s still 2012. Meanwhile Tyler Clippard actually had a few issues in the ninth inning. Clippard gave up multiple runs in three straight outings last week. Heâ€™s bounced back with back-to-back saves. Clippard is the man in Washington until either Storen or Henry Rodriguez gets the call. Storen and Rodriguez are both waiver wire guys until they prove theyâ€™re A. completely healthy and B. have a shot at saves.