StrategyJune 29, 2012

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Bottom of the 9th: Temporary, the New Permanent

By R.J. White

This week, we had news that “temporary closers” Fernando Rodney and Tyler Clippard are going to stay in the ninth inning even upon the returns of Kyle Farnsworth and Drew Storen. So much for not losing your job due to injury. I wouldn’t bother hanging on to Farnsworth in my leagues, but Storen still seems likely to be the team’s long-term closer, even if he pitches in a set-up role for the rest of this season. Speculators should hang on to him (or pick him up if he was dropped), just in case. Now on to two closing gigs that have changed hands due to injury.

Now Closing

MIN Jared Burton & Glen Perkins
Matt Capps hit the DL on Monday with shoulder tendonitis, meaning we should have at least a week of save opportunities for Burton and Perkins. For the Twins, that may translate into one save opportunity, but hey, maybe we’ll get lucky. Who’s in line to get the next one? Burton has the last two saves for the Twins, including one on June 25 where Perkins pitched in a setup role. As the righty of the duo, Burton fits better into the traditional mold of closer, and the Twins look like they’ll play matchups at the end of the game for now, which favors Burton getting more opportunities. Despite Perkins’s status up to this point as the presumed second option in the Twins pen, I’d feel a little better owning Burton with Capps out only temporarily. Now, if Capps is traded or goes down for the long haul, Perkins may be the better option of the two.

NYM Bobby Parnell
Parnell picked up his first save of the season by working a 1-2-3 ninth on Thursday. Frank Francisco and his 4.97 ERA are on the DL with an oblique strain, and Parnell has the chance to take hold of the closer job permanently with a good run this week. Will he be better in his second chance with the job? Last season, Parnell picked up his first save on August 24, and he would go on to convert six saves in all while tallying four blown saves through the end of the year. Francisco remains a hold in all leagues, but Parnell should also be owned in all leagues, and I’d take him over either of the Twins options, especially considering he’s likely to have more save opportunities come his way.


ARI J.J. Putz
ATL Craig Kimbrel
BAL Jim Johnson
CHW Addison Reed
CLE Chris Perez
COL Rafael Betancourt
DET Jose Valverde
KC Jonathan Broxton
LAA Ernesto Frieri
LAD Kenley Jansen
MIA Heath Bell
NYY Rafael Soriano
OAK Ryan Cook
PHI Jonathan Papelbon
PIT Joel Hanrahan
SD Huston Street
SEA Tom Wilhelmsen
STL Jason Motte
TB Fernando Rodney
TEX Joe Nathan
TOR Casey Janssen
WAS Tyler Clippard

Safe … For Now

BOS Alfredo Aceves
Unlike most of the people you’ll find in this section, Aceves hasn’t had trouble with his performance, throwing scoreless innings in his last four appearances. However, unlike Fernando Rodney and Tyler Clippard, Aceves hasn’t received the seal of approval from management that he’ll remain the closer once Andrew Bailey returns. In fact, it seems almost a lock that he won’t be. We should expect Bailey back at some point in July, meaning the clock is ticking on your trade window for Aceves.

CHC Carlos Marmol
Marmol gave up a run in one of his two outings over the past week, but he was able to lock down a save on Tuesday against the Mets. His season stats are terrible, but he’s picked up scoreless saves in three of his last four outings, and the Cubs have no quality options pushing Marmol to take his job, though Shawn Camp is close to being that guy. The few save chances that fall to the Cubs should continue going to Marmol for the time being, but Camp is worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.

CIN Aroldis Chapman
Chapman took losses in two consecutive outings by giving up two runs in each before locking down an easy save Tuesday. If nothing else, it’s nice to see that he’s human like the rest of us. I don’t expect him to lose his job, but he’s given up runs in five of his last eight outings. His leash has to be shorter than it was at the beginning of June.

HOU Brett Myers
Myers suffered his second meltdown in as many weeks after giving up a grand slam on Thursday, though only one run shows up as earned in the box score. It was just his second blown save of the season, as his five-run outing on June 18 came in a non-save situation. Brandon “I Just Can’t Quit You” Lyon is in the midst of a much better season than we’re accustomed to seeing, and he seems primed to take over if Myers is traded in July, unless Wilton Lopez gets healthy in a hurry.

MIL John Axford
Axford has three saves and three losses in his last six appearances and has given up runs in five of his last eight. He has a 5.22 ERA and five losses on the year. In 2011, only two closers that ended the year with their jobs intact and 20 saves or more to their credit had more losses (Chris Perez, seven; Carlos Marmol, six). I don’t think he can afford any more black marks until he re-establishes himself as a safe option, and I think Francisco Rodriguez is a must-own in any leagues where saves are hard to come by.

SF Santiago Casilla
Casilla pitched three straight days in Oakland last weekend and gave up runs in all three outings, including three on Sunday to take the loss. His ERA jumped from 1.32 to 2.79 during that run, but he was able to rebound with a save against the Dodgers this week. Considering he only has two blown saves this year, he should be perfectly fine moving forward, and I think his stay down here with the other shaky options is only going to last one week.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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