StrategyAugust 7, 2009

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Closer Complex: Needles In A Hay Stack

By Matthew Robertson

In the past few days, only few things concerning closers occurred and those fantasy owners in wanting to snatch up the latest replace might have to wait a few weeks. But those with closers in comfortable situations were pleasantly pleased that they did not have to develop a contingency plan for any major happenings.

The biggest issue of note came when Toronto closer Scott Downs again went down with an injured toe. This was the same toe that cost the breakout closer a part of this season already. Unfortunately, backup closer Jason Frasor was already taken in many leagues and left those searching for a backup plan out of luck. Brandon League’s name has also surfaced as a possible replacement in the ninth inning for the Jays, as the fireballer is becoming more consistent. Those in deep keeper or dynasty leagues may want to look long and hard at placing League on their roster as a speculative future closer pick, as he surely has the most upside of anyone in the bullpen.

Another situation some are having problems with is the erratic performance of White Sox closer Bobby Jenks. To me, the White Sox are the team to beat in the AL Central and would gladly benefit from a reliable Jenks, but the closer has recently experienced some blown saves and just has not looked good on the mound. Apparently, the problem stemmed from an episode of kidney stones. The White reported that Jenks has undergone treatment for the ailment and should be back to normal soon. A pesky fact about kidney stones, unless they pass, is that they have a tendency to come back and come back at any time. So, those with Jenks might want to insure themselves with Octavio Dotel or Matt Thorton. A great thing for the White Sox but unfortunately for fantasy owners is that the South-Side bullpen features multiple relievers capable of closing, so predicting the unpredictable actions of manager Ozzie Guillen may be a little annoying.

Quick Notes: Former Cardinals prospect Jess Todd was sent to Cleveland as the PTNL in the Mark DeRosa deal. Todd, along with Chris Perez, figures to be a valuable cog in the Indians pen for years to come. Former stud closer B.J. Ryan was released by the Cubs organization after pitching with mixed results in the minors. Look for Ryan to again find a job on a team willing to make a high reward/low risk investment in the lefty.

Matthew Robertson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Matthew in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Havok1517.
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