We can finally stop thinking about trade rumors for a while. The deadline has passed and only two guys with actual closer jobs got dealt out of the half dozen or so that were rumored to be on the block. Rafael Betancourt owners can breathe easy…until someone makes a waiver claim on Rafael and the Rockies spend weeks haggling over which mediocre prospect theyâ€™ll get in return.
Weâ€™ve got one newly anointed closer, one guy stuck in middle relief, two guys with lots of saves that have struggled mightily and zero mentions of the Washington Nationals in this week’sâ€™ edition of Blown Opportunities…
Jim Johnson has actually looked like Jim Johnson over the past few weeks. He was tagged for five singles and gave up six runs. Itâ€™s what we call regression in action. He was due to have a bunch of base hits fall in for a disaster inning and it happened. His month by month BABIPs are .231, .147, .121 and .457. Â Heâ€™s the same guy heâ€™s been all year and heâ€™s likely got a stranglehold on the ninth inning duties in Baltimore;dude is still 30-33 in saves and heâ€™s already bounced back with a clean save against the Yankees this week.
Andrew Bailey is finally throwing innings in a rehab assignment. Sadly, itâ€™s happening so late in the year that no one has cared or noticed. The job is likely going to be Alfredo Acevesâ€™ for the entire season. Who would have called that when he and Mark Melancon were dueling banjos in blown saves in April? Bailey is a play for 2013 in keeper leagues and not much else at this point.
Addison Reed has had a few shaky outings in Chicago, but heâ€™s still getting the job done and doesnâ€™t appear in any danger. Brett Myers is probably the handcuff, but itâ€™s only if youâ€™re desperate.
Jose Valverde has a save and two Kâ€™s in each of his last two appearances. Jose appears healthy, but itâ€™s still a good idea to keep Joaquin Benoit around just in case. Bad backs are probably the toughest injury to predict and itâ€™s unlikely that Valverde is 100%.
Greg Holland has a save and a strikeout in his first two appearances since inheriting the closer job in Kansas City. Holland might not be as shaky as some have thought. He posted a 3.40 K:BB ratio in July with a 11.48 K/9 and a 3.38 BB/9. Those are elite level numbers. Holland would be one of the safer ninth inning options if he could duplicate those numbers in the ninth inning. Aaron Crow is still the handcuff, but itâ€™s looking a lot more like itâ€™s Hollandâ€™s job for the next two months.
Angels closer Ernesto Frieri has blown a few saves in the last month, but heâ€™s still locked in as the closer in L.A. Scott Downs and Jordan Walden are on the DL and the Angels donâ€™t have much else. Does LaTroy Hawkins get you excited? Jason Isringhausen? This isnâ€™t 2005 and these guys shouldnâ€™t be on your roster no matter how desperate for saves you are.
Matt Capps still doesnâ€™t have a time table for a rehab stint or a return. The job is Glen Perkins’ to lose for the immediate future.
Brandon League is out in Seattle and Tom â€œThe Bartenderâ€ Wilhelmsen doesnâ€™t have to look over his shoulder any more. All this means in 2012 is that Wilhelmsen will probably blow his next six saves, get replaced by Oliver Perez and Perez will rack up 20 saves in the last six weeks of the season.
Rays closer Fernando Rodney is 31 for 32 in save chances in 2012. Remember in 2011 when Rodney blew a bunch of early games, walked more than he struck out and got replaced by Jordan Walden? Yeah, there is no way that guy is the same guy who is pitching for the Rays right now.
Joe Nathan has given up runs in his last two outings, but you could say that for just about every reliever in Texas. Nathan has been one of the better closers in baseball this year with his 10.59 K/9 and 1.66 BB/9. The ninth inning job is his unless heâ€™s hurt. Mike Adams is the handcuff if you feel that its necessary.
Jonathan Broxton is now pitching for Cincinnati. Itâ€™s a good baseball move, but a bad fantasy baseball move. Broxton is third or fourth in line for saves should something happen to Aroldis Chapman. He has little value outside of leagues that count holds. Itâ€™s safe to send him back to the waiver wire that you found him on.
Francisco Cordero is nursing a toe injury. Heâ€™s also old and bad at pitching. Heâ€™s given up runs in four of his last five outings, but heâ€™ll probably still luck his way into a few saves down the stretch. Itâ€™s not like the Astros really have anyone healthy they can plug into the ninth inning role.
The job in Florida appears to belong to Steve Cishek for now. The big righty has five saves this year and hasnâ€™t allowed a run, earned or otherwise, since June 23rd. Meanwhile Heath Bell hasnâ€™t given up a run since July 8th and has his ERA under 6.00. Would it shock anyone to see Bell get another crack at the ninth inning?
The Milwaukee Brewers bullpen is absolute mess right now. Francisco Rodriguez looks like a guy who is about a year away from pitching in an independent league and John Axford doesnâ€™t look much better. The Brewers did just acquire Fautino de los Santos from Oakland. De los Santos was the preseason favorite for the closer job in Oakland and could find himself earning a shot at ninth inning duties in Milwaukee down the stretch.
Mets closer Frank Francisco is set to be activated from the DL any second now. The days of Bobby Parnell as closer are likely over.
San Francisco Giants closer Santiago Casilla is happy to see the calendar turn from July to August. Casilla ended the month with a 6.23 ERA with a 1.96 WHIP. Sadly, these numbers are still better than what Casilla posted in June. Sergio Romo has been the best reliever in San Francisco all year. However, real life baseball has long been cruel to those of us who play fantasy baseball. The best relievers rarely get a shot at glory stats like saves and have to settle for racking up holds. Casual fans donâ€™t even know how a player gets a hold. Casilla has been on thin ice for a while, but the Giants seem determined to leave him in the ninth inning. Romo is a must have should the Giants ever decide to go another way or attempt a dreaded platoon.